Saturday, January 14

Rue de Rivoli

This is a very long street, and it has several personalities. One section is rather posh, with fancy old hotels and tea rooms opposite the Tuileries. Another is full of tacky souvenir shops.

And yet another is Paris' answer to the ubiquitous English High Street, teaming with shoppers on their way to and from the Gap, Body Shop, H & M, Zara, Foot Locker, etc etc...

Today, the first Saturday of the winter sales, that section of rue de Rivoli was overflowing with people. Walking on the sidewalks required patience, speed, and fast reflexes.

Two RATP (public transportation) bus drivers idled their engines side by side, bemused, as the crowd surged on and off the sidewalk in an effort to get somewhere, anywhere, quickly ! in search of a bargain. The buses were halted, not by cars but by bargain hunters. One driver opened the door of his bus to talk to the other driver through his open window.

- It's crazy today, isn't it ?
- Yes, all these people have left their brains at home.

Gallic shrugs all 'round. The buses start up again and we're off.

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