Thursday, March 25, 2010

Travel Memories- DUI in Paris

In 1968 my boyfriend, John, was sent to Paris by Xerox to help set up the French Government computer system. One of his co-workers had a party. The drinks were served in paper cups. No self-respecting Frenchman would serve drinks in paper cups, therefore, decent ones were hard to find.  So we all stood around socializing while holding our seriously dripping drinks.

In spite of this problem, we all drank quite a lot. So much that on our way home in John's cute little Deux Chevaux we were stopped by the gendarmes.

Two of them, who were actually dressed in the kind of uniform you'd see in the movies. Unless I'm remembering wrong they even had capes.  One of them put John in the police car and the other one got in John's car with me and drove us to John's apartment in Garches, just outside of Paris. (Picture me in the Deux Chevaux being driven by a gendarme like the one above). But, of course, I didn't appreciate the humor of the situation at the time.


When we got to the apartment, John was really panicked thinking that they would take him to jail and was trying to tell me what to do if he didn't come back. It all ended well, though. They told John to appear at police headquarters in the morning and he got off with a slap on the wrist and probably a huge fine. He didn't tell me the amount.

4 comments:

Elizabeth said...

Ah the beloved Deaux Cheveaux!
Such a wonderful memory!

McHargue said...

I can see everybody standing around with dripping cups. Love the car and love the story.

Vivian Swift said...

The "flic" DROVE you home?? From what I now about Paris cops that is not standard operating proceedure. Are you sure that they weren't just two randy French gendarmes who caught sight of a pretty American damsel in a wobbly car and decided to hi-jack her from her uncouth Americaine? THAT sounds more like it.

It's taken the French a long time to take drunk driving seriously: up until last year it was still possible to buy wine at gas stations. I know that there has been new legislation to crack down on drunk driving which, like the ban on smoking in pubic places that took effect two years ago, was met by huge protests; the French fear that by not smoking in restaurants and not driving drunk that they are becoming too Americanized. Sigh.

I hope you write more France memories -- I get the feeling you were like Lucy Ricardo set loose in France. I'm jealous.

Christine H. said...

I wouldn't be surprised if they really arrested him for drinking from a paper cup. Quelle horreur!
But I love the idea of the Gendarme driving you home. That would never happen here.

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