Perspective: Taken for a ride in the capital of love

WITH the lovely summer weather making a most welcome appearance in April and putting a delightful finishing touch to the bank holiday ambience, it is natural that one’s thoughts also turn to pastures different if not new.

Getting away from it all, if only for a few days, occupies one’s mind.

Paris is perhaps the first place one thinks of for a break when spring takes the place of winter.

It is undoubtedly a romantic spot where young lovers gather to bathe in the sunshine and dream their dreams.

But they need to have their feet firmly planted on the ground if they don’t want to be taken for too much of a ride.


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I’ve noticed that the latest attraction to part tourists from their money in the capital of France is what has been described as an authentic Cinderella’s coach (was there ever an authentic Cinderella?).

This, I learn, appears every evening pulled by a white horse. In the Place Vendome, it eases up alongside a starry-eyed couple and the frock-coated coachman invites them to get on board.

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A chocolate shoe (shouldn’t that be a glass slipper) is produced and, lo and behold, it fits the lady’s foot. Then it is off for a one-hour clip-clop round the streets of Paris with roses, macaroons and champagne on the way, with the happy couple alighting near the Eiffel Tower as it sparkles into life before clambering on a boat for a dinner-cruise on the Seine.

What an evening, one to remember for years to come. Being not the most gallant romantic around, I know that what I would recall most would be the cost: a whopping 1990 euros which works out at getting on for �1,700.

One thing in Paris’ favour is the simplicity of its spelling. I can’t imagine many people could get it wrong – unlike places in this country.

A hotel chain tested the nation through an audit of its on-line reservations and discovered that a quarter of the place names were misspelt by customers.

There were some real howlers. Seventy per cent of people spelled Morecambe as Morecome while a fifth put Tourkey for Torquay. Bournemouth came out as Bornmouth while Blackpool became Blackpole.

Cambridge got an extra e in the middle from some people while Manchester was dubbed Manchestar and Brighton became Britan.

Interestingly, females consistently out-performed males when it came to spelling names.

The only consolation I can find is that the silver fox brigade achieved the highest score throughout the test.

Changing the subject completely, I did not want to let the week pass without mentioning that coughing bus shelters are appearing in Herts. They are designed to remind people with a persistent bark to visit their GP.

The shelters contain an embedded sound chip which plays the sound of coughing as people approach it.

Whatever next? Perhaps we can have shelters which creak to alert the arthritic among us to get ourselves checked out.

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