The California Bucket List: Your daily guide to the best adventures and experiences in the Golden State

April 8

I recently rented a car at the Gare du Nord, which meant driving in Paris. I was going to lunch with a friend near the Etoile, where I used one of the city's convenient underground parking garages for the first time. All went smoothly, but the return of the car was a mess, especially when I tried to find the rental car return at the Gare du Nord. I must have circled the station five times. Finally, I put the car in a parking garage and told the car rental people to go find it themselves.

Maybe I was nuts to drive in Paris. Certainly, it's not recommended for a first-time visitor. But it's not impossible, with a good map and no shame. At one point, when I was about to go the wrong way on a one-way street, a cab driver pulled up next to me and asked me what I was doing. I told him I was a tourist, which made him laugh and put me on the right course. I think you've got to make mistakes to learn anything.

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