In Paris, a Numbers Game with Chanel

I hate cabs in general, so you can imagine the dread when I rolled out of the airport (quite literally, with the suitcase you think is too small), an
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I hate cabs in general, so you can imagine the dread when I rolled out of the airport (quite literally, with the suitcase you think is too small), an
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I hate cabs in general, so you can imagine the dread when I rolled out of the airport (quite literally, with the suitcase you think is too small), and hailed a Paris taxi. "Here we go," I sighed, preparing for a two-hour drive to nowhere with someone who hated my accent. Instead, it was 30 minutes and 30 Euros - exactly the same as a JFK fare - and my chauffer was lovely. Also, my French isn't as bad as I thought, which helped. "Are you going to visit Chanel?" he asked, when I told him I was a fashion writer. "Oui!" I exclaimed. "Which of her fragrances do you like the best?" he continued. "My wife wears Chanel No. 5." "Um," I thought, and then I thought how the French don't say "Um," they say Uuuh or Errrr. "I like Allure a lot," I decided. "Allure." "Ah yes," he answered. "From 1996." "Egoise is sort of cool, too..." I murmered. "From 1993," he shot back. It turned out, my cab driver knew when each Chanel perfume was launched. Ever. "But how?!" I exclaimed, incredulous at his memory bank and also the fact that I hadn't said a word yet in English. "Ah, I am French," he answered. "To know Chanel perfume is as natural as knowing the streets of the city." Welcome to Paris, I thought, in English. Then I got to my hotel bed and promptly collapsed. --FARAN