My weekend in France began with a reminder of just how unpleasant Charles de Gaulle Airport can be. It took thirty minutes to clear passport control, primarily because there was only one staff member on duty who had decided to spend thirty seconds on every passport. When I got to the front of the line, he glared at me, then ordered me gruffly to take my headphones out of my ears. Having complied, he looked back at my passport, then handed it back to me without a further word. Bienvenue en France!
The next trick was to find car rental pick-up, which I knew to be at a different terminal to the one I'd landed at. The shuttle train across the airport dropped me in the right general area, but a sign to the rental car desks was nowhere to be found. Eventually I gave up and walked across the short term car park, where my pre-booked vehicle should have been waiting. Unfortunately, Avis hadn't done the paperwork, so I ended up waiting another twenty minutes for that to be sorted.
I'd been anticipating a ninety minute drive to my overnight hotel in Chartres, but heavy traffic meant that the ETA began to slip even before I'd made it to the Paris Peripherique. I was in pretty bad form when I suddenly noticed the lights of a high-speed rotating arm that could only be a Booster-style fairground ride. Pulling off the road at the next exit, I found a parking space and went to investigate.