We arrived in Paris under dark skies. Charles-de-Gaulle airport still feels like a futuristic city, some thirty years after it was built. After we had found our simple hotel in the (what else?!) 7tharrondissement (this refers to the unique and, for outsiders, somewhat confusing neighbourhood system in Paris that looks like a snail on the city map), I called Civil Aviation Administration for the permit to fly our airship from Toussu-le-Noble, the nearby airport. The nice gentleman told me that it was a different more suitable airport from the one originally assigned and passed me on to the airport administration who had to clear us to fly. This new contact happened to be not at his desk and, after getting his mobile number from his secretary, he was not reachable there either. Again going in a circle – is this like lost in administration, like Russia? Yes, it unfortunately was and this went on just the same way with the Mayor of Paris’ office. They had known about the date of our Paris visit since January! I was promised by a polite lady on the phone that the “dossier” was with them and that I should not worry, I would get for sure a call back …with the mobile phone today, NO more excuses. I did not hear back.
We used the time to take some good footage of the Eiffel Tower and, because the light was not great, it looked like night shots were going to be the best opportunity. We then discovered that this grande dame is at her best at and after sunset! Hers is the night – standing under the Tower, right at the center, is completely spectacular. Here the dimensions become tangible, especially compared to the other people standing around.