About the Author

author photo

The French Cycling Bicycle Gourmet - French Country Travel Life Film Maker and Author. Your non-snobby Gourmet Guide to food, wine travel and Lifestyle Adventure!

See All Posts by This Author

French Country Travel Life Camera Caper – Part Two

(Author’s note: checking out PART ONE could make the following ” mo beddah”)



Ok – here’s the pulse-quickening second installment of my French Country Travel Life Camera Caper.


As two weeks dissovled into the start of three, still no camera. And to add to the free floating anxiety, my pals needed their apartment back.

Not to worry. Happily DA BG had more than one Parisian pal. Jean Michel was that one. A fellow “realisator” who offered me a couch to surf on until the “big day” arrived.

Curiously, it went down the very next am. When the morning mail brought the long awaited news that my ‘unit” had arrived. Just one (not so)tiny grain o’ sand in this otherwise pristine oyster. The French Customs wanted what I considered to be, an excessive amount of import duty. 700 Euros. Excessive for you too?


This for a used camera that cost $80 to repair, $50 to ship, plus $35 for a new battery. They somehow decided (a coin flip was my guess) that both items (camera and battery) were each worth 350 Euros. (At this time, worth waaay more than dollars.)

Obviously something was rotten. And it wasn’t in Denmark. Closer inspection of the dastardly document confirmed that the stinky fish was the advice of the French company who had shipped the camera. As a result of their “help” I had ticked the wrong box. The result: French Customs was charging me for a NEW camera. (and battery.)

While I don’t know for sure if “le douane” (French Customs) has the same powers as the IRS – a la – they can take and sell your house, car and teddy bear, then say “oh gee ..sorry …we made a mistake” and there is no “remedial action.”

But my quest for a non 700 Euro solution did confirm that if you don’t pay, they store your precious maguffin indefinitely.(Like certain American police store confiscated drugs “indefinitely?”)

However, unlike the no way josé IRS, you can file a claim against “le Douane.” That’s the good news. The bad is just what you’d expect.(Especially in a country where four out of five froggies are bureaucrats.) There is no time line obliging them to respond. Equally, no criteria as to how they arrive at their decision. Which is, bien sur, Final. (Can you say:” no appeal?”)

Bottom line: to say very few claimants are successful would be the height of overstatement.

Quelle adventure wot? Clearly my mantra here was :”can’t pay – won’t pay.” And, equally I was NOT going to try duking it out with le Douane. But, obviously, I had to have the camera. Yes, dear reader, “Rock and a hard place” time!

Without a doubt I needed divine intervention. And divine intervention I got. In the form of a delivery guy who was either: a) new on the job b)a few bricks short of a full load c) had other things on his mind. Because, while I wasn’t there, he delivered the goods without demanding the 700 Euro first! (Yes, there IS a dog!)

His company, predictably,squealed and howled. But it was, as I good naturedly reminded them – THEIR mistake. And you know who pays when you make a mistake dear reader. Do you not?

EPILOGUE: I did make my rendezvous with the Famous chef. Who turned out to be a total jerk. Insisting on doing our interview in French, although he spoke perfect English and understood my cinematic masterpiece would be viewed by English speakers. Takes all kinds to make a World, dunnit?


What are ya thinkin’?

If you enjoyed this post, make sure you subscribe to my RSS feed!

23 Responses to “French Country Travel Life Camera Caper – Part Two”

  1. barbara billy says:

    love the opening photo! grea

  2. siri zenti says:

    good that your story had a happy ending….(except for the chef, of course.)

  3. han markus-whyte says:

    with ya there siri!….and about the chef…as DA BG said…
    “it takes all kinds to make a world.”

  4. sven olmquist says:

    i have had a similiar experience wih french customs!…you would think they would be more sympathetic to a fellow european!

  5. shannon becker says:

    i agree 700 euro is a “bit” excessive. glad to hear the universe was on your side in this one!

  6. alison watson says:

    wow!…talk about a close call!…..happily it all worked out!

  7. andy inster says:

    i hear ya alison……what a nightmare that would have been!…famous chef….no camera….

  8. bob malcolm says:

    true enough andy..but wouldn’t it have been cool, if DA BG knew in advance that the chef was a jerk?

  9. andy ister says:

    gotcha bob…..sure..then there would be a lot less pressure for sure….but eventually he would need “the unit.”

  10. ellie brenner says:

    one BIG dose of luck!….exactly when you need it!…amazing!

  11. dani ashford says:

    with ya there ellie……the gods were indeed smiling on DA BG that day!

  12. fabian gonzalez says:

    very crazy these french people…..

  13. ian wattlesworth says:

    another amazing adventure of DA BG! – and sin’t it the truth that when you rush and stress yourself out for something that you expect to be gold…it turns out to be lead? (like the famous “i’m a jerk” chef?

  14. helmut kilnedunst says:

    ian…you’ve hit the nail on the head with a 10 lb hammer!

  15. karen dennis says:

    what a nightmare!…glad to know youy got through it!

  16. marly starwater says:

    right on karen…and i’ll bet it wasn’t funny then……although it makes for a great story now!

  17. quentin forrester says:

    marly..not to be patronizing…but if you look at any form of story telling…the best ones are where the nightmare situation is somehow miraculously avoided.

  18. yaro zennon says:

    i would expect no less elegant a reply from anyone named “quentin.”
    well spoken sir!

  19. kalin endersly says:

    don’t know how you manage to get out of all these tricky situations
    and then make a great story out of it!

  20. barbara billy says:

    me niether kalin….i would have just cried….A LOT!!!

  21. dan roberton says:

    i want to thank you for two things: another incredible tale of:from DA BG…and introducing me to brassai…..incredible images!

  22. fenton denman says:

    ditto from me dan!…..i had never heard of the guy either….so i googled him……and..you’re right on…totally amazing images!

  23. grady martinson says:

    fenton/dan…..with you guys 100%..and images from a bygone era of Paris…not only artistic..but fantastic documention!!!

Leave a Reply

Loading Facebook Comments ...