I had booked a room in a small hotel on the Île Saint-Louis, small room, large price, but it is in the centre of Paris and even a person with no sense of direction should be able to find her way back there at the end of a day's adventuring, I'd thought. Wrongly as it turned out. I am capable of getting lost on the next island along, the one where Notre Dame was built to tower over the river. s I discovered on the afternoon of my arrival when I passed the same flower shop (Selling flowers to HM Queen Elizabeth as it does), no less than five times. Which was quite tiring and annoying.
Anyway that is not the caution of this cautionary tale.
So I had this small room that at first I did not like because I thought it too small and claustrophobic because it was entered by a door from the small reception area and I wrongly thought that the one window opened onto said-reception area and so could not be opened, and that being next to said-reception area would be noisy and have I mentioned my chronic insomnia and aversion to night-time noises?
And for £256'ish a night, well...
Turned out the little window opened onto this tiny interior courtyard which had fresh air and a means of escape in the event of fire, have I ever told you that my father was a govt health and safety inspector and so self-preservation was taught to me at an early age?
So my small and expensive room was starting to grow on me.
And it grew on me even more on Sunday morning when this breakfast was delivered to me in bed.
But I digress, as ever.
On Sunday morning I set off for Le Marais, the district of the city that was once a mosquito-infested swamp and then the Jewish quarter and latterly an area where the well-heeled like to live. I was going to La Place des Voges because that's where the Victor Hugo house is situated and I thought it would be nice to return for a third visit.
I found it without getting lost. Either my lost sense of direction had been found or I was becoming accustomed to getting around Paris on foot. It helped that I knew which side of the river to head for. The right bank, by the way.
So I visited Victor Hugo's Paris apartment and an exhibition of art made by the patients of asylums for the insane (their description) which was both fascinating and disturbing, and I ate French onion soup and fish and chips for lunch in a place in the Place...
And I even saw a chap, an artist who, thirteen years ago during my last trip there sold me four prints, gave me his business card and suggested we share 'a moment' next time I was in Paris, but cautioned me to ring the phone number he wrote on one of the prints lest his wife answer the other phone.
Yes, really, that happened to me in Paris! Propositioned by a painter.
I did not want to run into him again, not now I am a 'senior' and showing my age but I saw him, he was flirting with a woman from a gallery near to where he'd set up his stall under the covered pathway. Readers, he has also aged considerably, possibly less well than me.
I still didn't stop to speak to him.
Anyway, after all that I was going to visit that famous Parisian bookstore Shakespeare and Company so I trotted back to the Seine, flooded by winter rains...
And it was just after taking this picture that I was approached by a charming young woman with a clipboard and a pen.
Would I sign a petition for deaf babies?
She didn't like that. She made excuses. Just one euro, she begged, for the deaf babies.
No id, no donation, I told her.
She was furious, snatched her clipboard and pen from me and stalked off.
Or so I thought...
I had just taken this picture outside the bookstore when I noticed a couple of women standing close behind me. And then another two on either side of me. I began to feel uneasy. Then another woman started to approach me from the front, smiling and looking for all the world like a nice lady.
Just like the one with the clipboard and pen.
I moved to one side and walked away from the store.
When I turned to look back they were following me.
You know when the hairs on the back of your neck stand up and your stomach flips?
That 'fight or flight instinct'?
The smiling woman was again in front of me and the other four were crowding me. It was obvious she was going to distract me and they were going to snatch my camera and bag. The bag containing my passport, driving licence, credit cards, keys, cash...
I kicked the woman in front of me on the shin and at the same time I shouted, 'GO AWAY! LEAVE ME ALONE! THIEVES!'
And they fled. Vanished. Into thin air. Just like that.
As did I. Into the bookstore, where I sat on a stool in a corner until I'd stopped shaking.
I was so close to being mugged, possibly also stabbed because you can bet your bottom dollar if one of them had tried to take my bag I'd have fought back.
It was terrifying.
At the time. Later, when I was safely back in the hotel and waiting for a taxi to the station - I was not going to risk running into them again on the metro - it occurred to me that they'd done me a huge favour.
You see they had threatened me, they had almost mugged me, they could even have killed me.
But they didn't because I realised what was happening and I stopped them.
And that was a huge thing for me because for the first time in my life I felt like a survivor.