Once Upon a Place: The Elusive Parisian Campsite Bargain

All this talk about Greece and the Central European Bank has reminded me of the time that my family went to Europe. I’m thinking about France in particular (as that’s where I had my first true run in with the complexities of global economics). And so, I offer the first in a long line of classic Richter family mishaps which I’m going to call (drum roll, please), Once Upon a Place…

Paris, circa 1999: my brother and I stumbled upon what we thought was the greatest deal of the century: Ben and Jerry’s ice cream for the equivalent of about $1.50 USD.

If you know anything about Ben and Jerry’s ice cream, you know that a buck fifty is an absolute steal. Being the frozen dessert connoisseurs that we were, we quickly purchased a pint each.


We were staying in a campground with our parents, about to head south to Nice after the requisite trips to the Louvre, Notre Dame and the Eiffel Tower. We’d been away from America for almost 10 whole days at that point and my mother, efficient travel guide that she has always been, had printed us little pocket-sized laminated conversion charts for the various currencies would encounter during our trip: British pounds, French francs, Italian lira and Greek… (hold on, I have to look it up…) Greek drachmas.

This, you see, was back in the Dark Ages. Before the Euro.

Can you blame us for doing the conversion backwards?

(And inadvertently spending not $1.50 but $15.00 on a single pint of ice cream?)


Moral of the Story: Don’t go shopping for bargains in Parisian camp sites. They don’t exist.

3 Responses to “Once Upon a Place: The Elusive Parisian Campsite Bargain”

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