As our time in Fontainebleau draws to a close, Gahl decided to take the (French) law into his own hands. It happened at the train station parking garage, where we often leave our car if we go to Paris for a day or two. One day recently, the barrier was missing at the entrance, so we drove through without taking a ticket. "Never mind," I said, "We'll just get a ticket when we leave." (I had just discovered the technique of taking a new ticket before leaving, and so paying only the minimum fee of 1.50 euros.) However, we arrived back in Fontainebleau after the ticket station had closed, and our attempts to get a new ticket at the entrance failed. (Maybe the new-ticket-before-leaving technique only worked the one time.) The emergency number for the main parking office just rang and rang. We were stuck. "I'm going to break the barrier," Gahl said. Face set in determination, he got out of the car, walked over to the barrier, examined it, then yanked it off and laid it by the side of the road. He came back to the car. "It's only held on with plastic bolts. It looks like they expect people to break it a lot." And we drove away.
When I think of the money we could have saved if we'd just broken the barrier every time, I grind my teeth.