Last week I was apologising to visitors to Northern Ireland for the weather, but this time I have been on the receiving end. Yes, we chose the wettest four days in Paris's August history for a brief trip.
It wasn't the Paris of one's dreams, lolling in sunlit parks or seeking relief from the heat on the Seine, but if you're going to get rained on every day - including 30 hours non-stop - there's no better place to be. The metro gets you everywhere dry and the museums are made for days like this.
They even have a way of jumping the queues, which can be up to an hour long at the best attractions, like the Musee d'Orsay. You go directly to the advance booking desk and pay for a €15 guided tour that qualifies you for instant admission - and, later, a two-hour tutorial on impressionism, if you're up to it.
The French are gadget mad, so I wasn't surprised to see their solution to the problem of guides trying to make themselves heard and distracting everyone else. Each member of the party gets a receiver and earphone, so the guide can speak naturally.
(The special exhibition, till next month, are works bought from artists like Monet, Manet, Renoir and Picasso by a Paris dealer when no one else wanted them. Brand new, unknown Van Goghs, Cezannes, etc, from donors from all over the world, including Tyrone's Mellon family.)
Public transport is a French speciality, and it's because they couldn't cope in Paris with our devotion to cars, they have devised the 'velib' system, combining 'bicycle' and 'freedom'. There are cycle stands all over the city, where you insert your credit card details and ride off on one of the clumpy grey bicycles - which no one but a madman, with the €150 deposit to lose, would steal.
The first half hour is free and the daily rate just €1 so, on a busy morning, people are setting their watches and calculating where they'll pick up their next ride. Our night porter showed us his €29 annual pass, which lets him use the bikes, metro or buses, paid for automatically and retrospectively.
To finance the cycle plan the all-powerful, enterprising (and gay) mayor got an outdoor advertiser to pay for everything, including cycle maintenance, in return for exclusive rights to the city's billboards. Could we do something similar? I wonder, with our record for vandalism and bad road manners, but we should be doing more than marking lines on roads that both cyclists and motorists ignore.
In Paris, there are regulations for everything that you ignore at your peril. A woman proudly showed off her little Maltese terrier, tucked neatly into the purse she needed to carry a dog of her weight on the bus. On the metro, a blind dog found his way along the graffiti-free corridors to the right platform.
Beware, as an air traveller, of confusion when you reach the rapid transport station into Paris after a new, driverless shuttle ride from the airport. The trains and the metro are different, and if you pay for a return you rule yourself out of the shuttle service that the hotels offer. It's dearer, but if you're making for an evening flight you miss the not-an-inch scrums in the train stations.
(Rugby fans please note: the Stade de France is on the route to the airport and the Paris suburbs, so keep hoping the authorities have arranged extra trains next month.)
Watching the TGVs slide in and out of the main stations, you long for a similarly fast transport system here. Tourists in Paris can join a tour at 8 and travel to Avignon and rural Provence, returning to their hotel that night - like Belfast visitors taking a day to see Killarney and the Ring of Kerry.
For some reason, taxi drivers have a reputation for maximising their profits, but we found an exception, originally from Congo. He was taking us to Notre Dame, but as we headed away from the river and past the Opera, the penny dropped; he'd heard Montmartre, maybe because he was celebrating his birthday.
By the time we doubled back, the meter read €14, and both of us knew a lot more about life in Paris and Belfast, but he insisted on a €7.50 fare, the proper one. In restaurants, the euro has worked its usual magic; €25 will get you two courses, twice what you paid in francs. (Shops still give you the franc price.)
Couldn't get into Notre Dame because of the crowds, so instead got a history lesson in St Roch, one of Paris's oldest churches. A display about the famed fort builder, Vauban, timed for the 300th anniversary of his death, shows how he opposed Louis XIV when he revoked the treaty, in 1685, that allowed Protestants to practice their religion.
Vauban complained about the brain drain of Hugenots that resulted, but in the map showing where they emigrated to, there is no mention of Ireland, and the linen industry they founded here. Still, you have a better idea of why Louis, the backer of James II in 1690, was such an enemy of the English Protestants, the Dutch and, of course, King Billy.
Most tourists seemed to be Americans, loving the culture and apologising for Iraq. We even found one from New York State, who may be reading this, who had never heard of Ian Paisley or Gerry Adams. "Congratulations" was all I could say.