"I was lying in bed with a fever, complètement abrutie," said a woman at dinner, "when I heard a bang-bang-bang! at the door. I ignored it and it went away. But then again a few minutes later, bang-bang-bang! I got up, put on my robe de chambre and my slippers, and answered the door. And I had a shock! There was a fireman with a gas mask and his eyes as big as saucers. 'Get out! Get out! There's a gas leak!' he said. 'Don't use your cell phone, don't plug or unplug anything, don't use the elevator, just get out of the building as fast as you can!' The odor of gas was overpowering. I could have suffocated in my sleep, if not for him. So I ran down the stairs in my bathrobe-- I didn't bring my purse or anything, I was really stupid-- and found myself in the street. There was a little huddle of neighbors, and the firemen made us all go to the end of the street. And there I stayed for three hours in the cold!"
"The firemen came to our building too," said another man. "They are des hommes courageux-- everything could have exploded at any minute. They evacuated the entire street. They didn't tell me why. Just 'get out!' Ça, c'est la France. On vous dit d'obéir, on vous dit quoi faire, on ne vous explique rien.*"
"All the buildings in Paris were built more than a hundred years ago," said someone else. "If it is not a fuite d'eau, it is a fuite de gaz**. Everything is falling apart, the whole city needs to be renovated."
* That's France for you. They tell you to obey, they tell you what to do, they don't explain anything to you.
** Water leak, gas leak