I am loitering awkwardly at the base of the monument to revolution and democracy that adorns the Place de la République in Paris, wondering if I am in the wrong location, fretting over the 2% battery charge on my phone. But I needn’t worry: Eric Bouvron strides tow ards me, shakes my hand and kindly points me to a pedestrian crossing.

As we walk to La Favourite Turbigo, a nearby brasserie, Bouvron tells me about the masterclass he has been giving to aspirant actors over the past two days. My rolling suitcase splashes through puddles and clunks over cobblestones. My paltry French dissipates in the face of the maître d’hôtel, along with the final vestiges of the hopes I had cherished at Charles de Gaulle airport just a few hours before that I would blend casually into the Parisian scene...

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