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While her mother is away with her latest lover, 11-year-old Zazie comes to Paris to spend 3 days with her Uncle Gabriel. The child's scandalous language and disrespectful attitude toward her elders quickly convinces Gabriel that this will not be a routine visit. When Zazie learns that she will not be able to ride the Metro because of a labor strike, she blames all adults for the situation and decides to make the best of her vacation. After a wild excursion in a taxi, she romps through the flea market and gets her uncle to take her to the Eiffel Tower. They become entangled in a group of tourists, and Zazie races down the tower steps while her uncle grabs a balloon and parachutes to the street. Together again, they get embroiled in a traffic jam and a mad chase through the streets of the city. That night her uncle takes Zazie to the nightclub where he works. Once more a brawl breaks out, and Zazie escapes with her uncle's wife, Albertine. When the Metro strike is over, Zazie's wish to ride the train is at last fulfilled, but, exhausted from the day's events, she sleeps all the way home. Returned to her mother, who asks her what she did in Paris, Zazie replies that she has grown older.