Since the twins don't go to Paris until high school, this book must be some random fantasy. They sign up for some weird program where they get to spend spring break in France with a local family. Steven whines a little because he thinks it's unfair that they get to do something cool and he gets stuck at home. The day before they leave, they get a letter in the mail that says the family had to leave to take care of their grandma but they found a replacement family.
Since no one else from any other school is doing the program, the twins fly across the world by themselves. Elizabeth starts going through the colors and translating them into French, but she forgets the word for black before falling asleep. Jessica makes friends with the flight attendant, who starts to tell her a story about a young girl who flew with her earlier before getting distracted by another passenger.
No worries though because she finds an article about in an in-flight magazine. It talks about how several young blonde girls went missing in Paris in recent months. She thinks about the older woman they're staying with and how she lives in the same neighborhood where the girls disappeared. She then hears Elizabeth talking in her sleep in French, and it turns out that she keeps saying she isn't dead yet.
Liz is actually dreaming that someone took her hostage and demanded she recite words in French. When she wakes up, she remembers that black is noir, and the woman watching them is Madame du Noir. They finally get off the plane and find a newspaper that talks about the missing girls. Since neither speaks French very well, they translate as best they can. They see a picture of the woman last seen with each girl and notice her black-and-white polka dotted scarf.
They then see Madame du Noir and realize she has the same exact scarf. Elizabeth mentions her dream, and it turns out that Jessica had a similar dream. They both saw the same woman in their dream too. They hear her speaking in French and think she says something about capturing them so they run away. She follows them, but they somehow get in a cab and take off.
This leads to a series of events that I don't think I would believe if I was in the fourth grade. They spend the day wandering through a shopping mall and meeting new people. Every time Madame du Noir shows up, they hide. She even manages to get the police involved and they still get away. At the end of the day, they decide to call her and apologize because they think they got things wrong. Instead, they hear her say something about cooking and putting something under glass, think she's talking about them, and run away again.
She finally calls their parents to tell them what happened, and they manage to hop on a flight to France the SAME night with Steven. They hook up with Madame du Noir, and it turns into some fucked up Three Stooges story. Seriously, it's like they almost find the twins, but the twins manage to get away again without every realizing their parents are in town.
Jessica cons some random baker into letting them work for him after his assistant quits. He lets them sleep in his back room when they tell him they had a problem with the person they were supposed to stay with without asking any questions. They do a horrible job helping him back stuff for a wedding, and when Madame du Noir shows up, they run off again.
This time, they go to the Louvre. Madame du Noir decides to look for them there because it's the last place anyone would look for young girls. Steven sees them, but he gets stopped by a security guard. He apologizes for running, and the guard hears "sari" instead of "sorry" and thinks he stole a sari from an exhibit. They hide under a historic bed, and when they close the museum, they basically just sleep in the bed.
While on the run from Madame du Noir the next day, they meet a sweet older woman named Madame Renault wearing a polka dotted scarf. See where this is going? She's so sweet that they agree to go to her apartment with her and have a snack. Steven sees them and leads everyone there, but when Noir knocks on the door, Renault claims she hasn't seen the twins.
The twins use the distraction to sneak outside and run away yet again. They go to the Eiffel Tower, and Renault follows because they mentioned wanting to see it. The cops show up, Renault claims she hasn't seen them, and she somehow sneaks out. Noir and Steven follow, conveniently run into the baker, and he drives them to the Tower.
Renault shows up and saves the twins from Noir. They rush up to the top, but Noir shows up at the last second. She smacks Renault in the arm just as the older woman reaches inside her purse for a big ass knife. The cops show up, and it turns out Renault is actually a man dressing as a woman to kidnap girls. I have no clue why. Ned and Alice shows up, and everyone kind of gets a kick out of the story.
Noir tells them a story about a time she ran away from her mother. She then gets a letter from the original host family, who asks the twins to come to Nice to see them. They get all excited, but Alice says they have to go home. She gives them a long list of chores they must do, and gives them one afternoon to experience Paris. Naturally, they decide to spend the day shopping.
*Seriously, the day before they leave? What would happen if the letter got lost in the mail? Shouldn't they pick up the phone and call?
*There isn't a single mention of them having a layover or anything. It's like they get on the plane and land in Paris. Plus, I'm pretty sure it's not cool for two sixth graders to fly to another country alone.
*If they're taking French in sixth grade, why are they both still pretty bad by junior year of high school?
*Wasn't it just a few books ago that Ned and Alice worried about them going to San Diego by themselves?
*Steven brings 43 different college shirts with him to sell to other kids because he heard those shirts were popular. After dragging them all over town, he finds out that the look was popular a few years ago, but everyone hates those shirts now.
*They go to the Louvre after mentioning that they have almost no money left, and I'm pretty sure that place is expensive. Plus, they walk right in to the museum. Yeah, everyone I know talks about waiting in line all day.
*Yeah, I'm sure that it's super easy to hide out at the Louvre over night and actually sleep in one of the major exhibits.
*How the hell would this company stay in business? They let elementary school students travel to a different country without any supervision and basically do nothing when the twins go missing.
*It must be nice to get a flight to Paris at the last minute, and it must be nice to have the money to buy three last minute tickets.
*Why does Steven have a passport? He mentions that he's never been out of the country before and never had plans to either.