Blog: City of Light - in the rain
Simon Warburton | 30 September 2010
It's my first Mondial de l'Automobile or Paris Motor Show and after a relatively uneventful journey, I've just arrived in a very rainy City of Light City of Light and checked in.
No matter how many times I come to Paris - and I used to live here - you might as well land on Mars coming from the UK - and I'm sure the French say the same coming to London.
From the 60s-inspired Terminal 1 at CDG - that somehow seems to have survived - in all its brutalist concrete - to the smell of the underground, croissants, coffee and that utterly distinctive architecture of central Paris - France is just, well different.
And it's fair to say my Parisian billet isn't exactly the Georges V - as I write this I am looking straight out at flats opposite - quintessentially festooned with classic black railings - into which my new neighbours are going about their business in unfeasibly close proximity.
But what it is, is about eight minutes walk from the Show and knowing the place a bit I am relieved not to be battling through a French Metro rush hour - which is much like the rush hours I used to endure in London - but with a lot more shouting.
I've just had a quick peek around the Show - it's in the South of the city at Porte de Versailles - and it's as if a hundred of the world's largest rock shows have just arrived to set up.
Everywhere I look, there are vast amounts of huge speakers, lights and equipment being unloaded by hundreds of roadies speaking every language imaginable.
There are six - or is that eight? - vast halls here and I've got to be at Opel/Vauxahll at the crack of sparrows in a while for a breakfast briefing - but at least I've got the lie of the land now.
And I've just seen my first minute creature on a lead - what the French otherwise seem to refer to as 'dogs.' It must be Paris.
I'm starting to get a small idea of the scale of things here in China, but really, I'm only scratching the surface of this vast country....
Given the startling complexity of obtaining a journalist visa for China - the code 'J2' is now indelibly stamped on my mind - it was with some surprise how swiftly I managed to sail through airport im...