Blog: Simon WarburtonTaxiing in Paris

Simon Warburton | 11 October 2011

In Paris for my first EquipAuto show - although it's not exactly strolling along the banks of the Seine - this is a vast warehouse of an exhibition hall right by Charles de Gaulle airport and over whose entrance countless jets thunder every 20 seconds or so.

Talking of which, our arrival into Paris yesterday (10 October) was enlivened by having to hold at an intersection right by a live runway and exactly at the point where Air France Boeing 777 after 777 rotated. Interesting if slightly unnerving.  

My colleague and I didn't exactly linger last night either when looking for somewhere local to eat - any area around an airport is the same - vast numbers of logistics firms and cheap hotels - this quarter reverberating to the pulse of wailing sirens - so we retired to our modest billet but which happened to serve some very decent nosh. Cold snails excluded mind - warm snails with garlic butter and herbs yes - cold, green fungi, er no.

Paris is currently being crippled by yet another of its interminable transport strikes - so we opted with two other residents - for a taxi to the show this morning - and wished we hadn't. I'm reasonably used to Parisian cab drivers but this one was as mad as it was possible to be - at one point the Asian lady in the front passenger seat squealed as a bus was flagrantly cut up with my protestations of "Monsieur" firmly swatted away. 

Anyway EquipAuto has seen off its first day - a significant sized show with myriad companies - the usual big players - Valeo, Delphi, Bosch etc, but also a massive number of tiny companies by comparison.

There are a mixture of press conferences and individual briefings - some in English, some French, with vast squadrons of staff sporting company colours, while the press centre has a mixture of machines in 'AZERTY' and 'QWERTY' formats - a nice touch - normally you just get the host country's tradition.

Several national component supplier bodies were represented today - even though it's overwhelmingly an aftermarket show - so it was useful to have an insight into association thinking in countries such as Turkey and Spain - both at opposite ends of the financial spectrum at the moment it would seem.

Day two tomorrow and then home - we're going to scrutinise our taxi driver extremely carefully before we even get in this time...


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