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The Paris-London Tug of War

When the Eurostar entered France after 20 minutes in the “Chunnel,” an announcement proclaimed our new time zone and my cell phone beeped to tell me the network had switched back to France.

I went to London for the weekend to visit my daughter who is interning at an advertising firm there for one month (Trident Communications). Because of her bilingual, bi-cultural capabilities, she was chosen to go to Paris next weekend to write articles about the Paris Air Show for a publication the agency produces.

The 46th International Paris Air Show at Le Bourget opens Monday, June 13th and runs through Sunday, June 19th 9:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. — weekdays for the trade, weekend days for the general public. This show promises to: “…present the world’s newest aircraft, the stars of civil aviation, including the Airbus A380, on show and flying for the first time at an exhibition, the Boeing 777-240LR, the newest addition to the Boeing aircraft family, the Ukrainian and Russian aircraft, Embraer’s regional aircraft (including the 190) and Bombardier’s Global 5000, to name just a few.”

Métro, RER and buses will take you straight there and tickets can be purchased online. See for all practical information.

I’m sure my daughter won’t be the only one coming from England to attend the show! With the trip between Paris and London now only 2 1/5 hours center city to center city, there is a natural exchange. The two cities are tied together by the Eurostar and the image that comes to my mind is like a rope in a tug of war, Paris and London on opposing sides.

Both Paris and London are vying for the Olympic bid for 2012. Signs are up all over both cities to promote the effort. Today the Olympic committee is publishing its evaluation report on technical aspects of the five rival bids based on visits by the inspection team sent to London, Paris, Madrid, New York and Moscow this past February and March. The weekend press said Paris is expected to narrowly beat London and the French are already celebrating having converted the Champs-Elysées yesterday to a race track for a party and event promoting the city’s bid.

I find my own tug of war with London each time I visit. Dining in London has changed drastically for the better since my first visit in 1979. The cokes were warm with no ice, the “mushy peas” a day-glo green and ethnic food was limited to Chinese. Now, there is every sort of ethnic variety of cuisine and the quality of the cooking is outstanding.

There is great food to be had at very reasonable prices, but in “factory-like” restaurants with minimal decor, simple service, loud acoustics, attracting a young, trendy clientele. If you don’t want to be yelling to be heard above the din and prefer dining on cloth with cushioned chairs, expect to pay a whole lot more.

(Scroll down for my London restaurant finds worth going back to.)

London is outrageously expensive if you’re used to values in euros or dollars. What is marked in British sterling (pounds) is the same amount you’d expect to pay in Paris in euros. One ride on the London Underground costs 2 pounds ($3.64) compared with 1.40 euros ($1.72) on the Métro. Meals that I’d have paid 15 euros ($18.39) for in Paris, were 15 pounds($27.29). Clothing in the shops that you find in both Paris and London were equally more expensive.

Financial news over the weekend threatens a serious downturn in euro value now that the most important countries of

the EU have rejected its proposed constitution among other reasons. What a strange turn of events considering that just a few months ago we all feared an even weaker dollar against the euro — I won’t object to stretching our greenbacks a little further!

A la prochaine…

Adrian Leeds
Editor, Parler Paris
Email [email protected]

P.S. Don’t forget to mark June 14th on your calendar to come for coffee and conversation at Parler Paris Après Midi from 3 to 5 p.m. Visit /parlerparis/apresmidi.html for details.



* Japanese: Osatsuma, 56 Wardour Street, London W1D 4 JG, 020 7437 8338
* Indian: Masala Zone Soho, 9 Marshall Street, London W1F 7ER, 020 7287 9966 (plus Islington and Earls Court locations)
* Malaysian, Indonesian, Singapore: Melati, 30-31 Peter Street, London W1F OAR, 020 7437 2011
* American: Joe Allen, 13 Exeter Street, London WC2E 7DT, 020 7836 0651
* Italian: The Red Pepper, 8 Formosa Street, London W9 1EE, 020 7266 2708



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