Tuesday, 22 May 2012

Excuse me, I'm lost.

Somewhere in Paris near the Sorbonne, 10.35pm.

Sounds so glamorous, doesn't it?

Telling your business unit management, "Sorry, can't make your meeting. I'm going to Paris for a training course" has a certain ring to it. It conjures up the Eiffel Tower, the Seine and the Isle de la Cite. Just shut your eyes for a second and picture it. Beautiful, elegant women in chic clothes; handsome, charming men.


The reality is so different.

Paris, like other large cities, has its posh, glamorous bits (where the tourists go), and its hard working, commercial centres (where visitors only go if they have to for work). Just as I wouldn't expect a tourist to go to Dandenong or Slough, you won't find them anywhere near our Paris office. Unless they were lost.

The office is out by the Peripherique, miles from anywhere that you may have seen in the movies. It could be anywhere in the western world - you wouldn't know until someone spoke. I've spent most of today in a sub-basement meeting room. No window. No view.

Welcome to the real Paris. About as far from glamour as you can get.


PS: On the bright side, I have some great colleagues and I've enjoyed catching up with them. We're voting to have a project accounts meeting in Barcelona (no chance of that but one can dream).

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