Underground Parking

Underground Parking

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A recent comment by a leading American
lawyer in Paris that British laws firms had gained “a certain
ascendancy” in the French M&A market seemed confirmed by the switch
of senior partner Jacques Buhart, who has spent several decades at
Coudert Freres, the oldest US law firm in Paris, to British firm
Herbert Smith as partner in charge of the corporate and competition
department, ie dealing with EU competition commissioner Mario Monti in
Brussels. Smith is now a force in M&A in Paris and Europe and works
closely with  Gleiss Lutz in Germany and Stibbe in both Belgium
and the Netherlands. Buhart says the “ruling” Coudert Freres partners
in New York frowned on international expansion. He will be taken around
five M&A lawyers with him from Coudert on the Champs Elysees to
nearby Herbert Smith on Rue Quentin Buhart.

News from the South:  Nice says it expects two million visitors between July and October. So the Visitors Bureau (www.nicetourism.com)
is introducing  new services, called NiceCom.  It will be
possible to transmit information and images from a single location and
at the same time to plasma screens, cells phones and PDAs in various
tourist spots: airport terminals, hotels organisations, the Riviera
Tourist and Convention Board and visitor bureau’s six reception
offices–and later other tourist centers in France including Paris
Disneyland and Futuroscope. There are many other idea for extending the
service. Visit the site or contact Cote d’Azur Developpement:
cgentil@cad.fr

More
Riviera notes: California property tycoon David Stein who has taken a
liking to Europe in recent years(Blakes Hotel in Amsterdam, Grand Hotel
Miramar in Barcelona and  and the Grand Hotel Son Net in
Majorca) also has the Chateau Eza, Eze Village(
www.chateza.com)
The castle-like property clings to the walls of Eze. Each of the ten
rooms and suites can be reached via roofed stone passageways and most
rooms have great views. Chateau Eza. In addition: indoor glass dining
room and several outdoor terraces.

The
glamorous Meurice, the “palace” hotel on the Rue de Rivoli owned by the
Sultan of Brunei, is offering guests a tour of artists ateliers in the
6th with the possibility of lunch with the artists at nearby Laduree
Rive Gauche or the Mediterranee restaurants. Also in the package,
called “Just Between Us”, is a shopping trip that takes in 
Baumer, the jewellers on Place Vendome, the young couturier Alexandra
de Gastines,  Muriel Grateau for tableware and Eric Bergere,
another rising couturier. Lunch can be taken at Chez Georges just off
Place de la Victoire or Le Caveau du Palais, Place Dauphine. Cost:
including two nights (double basis) 1,365 euros or triple room with two
tours for 1,890 euros.

Paris
underground parking lots have launched a charm campaign–sweet music,
smiles and, down in the multi-level parking lot under the Champs
Elysees, a machine called the “Segway”, an electric scooter type
contraption that enables motorists to move around–looking for
their vehicle–at 20kph. The reason for all this sudden niceness is
that many concessions will be up for renewal and  big groups such
as Vinci Park, Epolis Parcs, Sceta Parc (French Railways) and the
Dutch Q Park, which dominate the sector, are anxious to win the
favor of the authorities handing out new licenses. Vinci has already
called on sculptor Daniel Buren and architect Ricardo Bofill to
humanize these underground caverns. Other services  being offered
here and there are car wash and mending of punctures. And some garages
will be scented. All these moves point to the parking lots becoming one
day underground commercial centers.

A
Paris landmark, the Village Voice book shop in Rue Princesse, 6e, has
closed–but just for August. It’s the first time the doors have not
been open for 20 years and the store will be badly missed, even for
this short break, by locals and visitors such as  writers Richard
Ford, A.S.Byatt, Susan Sontag and many others.

Official:
although the next America Cup yacht race is a long away off, namely
2007, Marseilles has put in a bid to the Swiss  holders. A
decision should be reached by the end of the year thus enabling
Marseilles, if successful, to go after government money and sponsors.

The
Economist claims Paris is the most expensive in the euro-zone, but does
not include houses and flat prices. Paris came joint 7th in the world
cost-of-living survey–more expensive now because of the strong euro.
Paris is usually in the top ten but had dropped when the euro fell.
Oslo is Europe’s most expensive city, ranked 3rd overall.  The
Economist admitted if housing were included, it would have a “big
effect” and London would probably be higher than Paris.

Mickey
Mouse may be hovering uneasily on the horizon East of Paris–Disneyland
attendance and turnover are down while the shares have practically gone
through the floor–but Disney executives claim they are not overly
worried and deny any plans to close the theme park which is
rescheduling its debts. Admittedly, the new film studios section has
not taken off–maybe it’s the 37 euros entry price–while the older
park has few new attractions. But, as one executive said:”The French
government, the Walt Disney Company and the Saudi Prince Al Waleed each
own a third and they are not going to throw in the towel. Anyway, we
are transforming the area surrounding Euro Disney into a version of
American suburbia'”. Disney has signed big property deals which will
see thousands of homes with gardens, clean offices and US style malls.
Building is well underway. Said the Disney man:” French visitors,
unlike the British, Italians or the Americans at home don’t spend on
gift items when they are inside the park. But offer them US style malls
and things could well change”.


Alan Tillier is the main contributor to DK’s
Eyewitness Travel Guide To Paris.

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