Report from Paris: “Obama Day” celebrated at the Hotel de Ville
Note: EuroCheapo editor Tom Meyers is traveling this week in Paris, where he’s visiting and reviewing hotels. He’s checking in with the blog during his travels.
January 21, 2009 — Greetings from Paris, where the mood is celebratory.
Here are the front pages of yesterday’s left-leaning Liberation and right-leaning Le Figaro (which published a 20 page special on the “Obama Attitude,” also pictured).
And these are just a selection of yesterday’s papers. I’ve been here now since Saturday morning, and Obama has been a top story in almost all the papers every day.
The magazines have caught “The Hope of Obama” as well:
As for how this Cheapo celebrated the inauguration in Paris, I was lucky enough to score a free ticket to a viewing party at the Hotel de Ville, Paris’ historic city hall. My friend Rachel received two tickets from Democrats Abroad and invited me to join her (and 1,000 others) to celebrate the event in a pretty swanky setting. The crowd seemed overwhelmingly American, although many French attended, as well.
After waiting in a long line, tickets in hand, we passed through security and then headed into the Hotel de Ville. We followed these signs:
“Tuesday, January 20, 2009, Viewing of the Inauguration Ceremony of the 44th President of the United States, His Excellence, Mr. Barack Obama. Salle des Fetes, Second Floor.”
The “Salle des Fetes” is a sumptuous and golden grand hall, two stories high, vaulted, and lit by sparkling chandeliers. Where there isn’t gold, there are paintings depicting virtues or arts, and classical figurines seem to hold the ceiling in place. The room holds hundreds, and with one side mirrored, the reflected crowd seems even more impressive.
Just before the ceremony in Washington, the Mayor of Paris, Bertrand Delanoe spoke:
To the right of the photo, you can also see United States Ambassador to France, Craig Roberts Stapleton, who addressed the crowd after the mayor. The audience, however, was restlessly awaiting the inauguration. Here’s the room right before the swearing in took place:
Obama’s ceremony was shown live on a giant screen, to much applause and some tears. Then, the crowd moved into other reception rooms for drinks, happy schmoozing, and to stare out at Notre Dame glowing across the Seine.
Can you tell that Rachel and I are happy?
Some danced, most drank, and many, like me, simply felt lucky to be there.