Traveling back yesterday from Beaune to Paris before last night’s shooting on Champs-Élysées, Jerome, the owner of the car service we have used for years (Bourgogne-avec-chauffeur.com) told us how, in his view, French tourism is picking up after being in a slump since Je Suis Charlie. He was confident that powers to be and security would not fail France. His wine/tourism business has been hit hard, but his bookings this spring are (were) looking promising.
As for the upcoming election, Jerome, like many French we encounter, is unsure of the outcome this Sunday. Few seem totally happy with the choices and often compare this election to that of American voters’ distressing 2016 presidential options. Americans had only two choices; the French are facing 11 (4 serious) contenders, not one of whom appears to be a shoe-in.
As the 11 French candidates were preparing for their final televised presentation Thursday evening, shots rang on Champs-Élysées, killing one policeman before the shooter himself was killed. Champs-Élysées was quickly shut down to all pedestrian and auto traffic. A huge disruption to the city. The shooting will result in voters moving to the right.
As the day progressives, we will learn more. Tourism in France begins and ends in Paris. Our observation is that business is still down substantially, but, before last night’s shoot-out, it was trending up. The general perception among Americans, at least coming from the media, is how lazy French workers are, that they care only for days off and handouts. That’s precisely opposite to what Dick and I observe. The French we meet are cheerful, industrious, and take immense pride in what they do. They are knowledgeable about their politics, as well as ours, and worry about their future, their taxes, and their long-term viability.