Paris plots its revenge for Olympics defeat


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The Independent Online

With three months to go until the world comes to party in London, already the neighbours are trying to muscle in on the act.

When Jacques Rogge, the Belgian head of the International Olympic Committee, opened up his envelope on the stage in Singapore in 2005 and read out the word "London", it was a victory made all the sweeter through Paris having been the favourite to win.

But the Parisian tourist board is plotting a minor revenge of sorts.

"Paris would like to offer itself as an alternative venue for a great day(s) out when fans are looking for things to do," reads a press release from the Paris Ile-de-France tourist board, which covers the city and the wider metropolitan area.

The board is launching a competition through its Facebook page. Every time Team GB wins a gold medal, somebody will win a two-day trip to Paris for two people, to be taken after the games have ended. "Compete in London, Celebrate in Paris", reads the promotional material.

"France, and Paris in particular, acknowledge that London will hold a fantastic Olympic Games in Summer 2012 and wish their fellow capital city the best of luck," the board graciously admits.

"However, Paris is open for business and with many millions of visitors expected in London this summer for the Olympic and Paralympic Games, there are fabulous culinary and cultural delights in the French capital."

At least for the moment, Paris hotels have not exacted the same price hike as their London counterparts, and with the St Pancras Eurostar terminal just seven minutes by train from the Olympic site, it might not be a terrible idea.