Postcard from... Paris


John Lichfield
Wednesday 31 December 2014 01:00

Four years ago, Bruno Julliard was pegged as a “world leader of tomorrow”. Now, at the age of 33 (a political infant in the gerontocracy which is France), Mr Julliard has made his first epoch-making decision.

As assistant mayor of Paris with special responsibility for culture, Mr Julliard has decided New Year’s Eve in the capital is boring. Why does Paris not have a fireworks display like London? Why do the crowds which gather on the Champs-Elysées every 31 December have nothing to look at but one another and empty champagne bottles?

Tonight, at 15 minutes to 2015, the Arc de Triomphe will turn into a giant movie screen. Thanks to Mr Julliard, the Paris town hall and the committee which runs the Champs Elysées, there will be music. There will be lights. There will be a video display celebrating Paris through the ages.

Tomorrow, there will be a parade on the avenue with marching bands and circus floats. And this, says Mr Julliard, is only the beginning.

Fireworks in the centre of such a densely-packed city as Paris have been ruled out as dangerous. Next year, however, the Champs-Elysées may be turned into a giant ballroom.

Clearly this is a young man who will go far.

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