Paris might be short on in-home clothes dryers, affordable shopping, and public drinking fountains, but no one can say that the city wants for cars. On the contrary, despite an incredible public transportation network, The City of Lights is swarming with vehicles of all kinds. Traffic jams are everywhere and parking is at a premium, which is why it might be considered an exercise in overkill that the city plays host to a world motor show once every two years. The Mondial de l'Automobile, 2008 is currently underway and will run until October 19th. Manufacturers from around the globe have gathered under multiple roofs to woo would-be-buyers, industry insiders and gawkers alike with their latest innovations. Car lovers, unite!
A recent visit revealed that the theme of this year's show is quite obviously, "Green. " Nearly every manufacturer seemed eager to show-off their advancements towards eco-technologies and environmental stewardship. An abundance of white and green cars, as well as effects such as grass, water and simulated clouds tried hard to drive home the idea of cleanliness. Only the American companies seemed stuck in the past with their Hummers, Jeeps and Cadillac SUVs, although I do give Chevrolet some credit for displaying one of their cars in front of a
giant screen that showed a French-themed video and included images of the Arc de Triomphe. It was a nice local touch, even if it probably won't convince French drivers to give up their Peugeots, Citroëns and Renaults.
I like cars well enough...mostly because they get me from Point A to Point B. I don't usually keep up on the latest models or newest technologies to emerge from the motor vehicle industry, and I couldn't tell you what horsepower any of my previously owned vehicles possessed. But even my non car-buff self was impressed by the Paris auto show. From the very big to the very, very little, the affordable to the extravagant, the realistic to the futuristic, everything was simply fun to look at. Even more imressive was the amount of planning, design, and set-up time that must have gone into creating some of the bigger displays. And just in case eight exposition halls containing hundreds of vehicles is not enough to satisfy your love of the automobile, don't fret. The traffic jam you'll have to fight on your way out will give you plenty of time to admire the cars of Paris.