Posts Tagged ‘Paris’

Kleber International Conference Center, Bye Bye

January 7, 2008

The Kleber International Conference Center in Paris, which was still being used by the French Ministry for Foreign Affairs, has been sold to a Qatari Real Estate Company and will be revamped by Vinci, a leading French company, before it re-opens in 2011 in the form of a luxury hotel.

I worked there as an interpreter on several occasions. I don’t remember the context of all the conferences, but the building was very old, with antique plush fitted carpets everywhere, the acoustics was appalling, so was the air-conditioning, two mutually-exclusive components when it comes to interpreting. If you opened the windows, the noise coming from the Avenue Kleber, close to Place de l’Etoile and the Arch of Triumph, meant we couldn’t hear what the delegates were saying. Bad if you must translate them. If you kept the windows shut, everyone was near boiling-point by the next hour.

But I also have some surprisingly good memories of it. One in particular. There was a very hard meeting of the European Pharmacopeia of the Council of Europe, done in consecutive with another colleague. Simultaneous interpreting would have been hard enough, but those were the days when consecutive was still very much used.

Consecutive interpreting is based on 2 prerequirements: a very good memory, and your own note-taking system. Both are equally necessary, although memory is essential, you cannot just rely on your notes. In this case, remembering long complex names was quite an achievement, so it was necessary to write a lot. So why was it a good meeting? We were in the room with the delegates, which created a collaborative climate making it slightly less difficult, as a meeting.

Before I conclude though, I’d like to remind the younger readers that the Kleber Center had a history of its own. As the daily Le Figaro reports here, during World War II, it was the famous Hotel Majestic where the German military government had established its headquarters. After the war however, it served more peaceful ends: the Paris Peace Agreement was signed here in 1973, putting an end to hostilities between the USA and North Vietnam. But more recently it was used for negotiations on Kosovo, Ivory Coast, and a long list of international issues.

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Merry Christmas from Paris

December 23, 2007

A picture is worth a thousand words, they say.

For those who have the time or the courage to check this blog today, this picture from my collection. Again very amateurish, but it’s the real thing. I took the scintillating Eiffel Tower from a bateau-mouche.

Thank you for being around, and I hope you will have an enjoyable day.

tour-eiffel-depuis-bateau-mouche.jpg

Tomorrow is Another Day…

November 23, 2007

Up at 6.30am
In order to leave the house before 7am
In order to get to Paris on time (9am).
Traffic unpredictable.
They said on the car radio
That the strike was off,
But train passengers were still stranded,
My line hadn’t run for 9 days,
You don’t know what and whom to believe…
Parked my car under the Louvre,
A convenient car park, very central,
As you come out you see the Pyramid,
The Carrousel Arch of Triumph,
The Eiffel Tower in the distance
All peaceful and quiet
And only 10 mins’ walk from this conference
Arrived at 8am,
Had breakfast in a cafe,
[Worked]
Got back to my car around 7pm,
Glowing Pyramid,
Eiffel Tower scintillating in the dark
Had to pay a whopping fee (33 euros!!!) to retrieve the car,
Then a 2-hour drive home
(There must have been something at Parc des Princes,
Police everywhere.)
Finally got home around 9pm.

It’s been a long and tiring day.
But ‘tomorrow is another day…’