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Cover the CE Industry, See the World

I think the headline is an offshoot of the old recruitment ad, “Join the Navy, See the World.”

The same is true for journalists who cover the consumer electronics industry, and even truer for executives who work for major manufacturers and retailers in this business.

I’ve been to Japan several times and attended the Consumer Electronics Association CEO Summit in Bermuda last June. San Francisco, Los Angeles, San Diego, major resorts in Arizona and Florida, Chicago, Dallas, Denver, Minneapolis, Indianapolis, Washington D.C., not to mention Las Vegas, have been some of the ports of call for me – and probably many reading this – covering the industry over the years.

But last week I visited Paris for the first time.

No not the Paris Hotel in Vegas where BrandSource usually holds its summer convention or even Paris, Ky. but Paris, France.

I never made it here when Thomson bought RCA and GE years ago, and my wife Marion and I thought about a trip years ago but it never got out of the planning stages.

Just saying the word “Paris” evokes romance, continental sophistication, fine food and fine art. When friends and family heard about this trip I got that “Ooh!” reaction about Paris I’ve never gotten when I mentioned in years past that I was going to Orlando or L.A. After the “Ooh!” some responded with the lousiest French-inflected English you’d ever want to hear.

This trip to Paris was due to the Lumix Global Seminar held Feb. 7 to 9 to introduce its new line of cameras. (See Panasonic Broadens Lumix Camera Lineup.) Lumix is Panasonic’s digital camera brand and the company decided to gather trade and consumer press from all over the world, its sales and product managers involved with Lumix from all over the world, to go to a three-hour seminar/press conference and then spend the next day and half testing some of the new Lumix models.

No offense to Secaucus, N.J. (Panasonic’s U.S. home) or Osaka, Japan (its world headquarters) but executives figured that Paris, even in February, is a little more photogenic than the both of them.

Paris was misty and overcast while we were there. But that just made the city more alluring and romantic as our group of American journalists took pictures at Versailles, the Louvre (no pictures of the Mona Lisa allowed), the Arc de Triomphe, the Basilique du Sacre’-Coeur de Montmartre (built on the highest point in the city), dinner at a restaurant on the Left Bank and pictures of and from the Eiffel Tower.

The food tasted better there, the wine more sublime and even if you can’t do a stick-figure drawing all the art and architecture around the city made one feel like he could be an artist someday. And to put to rest a time-honored tale, I did not meet any rude Parisians. Of course I was only there 48 hours but maybe it was because I attempted to speak French with just two phrases: “Parlez-vous anglais?” (Do you speak English?) and “Je ne parle pas francais” (I don’t speak French.) I heard that if you make an attempt to speak French in Paris you would get help and I did.

Getting back to Lumix the main camera I used was the DMC-FZ8. Check my story on the line to get all the camera’s features. The key features that helped me when I took pictures from buses, taxis and the Metro that we took around the city were its 12x optical zoom and Intelligent Image Stabilization. It made my shots look a little like a photojournalist’s work… maybe. And the sepia setting on this model and the other Lumix cameras made some of our pictures look like vintage shots.

A picture is worth a thousand words so I hope you enjoyed my photo essay, including one shot in the sepia setting of yours truly with a beret I bought in Paris. After two days I seemed to be the only person in Paris wearing one. When I got back to Brooklyn the next day I saw two guys with berets on. I knew Brooklyn has changed, but not that much.