The final day of work in Paris was filled with interviews. Adam Gershowitz, who is in charge of the Combat and Careers team, and I were paired up to do about 11-12 interviews over the course of the whole day. Each one lasted anywhere from 20-45 minutes. During that time we met with individuals of the press who we had given presentations to the day before, and were able to answer any direct questions that they had in order to help fill out their coverage.
The day was certainly interesting and there were different approaches from each news outlet. We did videos for online TV shows (Buffed TV in Germany has a weekly video show ala On the Spot), took turns answering general questions, and gave additional insight into our areas of specialty. This part of press coverage is my favorite of all, being able to speak about the game with individuals, and was a welcome change from the presentations the day before.
I should point out though, as a former member of the press, and now on the other side, that questions regarding numbers, dates, and other specifics like that will typically net a canned response (or more often or not, a deflection to the marketing department). If you want to get interesting and unique answers, it's best to ask questions that involve examples or anecdotes. One of the best questions I got all day was "What is the weirdest tome unlock?"
After it was all over, we went out for a fantastic dinner at a restaurant called Georges in the Centre Pompidou, which is basically a human-sized hamster cage. The food was some of the best we had all trip. Of course all of my expert French translations were of little use, when the dishes were called things like "The Crying Tiger" (it was delicious). Because of the mass amount of crepes and fingerfood we had consumed in the past few days, pretty much everyone ordered steak and chocolate cake. Yum.
Friday was the first day that we were off the clock. Most everybody was heading home, but both Adam and I decided to stay on for the weekend. Since we hadn't had much time to explore the city, and since The Louvre is randomly closed on Tuesdays (which was our only free day earlier this week), we decided to head over to the Louvre for the day.
We, literally, spent the entire day in the Louvre.
We saw works from all four of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and a number of fabulous iconic Greek sculptures, including, of course the Venus de Milo and The Winged Victory of Samothrace. The Mona Lisa certainly was an attraction, though I found the crowd around it more impressive than the painting. It is quite a bit smaller than you'd expect, and it was behind glass and roped off. Though I wouldn't put down the Mona Lisa strictly because of its popularity, it is kind of disappointing that there are signs throughout the entire Louvre pointing you to it, and then there's really no ability for you to get a connection with it in any way.
I spent the entire time snapping pictures, and was fixating on getting tourist-free shots. I also took quite a few shots from outside the Louvre windows. The museum is several stories high, and in the shape of a U. From nearly every window, you can get a beautiful shot of the inside of the Louvre, the outside of the Louvre, or the city of Paris.
I also caught this great picture of a room that had been closed off for rennovation, and it looked like one of the statues was looking to get out.
After a few hours in the museum, we started to get tired, but it was pouring rain outside at that point (we could see it through I.M. Pei's awesome glass pyramids) and there were a couple Vermeers I wanted to see (talk about small paintings). Amidst the galleries dedicated to the Flemish, Dutch, and German painters, there was an exhibit of contemporary art. Call me a fuddy duddy, but I thought it was a little bit tacky to have a sequined urinal in front of Vermeer's "The Astronomer".
When we finally decided to head out, we had to move from the Hotel du Louvre to a more affordable location. Which, incidentally, was very close to the Eiffel Tower. The Hotel Derby Eiffel had tiny rooms, but it was very tourist-friendly, convenient, and affordable, so completely recommendable to anyone who wants to visit Paris.
After a quick nap and checking of email, we headed back downtown to meet up with former GameSpot editor Avery Score (and his girlfriend Gwenola) at his hip apartment on the Seine. After some partaking of French delicacies: wine, hookah, and foie gras (it wasn't that bad), Avery took us to a party where we hung out with a bunch of international 20-somethings, who all spoke at least three more languages than either Adam or I do. They were very friendly and accepting of us, and we had a great time, though we ended up being out until nearly 4AM.
On Saturday, we hooked back up with Avery for some shopping. We bought quite a lot of of cheese and chocolate for gifts. Avery also took us to some local french comic and video game shops, and we got to see the Warhammer preorder box up on the shelves. I have to admit that sometimes while making a game, it is hard to fathom that people will be out there one day, playing it. However, seeing it in the stores with boxes for preorder and price tags on it really felt quite exciting.
After all the shopping, we met up with a high school friend of mine, Francois, and went out for food and drinks with him. Adam headed back to the hotel for an early night since he was flying back early in the morning, and I stayed up quite late (again!) hanging out and catching up.
In the vein of the European dedication to drinking, I began Sunday by meeting up with Avery, Gwen, and Francois for a (free!) wine tasting festival. I had only been to one other wine tasting in San Francisco, and I have to say it was virtually identical, except there were probably ten times as many vendors.
At the wine vendors, they used my being American as an excuse to get more tasting, and so naturally, every time I found a bottle I really liked, I ended up buying it. A few hours later, I realized I had five bottles of wine, and absolutely couldn't carry all of it back, so we decided to head back to Francois' house. On the way out of the venue, there was a breathalizer test. I blew a whopping 0.15 and the guy informed me that I was perfectly capable of driving. If there's not some kind of crazy metric conversion to the breathalizer, then they allow people in Europe to drive when they have three times as much alcohol as the legal limit in the US.
We returned to Francois' house to meet up with his 8 months, 3 weeks, and a couple days pregnant girlfriend Barbara, who was kind enough not to have their baby before we got to see them. We spent the rest of the evening hanging out, eating tons and tons of different kinds of foie gras (again, not that bad... but I'm done for awhile) and finishing off all the wine I bought.
Paris was incredible. I'm now, a week later, only just getting over my jetlag and my late Paris nights (and all the cheese and wine). As a perk of the job, you can't get much better than a trip to Paris, and I love the opportunity to speak with the European press as well as the US press. If I could recommend a visit there to anybody, (even for a couple days) I certainly would.