It's weird about Paris. You get the sense that it's a lot like San Francisco: picturesque, unassuming, discreet by night. But beneath the surface, it's really more like New York: roaming, sleepless. You just don't realize the latter until you're swept up in it, holding on for dear life, then you look around and realize you haven't dreamt for days.
On Monday afternoon at Marketing 2.0, all 250+ speakers, moderators and attendees were invited to dinner at Bistrot Renaissance. Given the girth of our group, we thought the venue would be sizable -- so it was with surprise when I showed up to find it was no bigger than a cafe.
People sat in groups of four or six, wherever they could be squeezed together. (For visitors that popped in just for a drink or something, it must've seemed like every social media zealot in Europe had alighted upon the Renaissance with a vengeance.)
But claustrophobic spacing breeds intimacy among the far-flung. I was squeezed into a table with a girl from a British agency, Senior Editor Elsbeth Eilander of Tijdschrift voor Marketing, Marketing Exec Cedric Giorgi of Goojet and Sven Markschlager of JagerMeister -- who I knew already, because we'd become Designated Conference Walking Buddies. (Seriously? He talks about Jager ALL. THE. TIME. Did you know that in Germany, older people drink it to settle their stomachs? Or that it's preferred as a mixer in Australia? No? Now you do.)
All told, a pretty low-key night. We did the business-card-exchange thing, and I went home fairly early (around 11), which is great because on Tuesday, all flippin' hell broke loose.
David Armano -- you know the one -- was in town with his wife. We shook hands for the first time on Tuesday afternoon and he casually asked if I'd like to go to dinner. I was like, "Sure," mainly because I had no idea what havoc said dinner would wreak.
I met M. and Mme. Armano at the Holiday Inn around 8:30 or so. We were joined by Branislav Peric (@branislavPeric) of Duke, who right when I sat down said something to the effect of, "We are going to a very good restaurant."
"Thank you for that useful information," I said. I think it was at this point that we both decided to spend the rest of the night trying to destroy each other's souls.
It was Branislav who led us by foot to Cafe Moderne, where three others -- Fred Cavazza (@FredCavazza) of MySpace/Facebook moderation infamy, Sandrine Plasseraud (@metoo) of We Are Social, and Frédéric-Gérard Leveque (@digitalizer, better known as "The French Minister of Advertising") -- were waiting with an endless supply of alcohol. The drinks were good, the food exceptional, but the company...? Priceless.
I'm not really doing this topic much justice. It's not like you'll really enjoy hearing me reminisce about how much fun it is to talk social networking conspiracy theory with Fred, or to smirk about being "social smokers" with Sandrine. I'll synopsize by saying we were at this awesome restaurant until 3:30 AM, at which point our long-suffering waiter practically begged us to call it a night on pain of death. He then booted us out on our happy asses, but not before @armano and @digitalizer got all existential and whatnot.
We also got to see the Armanos kiss, followed by a brief but technical lesson on, well, French kisses.
(My favourite line from that video: "Put ze tongue." Heh heh heh.)
There was also this weird moment where @armano and @digitalizer compared their chest hair, but I don't really remember why it happened.
After that we hunted around for cabs and went to a bar in Republique, where David forced us to recount our top three favourite movies and I drank entirely too much vodka. We all collapsed into our beds around fivish, promised to do this again (which of course we didn't, because it would KILL US ALL), and now we're best friends forever until we die!!! on Twitter.
All right, that's enough wordsmithing. You got your Drunken Romp Videos, here are the photos to match: Marketing 2.0 Day 1 and Marketing 2.0 Day 2. Oh, and don't tell David I shared that hairy chest thing. He'll probably be pissed about it.