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I am very much looking forward to the forthcoming trip to Paris and Reims.
Since Paris is where I was born, raised, and spent many of my vacations, I know it well. I have shown it many times to friends and colleagues, but never before to such a large group of visitors. So I am both excited and a little apprehensive.
I very much want my hometown to make a good impression on you. I also want to take you to some of the sites I like and you may not have seen during your last visit there. Given the length of our stay and the size of Paris, this is a challenge! But I am willing to try!
Of course the Paris of my childhood has changed a great deal. And most of the changes have come in the past twenty-five years when Presidents Pompidou, Giscard d’Estaing and above all Mitterand did not just have the old buildings repaired and cleaned, but actually commissioned new ones. Parisians have not always welcomed these changes. During our visit as we are confronted with a blend of the old and the new, we will better understand the Parisians and often feel like them.
Let me say in closing that I hope the Paris weather cooperates and we enjoy days of soft winter sunlight on the old stones and the modern glass structures. A bientôt.
With best wishes,