I've been lucky enough to go to quite a few Imagine Cup finals. Each host nation works really hard to give the contestants the best time ever, and this time it is the turn of France. I was looking forward to this. If there is one thing the French are good at, it is having a great time.
First off we boarded the bus to the opening ceremony, which was being held at City Hall. I had been told this place was pretty impressive. We shall see...
On the way there we drove straight towards the Eiffel tower, which was nice.
City Hall is impressive. Very impressive. The ceilings in the entrance staircase were good enough, but when you got into the main rooms things got serious.
The poshest ceiling I've ever seen. We got to mill around and take pictures (I took lots - there are more on Flickr). It was nice to meet up with old friends from previous finals.
Each team got to walk up the "stairs of fame" into the competition, to a round of applause from those in the hall. This is the UK team having their moment of glory. Then we had a few speeches.
This is the Deputy Mayor of Paris, the chap on the right is his interpreter. I'm quite proud of the fact that I understood some of the bits that he said in French.
Jean-Phillipe Coutois very cool He talked about computers from way back when, stuff that I actually remembered using. Young developers have it so easy these days....
Joe Wilson made the very good point that this is probably the largest gathering of international students there has ever been. With teams from 61 countries here, there has never been a gathering like this before. That in itself makes the Imagine Cup pretty special, before you even look at the entries.
Finally Eric Boustoulier rounded things off by reminding everyone that we actually are going to go out there and build something of the future.
Once the ceremony had completed, and the competition was underway it was time for some food and a look around Paris.
Our train back to the hotel.
Tomorrow the judging gets underway.