Paris mayor: Beckham good for the economy

The mayor of Paris Bertrand Delanoë welcomed David Beckham's arrival in Paris on Friday, a day after the superstar footballer signed a five month deal to join Paris Saint-Germain. Delanoë said Beckham would give the economy a boost.

Paris mayor: Beckham good for the economy
Paris Mayor Bertrand Delanoë (left) and Beckham (right) Photos: The Local / friskytuna/flickr

Bertrand Delanoë, the Socialist mayor of Paris appears to be another who thinks new Paris Saint-Germain signing David Beckham will have a greater impact off the pitch than on it.

Speaking to Europe1 radio on Friday the mayor evoked the positive impact the 37-year-old will have, not for his ability to sell shirts and boost the PSG brand, but for the lift he will give the Paris economy.

It is not sure whether Beckham can stem the rising unemployment or relieve the deepening housing crisis in the capital, nevertheless the mayor heralded his arrival in the City of Light.

"It's great news because Beckham is a huge personality in sport who has an international appeal," Delanoë said. "Just as Beckham himself said, Paris is a marvelous city. It is already the most visited tourist destination in the world. He will be very good for the Parisian economy and for the dynamics of the city."

If Beckham's impact on the Paris economy is questionable his effect on PSG's coffers is not in doubt.

"The Beckham brand is much stronger than the PSG brand," Lionel Maltese, a professor in sports marketing at the Kedge Business School told AFP.

"Beckham has fans all over the world but you don't see PSG shirts in every shop in the world. That will change a bit. Beckham will get people talking and that will be good for the club."

The mayor was not the only Frenchman happy to see Beckham crossing La Manche to play in France.

"It is a very nice feeling we have in France at the moment because so many French players are leaving the country to play elsewhere," David Ginola, a former PSG player who later went on to become an icon in England, told BBC Radio 5 live.

"It is good to see David Beckham come to play in France."

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Revealed: The fastest way to get across Paris

Car, moped, public transport, or electric bicycle - which means of transport is the quickest way to get across Paris?

Revealed: The fastest way to get across Paris

One intrepid reporter for French daily Le Parisien decided to find out. 

The challenge was simple. Which mode of transport would get the journalist from the heart of Fontenay-sous-Bois in the eastern suburbs to the newspaper’s office on Boulevard de Grenelle, west Paris, fastest?

Over four separate journeys, each one in the middle of rush hour, the electric bicycle was quickest and easiest. More expensive than conventional bikes, electric bikes do come with a government subsidy.

The journey was described as ‘pleasant and touristy’ on a dry but chilly morning going via dedicated cycle lanes that meant the dogged journalist avoided having to weave in and out of traffic.

It took, in total, 47 minutes from start to finish at an average speed of 19km/h, on a trip described as “comfortable” but with a caveat for bad weather. The cost was a few centimes for charging up the bike.

In comparison, a car journey between the same points took 1 hour 27 minutes – a journey not helped by a broken-down vehicle. Even accounting for that, according to the reporter’s traffic app, the journey should – going via part of the capital’s southern ringroad – have taken about 1 hr 12.

Average speed in the car was 15km/h, and it cost about €2.85 in diesel – plus parking.

A “chaotic and stressful” moped trip took 1 hour 3 minutes, and cost €1.30 in unleaded petrol.

Public transport – the RER and Metro combined via RER A to Charles-de-Gaulle-Étoile then Metro line 6 to the station Bir-Hakeim – took 50 minutes door to door, including a 10-minute walk and cost €2.80. The journey was described as “tiring”.

READ ALSO 6 ways to get around Paris without the Metro