Despite differences of opinion in the not too distant past about their respective cities, it seems that Boris Johnson and Anne Hidalgo have decided to bury the hatchet (thankfully, not lterally!) and take a softer approach to their relationship. The London Mayer and the Mayor of Paris have agreed in principle to share a tandem when Hidalgo arrives in Britain next month, as they launched Paris-London Tandem 2015 in Paris yesterday.
The coming together of the two major European cities will be the first cultural festival of its kind, forming a pooling and exchange of over 50 artistic events, ranging from David Bowie to Sophocles. The event will run from March to July, with the aim of demonstrating the collective richness and diversity of each culture, to a wider audience. The 'Tandem' will provide a wide variety of artistic activities on both sides of the Channel, with music, the visual arts, theatre, literature and dance all being showcased. The focus is to be on emerging arts and young artists. Many familiar institutions will lend their resources to the event, including the Barbican Centre, le Theatre de la ville and the Tate Modern Museum.
As with all photo shoots that involve London's slightly windswept but perfectly affable supremo, the pictures of him alongside the more photogenic and stylish, Spanish-born brunette yesterday in France's capital may have resembled the latest version of the 'odd couple', but at least there seemed to be a certain element of warmth about the meeting for once. Ms Hidalgo was asked by the waiting reporters whether the launch would incorporate the two distinct characters on a tandem together, to which she hurriedly responded: "Maybe, yes, when I come to London next month." Boris demonstrated his flair for the French tongue by adding: "Magnifique".
Their differences over the importance of their respective cities has been all too evident in their former dialogue though, as last spring Mr Johnson intimated that he felt that London was the world's most popular tourist destination, as opposed to Paris. That drew short shrift from his counterpart across the Channel when asked for a response at the time, as she rather abruptly commented: "London is just a suburb of Paris."
The pair were far more diplomatic yesterday, when asked to explain their respective views on the relative importance of their cities and their significance to world affairs. In an obvious statement of entente cordiale, Ms Hidalgo preferred to stress that the cities have always been intertwined from a cultural point of view, as far as the rest of the world was concerned, as they view them from a distance. Hence, either city could be viewed as a suburb of the other to (say) Shanghai. #Celebrities