June 15, 2008

Bonjour, Paris

Eiffel & moiAs I mentioned in one of my previous entries, there's something very special about this summer. I am doing an internship at Zoomorama in Paris. Looking back, it probably all came together trough my work on ZUIs and this blog.

Last November someone left a comment on my blog (the first non-robotic one). This someone was Franklin Servan-Schreiber, the founder of Zoomorama, a company exploring ZUIs for the web, and hence my boss in the meantime. Sometime in spring Franklin was doing business in Basel and asked me if he could come to Zürich in order to meet me. I agreed and we had lunch on a beautiful day in Zürich. When he was about to leave, I asked him out of curiosity if I could do my internship at Zoomorama and he said: «Sure, join us in Paris.»


Last Tuesday I fulfilled one of my dreams when I entered the TGV to Paris. Imagine yourself travelling with more than 300km/h through the French countryside. This video will hopefully give you a little taste:

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Paris L'Est

I arrived at Paris L'Est where Franklin picked me up. We took the métro to the apartment I will stay at during the summer. Climbing the stairs of Paris' underground was somewhat exhausting but not a surprise considering that I couldn't let my favorite literature getting dusty at home. Besides some clothes, my toothbrush and lots of chocolate for the team, I brought the following books with me, la crème de la crème of my bookshelf so to speak:

  • Design Patterns by the Gang of Four
  • Refactoring by Martin Fowler
  • About Face by Alan Cooper
  • Head First Design Patterns by Elisabeth & Freeman, Bert Bates, and Kathy Sierra
  • Patterns of Enterprise Application Architecture by Martin Fowler
  • Making Things Move! by Keith Peters
  • Essential ActionScript 3.0 by Colin Moock
  • The Mythical Man-Month: Essays on Software Engineering by Frederick P. Brooks
  • </ul> …and possibly a life-saver: a French-German dictionary.

    Rue Bagnolet

    Franklin presented me some options where I could stay during the summer. The most beautiful and closest to the office was an apartment at the student residence Les Estudines Clos Saint Germain. Basically, I have a spacious room with a desk, a dining table, a comfortable bed, a little kitchen and a bathroom at the entry. The apartment is located in a very charming part of Paris — XXe arrondissement — the 20th arrondissement. There's a lot of life in the streets, to the office it's a five minute walk — I love to sleep in — and there are two métro stations nearby, Maraîchers and Alexandre Dumas. Lucky me, the lady responsible for the residence was from Poland, so I was able to discuss all the paperwork for the apartment in Polish. The electricity was supposed to be turned on two days before my arrival. Unfortunately, it turned out that the electricians never showed up. Therefore, for the next two nights I was stuck with no light and no hot water. Franklin acted fast, called the company responsible for the mess and later, the two of us got myself a flashlight, an LED light for the bathroom and some candles. It's too hard describe the feeling of taking a cold shower in LED light… however, let me tell you, it turned out to be a geek's secret fantasy… Rue de Bagnolet


    Since I needed some hardware to work, Franklin & I went to the city to get myself a brand-new MacBook. I picked up an Apple notebook since it's what I worked with most recently but more importantly so we can test our work not only on Windows but also on Mac OS. MacBook


    Franklin warned me a few weeks before my arrival that my first day of work will be the attendance of his wedding. Glad to be part of it, I packed my suit & tie and left for Paris. Last Thursday, the first day of work has come. I got up, dressed up nicely and travelled all across the city to La mairie de Neuilly. Exactly, that's Nicolas Sarkozy's former workplace. It was a civil wedding ceremony, very short but very beautiful. Later, I got the chance to meet the entire team in very relaxing setting. Zoomorama says «hello», from left to right, these are Franklin (founder of Zoomorama), Anne-Céline (PR) and Eric (developer) Franklin, Anne-Céline & Eric Again, from left to right, these are Jean-Christophe (marketing), Olivier (developer) & David (my mentor & project manager) Jean-ChristopheOlivierDavid On the left is the street that leads to the office and to the right is my desk at Zoomorama's beautiful atelier. Rue des HaiesZoomorama

    A Bientôt

    Love letters, money orders & food packages are most welcome at:
    Daniel Gasienica Les Estudines Porte 313 105 Rue de Bagnolet 75020 Paris France
    Stay tuned, as I will show you more of my summer in Paris. As always, there's more to see on tandem. P.S. What can I say, the food is great & the girls are hot… ;-) Gabrielle & Anne-CélineBon Appetit By the way, the girl on the left is Gabrielle from FrenchFling.com which is a great guide to Paris from an Australian runaway.