Mayor Rahm Emanuel has taken his business with him overseas as he enjoys a family vacation in Paris this week.
A spokesperson for the mayor said Emanuel added on an extra two days of mayoral work to his trip to meet with business leaders who have a presence in Chicago and to give a lecture about economic and educational opportunities in Chicago.
Among the activities on Emanuel's itinerary are a tour of the Seine Riverwalk and a meeting with France's minister of economy, Emmanuel Macron. The mayor is also scheduled to meet with U.S. Ambassador Jane Hartley, Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo, Paris Deputy Mayor Patrick Klugman, Paris Sister City Chair Renee Johnson and French Consul General of Chicago Vincent Floreani.
The idea to meet with business leaders in Paris was inspired by the French ambassador to the U.S.'s recent visit to Chicago's City Hall, according to the mayor's spokesperson. During this trip, the ambassador discussed riverwalk development, a common goal in both Paris and Chicago.
Besides a family vacation and some business talk about riverwalk development, could the trip also have anything to do with tourism? Perhaps.
Emanuel has touted Chicago's tourism industry since the day he was first elected mayor, and tourism dollars can be a great boost to a local economy. Parisians, however, may need some convincing before they buy a ticket to Chicago.
Two years ago, the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs warned French tourists in Chicago to "avoid the West Side and the south of the city after 59th Street." Emanuel responded only by saying, "Don't get me started on the French."
The Chicago mayor's history with France doesn't end with the tourism warning either. A year before that, Emanuel sparked a mini scandal in France when a French newspaper reported that he insulted newly elected President Francois Hollande by saying he "has more of the head of a prime minister than of a president."
The mayor's office responded by saying that the translation was incorrect and that Emanuel "wishes Hollande the best of luck."