Unbeknown to most of them, delegates at COP21 are acting as guinea-pigs for a new French theme-park, it has emerged. When the climate talks finally conclude, the sprawling conference site will complete its transformation into a one-stop-shop for tourists wanting to live out their fantasies of what imagine France to be like, without having to confront the modern realities of the country itself. The new park will provide easy consumption of the best things that this wonderful country has to offer, without any of the inconvenience. In go the culinary delights, beautiful monuments and grandiose infrastructure. Out go the soaring unemployment, National Front rallies and ghetto-like suburbs (though the latter are just across the fence). Faced with a dent in tourism following the terror attacks in Paris, the government hopes the park could become a means for France to win back wary visitors. All just a short air-conditioned ride from the country’s main airport.
Many of the future park’s features are already in place. COP delegates are right now sampling the delights of cheery white-hatted bakers busily making bread, various stands selling raclette, vin chaud and crepes, and
countless restaurants churning out choucroute, cassoulet, boeuf bourginon and other regional delicacies washed down with a carafe of vin rouge. After a culturally long lunch, the thousands of observers who tire of hearing the same people say the same things again and again at COP side events, can instead go out and take selfies in front of the model Eiffel Tower. Officials have hinted that this may be just the first of many future model French monuments, with Mont St Michel planned for early 2016 and a scale-model of Mont Blanc to follow after that. A decision on whether to include the Mer de Glace glacier on that is pending the outcome of this week’s negotiations.
Other rumours abound for possible future uses of the gloriously over-sized conference centre, with delegates and tax-payers alike wondering why the host government invested scarce cash in luxurious facilities that feel about twice as big as necessary to host the 50,000 or so delegates. The COP21 village is in fact so large that entire corridors are often eerily empty and observers can wander idly for hours with no risk of running into their bosses. Despite several expeditions nobody has yet discovered where the perimeter of the site lies. One group of delegates set out on foot to explore the northern part of the site and soon found themselves at the entrance to the Channel Tunnel, where they were promptly arrested.
One rumour circulating is that the cavernous corridors of the massive site will be converted to a massive particle accelerator. One veteran observer pointed out this would be a suitable use as the UN climate change talks and the Large Hadron Collider are the only two ventures known to science where humankind aims to create parallel alternative realities.