I’ve also been lucky enough to spend several years studying French. So, I guess you could say that I am interested in (nay, obsessed with) any proposed perversion of their culture.
Why does this matter to you?
I know, right? “Choc! Horreur! Quelle parodie!” Screams my inner Francophile.
Ghandi’s plans include a university, museums, restaurants, shops, pedestrian streets, courtyards, and a town square – all replicating Lyon. His time spent inside the 19th century Notre-Dame de Fourvière Basilica may even inspire a church – yes, a church – right next to a mosque.
This can’t be so bad, I tell myself. I read on:
Location is still up in the air – discussion has involved placing the ‘little Lyon’ on upwards of 1000 acres of land. Potential spots include an urban area by the tallest building in the world, the Burj Dubai Tower; a plot of desert land close to the second international airport, which has not been built yet; and "Dubailand," which is a $10 billion complex including theme parks and entertainment that is currently still under construction.
What about atmosphere? How does one create a street comfortable enough to stroll down in the middle of the desert heat? I fight visions of massive fans. Somehow I keep thinking about the movie ‘Bio-Dome’ with Pauly Shore.
This project, if it breaks land, will attempt to bring not only the charm, but also the economic successes of Lyon to Dubai. Lyon is currently one of the world’s most popular (top 30) convention sites. Readers Digest named the city the 7th most livable in the world last year. It is for good reason that Ghandi would like to replicate it.