Paris has launched a campaign to woo back American tourists, who've stayed away in droves following the row between Washington and Paris over the war on Iraq. To celebrate Independence Day, the Paris tourist bureau will be distributing gifts to visitors from the US and draping offices and hotels in the colours of the American flag. From Paris, Caroline Wyatt reports.
The French capital is determined to use this Independence Day to woo back America - or at least, the Americans currently boycotting the city. President Jacques Chirac's 'no' to Washington over the war in Iraq has had a real economic impact here. Last year, Paris played host to nearly two million American visitors. This year, the numbers are down by a quarter. With tourism one of France's biggest earners, this is a real problem. So to celebrate the Fourth of July, the Paris tourist board will be handing out free gifts to US visitors, and will even decorate its offices with the Stars-and-Stripes. France has already made a video aimed at luring back US tourists, in which film director Woody Allen expresses his hopes for closer relations:
American film director Woody Allen:
"When I will not have to refer to my French fried potatoes as 'Freedom Fries' and I don't have to 'freedom kiss' my wife, when what I really want to do is French kiss her. So, let's pull together now."
The French video is called 'Falling in Love Again' but judging by the declining number of American tourists here, it may be a rather one-sided affair.