Hey it’s Romain.
I just came back from Europe for leisure of course but also for work.
Here is a little summary of my trip!
I try to return in my home country (France) every two years to visit my family and friends, last time was indeed 2 years ago in 2015.
This year I went for both vacations and work, meaning that I met a lot of interesting people to speak about Export-Japan services and our projects. So I planned time for both side of my trip, and I went to Paris, Switzerland and Alsace (east of France) for both work and leisure, and I went to Amsterdam and Milan for “just leisure”.
I made a bunch of appointments beforehand to speak about the QR Translator solution and the VIP project (Visually Impaired People) with people I used to work with, friends, clients, and potentially interested companies. I started as fast as I stepped out my flight by meeting startups specialized in organic food supply and rare honey sourcing which, depending on their upgoing development, can become some serious partners. I met some French government related companies to discuss about collaboration possibilities and went to our partner, the Sacré Coeur Basilica in Paris, one of the numerous must go monument when you visit Paris!
I also visited one of the biggest center for visually impaired people in France, the association Valentin Hauy in Paris. I was received by the vice president, and we discussed about the VIP project we are leading in Japan at this moment. As is it now official that Paris will follow Tokyo to host the next 2024 Olympic games, accessibility issue became central in Paris.
I was fortunate to also get some insight into their upcoming projects in France, for example, this 3D reproduction of a building long fresque, a part of the French history. The goal for these panels is to improve the accessibility to cultural items by allowing visually impaired people to feel what we can see. It comes with description in French and English both written down in braille.
The building they occupy had a high standard when it comes to accessibility. Doors, floors and walls are painted and textured with a high contrasted layer which allows visually impaired people to navigate everywhere in the building easily, some braille are also implemented in front of all doors.
Let’s now talk about the first stop of my trip: Switzerland.
In Switzerland, you have Europe’s biggest lake shared between Switzerland and France, the Lac Léman: pure water, beautifully clear, and it’s actually the lake near Evian (the French city & famous bottled water).
Beautiful, isn’t it?
The beauty of the lake is still the same in Geneva, don’t worry!
I also met the Lausanne Cathedral superintendent and spoke about the added value of QR Translator for tourists, but as churches are under an higher management, I needed to contact the Vaud area of Switzerland for this purpose.
Here is the Lausanne Cathédrale, and the Olympic museum.
Here is how QR codes are used by the Swiss Post to redirect users to their website or app. I didn’t see as many QR Codes as compared to France or Italy though.
Switzerland has 4 official languages, according where you are: French, German, Italian and Romansh. For example language used in radio will change according to where you are in Switzerland. I needed to cross the German part of Switzerland to reach Alsace, and at first I was confused when the radio language to German so suddenly.
We can feel this multi-cultural atmosphere everywhere here and most Swiss speak English. However, multilingual signages, digital solutions, and other tourism-geared facilities are still rare.
Let’s continue to Alsace, situated on the far east part of France, near the German delimitation.
And this is why Alsace is famous: its architecture! Colorful and contrasted with an emphasis on the wooden structure of buildings.
And their culinary recipe as the famous Choucroute !
I visited a lot of places here, discussing partnerships with great monuments, people and companies with great achievements.
I had the pleasure to visit the boulangerie (bakery) which won the best French tradition baguette Award 2017 in Mertzwiller, a little village nearby Strasbourg. As the baguette tradition is a pure French product, we can say that it’s a world distinction. I met the CEO of the Boulangerie Durrenberger, Mr. Laurent Durrenberger himself, who is the first to win the highest distinction for a baguette tradition made by, surprise, a Japanese patissière in his boulangerie!
We will definitely get along in our mutual projects.
And here are some other services related to QR codes
QR codes are widely used in several locations, combined with other technologies such as NFC (paired with applications) or wifi/bluetooth/beacon hotspots. It’s in fact really easy to interact with all these technologies, and with the numerous available free wifi hotspots, tourists can be at ease (not as speedy as japanese free wifi though ^^).
アルザス地方は、フランス東部に位置する観光地のため、QRトランスレーター（多言語表示案内サービス）を紹介するために訪問。ここには、フランス国内バゲットコンクールで昨年優勝した日本人が勤めるBoulangerie Durrenbergerがあり、オーナーのMr. Laurent Durrenberger と面会。今後、別のプロジェクトで一緒に取り組めるといいなぁと考えています。アルザス地方では、QRコード、NFC、Wifi、bluetooth、beaconなどが様々な場所で利用されており、観光客にとって過ごしやすい印象を受けました。