A transit strike and infrastructural work are going to make it harder for exhibitors and visitors to travel to and from the Silmo show starting next Thursday at the modern Villepinte exhibition center near Paris' Charles de Gaulle airport. The organizers are doing everything they can to alleviate the problem, as indicated in the brochure being sent to our e-mail subscribers along with this issue.

The organizers of the fair had already planned a free shuttle bus from Porte Maillot (boulevard Pershing) to the fairgrounds during the four days of the show, starting at 8 a.m. Due to the risk of a partial transportation strike on the first day of the show, which is expected to affect especially the B line of the RER regional express network connecting the city with the Paris Nord Villepinte fairgrounds and with Charles de Gaulle Airport, the frequency of the shuttle bus is being increased to a departure every 10 minutes. The first bus will be leaving at 7:30 a.m.

The free shuttle bus from Charles de Gaulle airport to the fairgrounds will work normally, and the ride is going to be very fast. It will take longer from Orly airport. No transportation problems are expected on Friday, but during the remaining the last two days of the fair, construction work on the B line of the RER will prevent access to the fairgrounds directly from the Villepinte ? Parc des Expositions station. Here again, Silmo will transport RER passengers to the fairgrounds from the nearby station of Mitry-Claye every five minutes.

More information on these and other services in the enclosed flier, being sent to e-mail subscribers to EWI, and on Silmo's website, www.silmo-paris.com. It may also be useful to look at the website to grasp the new layout of the exhibition.

With its earlier dates and 950 exhibitors presenting many new collections in a modern new setting, the Paris show will still be worth a visit. A survey of French opticians made by the acuité.fr internet portal in August, before the announcement of the strikes, indicated that 45.6 percent of them were not planning to go to the fair, down from 54.8 percent two years ago.

About 50 Italian companies will show at Silmo, but many of the big ones will again be absent for the big French trade show, after reducing their space at Mido in Milan. Luxottica had shrunk in Paris, too, but now it will not be there at all.

Silmo will host a steering committee meeting of Eurom 1, the European association of eyewear producers. Its new chairman, Vittorio Tabacchi, will address the subjects that the organization has already begun to focus on, including improving the visual acuity of motorists, the prevention of harm caused by sunlight, checking children' eyesight and the fight against counterfeiting.