Bordeaux was fun. Let's do the amusing local colour things first, to suck you into reading about deeper, more meaningful stuff later.
Bordeaux has a waiting school (that's a school for waiters, obviously, not an institution that's anticipating some event). My visits to Bordeaux in the past have seen some of the products of this school; apparently, this time we met all the drop-outs. Star of the show was the gormless waiter at the pizza restaurant in the north of the city, who was incapable of taking the order (really! He had to get the chef out of the kitchen to take it), and ran out of supplies — these things happen; it is possible for restaurants not to have deliveries of things that not everyone wants, such as beer, but the limited supply of tomato sauce in a pizza restaurant is close to unforgivable.
The new tramway system is entertaining, too. Apparently rushed into production for political reasons, it's effectively undergoing live testing. When it works, it's relatively efficient; central Bordeaux to the ENSEIRB in about 25 minutes isn't too bad. For three of the eight journeys I took, that's more-or-less what happened, though in one of those three we did wait 30 minutes for the tram to arrive; the other five suffered breakdowns of some sort. Most amusing was the time we were warned that the line was down in two stops, and we would have to take a replacement shuttle bus; unfortunately, our tram broke down before we got there...
As for the conference itself. I was suitably impressed by the Smalltalk whizz-bang demos; it is nice to have pretty stuff on the screen. My talk (about protocol-oriented programming, on which more some other day, I think) was rather prosaic by comparison: just simple acclaim slides talking about various forms of extensibility, and why it might be a good thing. Much more interesting from my point of view were the lightning presentations: quick five-minute talks about things various people found interesting. Rudi Schlatte on simple-streams and Eric Marsden on serve-event were particularly entertaining, and Bruno Haible on case-preserving packages gives a different take on so-called modern mode lisp. I'm attempting to collect short summaries of these from the speakers to make proceedings available: stay tuned.