By Philip Elmer-DeWitt
July 3, 2010

French fanboys camp out in the rain to see what Apple has wrought near the Paris Opera

Apple’s (AAPL) pitch to journalists at Thursday’s press preview was that its 294th retail outlet was an Apple Store like no other. Nevertheless, its opening Saturday morning was marked by the usual fanboy frenzy — abeit with a French accent.

Set in a restored bank across Rue Halevy from the gilded Palais Garnier — longtime home of the Opera de Paris — the store eschews the usual bland Apple retail ambiance in favor of the site’s original architectural detail — the mosaic tile floor, the marble columns, the curving balustrade, the wrought-iron spiral staircases, the long narrow skylight.

But judging from the early videos, all that was lost of the rain-soaked mob that stormed the doors Saturday morning for a free T-shirt and a chance to ogle the iPads, iPhones and MacBooks on display.

Below: YouTube videos of Saturday morning’s chaos and Thursday’s more restrained press preview. For a gallery of photos of the store and its environs, click here.

Grand opening (iPhone-friendly link):

Press preview (iPhone-friendly line):

See also:

[Follow Philip Elmer-DeWitt on Twitter @philiped]

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