In 1987, when the Walt Disney Company broached the idea of putting one of its theme parks in Europe, intellectuals recoiled in horror. Nothing could be more offensive to them than building a palace for Mickey Mouse, that icon of American cultural imperialism, 30 km east of Paris. To many, it was like holding up a mocking fun-house mirror to the palaces of Versailles west of the city. During construction there were protests around the once peaceful agricultural district, but local farmers profited handsomely by selling their fields to Disney, and many of their children were among the throngs answering the call for employment before the place opened in 1992. Since the addition last year of nearby Walt Disney Studios, Mickey’s magical realm employs 12,500 people and has elbowed its way to the top of the list of France’s tourist attractions, with some 13 million visitors a year.