In the last few months I’ve been to a few European cities; Amsterdam, Stockholm, Cologne, Krakow Paris, and of course London, and of the six I think that Paris is the only one I can imagine myself living in.
I walked from the Gare du Nord to Montparnesse carrying my luggage – that’s halfway across the city. Would I walk from King’s Cross to Borough? Well yes, I’ve done it, but only by way of looking for a pub.
It’s a city on a human scale, but it’s also a city where living has been crafted into an art. There’s also the mystery of Parisiens and Parisiennes; the latter gliding around as though suspended from the heavens by a silver thread, the former often daring to look like extras from Life on Mars – sideburns, corduroy, Gauloise, beaten up suede shoes, paunch, as if they all aspire to feature in late night philosophical talk shows. You’d swear there was no link at all.
I often find myself recalling a TV essay by a French journalist which argued that the difference between the French and the British was that the French are cultured while the British are civilised. I thought she made a good point.
Equally telling is that you can call a Frenchman an intellectual and he’ll take it as a compliment whereas call an Englishman an intellectual and he’ll demand satisfaction; pistols or sabres.
The only thing more beguiling than the women of Paris are the meringues, oh and the patisserie, perhaps the cheese and even…. sorry. But the meringes were good. See these? Excellent. Relationship problems? Dump them and have a meringue. OK, that’s a little drastic but few relationships are nicely crunchy on the outside while pleasantly chewy on the inside and give you a fantastic sugar rush.