There’s so many things I hate about Paris. Chief among them is that it’s so goddamn beautiful

I hate that every store you might want to go to shuts down by 5.

I hate that nothing’s convenient. For instance, there are no convenience stores.

I hate that there’s no screens on the windows. But there are mosquitoes.

I hate that there’s no air conditioning.

I hate that the cars are so small.

I hate the indifference of waiters along the Champs Élysées.

I hate the McDonalds on the Champs Élysées.

I love the end of the Tour de France along the Champs Élysées.

I hate that everyone walks and parks anywhere they want.

I hate the lack of ATMs.

I love that the post office has ATMs. Although that’s weird.

I hate that in July (and June and August and even May) everywhere you go, you hear American voices.

I love the sound of French conversation at a sidewalk cafe. And of a good argument in French (between the doorman and a delivery guy, just now.)

I hate the labor laws, the 35 hour workweek, the practical inability to fire anyone.

I hate the taxis. Full stop.

I hate that the taxi drivers burn Uber cars, and that the Paris Criminal Court fined Uber and questioned its executives about “illegal activity”.

I love that there seems to be no sense of racism against blacks.

I hate that there seems to be a strong sense of racism against Muslims.

I love that in Paris you can see so many of the greatest works of art in the world.

I hate that many of those works were stolen from other great societies such as Italy and Egypt. (In which, France is not alone…ahem…Britain…)

I hate that everywhere, people seem to be smoking.

In some weird way, I love that everyone seems to be smoking.

I love the architecture.

After a while, I hate that all the architecture is so…French.

I HATE the four hour, interminable dinners.

I LOVE the chocolate croissants.

I hate the snooty Bordeauxs.

I love the white Burgundy’s (Chardonnay for you Americans)

I love the Arc de Triomphe. (Come on…have you seen it?)

I hate that the Arc de Triomphe glorifies war (specifically, Napoleon’s) and that the Nazis marched underneath it on June 14th, 1940. Does war beget war?

I love the soaring grace and testament to human engineering achievement that Gustave Eiffel gave to the world in 1889. Only to be outdone, in pure competitive spirit, by the Ferris Wheel, in 1893.

I love the fact that the Impressionists broke the rules of the Paris art scene at the all-important salon of 1863, and daring to be different, invoked the “Salon of the Refused” thus bringing to life some of the most sublime painting the world has ever seen. (If you do nothing else with yourself, go to the Musée d’Orsay)

I hate that these young rebels, upon becoming the old guard, disagreed about the direction of the movement and rejected its younger members, just as they had been rejected by their older academic peers, thus ushering in, by 1906, Post-Impressionism. (That’s not really true. I love the creative destruction of the old. See Taxis and Uber, above.)

A decade ago, I reunited with a French physician from Paris whom I considered a friend. Breaking the ice, I said, “So, how’s Paris?” Stupid question, I know, but I was trying to break the ice you see. Coldly, he responded, “Paris, will always be Paris.” That was the end of the conversation. Paris will always be coldly calculating, and beautifully warm. Light, and dark. Somehow, inevitably, it embraces its contradictions.

Why can’t I just get a nice microbrew IPA instead of this 1664 shit?


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s