Monday, April 06, 2009

Parisian misery and other thoughts

For one reason or another people around the world have created this illusion that Paris is the city of love and thus happiness. I, personally, believe that it is more due to your local travel agents trying to sell you a weekend in this big old city called Paris. I am in no way denying the beauty of the architecture or the pleasure of buying a French baguette in a boulangerie, and by no means I would attempt to do that, but this pleasure can be acquired almost in any town in France. In fact there is no city of love, there isn't a location in the world that would make you fall in love it is all complete bullshit. To know the truth you have to love and realise that any place in the world is the most beautiful place in the world if you're in love, be it Rome, New York, London or Berlin. It does not matter an iota.

Firstly when I arrived in Paris I smiled all the time, it was a long time ago but I still remember well, how I would be constantly chatted up by someone, I felt like I was under constant watch. Only a few days later an acquaintance - a Parisian, told me, that only the visitors and foreigners smile in Paris, apparently one can recognise a Parisian by their signature frown.
I didn't believe it at first, but then I started looking around and realised it was true, the only time the typical Parisian frown would disappear was when a Parisian would meet a friend and give a hug or exchange bises, what ever it maybe, the smile would appear for a moment and disappear just as quickly. Few months later I returned to Paris and being completely miserable, due to my stupid situation, lack of money, home and everything else, I have had grown a perfect Parisian frown myself. I was no longer chatted up in the street no one pestered me anymore. I was just another frown in a multimillion citizen city, that was the moment when I fitted in, the fuck you moment. It is that moment when Paris spits you in the face and you realise that it's just a place, a location, a co-ordinate on the map.

If you really think you're in love with France and you want to see it for what it is, the first thing you need is to learn to wear the Parisian (otherwise known as French) Frown. By no means you should allow yourself to get excited by the beauty of the city, the amazing artefacts in the museums, the moment you do that you are leaving the in-crowd. Of course, no-one is telling you to stay in that crowd, it's just how it is.
"I want to go to Paris and see the French way of life..." I hear and read that a lot. What you need to experience that is to get in and then see it for what it truly is - a city full of sad people who are ungrateful for everything and complaining about anything and as for French life, Paris is the worst destination altogether it is a multicultural not French city. The city is quite nice but it could be the people who will ruin it for you in the end.

Learn to love and live anywhere, not just at your dream destination.

"Paris, is like an old prostitute who tries to look young"
-Me (on my last visit to Paris)

P.S. The happy people they show in French films do not exist or are considered weirdos at home, don't believe what you see! and don't forget the travel agents just want to sell you that trip...


Richard said...

People like their illusions. People love decieving themselves.

I would fit in in Paris. I rarely smile. And my body language exudes a large personal space.

I have littel interest in seeing Paris, though, it is one of Sofia's dream cities to visit.

Anonymous said...

Your post made me laugh! I totally agree with this. I lived in Paris as an English assistant for a year, and when the winter came, I hated having to get up early and take the smelly subway with all of the grumpy people who had stayed up too late drinking too much, and then walk to the bus in the cold wind which took me to the school in the suburbs. Then I got sick, and for some reason my pay was late, so I was walking around the city, poor and feverish and homesick. But then Spring came and things got better, and now, after 10 years, I'm taking my husband there for a trip because after all, I have good memories. I'll remember not to smile, though, so we can fit in! : )

Jew Wishes said...

Most pleasures like breaking bread, or visiting a cultural arts facility, no matter how small, can be found in most cities.

I think we have to try to fit in like those who live there, in any foreign city, even in London or Edinburgh, those from America might speak English, etc., but it isn't the same language.

CG said...

Richard I can't believe you rarely smile! Is that your Eastern European heritage? You're right about fitting in though. As for illusions, I know I couldn't live without mine.
Anonymous I think it si strange how life turns around and then we realise how much we enjoyed something that we thought we hated, there are lots of good things about paris and I'm sure I will write them down someday in another post. I don't hate Paris, I just hate the obsession with it.
Jew Wishes you're right it can be found anywhere, as for fitting in, I totally agree, when in Rome do as Romans do.

Richard said...

Nope, not a smiler - I tend to be very stoic.

When I was in my late teens, my mother asked me, "What happened to my laughing, smiling boy?"

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