Photo by Basile Hémidy
I got a lot of hassle after telling my friends that I wanted to move out of my parents’ place in central Paris. None of them, even the most rational, could fathom why I wanted to rent a cheap, spacious apartment in the suburbs over an expensive, poky shit hole in the middle of the city.
Perhaps I just don’t look for the same things in life as them. I’m aware that regularly stepping in dog crap and having to avoid fawning British honeymooners is chic and sophisticated and all that other stuff that people write about Paris on novelty dish towels. But there are things I’d rather do than worry about not being cosmopolitan enough – like making sure I can afford some kind of sustenance after handing my landlord Bermuda’s national debt in rent, every single month.
Yes, there are some redeeming factors about the city; there’s slightly more to do than in the suburbs and I love those Haussmannian buildings along the Rue de Rivoli. But they’re buildings – who gives a fuck? I have Street View on my phone.
Paris is the worst place ever. Here’s why.
When I was younger they were called “chachas”. Nowadays, they’re called “bobos” (which stands for bourgeois bohème). But the name-change really doesn’t matter; They’re still the same jerks who’ll actively bum out an entire house party by taking the piss out of a stranger’s wardrobe choices, despite the fact they all look like cognisant uncircumcised penises, their heads swaddled in layers of garish printed scarves.
If you’re a tourist, here’s the most effective way of identifying a bobo: They are that unique breed of dickhead who, when you ask for directions, will smirk at you like you’ve just confused APC for YMC – or some equally embarrassing oversight – before ignoring you completely.
I wanted to avoid making generalisations about the city’s fairer sex, but the problem is that pretty much all of them – that they’re arrogant, sulky, boring and hot – are true. Seriously, it's like Kristen Stewart, standing in a Hall of Mirrors, lecturing you about her beauty regime.
Enjoy consciously risking your life every time you cross a road? Disappointed at the lack of peril involved in three-minute car journeys? Move to Paris! Drivers here don’t sweat the small stuff (traffic laws, the lives of pedestrians) whenever there’s a brief chance to shift into second gear. The rest of the time, however, be prepared to waste your entire day sat in traffic.
Considering it’s completely pointless to own a car in Paris, you’d have thought that some bright spark would have already banned gas guzzlers and replaced the Peugeot platoon with solar-powered trams and hybrid buses. But no such luck. In fact, emissions are so bad that we crossed a new pollution threshold in March, with the air quality now rivalling that of Beijing – one of the most polluted cities in the world.
Photo by Melchior Tersen
The amount of time you spend at this huge mall-cum-cinema-cum-metro-station is a good way to decipher how shitty your life is. Of course, that’s unless you genuinely enjoy giving cigarettes to 16-year-olds dressed like post-Trukfit Lil Wayne – in which case, have at it.
THE NEW PARIS
What’s currently happening in Paris is much the same as in any other large city; people want to move to the run-down areas because they’re cool, but before long developers commodify the entire neighbourhood, price out people who’ve been living there since before the art students moved in and convert all the charming old properties into polished concrete clones for bankers and people who boast about their weekly wine budget.
For the rest of us, it’s now almost impossible to live in Paris without subletting (which is illegal) or a six-figure job (which is really hard to get). If you do decide to stay, be prepared to pay a minimum of 670 Euros a month [£550] for a bedroom that doubles up as a kitchen, living room and toilet.
I know this one’s a cliché, but there are good reasons why things become clichéd. I’m not sure of the bar and restaurant hiring policy here, but I’d imagine one necessity is being able to belittle customers for the abhorrent crime of ordering a drink. Then, once they’ve ordered that drink – and paid at least three times as much for it as they would 20 minutes outside the city – being able to maintain eye contact with them while not bringing them anything they’ve paid for.
You might run into a decent waiter somewhere along the way, but if you do chances are they’ve only just started and aren’t far off turning into yet another jaded wanker.
Photo by Hugo Denis-Queinec
NOBODY WANTS YOU
Pretty much everywhere else in the world you’ll be tempted to go back to a nightclub because you enjoyed it, the people were cool and the music was good. In Paris, things work in reverse; for some reason, everyone seems to want to go to clubs that revel in ruining your night.
I get that bouncers need to exist, but I don’t understand why they feel the need to turn people away because of one apparently offensive item of clothing. Who told these guys they were Joan Rivers? Why do they still think winklepickers mean good taste?
I don’t have the answers to any of those questions, but I do know that clubs need to quit the whole selective entry thing; most other cities realised that dress codes attract cunts in the 1980s, and it’s time that Paris should too.
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