“For years, every year during the summer, he would go to Paris. It was automatic with his wife and his family. Hadn’t seen him in a while. And I said, ‘Jim, let me ask you a question: How’s Paris doing?’ ‘Paris? I don’t go there anymore. Paris is no longer Paris.” — Donald Trump
Once, the youth of the 6th arrondissement wore the rouge et bleu of the Paris St Germain RTL jerseys as they swatted balls of brie with bats fashioned from stale baguettes and mocked Ernest Hemingway’s French accent. Now, their shirts advise ils promènent to “Fly Emirates” as droplets of couscous fall from the sky. A youth has even been spotted in the Luxembourg Gardens wearing a Real Madrid kit. Mon Dieu!
I remember when mimes would wear their striped shirts and suspenders in Montmartre and jauntily saunter away until they hit an invisible wall, at which point they could go no further despite their amusing and frantic efforts, and all this was done for l’amour de l’art! Now, naked men paint themselves gold and pretend they are statues outside Notre Dame, refusing to wink unless they are rewarded with Euro coins.
It used to be that in the Val de Marne, the bourgeoisie would find refuge from the sweltering city amidst the forests and rose gardens and medieval castles. Now, a dinner and show ticket for La Légende de Buffalo Bill avec Mickey et ses amis must be ordered in advance, and everyone receives a free cowboy hat.
Il était une fois, the dissonant sounds of jazz rose up from the streets of the Latin Quarter, as intellectuals and artists dropped mescaline and argued about phenomenology and the plight of the worker. Now, just meters from the Sorbonne, a bagel may be purchased, and bobos discuss real estate.
Quelle Dommage! On the streets of Rue de Passy in the 16th arrondissement, Brigitte Bardot would stroll in a black pleather jacket and thigh high boots, chased by paparazzi! Yesterday, a woman in tennis shoes was seen jogging towards The Bois de Boulogne, with earbuds, and chased by no one!
What is Paris if not the matronly voices of les ménagères as they bargained over gizzards and andouillette amidst the lively clamor of Les Halles while the bells of St. Eustache summoned the faithful? Today at Le Forum, there is a 10% discount off items at the Nike Store, excluding the new collection, and nearby a maitre Reiki restores emotional well-being to unfortunates with energy imbalance.
La tour Eiffel was the tallest structure in the world! It was derided by les parisiennes and deemed a threat to French art! Guy de Maupassant was forced to eat lunch there, for it was the only place in Paris from which he could be sure of not laying eyes on it! Now, there is a see-through floor on le 1er étage, where a touch screen display offers interesting facts.
When the black plague ravaged our beaux hommes, the afflicted person was washed in vinegar, his buboes lanced, his veins cut open to allow the diseased blood to leave the body, and he was made to drink a potion of arsenic and mercury. As of May 2017, a visit to the general doctor costs 25 Euro, instead of 23. At least 70% of the fee will be reimbursed directly into your bank account. Paris, what has happened to my beloved city?
Return me, Saint Genevieve, to the fin-de-siècle when Toulouse-Lautrec befriended the lonely, seedy courtesans of Moulin Rouge and painted their lifeless eyes as they danced the can-can. Today, someone called “David Hockney” has a painting of a man emerging from a suburban swimming pool at Centre Pompidou, and Majid & Ukay defeated Stylez C & Diablo at the 2017 Juste Debout Hip Hop Final. This competition is sponsored by Red Bull.
Once, our President had a secret daughter with his mistress. Another President crossed the city on a motor scooter to meet an actress eighteen years younger than him. Now, our president is married to an older woman who he met when she was his high school drama teacher. So in this respect at least, everything is as it was.
In the days of glory and glamour, the boots of les travailleurs trudged through horse manure as they left their factory jobs to return home and read tales of imperial elephants to les enfants, sleepy from their day of playing baguette ball. Still stimulated by their afternoon tristes, they would make love to their wives as “Oh Champs Elysee” played on the phonographe while the Seine flooded the squares with rats doing the breast stroke in sewage water. Jews were expelled intermittently. Now, if your child orders a Fun Box at the Quick Burger, she may choose Angry Birds sunglasses, or a Playmobil doctor carrying a very small briefcase.
Citoyens — our Sacred Blood is spilling… Aux Armes!