January 17, 2007

Has Paris changed?


Has Paris changed? Yes, I do think so. Apart from the obvious new tram lines, the bicycle lanes, the widened footpads and the road works that have made a lot of streets safer to cross, I also think that the people in the city have changed. Where the infrastructural changes are nice, the real change for me lay in the mentality of the people I met. Whether it was on the street, in bars or restaurants, everybody was so friendly.

Traditionally the French, and especially the Parisians, are considered to be a grumpy and arrogant bunch. Let me say that this has never been my opinion: I've always liked France and the French. Never have I been able to tell those gruesome stories many of my Dutch compatriots can tell you. Over the years, my personal experiences have been positive. Perhaps because I speak the language? The number of tourists that expect the French to understand commandos in an incorrect and heavily accented English, is just too big. Anyway, despite the fact that I appear to be one of those old fashioned Francophiles who just loves everything about France, I still think the Parisians have changed.

I couldn't happen to see more smiling faces on the street, to see girls dressed according to the latest fashion (yes, the vestimentary 80's and 90's are over!), to interact more with the people on the street and to experience friendly, relaxed and funny personnel in bars and restaurants. Paris seems to be more open, more relaxed, more self-assured. And cleaner, that too.

Perhaps it's because I've changed too. Compared to the two years when I lived in Paris as a student, I’ve changed myself as well. People do react differently to a young professional in his late twenties than to someone who has the look and feel of a student all over him. But this doesn’t alter my firm belief that Paris is even better and more beautiful than before. Or is this just the heart of a romantic Francophile speaking?

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3 comments:

Jordan said...

Lieu-Commun, pour ceux qui ne connaissent pas, est la réunion informelle de blogueurs de divers horizons politiques et professionnels et d'âges variés (je pense que notre doyen pourrait être le père de notre benjamin), mus par un intérêt commun envers la chose publique et une estime réciproque, nonobstant la diversité de nos points de vue. Notre petit groupe s'est récemment agrandi à 19 : il est temps d'approfondir.
Juristes, économistes, professeurs, étudiants, avocats, magistrats, fonctionnaires, communiquants, salariés, travailleurs indépendants, socialistes, libéraux, catholiques, protestants, agnostiques, nous avons même des Suisses et un noniste (en sommeil, mais il n'est pas le seul de sa catégorie...), c'est vous dire l'hétérogénéité du groupe qui, nous l'espérons, donne une richesse de points de vue.
Vous trouverez la liste des Lieu-Communs sur le site, rubrique "partenaires", de même qu'un lien vers leurs blogs respectifs et une brève présentation.

Anonymous said...

Por que no:)

Anonymous said...

last few days our group held a similar discussion about this subject and you illustrate something we haven't covered yet, appreciate that.

- Laura