I just came back from a short “vacation” in Paris and thus I once again have been reflecting over the city; what it was, what people want it to be and what it actually is.
It seems to me that Paris means very different things depending on who’s talking. A big part of me thinks about what Paris has been. Reading post modern philosophy and history you get the idea that Paris is a metropole for geniuses.
Ever since the golden age and up until the last Post modernists died out Paris was definitely the place to be if you were an artist, writer, philosopher, businessman or hell anyone it seems like. Going to Paris never seemed like a bad choice because the life in this city produced some great things. Something about Paris attracted creativity and thought from not only all over Europe, but all over the world.
Yet today, whenever I go back it’s unrecognisable. And I am not the only one. Paris syndrome, a condition that occurs when tourists visit Paris get an extreme shock after finding out Paris is nothing like they imagined, is a very real thing.
This syndrome however rarely blames the history books for creating these misrepresentations, but rather the media of today. The president of the Franco-Japanese medical society stated in a book he wrote that Japanese magazines are responsible for misleading people by portraying Paris as a place where everybody are stick thin models who dress in high fashion brands.
I can’t help but feel like it’s not only Japanese magazines who misrepresent the city like this. Even the nickname: City of love is misrepresenting. Or at least I rarely feel any love when I am there. People are more likely to curse you out if they bump into you than apologize, there is homelessness and suffering at every street corner, and every symbol of life is used as a way to make money. People on the street will push the once romantic symbol of flowers onto you while trying to sell them. And thus leaving you feeling unimportant and disgusted with the commercialized love that exists there.
I still know people who love Paris and I still know people I love in Paris, but I prefer to stay away. Instead I’m left to wonder where is the Paris of today? It’s not in France anymore, but perhaps it’s just moved on to some other place.