All the News and Then Some
Apologies, but there is simply a lot to talk about today so be prepared to read about a variety of topics. Here goes…
THE GOOD NEWS: PARIS IS THE MOST ADMIRED CITY IN THE WORLD
It was no surprise that Paris was considered the most admired city in the world by the biennial survey by Anholt-Gfk City Brands Index. Sorry Americans, but London ranked second, Sydney ranked third and New York ranked fourth.
The survey took place before the November terrorist attacks, but well after last January’s Charlie Hebdo attacks, and how this affected the survey is impossible to tell. Simon Anholt, the man behind the survey, remarked that he doubts it made any difference in the world’s appreciation of the city.
Paris came on top of two of the six dimensions the study evaluates:
* Presence (the city’s international status and standing): London
* Place (its physical outdoors aspect and transport): Paris
* Pre-requisites (basic requirements, such as affordable accommodation and the standard of public amenities): Sydney
* People (friendliness, cultural diversity, how safe one feels): Sydney
* Pulse (interesting things to do): Paris
* Potential (the economic and educational opportunities available): New York
Again, not surprising how it didn’t take the lead for People or Potential.
The French have a reputation for being unfriendly and often rude, true or not. In “112 Gripes About the French,” number 20 is exactly this: “The French aren’t friendly.” Of course, this was published in 1945 by the ‘Information and Education Division’ of the U.S. Occupation Forces. A lot has changed since then, but even so, they are still not winning this particular battle!
And let’s face it, Potential is what New York is all about. It’s not easy breaking ground in New York, but it’s more possible there than just about anywhere. Paris is at the bottom of that list and that’s no surprise, either.The bureaucracy in France make accomplishing just about anything a major challenge…but the good side to that is that it builds character. (Anyone who manages to get a long-stay visa and has dealt with the French consulates in the U.S. has already built a whole lot of character!)
I do agree with Paris ranking first for Place and Pulse. It’s the reason we’re here and not as concerned with the lack of Potential and People. No one complains about the fabulous transportation system, the amazing amount of cultural things to do, nor the gorgeous scenery. Now do they?
So, Paris may not be perfect, but almost everyone wants to live here (or at least visit).
BAD NEWS: PARIS MAYOR IN BID TO ERASE HISTORIC CITY DISTRICTS
Madame le Mayor of Paris Anne Hidalgo is on a mission to “wipe four of the city’s 20 historic arrondissements off the map” in an effort to make the city “more democratic and more efficient.”
Her beef is that the different districts (“arrondissements”) have different demographics. Of course they do. For example, the 1st has only 17,000 residents compared to the 15th with 238,000. One reason is that Le Louvre in the 1st eats up an awful lot of what could be residential space! (I have an idea: let’s just tear down the Louvre and build high rise apartment buildings. Wouldn’t that make a difference?)
Madame plans to combine districts one through four into just one large one and reduce the 20 districts to 17 by the year 2020 claiming the plan will make the running of the city ‘more efficient.’ Opposition believes the changes are more about securing Socialist domination and her position.
Agree or not, Madame Hidalgo seems to have her own agenda, evidenced by much of her tactics regarding the short-term rental laws. She is ‘waging war on tourism’ by making guests of the city feel very unwelcome. Her team from the housing department is on a rampage to ferret out offending apartments — those that do not have the commercial usage designation which would allow them to be rented less than one year, or those primary resident apartments which are abusing the four-month rental limit.
City inspectors follow tourists (likely carrying or pulling luggage) to their destination and then have the right to inspect the property, even if the owner is not present. (I was a victim of a city inspector and have a copy of their credentials to prove this.) She executed two raids on the city thus far (she calls each a “blitz”) with more planned for the future. (This will sound sarcastic, but it feels a bit like World War II during the occupation of Paris when the police were looking for Jews. Remember, “blitzkrieg” is a German term for “lightning war.”)
Be sure to read today’s article in The Daily Beast by Erin Zaleski.
If you don’t agree with these tactics, as I don’t, and want to do something about it, read and sign our petition. When we reach our goal, we’ll be delivering it to Madame Hidalgo’s doorstep.
IMPORTANT NEWS: BE SURE TO VOTE IN THE 2016 U.S. ELECTIONS — EVERY VOTE COUNTS
As I write, U.S. presidential candidates are making their final pitch to voters in Iowa for the first of the party nominations. The Donald (Trump) is ahead of Ted Cruz and Hillary Clinton is ahead of Bernie Sanders. Regardless of which candidate you favor, if you are a U.S. citizen outside of the U.S. during the 2016 elections, and wish to vote (and you SHOULD vote — every vote counts!), then you must register for an absentee ballot.
First you request your ballot, then you’ll receive it and then you will complete it! Easy as pie. Learn more at the Federal Voting Assistance Program’s (FVAP) website. If you have any questions about registering to vote overseas, please contact Paris’s Voting Assistance Officer at [email protected].
REMEMBERED NEWS: FORGOTTEN, BUT NOT FOREVER
Linda Hervieux, author of Forgotten: The Untold Story of D-Day’s Black Heroes, at Home and at War will be speaking tomorrow, February 2, at the American Library, focusing on Jim Crow America, discrimination, and this one black battalion’s journey to freedom and war — with photos. There will be a brief introduction by John Morris, legendary photo editor for Life Magazine and the New York Times, who may have handled the Robert Capa photo on the book cover taken on Omaha Beach. Books will be on sale by Abbey Books, the Canadian bookshop in the 5th. The event is free, so don’t miss it…but if you should, Hervieux will be speaking at our own Parler Paris Après Midi April 12th.
7:30 p.m., February 2
American Library of Paris
10 rue Général Camou (between avenues Rapp and Bourdonnais)
Metro: Ecole Militaire or Alma Marceau
UPCOMING NEWS: CHOKED UP
Every year on February 2nd, I cook up artichokes for a select group of friends. Several of them even travel from far away just to be at the table. The celebration commemorates a story of freedom that only a select few know, but one which is shared every year at the table, much like the story of the Exodus from Egypt at a Passover Seder.
This year the annual event takes place one day early — tonight! — so that FORGOTTEN is not forgotten. Fortunately, artichokes were plentiful this year at the Bastille Market — big and beautiful. Yesterday I cooked them up in time for tonight’s feast and the garlicky aroma has been making me awfully anxious to start pulling at the leaves and getting to the ‘heart’ of it all!
Stay tuned for more of the tale in Wednesday’s Nouvellettre®.
A la prochaine…
Editor, Parler Paris
P.S. Is writing in your blood, like it is mine? My friend, Janet Hulstrand, has announced another “Writing from the Heart…in the Heart of France” workshop for this coming April. Enrollment is limited, so get all the details on our Writing from the Heart page and start making your plans to attend today!