Paris in One Word
DiscoverParis.net asked me to write about GUILT. It wasn’t a very tough assignment and in all honesty, it was surprising that anyone would want to read about GUILT. But, obviously some people live with so much of it, that they find the topic fascinating. Fortunately I never have. Read all about how guilt doesn’t get me in “Getting Over Overwhelm,” a new blog by Monique Wells.
My neighborhood (Le Marais) changes so fast it makes my head spin. Everyday there is some new boutique, gallery or restaurant that didn’t exist there before. Of course, it’s not unusual for an establishment to last no more than two years, since it takes almost a miracle for a business to survive in this highly-taxed and overly bureaucratic environment. Plus, there is the ‘joke’ by entrepreneurial Americans that it seems no one taught the French how to write a business plan since they seem to love to take a tiny idea and keep it tiny (“petit” is ‘chic’ whereas “grand” is obscene). Hence, nothing grows to any real profitable proportion (because the more earned, the more taxed, so you might as well not earn more!).
Nonetheless, yesterday there it was — yet another new restaurant, following the same trend to look “New Yorkais,” not “Parisien,” behind iron and glass “atelier-style” windows with industrial-looking seating, and to be named with ONE WORD…like “Merci,” “Grazie” (just around the corner) or “Spring.” (Personally I think it’s getting rather ‘ho-hum’ in a trendy sort of way. Whatever happened to names like “Chez Somebody” or names that actually describe the restaurant like “Café de Something?”)
This one is named “Beaucoup” and is the Marais’ newest tapas bar and restaurant at 7, rue Froissart. It’s the third by Julien Fouin and Ludovic Dardenay after six months of renovation. About average price (these days) — you’ll spend about 40€ for your meal. Will I try it? Maybe not. I’d rather eat in a French restaurant in New York than a New York restaurant in Paris.
When you visit Paris, do you stay in a hotel or rent an apartment? We all know that it’s much nicer and more economical to rent an apartment for stays of three days or more and that’s why so many thousands of visitors do. It’s also the reason an estimated more than 20,000 vacation rental apartments of this nature exist on the Paris landscape today.
Sadly, however, Paris is starving for housing. That’s why the city resurrected old laws (from 1948) to prohibit the rental of an apartment for less than one year (nine months for students). This unconstitutional (yes, it is!) ordinance deprives anyone wishing to stay in Paris less than that period the right to housing. Shocking, but true.
This is devastating for owners of such properties, renters such as yourselves (as well as anyone needing temporary housing for a whole host of reasons) and for the real estate industry on the whole, not to mention how it affects tourism and investment in the City of Light.
A federation was formed in 2009 to combat the problem. But the federation has closed its doors to individual owners and off-shore agencies…so it operates from a weaker position than it could (my opinion).
Meanwhile, one of the largest agencies, Paris Attitude, is launching its own campaign to force Mayor Bertrand Delanoë to take notice. With them, we stand to defend the rights of tenants and landlords. You can, too, just by signing their petition. Your signature remains anonymous, so you have nothing to lose by letting the city of Paris know that you don’t agree.
Produced, directed, and edited by Joanne Burke and distributed in partnership with Julia Browne, the founder of Walking the Spirit Tours, don’t miss a series of six videos about pioneering African Americans, mainly writers and artists and musicians, living in the Paris of the 1920s and 1930s, titled “When African Americans Came to Paris.”
A la prochaine…
Editor, Parler Paris
P.S. Don’t miss our monthly coffee gathering, Parler Paris Après Midi, this Tuesday from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. at La Pierre du Marais, when Susan Herrmann Loomis, author, chef, teacher, talks about “Living the Dream through a Creative Life in France.” See Susan Loomis for more information about her cooking classes and books, and Après Midi for more information on Tuesday’s meetup.