Zut Alors

Much like London, one does not visit Paris for the cheery disposition of its residents. Yet here I am again, drinking Beaujolais (bottle #2 of the afternoon), while I look out onto the Sacré-Cœur from the balcony of the apartment I’ve rented for the weekend.

It’s a dirty fucking city when you get to the nub of it. Everyone smokes, every backstreet stinks of fresh piss and gentlemen, please keep your eyes on your man-bags when hit the Gare du Nord. But all the best things in life are covered in a little filth; Paris is hypnotic.

I wish I’d visited more in my hedonistic mid-twenties. It would’ve been a wonderful marriage of chain-smoked Gauloises, cheap vin rouge and lusting after girls far too pretty to bother hiding their disdain. But I was always broke back then and the most exotic place I ever visited was New Cross.

Still, I have it now. Paris and I are tight. This calm, collected “adult” guise I now wear like a second skin fits in just fine with the blazer-clad, scraggly-haired Parisian men. Sure, it’s not quite getting trollied at the back of a club with a hair model (Dior, dahhling), but there’s now dignity where youthful naivety once was, confidence replaces keenness. Getting older ain’t so bad.

From my North London flat, it’s a three hour trip, door-to-door. I visit every six months or so. I wonder if the beauty of the city lies in the priorities of the Parisians: food, sex and food (in that order). There’s certainly something to be said for consuming a bottle of wine with lunch without raised eyebrows and English snickers from the staff or patrons of whatever establishment you choose to get wrecked in. But, really, I know it’s not that. Magical elements, by their very nature, are obscure and undefinable.
I couldn’t live here, but, like the best drugs and exes, there’s a reason I keep coming back. I’m just not sure what that reason is. And I’m okay with that.


  1. You’re lucky you’ve found it. Paris and your relationship with it will perhaps come in very handy when you need to find strangers to complain about life to. You can’t nearly do it in London, nobody listens


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