Sunday, March 01, 2015

Cleansing through Paris

There's France, a country in Europe. Then there's Frahnce, an idea, a symbol, a prime study-abroad destination, an Anglo-American fantasy, a disappointment to some Japanese tourists, and the place where Alice Waters learned that American food was inferior. I'm not sure which of these Dionna Lee's guide is in reference to.

As would make sense for "Into The Gloss," where the guide appears, it begins with advice on where to find "100% organic juices, açaí bowls, and homemade almond milk cacao shakes." As the commenters correctly note, this is an odd pick for a city with... well, for a city with this as an option. Other suggestions include shopping at an H&M-affiliated store with a location on lower Broadway; getting cheesecake at an American-style café; and having an expensive vegetarian dinner. This is, in other words, an upscale, fashion-world version of a guide to Paris's McDonalds and Starbucks locations. A guide for those who find snails not too weird but too fattening. (The cheesecake can, I suppose, be Instagrammed but not eaten.)

But the beef in the comments seems mainly to come from the framing: "Paris Like A Local," the post is called, when basically everything being suggested could be better-accomplished in New York. But... does that necessarily make it not a like-a-local guide? New York is so hot right now in Paris, or was when I was there, which was granted a while ago now, but I've heard things, and it's my understanding that that remains the case. The more Williamsburg-ish a place is, perhaps the more likely hip French people will be in it. Or hip Parisians, a group that includes expats. After all, Parisians aren't going to shop exclusively at stores that only exist in Paris. It's a let-down for you-the-tourist if you can find the same thing for less at a mall, but not for someone who's unlikely to ever set foot in the Quakerbridge Mall (and how nice for them) in the first place.

1 comment:

Londoner said...

More interested in the cognitive dissonance that results from Anglophone Francophiles, a liberal set if there ever was one, encountering the New Parisiennes.