Paris is no longer considered, at least by Parisians, to be “the most beautiful city in the world.”
Much has been written, not only on the dirtiness, but the disfigurement of this city, a collective disgruntlement that started a year or two after Anne Hidalgo, mayor of Paris, took charge. Paris today does not resemble the Paris I knew when I arrived in the 1990s. It’s less safe, that’s for sure, and the noise and air pollution is intolerable.
The metallic whine of scooters, the klaxon of police cars, people sitting in their cars and talking loudly on amplified speakers; dog owners still allowing their dogs to poop on the sidewalks without cleaning up after them, and electric disposable scooters, abandoned, that litter public spaces. Bicycle lanes have been added to city roads, which is a good thing, albeit dangerous, and now when you cross the street you have to look both ways, several times, not only for oncoming cars and buses that might mow you down, but bicycles.
As for me, I continue to live here for one reason only: I have a good job. But the day I retire, I’ll be out of here quick, heading south to live in Spain. Better quality of life, better weather, friendlier people, fabulous fresh food and wine; just as much arts and culture as France, not to mention clean high-speed trains – all with a significantly lower cost of living.
What was once the beautiful avenue de l’Opéra is now an uglified version. No one understands why these ugly roadblocks are placed all over the city.
#SaccageParis: the hashtag that denounces the dirt and the “ugliness” of the city
depicts the French capital as “dirty”, “fouled”, which has become a “disfigured city”, “ugly” and “trashed”. Thousands of photos have been published, mixing the indignation of residents and certain political figures. Choosing to remain anonymous, the creator of the hashtag explains that everything “started out of a fit of anger”. Himself a Parisian “for twenty years”, he claims to have “seen the city deteriorating since the arrival of Anne Hidalgo at the head of the Hôtel de Ville”. Noting the extent of the phenomenon on Twitter, the capital’s town hall regretted a “distortion of reality”, while admitting a problem, and has since called for “more sanctions” against the perpetrators of incivility.
But it’s the mayor’s office who is the perpetrator of the incivility! I won’t even mention the refugee and migrant tents, not to mention homeless people, who camp out under bridges. And Anne Hidalgo claims to be a Socialist?