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McSweeneys: The Paris I Once Knew is Gone

“For years, every year during the summer, he would go to Paris. It was automatic with his wife and his family. Hadn’t seen him in a while. And I said, ‘Jim, let me ask you a question: How’s Paris doing?’ ‘Paris? I don’t go there anymore. Paris is no longer Paris.” — Donald Trump

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Once, the youth of the 6th arrondissement wore the rouge et bleu of the Paris St Germain RTL jerseys as they swatted balls of brie with bats fashioned from stale baguettes and mocked Ernest Hemingway’s French accent. Now, their shirts advise ils promènent to “Fly Emirates” as droplets of couscous fall from the sky. A youth has even been spotted in the Luxembourg Gardens wearing a Real Madrid kit. Mon Dieu!

I remember when mimes would wear their striped shirts and suspenders in Montmartre and jauntily saunter away until they hit an invisible wall, at which point they could go no further despite their amusing and frantic efforts, and all this was done for l’amour de l’art! Now, naked men paint themselves gold and pretend they are statues outside Notre Dame, refusing to wink unless they are rewarded with Euro coins.

It used to be that in the Val de Marne, the bourgeoisie would find refuge from the sweltering city amidst the forests and rose gardens and medieval castles. Now, a dinner and show ticket for La Légende de Buffalo Bill avec Mickey et ses amis must be ordered in advance, and everyone receives a free cowboy hat.
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