Evelyn Waugh on the varied reputation of Paris

“The characteristic thing about Paris is not so much the extent — though that is vast — as the overwhelming variety of its reputation. It has become so overlaid with successive plasterings of paste and proclamation that it has come to resemble those rotten old houses one sometimes sees during their demolition, whose crumbling frame of walls is only held together by the solid strata of wallpapers.

“What, after all these years, can we say about Paris? There is a word, ‘bogus’, which I have heard used a great deal with various and often inconsistent implications. It seems to me that this scrap of jargon, in every gradation of meaning, every innuendo, every allusion and perversion and ‘bluff’ it is capable of bearing, gives a very adequate expression of the essence of modern Paris.

“Paris is bogus in its lack of genuine nationality. No one can feel a foreigner in Monte Carlo, but Paris is cosmopolitan in the diametrically opposite sense, that it makes everyone a foreigner.”
–Evelyn Waugh, Labels (1930)

Posted by | Comments Off on Evelyn Waugh on the varied reputation of Paris  | July 1, 2003
Category: Travel Quote of the Day

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