We’ll Always Have ParisThe clichéd capital of comparison.

We’ll Always Have ParisThe clichéd capital of comparison.

  • Words Allyssia Alleyne
  • Photograph Armin Tehrani / Værnis Studio

There is a Paris, it seems, in every region. You can find a “Paris of the East” in Shanghai, Bucharest, Kabul or Pondicherry, and a “Paris of the North” in Copenhagen, Warsaw and Riga. Across the Atlantic, Paris has been found in Havana (“Paris of the Caribbean”), Detroit (“Paris of the Midwest”), Kansas City (“Paris of the Plains”) and Montreal (“Paris of the New World”). In 1943, when trying to entice Franklin D. Roosevelt to accompany him to Marrakech following a Casablanca summit, Winston Churchill famously termed the city the “Paris of the Sahara.”1

These comparisons are about more than cafés, liberal values, boulevards and art deco apartments—in many instances brought in under the force of colonial rule. In fact, the literal similarities are often ...

ISSUE 52

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