Joachim Fritz-Vannahme
28. February 2020

#Paris, toujours Paris!

The mayoress of Paris is Anne Hidalgo. At least until the local elections on March 15 and 22. Probably afterwards, as well. And if, contrary to expectations, she won’t be re-elected, there will still be a mayoress. Want to bet?

For the most promising candidates are all women – besides Hidalgo the conservative Rachida Dati and the liberal Agnès Buzyn.

The latter had to fill in for Benjamin Griveaux at short notice. The former government spokesman for Emmanuel Macron stumbled across a sex video that was made public by an intrigue. The details can be read here, the crazy story actually calls for a 21st century Alexandre Dumas, a publisher is guaranteed to be found after all the publicity.

 

Paris is feminine, after all

 

Paris is the metropolis that is commonly associated with woman per se, not just because of fashion. The feminine – after all, half of humanity – is now also pushing for power at the Seine.

All three candidates are already worthy of our attention because of their origins.

The socialist Anne Hidalgo is the daughter of Spanish refugees from the Franco regime, born near Cadiz, baptized as Ana.

Rachida Dati, from humble beginnings as second oldest of eleven children of a Moroccan bricklayer and an Algerian mother, emphasises her successful career as “fille de France“, which led her to become Minister of Justice under President Nicholas Sarkozy and then MEP.

And the doctor and former Minister of Health, Agnès Buzyn, is the daughter of a Polish Jew who, unlike others in his family, survived Auschwitz.

 

Le Monde calls them “the Three Graces”

 

Paris, you’re better off. For in which European metropolis do three women with such biographies crowd into the city hall? The newspaper Le Monde calls the candidates “The Three Graces” – their editorialist is Françoise Fressoz, and she’s capping it all off, “The Three Graces are three fearless women.”

But what do the three women want with their city? What should Paris look like after six years in office? How should the “ville lumière, the city of light” sparkle and shine for the 2024 Summer Olympics?

 

The asphalt has become a battlefield

 

Hidalgo has been turning the asphalt of Paris into a battlefield since 2014. Pedestrians fight cyclists fighting motorists. Highways are closed, roads are undergoing traffic-reducing measures, that is, they are being slashed and dug up. This is annoying for motorists, cyclists and pedestrians alike.

Dati focuses on security in her election campaign – not surprising for a former judge and minister of justice. And Buzyn has only four weeks to gain a profile in her city (Hidalgo and Dati are both from the provinces, the France profonde).

No matter who will be ahead on March 22 – Paris will continue to change. I myself have lived and worked in this wonderful city for ten years – cursing the traffic, the tourists, the hectic pace and the prices.

 

Everyone curses prices and tourists

 

Even if many things look quite different today, nothing has changed about these disturbing factors. If you like, you can listen to this in a discussion, in Alain Finkielkraut’s “Répliques” on France Culture. “Will Paris always be Paris?”, the pugnacious Finkielkraut asked his guests, the writer Benoît Duteurtre and the journalist Thomas Legrand.

We are saving this lively programme for 2024: when the youth of the world flock to Paris for the Olympics, the city hall will take stock, regardless of whether a Buzyn, Dati or Hidalgo is sitting there.

 

“Paris vaut bien une messe

 

Two bets: Even then there will be complaints about traffic and tourists, about the hectic pace and prices.

And in Notre-Dame de Paris, there will still not have been held mass until then, more than five years after the great fire. Even if Paris is well worth a mass.

 

 

 

Photo by Isaiah Bekkers on Unsplash

 

 

 

 

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