a week in Paris.

I just spent a week in Paris; my 3rd time here although the last time was 19 years ago and the time before that was 32 years ago(!). I always find it surprising that despite the crowds and noise and intensity and heat, I love it this place. There’s something about the practical no nonsense, but respectful, way that Parisiens deal with visitors. That’s a bonus on top of the art and artifacts and history.

I’m always surprised by how much French cultural history relates to us in Canada even though we are nominally descended from the British cultural and political tradition. I wonder if it’s just that in their founding of a liberal democracy back in the 18th century (and again on the 19th century) they developed so many of the principles of democratic citizenry that are our received-truths about democracy, that when I am visiting some of their historical sites I feel like I am drinking in some kind of “eau de source” of democratic culture.

Of course, it doesn’t hurt that the bridges and the river and the trains and the bikes and motorscooters are also all part of what I imagine is the proto-city that Vancouver should aspire to. But that’s another story.

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