Thursday, May 12, 2011

Nordlinger's Notes From Paris

Jay Nordlinger reports (Part 1, Part 2) from the National Review's cruise along the Seine:

Just when you think that Paris might — just might — be overrated, you visit again: and you rediscover, “No way — if anything, it’s under-.” Year after year, decade after decade, generation after generation, it remains a delight to the eye, mouth, and ear. Paul Johnson is one of our cruisers — one of our special guests. Like Priscilla Buckley, he worked here as a journalist. Paris was down at the heels then — recovering from war and occupation. He remarks on how prosperous the city looks today. It just glitters.

About the banlieues — those “strife-riven” suburbs — we can speak another time . . .

I really don’t like national stereotypes, or generalizations about peoples and nations, even when they’re positive: “The Irish are excellent storytellers,” etc. But I feel like making a statement, so I think I’ll just go ahead: All of my life, I’ve loved being in France, and among French people — not just in small cities and towns, and in the countryside, but in the capital itself.

“Well, aren’t French elites ferociously anti-American?” you might say. A lot of them are — but that is common throughout Western Europe. “Well, don’t you meet people who are vain, godless, immoral, and self-loving?”

Oh, baby, you don’t have to leave home for that . . .