Sunday, August 28, 2011

Paris thoughts

I'm leaving today for five days in Roussillon, in southwestern France, and then a (much needed) week in Paris. Rain is predicted in the capital, but that will hardly stop my ramblings in my second-favorite city on Earth.

My second-favorite city.

This reminds me that when visitors comment on the admittedly rampant ugliness of Los Angeles, my first response is inevitably to point out that Los Angeles is just 231 years old—an infant still in diapers, sometimes badly stained.

Architectural democracy in action.

Paris, which most certainly consider one of the world's most beautiful cities, is an order of magnitude older, having been around for nearly 2,300 years and counting.

"Come back when Los Angeles is 2,300 years old and see how beautiful it will be," I tell the doubters.

Of course, what we know as Paris today was very largely the result of the draconian rebuilding of the city by Georges-Eugène Haussmann in the mid-19th century, very late, relatively speaking, in the the city's history.

Paris sous la pluie.

Perhaps what Los Angeles needs is a visionary of the caliber of Haussmann who will rake away all the mini-malls and dingbats, widen (and repave!) the boulevards, and bring some sense of order into the urban free-for-all that is L.A.

Is there a Baron Haussmann in our future?

If only it were this easy.

See you in two weeks.

58 comments:

  1. Indeed! Paris is my favorite city in Europe - for all the reasons you've outlined. Romance in its curvilinear streets, stone facades, accented streetscapes, etc.

    LA is in desparate need of some thoughtful master planning. Autoshops should not abut single family homes. PVE is a good case study of a well thought out residential master planned community. Irvine is another. Obviously a lot harder to master plan an existing brownfield site like LA than to do from scratch. But maybe after the Big One happens, we'll have enough canvas to rewrite the LA landscape!

    ReplyDelete
  2. I don't think I'm being too sarcastic when I say that even in 2,300 years, many of Los Angeles' streets still will be lined with crude-looking wood power poles and overhead utility lines.

    Such things in mind, how can any local ever wonder why the city has a reputation for being overly unattractive and even rather primitive?

    ReplyDelete
  3. I like to visit different cities and collect some part of there cultures and then mix it and create something new!

    ReplyDelete
  4. This reminds me that when visitors comment on the admittedly rampant ugliness of Los Angeles, my first response is inevitably to point out that Los Angeles is just 231 years old—an infant still in diapers, sometimes badly stained.

    ReplyDelete
  5. PVE is a good case study of a well thought out residential master planned community. Irvine is another. Obviously a lot harder to master plan an existing brownfield site like LA than to do from scratch. But maybe after the Big One happens, we'll have enough canvas to rewrite the LA landscape!

    ReplyDelete
  6. What an excellent blog! Paris, which most certainly consider one of the world's most beautiful cities, is an order of magnitude older, having been around for nearly 2,300 years and counting.
    "Come back when Los Angeles is 2,300 years old and see how beautiful it will be," I tell the doubters.
    Of course, what we know as Paris today was very largely the result of the draconian rebuilding of the city by Georges-Eugène Haussmann in the mid-19th century, very late, relatively speaking, in the the city's history.

    ReplyDelete
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