A few weeks ago, Paris mayor Anne Hidalgo shared a promotional video “Paris, je t’aime” on her Facebook page. The video that has since received more than 19,000 hits, quickly came under criticism for selling a highly cliched image of Paris, showing nothing more than the Eiffel tower, Champs Elysées, the concert halls and other tourist hotspots of the French capital.
Late last week, French film makers Max & Léo released a video “PARIS ON T’AIME AUSSI” (Paris we love you too) as their response to the official video. Expressing their sadness, the filmmakers wrote: “We love our city and its residents… In our video, we don’t see the actors, just the real Parisians crossing the street, in the shops and all the places that make our capital magical.”
Thank you Max & Léo! We could not agree more. Paris is not just about, and it does not end with, the Eiffel Tower, the Notre Dame, Trocadero and La Fayette. All of them are beautiful places that one must see at least once in their lifetime. But the city goes much beyond these clichés. What makes the city magical is all the diversity that we see on its streets. Step beyond your comfort zone, take a walk on the streets of Belleville, be overwhelmed by the colours of Goutte d’or, and experience a whole new world in La Chapelle.