Much justified outrage and gnashing of bad teeth today as the deputy mayor of Paris, Anne Hidalgo, describes London as a rather dodgy suburb of her beautiful city. London, she suggests, is somewhere a lot of French people have chosen to work in, but really not a rival - just a place where you have to be careful because it has "four times as much crime".
Well, I live in a suburb of London. I cycle into the city almost every day. I wish I could cycle into the centre of Paris every day, because I love Paris.
Oddly enough, a lot of Paris has come to surround me. French families occupy the houses next to, and directly opposite my flat. The shop where I work part-time, in Bute Street, South Kensington, sells almost as many books in French as in English. We have a French-run café on one side, a boulangerie on the other, and the Lycée Français Charles de Gaulle just over the road.
The obvious thing is, I entirely concur with Mlle Hidalgo.
I particularly like her quote: "London aggressively sells itself, often in a way that goes beyond the truth. We are more rational in our communication when speaking about Paris' strengths."
So true. Boris, like so many other "professional Londoners" (cue Mr R. Elms, etc) are well into overkill territory with their constant braying about London being the great world city - whatever that means. We love London, but partly we love it because it is so shitty - and so good at underselling itself.
Anyway, back to Paris, please. Because London, however big and rich and blingy it gets, will never in a million years be able to challenge the French capital on the really important axes of pleasure, elegance, romance, sex, culture, style, beauty…and bread.