Wednesday, September 22, 2021

Paris Diary

 From The European Conservative:

Under Socialist mayor Anne Hidalgo and her Red-Green coalition, saving the environment has meant uprooting trees on Place de la Contrescarpe; cutting down a sprawling wisteria that shaded the diners at Chez Plumeau on Place du Calvaire in Montmartre (and before them, in the 19th century, the guests at the modest Auberge Coucou, in the days of Toulouse-Lautrec and Picasso). It has also meant destroying countless city parks, some designed under Napoléon III, by refusing to water them; and forbidding weeding on the wastelands thus created.

The mayor—a crafty machine politician (a possible presidential candidate next year with barely a chance of even making it to the second round), and a one-time close protégée of François Hollande—was re-elected by 17% of registered voters last year against a split opposition during the COVID crisis. She can only stay in power if her Green allies are allowed to wage their ideological war on bourgeois beauty under the sadly familiar newspeak of ‘inclusiveness,’ ‘climate-friendly policies,’ ‘direct democracy,’ and other weasel words. She has embraced it all to burnish an image of Green champion that plays well in The New York Times and The Guardian (whose correspondents she always has time for).

 This enables media coverage to ignore the downside of such horrors as the Jeff Koons installation of ‘tulips’ near the Grand Palais (a monumental bouquet of multicoloured plastic-tinted aluminium flowers held tight by a somewhat obscene pink fist) or the destruction of the elegant Lalique crystal fountains of the Place Marcel Dassault at the intersection of Avenue Montaigne and Avenue des Champs-Élysées. The fountains, which were wilfully allowed to break down over recent years, were once surrounded by some of the most beautiful flowerbeds in the world (they were the labour of love of the Gaullist councillor Françoise de Panafieu, appointed by Jacques Chirac and his successor Jean Tibéri). But they were placed by a €6.3 million abomination of steel tubes that look like 13-metre-tall, Swarovski crystals-encrusted leaking pipes, pointlessly revolving over a spare expanse of sad, sad grass. (Read more.)


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