Saturday, September 15, 2012

Plus vite, hélas! que le coeur d'un mortel

I never go to the Champs-Élysées, so I suppose I have no right to mourn its demise, chronicled today by Steven Erlanger:
André Malraux, the novelist and minister of culture under Charles de Gaulle, told a French-American journalist in the 1960s that the Champs-Élysées — then considered the most beautiful avenue in the world — had “an American basement.” Today, American business and its brands are prominently aboveground on a Champs-Élysées that has largely lost its distinctive character and has become far less French.

The subject line is from Baudelaire's Le Cygne:

Le vieux Paris n'est plus (la forme d'une ville
Change plus vite, hélas! que le coeur d'un mortel)


Anonymous said...

I agree. The last two times I went there, I was horrified. What's the point of having Eurodisney nearby for them to go if the tourists overrun also my town?


James Brown said...

I never understand these "Champs Elysées-on-the-decline" articles - does the place possess some sort of natural essence from which it must not deviate?