Paris: France’s creative capital
In the same way as fashionistas are drawn to New York and Milan, the French capital attracts creatives by the hundreds.
But what is it about Paris exactly that calls to painters, photographers and poets the world over? To put it down to the elusive, intangible je ne sais quoi would be too easy. But it is a phenomenon for which there is no easy explanation.
Finding inspiration in the French capital
Perhaps there is something about occupying the same physical space as creative greats who have gone before, that makes us believe that we too can be great. Maybe Paris reminds us of the people who accomplished more, with less, and thus inspires us to be better.
Paris today shaped by French creatives
Perhaps it is more intrinsic than that though. Paris as we know it today has been shaped and influenced by the work of those French creative greats. Without overtly acknowledging it, the photographs we’ve seen, the paintings we’ve admired, the music we’ve heard, the books we’ve read, the philosophy we’ve pondered – all create a sense of Paris that goes beyond the physical reality of the city itself.
The Café de Flore would be just another sub-par tourist spot if it weren’t for Jean-Paul Sartre, Simone de Beauvoir, et al who breathed life into it, immortalising it in print. And though the concept of Paris as a city for lovers predates Robert Doisneau’s famous ‘Le baiser de l’hôtel de ville’, his photograph served only to cement this notion. Henry Miller and Anais Nin convinced us all that Paris was a place of rich decadence, of freedom and hedonism, which Henri Toulouse-Lautrec captured only too well.
The role of creatives in the future of Paris
Perhaps it comes down to this: we hope that if we are there too, in Paris, that our work – our writing, our paintings, our films, will one day shape the image of Paris of the future. For me, it is this possibility, that I might play a role in the history of this great French city. That’s what draws me in.
What do you think it is?Image credits:
1. Artist sketching by ShaneRounce.com Design and Photography on Flickr.
2. Cafe essentials by Rudi Riet Randomduck on Flickr.
3. The 6th arrondissement sign by Nico Paix on Flickr.