Nazi biographies and Seventies porn. Just two things to love about Paris

Paris lived up to expectations
Paris lived up to expectations

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Jo Haywood writes a love letter to the city of romance. Or at least that was her intention…

 

Bonjour mesdames et messieurs de York. C’est avec un reel plaisir que je suis de nouveau ici à cette belle ville. Mais… OK, that’s enough. By the time I’ve worked out how to write this in French I’ll be too senile to remember why I’m doing it.

What I was trying to say in my très clumsy Frenglish is that I’m pleased to be back in my beautiful home city after a glorious week in Paris. But, lovely as York is, I still have une petite hankering to become French (OK, I’ll stop the language lapses now; I can see how incredibly ennuyeux it is).

Frankly (or perhaps that should be Francophilely), it could have gone either way in Paris. My expectations were so giddily high, I could easily have been hugely disappointed; searching for a dazzling city of light but finding a yawning chasm of letdown instead.

But the climax of my feverish frenzy of France-related excitement was anything but anti. I loved it. All of it. Even the sleazy booksellers pitched up by the Seine with their disturbing collections of Nazi biographies and Seventies porn magazines (the women looked like they were smuggling the Jackson 5 in their pants).

Bizarre as it sounds, I actually had quite an enjoyable if bemusing conversation about George Harrison with one of these sleaze merchants, although a lot of it was done with mime, pointing and eyebrow-raising, so we could easily have been at cross-purposes.

This has become a diatribe about Nazis, porn star knicker quiffs, George Harrison, cows and Asian people called Kevin

For all I know, he might really have been asking who my favourite porn Nazi was. Which could actually go some way to explaining those dramatically raised eyebrows when I said ‘George Harrison’.

But I digress. No really, I do. All the time. My friends and family find it incredibly annoying, particularly when I come up for air after an hour or so and can’t for the life of me understand why I’m telling them my theory about cows (they look benign but they’re pure evil) or why cold callers are making us a more racist nation (I tried that one on the kids the other day but they just went glassy eyed after five minutes and sidled off towards the trampoline).

This was supposed to be a heartfelt love letter to Paris and has ended up as a rambling diatribe about Nazis, porn star knicker quiffs, George Harrison, cows and Asian people called Kevin who ring up while you’re having your tea to talk about loft insulation.

But next time I promise I will actually stick to the brief and talk more about my ongoing quest for Frenchness and the lessons I learned on my Parisian sojourn.

I’ll be focussing on fashion, food, fags and fun (an effing lot of stuff to get through for someone who digresses to an Olympic standard, you might well mutter). Until then, bonsoir ma agréable Britannique ami.