Over the holidays I left the warmth of sunny LA to visit mon homme, Harold in Paris and decided to reveal my comparative observations between these two great cities. Also, I can’t think of anything else to blog about this week.
Weather – I don’t even know why I am bothering to comment on this, as LA is the obvious winner. Visiting France in the winter didn’t help Paris here, but come on, no matter what the season, not many cities are going to beat LA when it comes to our average weather year round, which is quite spectacular.
Public Transportation – As a frequent rider of LA’s Metro system, I feel qualified to declare Paris the winner here. The City of Lights boasts many more trains per hour (like one train every 5 minutes) and is much more accessible than LA’s Metro system. You can get within a few blocks of just about anywhere you need to go. The one drawback is that it can be quite crowded, even during off peak hours.
Cost of Living – LA may not be the cheapest big city, but it sure beats Paris when it comes to housing and food values. Harold’s apartment is a good example. His place is smaller than mine, in a more suburban area, lacks an oven, and is still more expensive than my conveniently located and totally happening Silver Lake pad. Dining out in Paris is expensive too and even fast food is pricey. Combine that with the unfavorable Dollar to Euro conversion and you will find yourself eating at home a lot. In LA, you have endless options for cheap eats and drinks if you want to go out. Not so in Paris. Even grocery shopping is more expensive, particularly fresh fruits and vegetables.
Food Quality – While this is not specific to LA and is probably more of a U.S. issue, France takes the prize when it comes to food quality. Even pre-packaged and frozen food is more natural and contains far fewer additives in France than in the U.S. The same common brands of wheat bread and yogurt that, in the U.S., have high fructose corn syrup, do not contain the ingredient in France. When I go grocery shopping in the U.S., I really have to inspect labels and it is an effort to choose healthy pre-packaged products, but in France, healthy seemed to be the default. Perhaps this is why food is more expensive in France? You get what you pay for.
Clean Up After Your Pet – Angelenos win this round. From what I witnessed, Parisians are quite OK letting their dogs take giant dumps right in the middle of the sidewalk in front of people and then walking away. Harold and I witnessed his neighbor kick her dog’s poop into oncoming traffic. If you want to keep your shoes clean, you really have to be vigilant and pay close attention to the sidewalk when you go for a walk in Paris. Not quite the romantic Parisian stroll I previously imagined.
Marijuana – Allow me to preface this by saying that I am only making an observation here and am in no way incriminating myself as a drug buyer or user. Anyway, thanks to LA’s convoluted medical marijuana regulations and also our proximity to key suppliers like Mexico and Humboldt County, if you want to find some pot in LA, it ain’t hard. In Paris, from what the locals say, it’s quite an ordeal to find marijuana and when you do finally make a connection, the quality is sub par.
Traffic – This one is a tie. Harold and I spent 2 hours in his car trying to get from the south side of Paris to the east side one night. It was all so LA.
Culture – Culture can be defined in many ways and takes many forms. I do not think that LA lacks culture, it’s just that Paris seems to have a more defined culture and an overwhelming abundance of it. LA is simply a much newer city and could never beat Paris when it comes to museums, architecture, historical artifacts, etc. Even the graffiti culture seemed to operate on a higher level. I’m not saying one culture is better than the other. I just think Paris has had a lot more time to cultivate and refine their particular brand.
Fashion – Sorry, LA, but Paris takes this one too. Harold lives directly above an RER stop and a couple of blocks from the Metro. I would stand at his window and watch scores of people walk by every morning on their way to work or wherever. There is definitely a distinct effort, especially with men, to be fashion forward. Everyone seemed so well tailored, even just grocery shopping.
Other Random Observations – Americans may think the French eat cheese all day and never get fat but, in France, cheese is often served after the main course, so you end up eating a lot less of it. I found it strange that fried eggs are a common pizza topping in France. I also noticed that the vegan movement appeared to be non-existent, “extra light cream” is quite thick and heavy, lunch is often the heaviest meal of the day, people type “hu hu” instead of “ha ha,” and the French version of “yeah” sounds like “way” and they say it a lot.
I am certainly not the definitive source on all things LA or Paris, these are just observations and opinions based on my personal experience. If given the choice to live in LA or Paris, I would definitely choose LA, so it’s a good thing I already live in the best city in the world. I rule.