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Old 11-20-2009, 08:48 AM
 
Location: MichOhioigan
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I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to spend a week in Paris recently. As I explored this wonderful city, mostly on foot, I couldn't help but try to make a connection to a city, any city, in North America. I suppose because here in the U.S. our cities are so cookie-cutter that nearly every city (New York excepted) resembles half a dozen other cities. Not surprisingly my quest was futile. Paris is so grand, so old, so unique, so achitecturally striking, and larger than all but two of North America's metropolitan areas. But these are my thoughts on the subject;

Wahington D.C. has a similar layout (go figure, it was designed by a Frenchman.) with its broad boulevards, angled streets, traffic circles, museums and monuments, and large elaborate government buildings with courtyards. Also the ethnic diversity and subway system.

Montreal of course has the ethnic/cultural connection to Paris as well as a subway system based on Paris' Metro.

New York and Chicago have the size, the harried pace and the swarm of pedestrain traffic.

Toronto has the density and public transportation.

Oddly as I viewed all the beige/sand/tan colored buildings in Paris I found myself thinking of San Diego or California in general. I think the similarity ends there though.

So what do you think? I am curious for any thoughts, input from my fellow C-Ders, especially those that have seen Paris, on comparisons of U.S. and Canadian cities to Paris.
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Old 11-20-2009, 09:28 AM
 
Location: Manhattan
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Washington, DC has some similarities with Paris in the layout of the city, both cities have lots of government buildings as they are both capitals, and both cities have a tall monument that is the focal point of the city.

Montreal resembles Paris for cultural reasons as Montreal is heavily influence by Paris.

New York resembles Paris in how cosmopolitan, urban, busy, and cultural they are. Also, they are both filled with so many iconic landmarks.

Mexico City resembles Paris in the sense that they both have a lot of very heavily detailed architecture. Both have very vibrant streets, beautiful churches, tons of outdoor cafes, and lots of historical sites.

Not as a skyline, but at ground level, Paris' La Defense shows many similarities with Chicago's Loop.

This is a stretch, but some of the dense, low-rise neighborhoods in San Francisco and LA are in some ways similar to the dense, low-rise neighborhoods in Paris.

Last edited by jayp1188; 11-20-2009 at 10:01 AM..
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Old 11-20-2009, 09:30 AM
 
Location: Zurich, Switzerland/ Piedmont, CA
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Quote:
I suppose because here in the U.S. our cities are so cookie-cutter that nearly every city (New York excepted) resembles half a dozen other cities.
Have you been anywhere?

Las Vegas' strip is undoubtedly Las Vegas. Nowhere else. Los Angeles is unmistakable. Chicago too. Honolulu most definitely cannot be confused for any other US City. SF is pretty much iconically unique at every turn. Washington DC cannot be mistaken for anywhere else. New Orleans as well. Miami is hard to mistake for Phoenix, Seattle's skyline is not similar to Charlotte's at all. Boston and Santa Fe have very different residential styles.

No, we live in a very diverse country-much more diverse from one city to the next than France.
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Old 11-20-2009, 09:53 AM
 
Location: MichOhioigan
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jayp1188 View Post
Washington, DC has some similarities with Paris in the layout of the city, both cities have lots of government buildings as they are both capitals, and both cities have a tall monument that is the focal point of the city.

Montreal resembles Paris for cultural reasons as Montreal is heavily influence by Paris.

New York resembles Paris in how cosmopolitan, urban, busy, and cultural they are. Also, they are both filled with so many iconic landmarks.

Mexico City resembles Paris in the sense that they both have a lot of very heavily detailed architecture. Both have very vibrant streets, beautiful churches, tons outdoor cafes, and lots of historical sites.

Not as a skyline, but at ground level, Paris' La Defense shows many similarities with Chicago's Loop.

This is a stretch, but some of the dense, low-rise neighborhoods in San Francisco and LA are in some ways similar to the dense, low-rise neighborhoods in Paris.
Excellant point on Mexico City! I hadn't even thought about that one. Probably because I haven't been there. Actually I thought about Chicago when I visited La Defense (a great site to visit in Paris btw that is often overlooked by the guidebooks). Ironically Chicago is seems old compared to "LD" because so much of the latter has been built in just the past couple of decades. Thanks for the input.
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Old 11-20-2009, 11:34 AM
 
Location: MichOhioigan
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Originally Posted by 18Montclair View Post
Have you been anywhere?

Las Vegas' strip is undoubtedly Las Vegas. Nowhere else. Los Angeles is unmistakable. Chicago too. Honolulu most definitely cannot be confused for any other US City. SF is pretty much iconically unique at every turn. Washington DC cannot be mistaken for anywhere else. New Orleans as well. Miami is hard to mistake for Phoenix, Seattle's skyline is not similar to Charlotte's at all. Boston and Santa Fe have very different residential styles.

No, we live in a very diverse country-much more diverse from one city to the next than France.
None of this really answers my original post but thanks for your opinion nonetheless.

Aside from the one or two iconic structures that nearly every city has to identify itself, and of course the physical geography, many of our cities are quite similar especially on a regional level. Nearly every city in the Midwest bares a striking resemblance to another city or cities in the Midwest for example.

In regards to cities in France the only other city I visited was Strasbourg so I can't really comment other than to say that Strasbourg is quite different from Paris. But France is different than the U.S. in that it has one large, dominant city in which nearly 20% of the nation lives within its metro area and no other city comes close in size. That is not the case in the U.S.

Additionally France is only about the size of Texas. Due to our phsysical size we have a greater variation in climate and terrain that may give an appearance that our cities are more different than what they really are.

Perhaps it is because Paris is over two thousand years old as is much of Europe and the world. Even our oldest cities in North America are "infants" and perhaps have not yet found their individualities or sense of self. A city like an individual has to discover and cultivate their uniqueness and this requires time.
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Old 11-20-2009, 11:42 AM
 
Location: Boston
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I think parts of Boston strongly resemble Paris. Strolling through the Public Garden in Spring evokes Le Jardin Luxembourg, Commonwealth Ave. is very similar to Champs Elysee, the North End and Blackstone area look a bit like the left bank, the Forest Hill cemetery was modeled on Cheais le Perre, lost of outdoor dining facilities, etc. I'm often struck by the similarities, especially because Boston is more frequently compared to London.
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Old 11-20-2009, 12:48 PM
 
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The one city that comes to mind (instantly) is Quebec City. Although it's much smaller there are quite a few similarities. 1. The French Language 2. QC is the only walled city in North America giving it a very european feel. 3. The central part of QC (centre-ville) makes you feel like you are in Europe specifically France.
In terms of people comparing American cities to Paris, I think they are very wrong because american cities (although unique from each other) are very American (not a bad thing) and do not give you a european feel to them at all. just my opinion.
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Old 11-20-2009, 01:36 PM
 
Location: MichOhioigan
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Originally Posted by Traveling RS View Post
The one city that comes to mind (instantly) is Quebec City. Although it's much smaller there are quite a few similarities. 1. The French Language 2. QC is the only walled city in North America giving it a very european feel. 3. The central part of QC (centre-ville) makes you feel like you are in Europe specifically France.
In terms of people comparing American cities to Paris, I think they are very wrong because american cities (although unique from each other) are very American (not a bad thing) and do not give you a european feel to them at all. just my opinion.
As much as I love QC I didn't see or feel the resmblance while in Paris as much as I would have thought. I think perhaps because of the size and the slower pace. Montreal seemed more of a comparison to me although it still pales in size.
Definitely right on the "Frenchness". I think I heard more anglais in Paris than in QC. LOL! But actually that makes sense given the amount of English-speaking business/government people that are traveling to or working in Paris.
Sorry you feel me wrong in looking for a comparison. I suppose because Paris is so unique and impressive I was trying to find a North American "distant cousin". I still go with Washington although as someone else pointed out a case can be made for Mexico City. Both are still a stretch though. Thank you for your contribution.
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Old 11-20-2009, 03:04 PM
 
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There is a place named Paris in Ontario. Although there is absolutely NO resemblance to its big brother in France they do share the same name. Does that count? lol
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Old 11-20-2009, 03:50 PM
 
Location: Houston
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Originally Posted by Traveling RS View Post
There is a place named Paris in Ontario. Although there is absolutely NO resemblance to its big brother in France they do share the same name. Does that count? lol
There's a Paris, Texas too. Nothing like Paris, France though. Quite the opposite actually.

I would have to say either a major city in French Quebec or Washington, DC. The city layout for Washington was modeled after Paris.
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