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Paris… the European capital of Boredom 2010-Jan-10 at 23:07 PST

Posted by Scott Arbeit in Blog.
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Revelers See a Dimming in a Capital’s Night Life, by Scott Sayare and Maia de la Baume, 10-Jan-2010

Despite its reputation as the bustling spiritual home of the bohemian, the city has in recent years grown ever less mirthful and ever more staid and bourgeois, club owners say. Faced with mounting noise complaints, fines and closings, many Parisian bars and concert halls are struggling to stay afloat. D.J.’s and musicians have also been abandoning the French capital, forcing a startling conclusion upon the city’s night life professionals: Paris may soon be dead at night.

A sampling of the city’s problems: densely packed, mixed-zoned neighborhoods; a lack of late-night transportation (the last metro leaves at 2 a.m. on the weekends, 1 a.m. during the week); and an unwieldy tangle of rules and regulations on bars and nightclubs, applied with uncommon zeal by a “repressive” police force.

Club owners say the central issue is the city’s accelerating gentrification. Real estate values have more than doubled here in the past 10 years, and residents increasingly demand peace and quiet, the club owners say.

I’ve only been to Paris once, but I’ve heard this story from a few different news sources lately, and it kind-of makes me sad, particularly when I think about the thriving night scene in Budapest.  The Left Bank, Bohemian, loud, fun image of Paris from the height of post-modernism seems to fade away now.  I’d have to say that anytime we see a prediction like “Paris may soon be dead at night” it’s probably hyperbole… but it’s amazing that we’re even reading it at all.

There’s talk of allowing some late-night permits in Seattle, and I’d love to see that happen.  I’m hardly a club-scene person, but a city that allows for 4 AM or later is a thriving city and a place that invites youth and energy and turnover.

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