Apparently Paris elected a new mayor on Sunday. Her name is Anne Hidalgo, and she is a woman—which I emphasize because that’s a big deal in a Latin country like France. France is perhaps one of the least macho of all countries with a Latin heritage, but it’s still macho, and Ms. Hidalgo is the first female mayor of the city, and so it’s a big deal.
I just hope the new mayor doesn’t do anything stupid. I like Paris the way it is, so I’m always worried about some newcomer wanting to make his/her mark on the city in some ridiculous way (usually an architectural way). It’s bad enough that incredibly ugly buildings are periodically constructed in the city, for reasons I cannot fully fathom. Often they are designed by Jean Nouvel, which is even worse.
The previous mayor, Bertrand Delanoë, is stepping down after many years as mayor. I’m not sure why. Maybe he’s just tired of the job. He seemed to care about Paris and did lots of good things, I think, although he seemed to start to yield more to outside pressures as time went on.
Anyway, let’s hope the new mayor doesn’t feel compelled to make her mark. She has said something about reducing the difficulties Parisians have in finding and keeping a place to live, which I suppose is a good thing. There are times when I think that every other apartment in the city is being rented to tourists by the owner in order to make a fast (and perhaps not entirely legal) buck—or euro I should say.
Speaking of Jean Nouvel (which is never pleasant for me), one of his monstrosities is nearing completion near me. It looks like an earthquake hit it. Sometimes I wonder if he deliberately designs ugly stuff just to see how far he can go on hype and reputation alone. There isn’t a lot of competition, as there are terribly few decent French architects these days.