I lived in Paris from 1990-96. I’d wanted to live there since I read ‘A moveable feast‘ by Hemingway. Seemingly he spent his whole time in Paris moving from café to restaurant scribbling works of art on napkins. My dad loves his writing but I’ve never been a fan. ‘A moveable feast’ however is different. It’s full of heart. The prose is not terse, pared down, modern. He writes naturally, sensually, clearly influenced by his gastronomic surroundings.
“Excuse me” she defended herself laughingly “when I had my children I had lots of milk from these tiny breasts. Gallons! Sophia Loren…”she holds her hands further away from her body, imitating large breasts “she had nothing, not a drop, pas une goutte!!!”
That's such a beautiful evocation of what Paris can so easily be imagined as! Instead, as you say, it's full of 'collabos' and needless paperwork. No amount of street-side hire bikes or state-funded art squats is ever going to change that I don't think!