I Am Carla Bruni's Neighbor

But a street is all we share

“Let’s just start off with the breath. The oral care standards of Parisians are utterly unlike any I’ve ever known. Thanks to their pack-or-more-a-day cigarette habits, every other person smells like smoke-cured human bacon. You smell coffee, but not the fresh stuff in the cup—the smell of it in someone’s mouth four hours later. Then there’s the repulsive odor that wafts from the RER train system. If Satan farted, it would be a little like this sulfurous cocktail of burning photocopies and fried electrical wires. Sure, the gourmand perfume of fresh croissants, butter, and baked flour spills onto the street. But take a few more steps and you’re smacked in the face by the equally fresh smell of dog shit. If you close your eyes, you discover the marketing of Paris—that whole “city of light” garbage that’s eagerly swallowed by tourists—is really nothing but a lie.”

—    Chandler Burr, in GQ, naming Paris the smelliest city in the world. Read more.
  • 3 February 2012