Wealthy Arrondissement bashing

It is obvious Parisian knowledge that all people living in the same arrondissement are just one. They all talk the same, dress the same, go out to the same places and have the same professional occupations. This knowledge allows Parisians to practice wealthy arrondissement bashing.

This Parisian activity is based on decades of hands-on sociological analysis and is therefore absolutely acceptable. If, as a non Parisian, you argue this is rough generalization, you will probably be considered as ‘one of them’.

Parisians living in the 6th, 7th, 8th, 16th and 17th arrondissements are all “bourges” (short for bourgeois). They all drive Smart Cars or BMWs. They all spend their vacation in Cannes or in Courchevel. And they all wear Ralph Lauren shirts. Only Parisians living in the 16th can be called “gros bourges”. They are all rich and should therefore be punished. A “gros bourge” is like a bourge, but worse. No further explanation is needed. Obviously, it is no possible to befriend a “gros bourge” without immediately becoming one yourself.

Brazil has this saying that you always have sex with people darker than you and marry someone whiter that you. The same goes with arrondissements in Paris. While sexual intercourses happen between different arrondissement people, marriages tend to only happen within your own original group.

At this point, it is crucial to realize that wealthy arrondissements bashing happens even amongst wealthy arrondissements people. A wedding between a girl from the 6th (Saint Germain des Prés) and a boy from the 16th will appear as a disgrace in the girl’s family (cultural degradation, reign of money, loss of class), while it will be viewed as a threat for the boy’s family (patrimonial dilapidation, reign of left wing ideas, absence of dynamism).

When moving into one of the wealthy arrondissements from a non wealthy arrondissement or even (God forbid) from another city, it is important for newbies to have a clear understanding that they will lose friends in the process. Social climbing is not well accepted in Paris. One ought to remain poor. In Paris, it’s called being polite.

Useful tip: To look bourge, and therefore be accepted by wealthy arrondissements people, just pop your collar.
Sound like a Parisian: « Tu vois, le mec… hyper seizième!!»

9 replies
  1. Paris Parfait
    Paris Parfait says:

    Bonjour Olivier,

    Thanks for your note. I love your tongue-in-cheek look at Paris and the life here. You are hilarious! Will definitely link to your blog and please do the same.

    Best,
    Tara

  2. FP NICOLAS
    FP NICOLAS says:

    Don t hesitate to give a try to a UMP meeting in the 8th or 16th district, you will see that some part of the general knowledge is still very true… :)

  3. Olivier Magny
    Olivier Magny says:

    Alison… thx!!
    Mills… Brazilian accents tend to be found in the greenest parts of wealthy arrondissements!!
    Don’t be so French… merci. Laughing’s always good!

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