Unpopular Opinion: I Don’t Like Paris

Spoiler: This has like, nothing to do with Paris

I Hate Paris Leandra Medine Man Repeller 2
Photo by Christian Vierig via Getty Images

There is always quiet chatter among editors about how lonely Paris can feel. No one seems to want to say this unless you bring it up first, but for whatever reason, the city can really make you feel not just alone, but abandoned. Every season, like clockwork, I arrive, unpack, eat something and then in the depths of the quiet and my loneliness, I ask, “What now?”

Until, of course, the shows. Which are like friends. You sit down, the lights dim, the music starts, the models walk and suddenly, you’re back in your favorite company. When the shows are good, they remind you why you do this. When they’re great, they remind you you’re alive.

But then, after the shows, the wave of loneliness comes back and you can’t wait for it to break. You’re among all these people who you know but don’t know and you watch as they interact and mosey towards the same cars while you, on the sideline, navigate the city by foot in shoes that you loved in New York but now hate in Paris.

You go back to your hotel room and realize that no matter how many showers you take here, you’re still dirty. No matter how many hours you sleep, you’re still tired. And no matter how well you can integrate, you’ll never actually belong. But you have the shows! And you love the shows, so you rally through the dark thoughts. Then it ends. When you recall the trip once you’re back in your comfort zone, you forget what was bad, even say, “Who am I kidding? That wasn’t bad,” and book flights for the next season under the premise that Paris is still the romantic city you love.

And it is romantic, only now it’s kind of different because no one knows what the fuck is going on with fashion. Designers are removing themselves from the traditional fashion week calendars. Magazines are folding like shirts at a laundromat. Buyers are asking for shorter lead times and writers — who are we writing for? All of this impacts the magic of the show. The magic that makes you feel like a kid again, still processing the depth of possibility against the hard rules and boundaries of reality. That’s why the sartorial fairy tales resonate like they do; why a collection inspired by German finger puppets (Acne) feels so refreshing. Why we crave feathers (Sonia Rykiel) and full, pearly pink ensembles (Nina Ricci). Why we marvel at a fake rocket (Chanel) being launched in the middle of Paris!

When it gets too serious, or convoluted and self-conscious, all of that is lost. The editors wonder what they’re pulling for, the buyers scratch their heads. And I begin a self-indulgent think piece, titled “I Don’t Like Paris.” By the way, I know this has little to do with Paris.

It used to be that a designer would show a collection and receive a review that legitimately impacted the success of his season, but does that even exist anymore? We have become such opinionated creatures. We don’t want the ideals of another imparted upon ourselves. To hell with that! We don’t want stores to tell us what we like. We know what we like. We have access and brains and thus can determine by ourselves what does or does not make a collection great or worthy of purchase.

But then again, we need the arbiters of taste; these are the people (Céline, Balenciaga) who inform our taste whether we see it or not. If we don’t see it, it means they’re doing their job correctly, manipulating us to believe we have original ideas. But these arbiters are on the decline because magic takes time. When you don’t “get” a Marc Jacobs or Prada or Marni collection at first, it’s because you’re not supposed to. They have to marinate. They don’t deal in clothes; they’re stories, the sum of several lives, the political motivations we ascribe to or reject. They’re always a little off or out there when we first see them because it’s still too soon to really see them. You need time. To process, to argue, to meddle. But once you do see? You can’t unsee. Céline and Balenciaga are sparkling proofs of this concept.

The thing is, we don’t care about preserving time anymore. Now it seems like all we do is kill it or beat it or race against it and because of this, Paris is losing its magic. At least for me. The shows that were once friends are now just shows, and I’m sitting there wondering, “now what?”

Does this ever happen to you?

Photo by Christian Vierig via Getty Images.


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  • frannypaul

    Well, that’s a lovely photo of you, anyway, and you’re wearing the fuck out of that Chanel. So something about Paris is working.

    • me

      Right?? Leandra’s looking very Amal in that pic. Classy & lovely!

  • s_knucks

    weird; i have had that opinion in the past, but it had nothing to do with loneliness (which is very true of New York, too) or fashion week, but rather with the fact it’s just full of racists and anti-semites. …or at least many of the people i encountered just seemed extraordinarily rude. my only safe places there were the Musee d’Orsay and the cafe run but a very nice woman who was a POC and possibly not originally from france

  • Such a great piece Leandra! I think many will relate to the early points in your article and overall mood of this piece, as it pertains to fashion in general and isn’t exclusive to PFW. So many young creatives quit the industry despite loving it to the core, but just can’t get passed the surface-level judgement and nepotism.

    • Jade

      You Also said it! Thank you for the last sentence!

  • christina

    this should be rephrased to say “I dont like Paris FW” the rest of the world doesn’t get to go to the shows, but rather marvel and wander about the city.

    • Molli

      agreed. i’m an american that has lived in paris for 3 years, and while i can understand where you are coming from, Leandra, I think this speaks more about how lonely the fashion industry can be. Of course you would feel alone here if you only come a few times a year and don’t really know many people here. I would feel very alone going to a city where I knew no one.

      • Leandra Medine

        i’d have agreed with you if i didn’t have amelia there with me this season!

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    • Jade

      Thank you! Someone said it!

    • Delphine

      But if you know Leandra and what she usually writes about, you can easily understand that this is from the point of view of a fashion writer, meaning she doesn’t like the Paris she knows and has experienced. Just like I don’t like the city of Paris where I commute everyday, among nasty seats and horrifying smells. (Pardon my English, I’m actually French :)) Unless you’re expecting MR travel reviews, I think these short and honest articles are pretty interesting…

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  • People are also surprised when I say I don’t like Paris. I went as a teen on vacation and then did an exchange in college and it’s just…not my fave, you know? The museums are AMAZING, but I just don’t feel any sense of innovation or openness. Also, when you’re French-Canadian, they’re patronizing AF.

  • Rebecca

    This sentence sums up exactly what I feel about the fashion industry right now:

    “only now it’s kind of different because no one knows what the fuck is going on with fashion. ”

    because I really have no idea what the fuck is going on.

    • Tessa

      Or just like, with the world. Art is the same right now.

  • ByeBeckz

    Everyone is entitled to their opinion but this piece lacks any depth into reasons you don’t like Paris- beyond “the fashion is meh right now”. Paris is not PFW. It sounds like all you do when you’re in Paris is bounce between shows and your hotel. Perhaps you’ve done more but that is all you mentioned. I can absolutely understand why that would be tiring and boring, but this title is insultingly broad.

    As an American who has lived around the US and Europe (and Paris for 3 years), I think you missed something and I’m disappointed. Yes, it lacks the hustle and bustle of NYC, which is just one of the many great aspects of Paris- people have achieved the work-life balance most of us crave, and they spend most of their time outside the city and with their families, leaving the tourists to enjoy the cities over the weekends. Yes, it can be dirty, but it does not compare to NYC or LA! Any huge city has major pollution, but they way you wrote it is like you need to repeatedly shower to get Paris off of you. People around the world dream of Paris and I feel like you are treating it like it’s “out of fashion”.

    Paris will never lose its magic. Next time you are there, please visit a museum (anything but the Louvre- for sanity’s sake). Visit Pere la Chaise cemetery. Take a 2 hour walk by the Seine. Get lost in Marais or St. Germain. Then please write another article about how Paris has “lost its magic”. I know this is, at the end of the day, a “blog” but considering how far your readership extends and how much people enjoy your pieces, perhaps a little more depth and thoughtfulness would be appreciated.

    • ashley

      the weekends away just seem like another example of city dwellers unwilling to share with ‘the other’. So much of Paris and other cities richness diversity and capital come from expats themselves, and visitors spending money there

      • ByeBeckz

        People don’t live outside Paris because they necessarily want to- they don’t because they can’t. If you want a high standard of living (similar to LA/London, not sure about NYC but I would assume so), you can’t live in the city on a dismal salary. They live outside the city to live in something larger than a studio. This was the general consensus amongst my friends and colleagues when I lived there- who were all trying to slowly save up to move in. But absolutely, so much of Paris’ current diversity comes from the expats at this point. But I think if you go to the right areas of Paris (like I mentioned above- minus the museums) you experience a more non-tourist tainted version of the city.

    • Actually, museums & Co. are the only reason I want to visit Paris. I really dislike the city itself but hope to return this year to visit the Museum National d’Historie Naturall 🙂
      It is an easy dislike to afford, what with the TGV from Germany. I absolutely adore North France and am very curious about France in general, though….
      Now, London, Berlin or Copenhagen … *sigh*

      • Caroline Williams

        Berlin – yes! London – my home for twenty years, nothing but love. Copenhagen, want to visit. Paris…can kiss it.

    • Caroline Williams

      Absolutely disagree. Paris is far dirtier than NYC / LA. It’s unpleasantly dirty, smelly too. I’ve visited all those districts many times. Cold, unwelcoming, not culturally vibrant.

      • Valérie

        I live in Paris (and lived in NYC for 5 years prior) and you’ve clearly not been in the right spots if you think it’s unwelcoming and not culturally vibrant. Paris has so many layers and yes, it takes time to discover them.

        • ByeBeckz

          I don’t know what spots of Paris one could be in to define it as “not culturally vibrant”. Pretty sure that phrase is rarely uttered about Paris. Thanks for making me laugh.

    • Christine Hardy

      I agree with you. This article lacks maturity and depth. If you only come to Paris for Fashion Week, then perhaps the world you inhabit is a bit too small. I’m writing this comment while in Paris, and I know the city can be challenging and it is hard to navigate as an outsider – trust me I get it. But it still remains a beautiful and mysterious place with endless discoveries waiting to be found. New York is hard too. It’s unfriendly, the weather frequently sucks, and it’s unbearably expensive and so in-your-face classist. So what. I still love it too.

    • Alessia

      I have to disagree with you on this one even though I understand your point of view. A city is not just its monuments. I don’t know when you lived in Paris but I lived there for 6 years and I saw the city changing and becoming more and more dirty, dangerous, stressful and unfriendly. I moved a month ago (to London) after understanding that the city “atmosphere” was making me unhappy. Of course Paris will always have its magic because of its history and beauty, but sometimes (or for some people) that’s not enough to have a pleasant experience in a city.

  • clairemarinella

    Or could it be jetlag?
    Joke appart, I am a french woman from the deep south and I can relate. Paris is such a highly gentrified city now, and Parisian bourgeois have never been known for being welcoming or open-minded so any “foreigners” (including non parisian french people) can indeed feel estranged.

  • ashley

    I reeaallly really feel you on this. andersons recent interview of marine le pan had her discussing a lot of ‘in France there are the French and the other’ mentality. which I think as a visitor you can really feel, immediately and lasting. also when you write about the reviews making or breaking a show or a house, I feel a lot of parallels to the art world. The individual has their opinion readily available and there is no hesitation in sharing and acting upon it

    • streats

      I am half-French and even despite this I always felt like “the other” when I lived in Paris. I was verrrry young though (18-22) so part of it may have been a lack of confidence/undeveloped social skills.

  • Eleni

    Funny this is how I felt when I went to NYC…. less the glam fashion stuff and more just generally feeling like a bag of shit.. it was an odd feeling – like never being alone for a second and yet feeling like the lonliest person in the world. I do have a different appreciation and fascination about new york though its not all bad!! Ive marinated on this a while and will give it another shot one day…….. chicago though 👌🏽

    • Leandra Medine

      I think it’s true of New York too! The city can be incredibly isolating, especially because it’s so fast moving and there are so many people. Bc my family is here, I’ve never really felt it, but so, so admire people who have come here solo and made lives for themselves. It’s so fucking hard

  • Bee

    I love Paris, but I agree that it does make me feel lonely. Perhaps I’ve just been in a coincidentally lonely state of mind when in Paris… who knows?! Like I said, it’s a beautiful city and I love being there but I don’t get the same warm feeling and sense of camaraderie that I feel whenever I’m in New York. Though, I’m sure some people feel about New York the same way I feel about Paris.

  • Hope

    Yeah, I get this. I am the same way with certain things that I am professionally obligated to do that seem on the surface very glamorous On the inside I am just suffering from imposter syndrome and horrific social anxiety. I want to enjoy those places and the preparation that went into it, but I just cannot.

  • me

    Sis, you captured the melancholy of Every Single Long Business Trip I’ve ever taken.

    No matter the city, it’s always the same: Once the workday is over, it’s just You. I’ve spent weeks/months on work trips and the loneliness & solitude becomes crushing.

    So, it’s not Paris’s fault ! Trust me ….

  • Shea

    I hear what you’re saying, not about Paris specifically but about that slight melancholia that underlies all trips to a city that you don’t call home. There’s something about being in a different city, especially a European one, where you feel like you have so much to do/see but also nothing to do at the same time. I think that when you’re in a different place, city or not, the moments when you finally stop running around and going to fashion shows or visiting museums or whatever else you have plans to do, you have these eternities of silence in your mind when you start to overthink and over-analyze super fun questions like “What am I doing with my life? Why does anything matter? Do I even like Paris?” When you’re home, the voids in your day are always filled (even if it’s just by relaxing on your couch and watching Netflix). But, when you’re away, the voids feel more void because you’re in Paris! You’re supposed to be doing something and enjoying yourself every second, right?! This made sense in my mind but now I’ve just confused myself. Anyways, I hope next time in Paris you find magic!

    • Caitlin

      i just moved here and this sums up everything i feel

  • Mariana Figueiredo Silva

    I totally feel the opposite way. Paris is the only city I can really be by myself and don’t mind it at all.

    • Lyla

      That’s how I feel in NYC. I am unabashedly me when I’m there. I don’t feel insecure at all or question anything about myself. I’m my best self in NYC.

  • Mia

    Leandra, this post resonated with me so much. I was in Milan for the first time in my life as a photo assistant for a blogger for Milan fashion week. I absolutely hated the city but so much so was due to the coldness of the fashion industry. Show after show, photographers snapping photos of people wearing the newest pieces to create trends. The whole time all I could think of was where is the creativity in fashion as people just wear the clothes brands provided and what happened to all the old clothes that are no longer trendy? The value and quality of the fashion industry was depreciating right in front of me. I still get the thrill of fashion shows and had my breath taken away with amazing design but that part of fashion has diminished so much over the years. I would go back to Milan again for sure just to give it another chance and maybe Paris deserves a visit from you for just vacation as well. 🙂

    • Lyla

      I hated my first trip to Milan in college, but loved future trips. I wouldn’t go just for the shows. Stay a couple of days and visit showrooms, wander neighborhoods, go shopping and eat delicious food.

    • streats

      I lived in Paris 2005-2008 and my friends and I used to talk our way into fashion shows, or hang around outside to see editors/models/celebrities turn up. It was before street style/blogging meant anything in the industry, although Scott Schuman was starting to be known. It’s hard for me to imagine what it’s like now. Since leaving, I’ve been living in Dublin, Ireland where there is no fashion week (and the fashion “scene” is quite low-brow, a bit tacky, with the top “style icons” being TV hosts and suchlike). So I’ve been very removed from what fashion week really looks like on the ground, and have mostly been consuming it from that very curated lens of the fashion media. I haven’t been to a fashion show in many years and while I do think I would still be captured by the magic of it, I have had some of the romance taken out of it.

  • Bibs

    Ooooooh poor you, it’s SO hard to attend shows in Paris, so hard to have a fancy stuff to do there, soooo boring, right?
    Get out of your Four Season room and come live the real Paris. Because what you’ve experienced so far is just a magazine cover : superficial.

    – a Parisian.

    • ABG

      This is a very parisian answer; I mean humble, constructive and self-ironic at the same time. Something that shows how good people are to question the state of this city and its old-narrow-minded culture. Actually I am totally out of the fashion industry (since I am in research), I have lived in Copenhagen for 3 years and I am from a Latin country as France is. I have lived in Paris for 3 years now, I can’t wait to go back to Copnehagen, or to move to Berlin or London. Horrible work environment, a totally conservative and narrow minded mentality, envious aggressive people with no respect of diversity or new ideas in general. Not a very vibrant environment if you want to get out of the beaten paths or anything that it is not French (totally unlike London, Berlin, etc…), everything is canonized and everything is self reliant on French status and elitism. Give me diverse London, open-minded Berlin, forward thinking Copenhagen or avant-garde Milan everyday. I feel all of the people that can’t fit this arrogant and self-centered city. En plus je parle bien français mais ça n’a rien à voir avec la ville en soit et les personnes qu’y habitent qui sont juste trop cons et fermées dans la gloire d’un passée qui n’existe plus.

  • Lyla

    I think Paris is incredibly overrated. I have been there a couple dozen times and I never understand why people like it so much. The food? Some of it is fantastic, but most of it is bland. Fashion? I work in the industry in the US and attended PFW most seasons and I’m continually surprised by how overhyped the experience is and have spent hours trying to figure out how to get out of my next trip. The whole dress like a French girl thing is absurd. The average French girl is nothing special. I do love high end French department stores because the quality and design is so much better. Doing the tourist thing isn’t very exciting nor is it a unique experience. I feel like an asshole complaining when Paris is such a fixture on most bucket lists. It just isn’t my scene.

    • Olivia AP

      Kind of the same happened to me. We are told to love everything French, the city, and the women (because they are the coolest, right?) And I think that my problem was that I had really high expectations so when I got there I was slightly disappointed. Also I’m tired of the idea that we have to emulate French style, overdress and put on as much makeup as you want to.

    • Jeanie

      Same here. I don’t really understand why so many people want to “dress like a French girl.” Yes, it’s a beautiful city with a lot to offer, but I’m just so much more interested other countries. I was pretty disappointed when I visited Paris.

    • Jenna

      I’m with you here. As a londoner I’ve visited quite a few times as it’s an easy trip on Eurostar and makes for a quick get away but honestly Paris just isn’t for me. I never feel the same dynamic energy London has, and similarly was very disappointed in the fashion the first time I visited (later on I knew not to expect much). I’m not referring to PFW but just the street style and vibe in general, walking around, doesn’t feel very modern or on the pulse. Scandinavia for example is on another level compared to Paris which I’ve always felt is sooo overrated style-wise. They might show some of the biggest names in the industry at PFW but this doesn’t translate to street style and that’s where the fashion character of a city/place is at, in my opinion. And agree with you on the food!

      • Mika M R

        I lived for a while in London and totally agree with you.

    • Meg S

      Nope. My Mom and Dad rounded out a European vacation with a week in Paris. Dad was indifferent and Mom hated it. She was thrilled that she could get seats inside at any cafe because it wasn’t where people wanted to sit. It was quiet and she could relax. But she did touristy things, and they were always crowded with other tourists. I don’t think she had the right to complain about that, especially when she spent 2 of those days with a tour group. But she doesn’t think outside the box very much on vacations. They stayed at the hotel picked by the tour group, and probably never ventured out very much past what they found in their Frommers Paris guide. I think she just prefers Italy to France. I’ve never been to Paris so I’m not sure why, but it’s not really on my list either. My best friend hates it, and she’s the one who I travel with so we’re skipping Paris in favor of London this summer, which she loves.

    • streats

      I lived in Paris for four years and the “dress like a French girl” obsession infuriates me. For one, French is not limited to Parisian. Secondly, there are so many amazing style influences across Paris – I would love to see more credit to the vibrancy of the African communities or the edginess of the banlieue kids who hang out around Chatelet. I have a complicated emotional history with Paris so it’s hard for me to talk about it objectively and most of the time I end up coming off as bitter, even though I love it dearly. It was influential on many levels: Paris was where I first fully threw myself into fashion – my friends and I used to talk our way into the shows, before being a blogger meant something, and it was just the most fabulous thing ever. But I was very young when I lived there (18-22) and I lacked the ability to dig a bit deeper into the industry – I definitely lived the whole “I’m going to dress tres chic and wear Chanel-esque pieces from Zara because French style is classic and Carine Roitfeld is my everything” thing, but it’s also where I fell out of love with fashion when the catcalling from men and judgey eyes from women whenever I dressed in heels, a full skirt, and dangly earrings, got to be too much for me to handle every day. I did go through a phase where I was obsessed with Comptoirs des Cotonniers and tried getting into that whole super simple effortless chic thing, but it’s hard to find joy in clothes when you’re completely alone in life there as I was. My relationship with fashion when I lived there was very intense, but also very superficial. I’d be fascinated to really delve into how it’s changed since then.

      I haven’t been back in several years, and mostly it’s been flying visits for life admin stuff (I still have an apartment there), so I rarely take the time to just enjoy the city. I definitely want to go back this year and reconnect with all the places and experiences I used to pinch myself for being so lucky to have on my doorstep. Kind of like when you decide to bury the past with an ex and be friends.

  • Aie Gonzalez

    I can relate to this and I didn’t even got to the FW. It felt empty and not integrated, but you hear and read and watch so many stuff about how wonderfully beautiful Paris is, that you feel like you have to like it. Museums, parks and bread were pretty nice though.

  • Chetna Singh

    I read the article and wondered, why Paris? Why don’t you feel this way in London or Milan for that matter?
    Is this strictly from a fashion industry viewpoint? Any city/place revisited multiple times can lose its magic after a while ( Disney for me!)
    I think the memories and excitement associated with a place is what provides the magic, overdo something and it’s done. However, for the occasional visitor like me it’s still the most romantic city in the world. It’s sad when one loses that feel of magic.

    • Julie Lesgourgues

      I asked myself the same question about London and Milan.
      I feel Paris isn’t just about fashion and is about so much more. Like it has already been said above, take a 2 hour walk by the Seine, I swear you will be amazed. Paris is a great city, and I’m not saying this just because I’m a Parisian 😉

      • Chetna Singh

        I just listened to the monocycle and I understand it a little better. It’s not Paris, it could be anywhere in the world.

  • rolaroid

    Sounds like FW sucks (and it probably does everywhere else too). I’ve been to Paris many, many times, I speak French fluently (I’m from Montreal) and there is nothing not to like except for the Parisians themselves. If you can’t appreciate Paris for its architecture and charm, if you can’t appreciate it for the baffling quality of its numerous fascinating exhibits, then you’re a philistine! Americans are obsessed with “how to be French” and you really don’t need a coffee, croissant and cigarette to enjoy the place. I understand not liking a big city but come on! There are nooks and crannies, ways to hide, come on, Leandra!

  • Diem

    I feel this way about New York City

  • Slushee

    I lived in Paris for a year st 18. I remembering expecting to be thrilled by the city. But I wasn’t. I was lonely and bored – the city was monochrome and dull, and yes lovely but…

    15 years later I revisited and this time I was charmed by its quiet restraint and saw it beauty a new.

    I think it’s a city that strangely suits some and not others. If you’re looking for vitality – London, Berlin, New York. Sophisticated restraint – Paris.

    And you’re not the only one – good friend in Milan finds PFW deadly dull

  • Ola

    I can relate to this feeling in terms of Paris FW but not for Paris in general. It would of been interesting if you stated why you only felt like that in a Paris and it in London or Milan?!

    • streats

      It’s interesting — I lived in Paris for 4 years and had both an incredible and crushing experience. I never liked London: even though I grew up just outside it, I always knew Paris better even before living there. I thought London was too big, too noisy, too dirty, too busy. But now, 10 years later, I’m starting to be charmed by London. I think cities are like fashion itself – you feel what you feel at that time, and you can’t necessarily explain why, and those feelings can change with time or with life.

      • b.e.g.

        I think the bottom line here is that Paris, and other big cosmopolitan cities like London, NYC, Madrid, Budapest, Toronto, and so on, take time to explore. Visiting any touristy place can be challenging, tiresome at best. We’re not at home, living out of a suitcase, language difficulties, cultural differences, etc. I’ve been there many times, and the best time I ever visited Paris was when we stayed in the 17th arr for 8 weeks. May, June. It was rainy, sunny, cool, hot. It took us 2 weeks to realise that we should be exploring on foot, not car. After that we had a wonderful time, away from the tourist traps, living among Parisians. We found them to be helpful, conservative, and frank. This is how my husband and I like to travel. Yes, I know, we are fortunate to be able to do it that way. Ah, yes, and we went to The French Open and saw Nadal kick Djokovic butt that year.

  • ryvka

    As an unconditional fan of Man Repeller -and Parisian-, I must say I am very disappointed by the violent and pretentious words you chose, it didn’t come to your mind that maybe you were going through a tough phase, that the shows were just bad or that the weather was extremely shitty las week. I have lived in Paris my whole life, but I can tell you that when I woke up this morning and saw the sun shining, when I walked next to le Panthéon and saw le jardin du Luxembourg, or even just by looking at the blue sky, I realized I was in the greatest city in the world. I feel the exact same way when it’s raining or snowing but you wouldn’t understand. I’ve read your books and almost every articles you’ve written and was convinced that you loved this city. Paris is not to be blamed for your change of heart. and I can assure you that no one cares about fashion week in here when they don’t work in fashion so try focusing on other things rather than this very small, insignificant part of what makes Paris, Paris.

    • Leandra Medine

      I admire how much you love your city — it is the exact reason that Paris can be so magical for so many people much the same way that New york can either swallow you up and embrace you/and think you are right re: tough phase, see: http://www.manrepeller.com/2017/03/monocycle-episode-50-how-to-cope.html

      • Mika M R

        I hate Paris and I love NYC. So what?

    • I think the author just chose a specific point of view to describe her current vision of the city, she is not describing it as she would for a holiday or a longer period. It is just the Paris seen as a fashion journalist, during FW, in a very depressing period for fashion (and she states so). So I understand why it would feel like this. Especially when you know that most Parisians are difficult to approach (I am half french and have been living here for 4-5 years now, it was difficult in the begenning, but now I would be very sad to leave). Once you make good friends and start enjoying the parisian life, the place is priceless.

    • streats

      At the same time, if you’ve lived in Paris your whole life, can you really be objective when you say it’s the greatest city in the world? Perhaps you are just using a turn of phrase to express love for where you live, and that I can appreciate, but you have to admit that you are also biased. I lived in Paris for many years and it was incredible and debilitating at the same time. Those same walks I took would fill me with love for the city and also crushing depression. For many people, particularly non-natives, it can be a difficult place to feel like you belong, whether you’re there for a week, or half a decade. So while I agree that the general population of Paris doesn’t care about fashion week, it’s still important that people express less-than-romantic views of this overromanticised city, too. We owe it to Paris to acknowledge all parts of it. Otherwise everyone who doesn’t get to live there will continue to know it as this sugarcoated perfect place, when we both know that is not true.

  • Betsy

    Dear Leandra, Have you ever listened to the song by Peggy Lee entitled “Is That all There is”? Seems to me that you are there. Betsy

  • Dinda Pramesti

    I lived in Paris and studied fashion. This article really says it all about my experience!!! Believe me how much I’ve tried my hardest to enjoy the city and how many times people have said how lucky I was.. Just wasn’t for me i guess

    • streats

      I hate when people make you feel that you’re ungrateful because you feel feelings. Yes I was lucky to live there but that shouldn’t mean I should fake happiness all the time.



  • meme

    And yet to me Paris is the city where being alone is the most beautiful. I fell in love with it when I first visited, and I fall in love every day when I step out of my apartment, after two years of living here. But I get it’s very polarising and I find it very telling when people say they hate it.

    • streats

      It’s true that you can wander alone for hours and it can be enjoyable. But while being alone there can be beautiful, I found it to be beautiful in a dark way too. It was crushing a lot of the time. I agree that it’s polarising – I love it and hate it and have a very complicated relationship with it after living there for 4 years.

  • Nikole Naloy

    This is by far one of the best articles Leandra Medine has written on ManRepeller. Maybe I’m saying this because it felt a bit like an emulation of Ernest Hemingway and his novel, A Moveable Feast, but it resonated with me in the way certain rare fashion articles do when they go beyond the superficiality of it all, and see fashion for what it is (these articles tend to be hypocrtical at times, but nevertheless interesting). Not to make this sound like a book report, but Hemingway loved Paris in the time he spent there. But then as his life changed, circumstances did and so on, Paris drifted away for him. It was for him, later on, a happy and comfortable, even nostalgic memory. Maybe Paris, for Leandra, is like that too, but in a bit of a different sense. Leandra, in this article, has maybe realized that what she once envisioned as “Paris” or “PFW”—a bohemian, lively, never-ending joie de vivre parade—doesn’t exist. And maybe that’s bringing in a bigger picture, maybe even an existential question about life (oh boy) and our current society. Where social media and all that, puts this image of happiness, of the pinnacle of life into our heads–this so-called image of Paris, or New York, or Fashion Week, that is unattainable and in some place of beatitude, and then when we grapple for it, and maybe occassionally get to it, we realize that it’s not that great at all. For Leandra, maybe she’s come to that realization about Paris. Perhaps, now she finds her happiness, her success and fulfillment in other places–I assume it may be in New York, with her business, her family and so forth. And obviously, everyone has their own place or thing–whether it be Paris, some special cafe you sit in all day, the kitchen, the subway seat…it’s different for everyone, but that’s your personal happy place and nothing can compare to it, to it’s realness and all. I think Leandra is simply saying, it’s not all that it seems to be. And in the whirl of social media, and all it’s craziness, it’s important to keep that in mind sometimes. Just my opinion. Thank you for this article Leandra.

  • Alexia Mickens

    Aw, I still want to visit!!!

    See my latest post:
    // downtown in my favorite jeans
    born bred BE – a blog by Alexia

  • This is very interesting to read. Although I’ve never been to Paris (or really travelled a lot… yet) I’m always curious to see why people love Paris so much, and I’m interested in finding other places that offer that same love/spark without the whole “Paris” feel attached to it.


  • Daisy Tinker

    I’m SO glad someone has finally said this! I found Paris to be pretty uninspiring; and while I understand that as a tourist I’m never going to have a completely authentic visit, I genuinely didn’t see anything interesting/exciting while I was there. The food was average, the street style was average… even the blady Mona Lisa was disappointing! I just don’t get the hype.

    • mara

      I agree with you. As a tourist, sometimes it’s hard to have an authentic experience, but I’ve visited places where I could feel the city’s vibe, I was able to catch a glimpse of what life must be like there. I did not catch any vibe in Paris, I was left with nothing.

      • Daisy Tinker

        Completely agree! There was no vibe at all! I didn’t feel that Paris had a lot of personality, especially compared to places like Rotterdam, Copenhagen, New York and (of course!) London.

        That said, I can see if someone came to London as a tourist, they may have the same opinion because they don’t get to see the little local places away from tourist areas, so I always thought that’s what had happened to me in Paris – until I read this!

  • Alyssa

    I think the use of Paris in this article is secondary, or more of a metaphor to Leandra’s thoughts on fashion in general – which are always a great read – I could be totally wrong, but that’s how I interpreted it. What her thoughts made me realize however, is that there is still magic in fashion, albeit perhaps more fleeting, and that because of the very thing that makes it fleeting, we don’t all have to be in Paris to discover it.

  • Kasey

    I feel the same way about some of the things in Paris. Many people marvel over the things in Paris when sometimes it seems a little too much. On my blog there is an article about an “unpopular opinion” of a cafe in Paris:


  • Luisa

    I don’t think it’s such an unpopular opinion actually. I am Italian and have lived in Paris, New York, Los Angeles and Milan and, yeah, Paris is a very closed city. The people lack a sense of humor, and generosity. They take it all so seriously (Paris as a serious concept being at the top of their list). I should add I’m not in the fashion industry, I simply wanted to chime in to say you are picking up on a subtlety that is real, shared by many people I know and not only in your imagination!

  • Caroline Williams

    Paris sucks. I’ve visited frequently over the years, each time hoping this time I’ll find the magic. No. It’s dirty, unfriendly, tourist hell. Montmartre is like a theme park. Last time I was there I stayed 100m away from the Bataclan; I don’t think I’ll ever go back. Very over-rated city.

    • streats

      I think it depends what your expectations are. If you do the prescribed touristy things and they are not things you enjoy, then yeah you’re probably going to be disappointed. But if you go there and seek out the kind of things you enjoy, maybe you’ll have a better experience. Though of course, even if you like art, you might be underwhelmed by some of the galleries. The trick is to find ones that suit your vibe. I prefer smaller ones like the Picasso and Rodin museums to the Louvre and Orsay. I like the flea markets at Montreuil and Clignancourt for a great day out. I like the unconventional parks like Butte Chaumont or the Promenade Plantee. It took me four years of living there to find many of these hidden gems, so it’s not surprising that many people only there for a few days don’t like what they immediately see.

  • don

    But what I don’t get is this: with so many of you in Paris for the shows, fashion editors, shoppers, fashion journalists and now bloggers… Why don’t you meet up with some of them? doesn’t one make friends? would this not be the perfect opportunity to catch up with like-minded people who are all over the place? Have intense discussions about the state of fashion? It really paints a grim picture of what fashion week and the fashion world are like… Lack of a community feeling, rather than Paris per se, seems to be the issue…

  • Camille Barron

    I feel the same way not just about Paris, but all other fashion weeks this season. It’s definitely due to the changing scope of the industry. Luckily, influential fashion people like you have the power to make it happy again. It will be different than the past, but still has potential to be just as magical.


  • Natasha

    Leandra, I just wanted to say I think this post was beautifully written. I don’t see it as an attack on Paris at all, more an exploration of how we as human beings turn places and things (like cities or fashion) into symbols through which we try to give meaning to our lives at that moment. Thank you for sharing with us.

    • streats

      I love how you express that. I lived in Paris for 4 years and even studied the city of Paris in one of my university modules – we explored the city in literature and film, and in history, and went beyond the tropes into a vast intersection of representation of people’s lives as depicted through the arts and in society. It was fascinating and made me finally feel like I wasn’t alone in feeling like our relationship with where we live is deep and complicated.

  • I took this post not as you not liking, or not loving Paris (contrary to the title), but as a sense of disenchantment. After all I would hope, Leandra, that you who have lived and studied in Paris, would acknowledge it’s charms. The fashion world is indeed on its head. But that is not the fault of Paris.

    On the other hand, you are not required to fall in love with a city that so many others love. It certainly is an epicenter of culture, history, art, and a city of both beauty and fashion. But you have already acknowledged that your opinion is not a popular one. Perhaps the biggest fault with this was the lack of support in presenting an argument. Either way, you are certainly entitled to your outlook. You don’t have to like Paris.

    • streats

      “You are not required to fall in love with a city so many others love” — This. Even if a person is fortunate to be able to travel and experience other things, they are not a bad person if it wasn’t their favourite thing. I think you are right that disenchantment is the better word. It’s not like she is saying “It’s a terrible place and nobody should every come here, it SUCKS”. That would be ungrateful and short-sighted, but that’s not what this is about. I feel she acknowledged very clearly that this was an unpopular opinion, so I’m not sure why people feel the need to challenge it.

  • McKenna E


    It is unfortunate that you framed this piece around Paris as a city because Paris will always be Paris-loved by some and hated by others. It’s just a matter of opinion. What I find more fascinating than a poorly articulated complaint is the fascinating concept of loneliness. We all have our families, friends, communities, book clubs, yoga pals, you name it. Yet somehow despite it all- we’re a bunch of lonely people spinning on blackness- all wanting to be touched, recognized and loved. How is it that we all suffer and seemingly feel alone? Perhaps if we spent more time talking about difficult truths and our deepest fears at their core rather than passively passing blame to external people, events, places we would learn to love each other and ourselves better. We as a community would be stronger.

    I used to love reading Man Repeller, but lately I feel like you blast immature and pretentious opinions with a megaphone. Consider your place of influence! It’s not just about fashion. You have the opportunity to be a beacon for people from all walks of life. You have the ability to help make people feel heard. To feel less lonely. To feel happy.

    Level with us and be real. Deep inside you aren’t sad about Paris. You’re lonely with yourself and that’s okay too. Just please don’t take the easy path and trivialize it, don’t pass the blame. Be as honest as you can. After all this is our life- and it so much bigger than Balenciaga and just as meaningless too

    • Leandra Medine

      I guess the story’s point didn’t land, because it really wasn’t about Paris so much as it was about where I am, where we are, how stuff feels. And I thought I said it (“by the way, this has little to do with Paris”), but it didn’t come through. What I would love to know more about is where I’m blasting immature opinion with a megaphone (genuinely, for betterments sake!). What I’m learning is that the problem with “going through something” in public is that it’s difficult to pluck yourself out of it when you’re so deeply imbued. Sometimes I really do wish that I’d just stop talking so as not to a) upset readers/the community b) put myself, already vulnerable, in a position to be scrutinized but I kind of can’t help it. Man Repeller has always been where I work through stuff — most, if not all of the opinions are the opposite of fleshed out, they’re raw and new and still bubbling to the surface. I hope this is one the reasons we have been able to cultivate such a profound community. I know that raw stuff could be dangerous but I can’t help but feel uncomfortable envisioning a Man Repeller that is buttoned up. This is a very thoughtful and friendly comment, I really appreciate it and the sentiment, what I’d love to hear is how you’d have preferred to see the story positioned/angled.

      • Leandra Medine

        Also! Pls do let me know if this makes btr sense of the story? http://www.manrepeller.com/2017/03/monocycle-episode-50-how-to-cope.html

      • McKenna E

        Wow! Big thank you for a response. Did not expect that and I really geeked out for a sec. I might have sounded mean, but I swear Im a big fan.

        Perhaps the title could have better reflected the real purpose of your article? And that sentence could have been your first and not a mention midway through? I felt disheartened reading the comments on this piece because it seemed as if your misrepresented intent emboldened readers to share about how they too, hate Paris. How much it sucks, how overrated it is, how rude the people are. The world doesn’t feel like a happy place right now (im with you there). Paris has been the victim of scrutiny and terrorism, they too are no exception. Why perpetuate that negativity when it is merely a guise for something else? Something deeper? More personal? I would have preferred to read about the deep thing outright.

        I understand that you are publicly experiencing a deeply personal and painful time in your life and I really commend your openness. I also understand that you inhabit a unique yet difficult position that forces you to walk a fine line-between self and community, privacy and sharing, authenticity and political correctness. I merely think the difficulty of the last few months has bled into your work which is absolutely okay! But I do think you could strive to step outside yourself a bit more before clicking “post” and chastising Beyonce for sharing pregnancy news or a piece with a negative, misleading title.

        I don’t read Man Repeller because I can actually afford any of the clothes. I keep coming back because I genuinely enjoy your humor and zest for life and self expression. I just listened to your podcast and your sentiment really resonated. You will find your love for life again, and I cant wait to experience it with you when you do.

      • SpiritAndCourage

        Leandra, this article, and your comment above is precisely why I read Manrepeller. I thought you made it perfectly clear (re:”by the way, this has little to do with Paris”) what you were talking about. I for one, find it so refreshing when people are real, and honest, and not fully formed. We live in a world (especially in the fashion and fashion blogging community, on social media, etc.) where everything we see is so curated. I find myself more and more seeking out places and people that are honest lately. I relate so much to your comment about wishing you could stop yourself from talking but not being able to (like what IS that?). Thank you for being brave enough to give us the stuff that is raw and bubbling.

  • Veronica Wilkins

    Fantastic writing! The words flow and the experience is felt through the piece. Thank you. (And this doesn’t happen to me, although I do feel the same way about Paris in general- blech!)

  • Yluna

    I absolutely loved the article, loved the way it’s written and could not agree more but what this beautiful person wrote. Unfortunately we came to the ugly point where we rush everything in life but want to live longer..which makes no sense..because we all have lost our senses and patience due to way too many things happening in life or apps that we are forced to use etc.
    Simply loved the article and the bluntness!
    Much love from Egypt xx

    Ig: @ylou
    Ps: yes, De Paris is my real family name lol.

  • nicholeNYC

    The spoiler said it all, party people! It’s not about Paris at all, it was your commentary on fashion and working in it. I loved this piece not because I agree (I lived in Paris for a year and half and love it that city second to NYC), but rather because it introduced a new take on a long-standing expectation: Work In Fashion = Ardent Unquestioning Love For Paris. You stating otherwise (and ps you told us it wasn’t about Paris at all) invited a new perspective on what it’s all about. You asked a lot of fashion existential (maybe Fashtential?) questions as you shared your observations of the changes this industry is going through right now. I love when questions I’ve never thought of get asked and I get to wallow in not having an answer. It’s fun not knowing what is next, for any industry! PS, you told us it wasn’t about Paris at all.

    • streats

      Yes! Reading all the backlash in the comments, I was beginning to wonder if Leandra had subsequently edited the article to clarify that it’s not about the city. I thought it was very clear. I get very defensive about Paris when people knock it, but I also get very annoyed when people only ever romanticise it. I think the sentiment of this article is very much needed.

  • Paris is a big, sprawling city, and it can be just as cruel or beautiful as any other. It does have a reputation I think it doesn’t deserve. Which one, I leave to your experiences.

    • streats

      I love this and thank you for it.

  • Katherine

    Reactions to Paris being liked or disliked are detracting from a point that I think goes far deeper. I experience a similar thing daily whereever I am and it’s entirely a function of not being at ‘home’. That’s what makes being an adventurer so admirable. You open yourself up to those moments of “what now?”. The discomfort of disrupting the inevitable. The insecurity of independence. Every now and then those moments are visible (you’re not being distracted from them) and they remind you what being alone feels like. And then you’re reminded how freaking lucky you are to be you. Because for every time you sit in a Paris hotel room feeling uncomfortable, you might get even the smallest inkling of how someone – a refugee or homeless person – feels after losing their sense of home. How you feel about Paris or fashion really pales in light of that.

  • Stephanos29

    Oh honey…i get that feeling. It’s the human condition, and stems from lack of depth in our interactions. Not saying this is your fault, but perhaps FW is highly superficial? What you needed was to connect with someone in a deep way. Sometimes having a deep conversation is what your soul needs!! Sometimes a city has an ambiance that rubs you the wrong way too. For example, I dislike Vegas. Vegas runs on lust, greed and drugs…these are ugly things I don’t like and the vibe in the air is dark and lonely. I wonder what vibe runs through the air of Paris fashion week…Pride? Vanity? Aloofness? Arrogance? Superficiality? Maybe everyone hides underneath their clothes and never really connects? Thanks for being so open and sharing your feelings. But you are lucky to have the opportunity to go!!!

    • streats

      It’s pretty condescending to call someone honey and reduce their loneliness to not having depth in their interactions — ironic, too, since it’s often the result of needing and seeking that depth that people become so lonely. Speaking as someone who lived in Paris for years, it’s actually incredibly difficult to connect with someone in a deep way just like that, particularly if you are not from that place. Many people are closed off to outsiders – they have their life already, why would they need you as a friend? I tried many times and through many means to find people to connect with, and never succeeded. The only people I managed to get to know were fellow expats whom I met through my international school, or their friends. Why can’t we accept people’s feelings as valid without needing to justify, explain, or remedy them?

      • b.e.g.

        I have the same feeling about the Mainline area outside Philadelphia. I lived there for 8 years. I found the people “friendly” but not interested in friendship. It was bizarre. Outsiders were only numbers to invite to fundraisers. Once I realized that I stopped participating in their charities. The only friends we made were from our PhD programme, and most of those came from other countries. Like you said, fellow expats (except we were from diferent states and countries). Some communities are closed.

  • streats

    I don’t like Paris on both counts.

    To clarify: I love Paris, but I don’t *only* love Paris, like a lot of the world does. I have a whole range of emotions for it, including despondence, regret, bitterness, and apathy.

    Alicia Drake once wrote: “A foreigner in Paris is always oscillating between a kind of ecstasy and infinite despair”

    This was my life for four years when I lived in Paris, both emotionally and sartorially. When I first lived there (over 10 years ago) I was a French fashion purist: I was all about Chanel and YSL, and saw French Vogue as superior to any other edition. Looking back, I think it suited my dark romantic life at the time. These days, I’m a lot more removed from fashion and fashion week in general, but I feel like I’m definitely more into London and NYC, both in terms of the aesthetic and the mood of the cities.

  • Angela Gentile

    Ok but the hero image is perfection. I want to look that good on the reg.

  • Miss J

    I don’t like Paris. There. I said it too. And I’ve never been there for a show. I’ve always gone to visit the city and friends who live there. There is something about the French mentality that makes you feel unwelcome if you’re not French. Paris makes me feel like I’m not good enough for Paris because a) I’m not Parisian, and b) I’m not even French. And I never dared speak French with my Canadian accent because that would just be horrifique! I do have French friends outside of France, and I love French products, so it’s not like I have a problem with the nation as a whole. I’ve never felt more isolated than there, like I don’t belong, and I get a feeling of belonging quickly and easily almost everywhere I go. I had a friend who got publickly mocked in front of 20 people at a cafe, for saying the “s” sound at the end of jus d’orange when she was ordering breakfast. OOOOh, sorry that someone forgot the s’s at the end of words are silent! It was so bad that the waiter pointed his finger at her and repeated her mispronounciation, while half the cafe was staring and laughing. She ran out crying while our friend paid for the order.

  • Shahi Biscus

    Even though I don’t work in fashion , paris can be a lonely city too, and I’m kinda sick of french people (i’m french lol)

  • chaudlamouette

    Nah it’s fine I live in Paris and it sucks. The metro smells of piss, people are grumpy and snarky, and the general attitude to life and others who think outside of the box is pretty shitty. Parisians like to think of themselves as outspoken and rebellious ( NEVER FORGET we overthrew the monarchy a few hundred years ago), but behave as judgementally as if they were still part of Louis XVI’s court. I personally find Paris quite hostile to tourists and it has lost its attraction over the years, even the food… They’re living on a reputation and that’s it.

  • Vickee

    I love this Leandra <3 I may not personally relate to the whole going to Paris fashion week thing, but I do agree this is one of the reasons I stopped blogging. Events, and events, outfit post after outfit posts…You're right, what now?

  • Luis Felipe Sánchez

    Well, this was written through Leandra´s eyes and she works in fashion so let´s not be complete naives on this piece. Obviously Paris is about way more than FW (and a truly fantastic city) but again; we are not reading a Travel and Leisure article.

    Lets not be hard on Leandra expressing herself on something that may come as raw as it is and that —im completely sure— other people are thinking as well.

  • Emily

    I think this is part of that European cool factor. When I recently visited Spain, I felt comfortable in restaurants where I conversed in spanish and fit in, but felt lonely in places where I felt out of place. I can also say that visiting Hungary as a Hungarian was really far from this — it felt like home, and that is probably because I grew up with that language and culture, and have family there. I think it has a lot to do with comfort with the regional language, culture, dress sense, and being part of the ‘in’ vs. ‘out’ crowd in that country. So it won’t always be lonely, if you court it a little.