Following my OECD visit, I have been thinking about how Paris has changed in the almost thirty years I have been going there. I came up with the following mental list:
1. It is much less of a working class city in the center.
2. Many more immigrants, most of all outside the center. The center and the periphery are now more different than in times past.
3. People smoke much, much less.
4. The residents are less Marxist, but now more “woke.”
5. English is far more widely spoken, and good French is not so much expected in casual interactions.
6. The average quality of bread is declining.
7. Michelin restaurants, in relative terms, have grown much more expensive. I recall having a meal at the Hotel Bristol, maybe six years ago, for 150 euros. A similar meal now goes for 380 euros, more than I am willing to pay.
8. The city has been remarkably economically resilient, in part because of the longstanding emphasis on services.
9. The city now has a burgeoning start-up scene.
10. I believe central Paris is now much more different from the rest of France than it used to be.