Buenos Aires: The PARIS of Latin America!


steveinbsas said:
We've often heard this phrase.

Anyone care to comment?
A comparison could have been made a century ago -- a comparison in which, incidentally, Paris would probably have suffered as BsAs was modern, affluent, and vibrant. But for the last so many years, the phrase has been used to flatter Portenos -- who willfully wish to remain in a state of denial. Or maybe they want their city to be distinguished from the likes of Asuncion and Lima. If you want to go the whole hog in shameless flattery, say that BsAs is the Paris of South America -- then correct yourself and say Paris is the BsAs of Europe. A mere shadow, a slave's flattery, a child's imitation of that might metropolis, BsAs, that brooks no comparison (I'm paraphrasing Tolkien as he describes how Saruman's Isengard compares to Sauron's citadel).


The phrase "paris of latin america" to me was never meant to be a direct comparison of the two cities but rather a statement of their uniqueness... they both stand out from the surrounding 'scenery' in similar but unique ways. The truth is that I don't really know because both cities are quite amazing to me.... and i've lived in both.

Well, i'm responding to this silly question because I'm bored and am just sitting around in my apartment. Steve, could you be just as bored?


Zenobia said:
I've never been to Paris, . . . . I don't have any desire to go there . . . or have any interest in France. So, in my opinion, Paris must be the Buenos Aires of Europe.
Does this mean that you also lack any interest in Buenos Aires?


Pointless argentina bashing aside, there are obvious similarities in terms of architecture and city design, which is why the phrase exists. When people think of latin american cities they think of urban sprawls like sao paolo or the "favela chic" of Rio. So Buenos Aires looks and feels very different.


I don't see anything wrong with calling BsAs the Paris of South America. It's not supposed to be a direct comparison. But it is more fitting than calling Amsterdam the Venice of the North.

To me, though, BsAs is more like Barcelona without Gaudi and Gotico, but with a South American flavor (and a mild German too).


Maybe the "Paris of Latin American" is used to describe all the cultural/activities that occur in BA. It is hard to compare the two cities especially when the climates are so different.


Yeah, I don't get it either.
No French people. No Eiffel tower. No decent bread anywhere.
Nothing like Paris.
But I've also heard Sao Paulo described as the Paris of South America.
What is it with Paris, anyhow? Beirut is the Paris of the middle east (or was), Shanghai is the Paris of Asia, Tangiers is the Paris of Africa.
Why not London? A much better city is every way. (Except for the bread)


Ozrielos said:
Why not London? A much better city is every way. (Except for the bread)
It doesn't have a reputation for being "chic." Paris has a reputation for "chic," glamour, sophistication, and intellectuality (all of it fake).


It's a cute phrase to illustrate the point that BA is more cosmopolitan than the rest of South America or even Latin America. A part of Recoleta actually does look like Paris - the plaza next to the French and Brazilian embassies, for example. There is more cultural activity here than in other Latin American cities. People are well dressed. Beyond that, there are not a lot of similarities. Paris is far more ethnically diverse, its a part of Europe with access to everything there - not stuck at the end of the world where you have to buy an expensive plane ticket to reach another half way interesting city. Then there is the food which is infinitely better than what you get in BA.


Fishface said:
The biggest difference for you is: you used to be able to afford to buy a coffee in Buenos Aires.

...now Sterling is becoming worthless and inflation continues its upward trend...
I knew this would excite comment. I am dissapointed that this is the best I got.:D
I last went to Paris fifteen years ago and had to pay £4 for a coffee, ignoring the intervening years inflation, that is still twenty pesos, per cup.
Last time I stopped in a Cafe in BsAs I paid twelve pesos for medilunas and coffee for two.
Buenos Aires still has a long way to go before it becomes an expensive city.
I wait for people to tell me now how expensive a fridge is.