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The Paris Review Reviews Paris

January 9, 2014 | by


We looked into it.

Exactly 365 days ago, the poet Patricia Lockwood asked:


Rightfully, her query went on to enjoy more than a thousand retweets, landing on several best-of-2013 lists, and earning plaudits from all over—because it’s a really good question. We were confounded. Despite our name and the dozens of interviews we’ve conducted in Paris, we had never really thought to assess the city’s quality.

We put our top people on it. For the next 365 days, our agents combed the twenty arrondissements, an army of flaneurs with clipboards in hand, golf pencils tucked behind their ears. They took water samples, soil samples, croissant samples. Equipped with measuring tapes, Geiger counters, and elegant cravats, they scrutinized the city’s every boulevard and metro station. They assessed the turbidity of the Seine; they carbon dated paintings, supped on the finest Bordeaux, and enjoyed the haute fare of Le Chateaubriand, Septime, and Benoit. They sent up weather balloons and infiltrated the fashion houses. They noted the Royale with Cheese. From Gentilly to Saint-Ouen, no stone was left unturned, no bichon frise unnuzzled. Then, having conducted such exhaustive research, they crunched the numbers, feeding the data into a series of world-class supercomputers with processing speeds in excess of thirty-three quadrillion floating-point operations per second. At last, they furnished a verdict:

It’s pretty good!

Case closed.




  1. rusty | January 9, 2014 at 7:23 pm

    Was admittedly expecting:

    Editors trimmed the wordcount of their review, so we can say, with confidence: “Mostly harmless.”

  2. Andre | January 9, 2014 at 7:42 pm

    Ou’est le “?” dans la tweet?

  3. Gail Lockman | January 11, 2014 at 10:37 am

    “Damned with faint praise?”

  4. Colin Verbesey | January 11, 2014 at 12:10 pm

    “No stone was left unturned, no bichon frise unnuzzled” HA!

  5. Clovis Bowden | January 11, 2014 at 3:47 pm

    My lady was nearly pick pocketed our first full day, and I was the second, and the PD station was crowded, and we later learned the City of Ligjtfingers was Number One in crime for Europe, and cops travel in threes on bicycles and never venture down in the Metro dungeon where crime thrives. Nice bridges, though.

  6. deanna | January 12, 2014 at 6:06 am

    i LOVE paris. was never even close to getting pick pocketed. not hassled even once. i loved everything in that city.

8 Pingbacks

  1. […] It sounds like something Google would do on April Fool’s day—like 2013′s joke that YouTube was shutting down and no longer accepting submissions for the best video contest—and, well, frankly this is mostly a joke too. But it’s brilliant. Sparked by poet Patricia Lockwood’s 2013 tweet to the Paris Review, they finally buckled down and reviewed their home city. Isn’t that what they were supposed to have been doing all along? Read the full (short) article here. […]

  2. […] query to the Paris Review (“Is Paris any good or not?”) finally gets an answer. Luckily I have been there and I can tell you it’s ehhhhhhhhhhhhhhh but it’s got a few […]

  3. […] Lockwood Get a Tramp Stamp Shall We?”  and got the Paris Review to finally after six decades go ahead and review Paris (their verdict: ”It’s pretty […]

  4. […] Get a Tramp Stamp Shall We?”  and got the Paris Review to finally after six decades go ahead and review Paris (their verdict: ”It’s pretty […]

  5. […] Lockwood tunnetaan parhaiten roiseista ja/tai absurdeista twiiteistään (etenkin tästä) sekä viraaliseksi nousseesta leikkisän hyytävästä runosta Rape Joke. Hänen […]

  6. […] is it we so adore about Lockwood’s wit, which arrives via sext or shattering one-liner or Balloon Pop Outlaw Black and Motherland Fatherland Homelandsexuals, two collections of sneaky […]

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