On This Day – Paris Of The East

On February 16th 2015 I was on the final day of a short break to Warsaw in Poland…

I woke early the next morning so made good use of the time before breakfast by reading the complimentary guide books supplied by the Tourist Information Office.

I shouldn’t really have been surprised by this because I have seen it so many times but there on the first page of the ‘Warsaw Top Ten’ guide was the description, Warsaw – Paris of the East.

After Venice it seems that it is the city that more than most other cities want to associate themselves. I have yet to come across a New York of the East, a Moscow of the West or a Melbourne of the North but, when it comes to Paris, even without leaving Europe we have:

Baku, Azerbaijan; Bucharest, Romania; Budapest, Hungary; Leipzig, Germany; Prague, Czech Republic; Riga, Latvia; Saint Petersburg, Russia.  As if to make doubly sure, in a belt and braces sort of way, Saint Petersburg doubles up in this respect by also calling itself the ‘Venice of the North’ even though it has competition for this particular title from Amsterdam, Bruges, Stockholm, Copenhagen, Hamburg, Manchester, Edinburgh (which good measure also calls itself the Athens of the North) and even Birmingham amongst others.

I am unable to find anywhere that calls itself the London of the East, or North, South or West for that matter but by way of compensation there are twenty-eight villages in England called Little London including one only two miles or so from where I live which is a hamlet with just a handful of farm cottages, a pub, a railway crossing, a caravan site and a farm shop but no Little London road sign.

Exciting isn’t it?  It suddenly reminded me of the small village of Twenty in South Lincolnshire.  Twenty has a road sign to identify it and a local wag had added the tag line “Twenty – Twinned with the Moon – No Atmosphere”.

By coincidence Twenty is just about five miles from the town of Spalding where I used to work and an area of the town called … wait for it… Little London.

Including Warsaw I have had the good fortune to visit five of these alternative Paris cities, Budapest, Saint Petersburg, Riga and Prague and I have to say that I can find very little similarity in any of these places with the real thing. Prague would have to come closest I would have to say but only on the basis that they have a sort of Eiffel Tower.

Beyond Europe there are a few more but the most bizarre of all surely has to be Beirut!  Paris itself if often called the City of Lovers or the City of Light but I have never heard of it calling itself the Beirut of the West and I am fairly certain that it is most unlikely ever to do so.

In addition to the French capital there are of course a number of places that are officially called Paris including nine in the United States – in Arkansas, Idaho, Maine, Kentucky, New York, Missouri, Tennessee, Virginia and one that was even the title of a film – Paris, Texas. There is one missing from this list however and the one that is most Paris like of all, the one at EPCOT World Showcase in Disney World Florida.  Three other U.S. cities have at some time been called the Paris of the West – Denver, Detroit and San Francisco but these all seem just as unlikely to me as Shanghai in China!

There is also a Paris in Ontario in Canada and the city of Montreal in French speaking Québec has unsurprisingly also been dubbed the Paris of the West.

Paris at Disneyworld in Florida…

35 responses to “On This Day – Paris Of The East

  1. Well, that’s an exhausting set of lists….

    Liked by 1 person

  2. What can I say Paris is eternal and someone wants to rubbed off, but there is only one Paris!!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. How about one for Norfolk? “West Rudham, the East Rudham of the West.”
    And in Rutland, isn’t there a sign for “Whitwell, twinned with Paris”, and in West Cornwall, the sign at the edge of a particular village used to read “St Just City Limits” but the council took it down, sadly.

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  4. You’re a mine of fascinating information. I’d want you on my pub quiz team.

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  5. I once did some consultancy in Spalding

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  6. Well this was an unexpected read. You really are a mine of information!

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  7. Reminds me of the time in France (in the 60s) when we wanted to send something home to the Isle of Wight and we were asked which one? We were more than surprised but it turns out there are 5 altogether, the other 4 in the USA.

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  8. I did some research once into a 19th century tenant farmer here who became a yeoman farmer and it looked as though one of his ancestors fought in the American War of Independence. But names that have travelled most seem to be in Australia.

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    • English heritage in USA is 8% in Australia it is 26%. The low USA figure often surprises people from England. German is the highest at 15% which goes some way to explain the difficulty USA had in joining the two World wars.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Yes, it does explain a lot. There is also a high Scandinavian heritage in the Minnesota area, mostly Norwegians and Swedes I believe.

    Liked by 2 people

  10. There are three small areas in opposite corners of Leeds known as Little London. My son teaches at Little London Primary. Not one of these areas resembles London in the slightest.

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  11. What a fascinating read! Thanks Andrew.

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  12. . . . there’s also Paris Hilton . . .

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    • And Paris who killed Achilles with a lucky arrow.

      You will know how this works. This morning I had over 200 likes on over 200 different posts, all at about the same time and all from India?

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    • I’m guessing it’s not Paris Hilton . . .

      So, when that happens to me, it’s either someone new who wants to be noticed (did they also subscribe to your blog?) or a business that wants you to click on their avatar or link.

      There’s a chance it’s malicious but since I never click to check, I don’t know.

      I had an instance a few years ago where I was getting lots of them, and if I remember correctly, that was a new thing that WordPress took a few days to address. You could always have a chat with Support (they are usually very responsive and capable on chats). Go to the bottom of your Admin page, click on Contact Us and then follow the prompts to ask for a chat. They might be able to advise you as to what/why that is.

      One other thing you could do (which is what I do) is automatically route “likes” on posts to my trash. Of course, I also switched off “likes” on posts, but people can still “like” them through the reader (and that’s likely how they are doing it . . . or it’s a bot) and hence why I trash them.

      Liked by 1 person

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