Paris - Sociology


With a Gini coefficient of 0.49, Paris is the second most unequal city in France after Neuilly-sur-Seine. The Western part of the city, notably the 7th is by far the richest. It has long been known as French high society's favorite place of residence, comparable to New York's Upper East Side, LA's Beverly Hills or London's Mayfair and Belgravia, to such an extent it has been associated with great wealth, elitism and social hegemony in French popular culture as well as in some masterpieces of French literature such as Balzac's La com├ędie humaine or Proust's In Search of Lost Time. The cultural, social and economic influence of the area has played a prominent role throughout French history and is still highly vivid in nowadays' French elite. Western Paris standards of life were also highly influential in educating foreign elites, especially in Europe, Russia and Northern America (see Frick Collection). And so Paris Ouest (Western Paris) should be seen as not only a geographic area but also a social attitude symbolized by French high society's habits and way of life.

The "Rive Gauche" (Left Bank of the Seine) generally implies a sense of bohemianism and creativity as it was the Paris of artists, writers, philosophers and students. The counterpart of the Rive Gauche of Paris is the Rive Droite (Right Bank), a term used to refer to a level of elegance and sophistication not found in the more bohemian Left Bank.

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