WanderingTrader

How Buenos Aires Is Like Paris:Analyzing The Paris Of The South

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The streets & Oblisque

The Paris of the South is a city that was once the epicenter of the world at the turn of the 21st century. People from around the world wanted to now only visit Buenos Aires, but actually live there.

Now the city drastically different with corruption bringing the entire country of Argentina, as the city of Buenos Aires, to its knees. At one point in time the city was as glamorous as Paris, now you just have hints of Paris here and there.

The culture of Buenos Aires is almost identical to Paris. There are many people around the world that don’t like the French, aside from the United States government.

They say that if you sit down at a coffee shop in Paris you can watch the whole world walk by. This saying comes from the fact Paris is the (thee not the) most visited city in the world. Most tourists I can assure you only visit Paris, not the countryside.

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The European Archicture

Most of the opinions I have heard of the French from others around the world are that they are snobs and very rude. Dealing with so many tourists every year you can understand if you may be jaded to foreigners but not all French people are like that.

If you travel to the capital of Argentina, it would be very easy to get the same kind of impression from the people of Buenos Aires. Both the French and Argentinians are extremely proud of their cultures and consider themselves the best in the world (where some may get the wrong impression).

The only exception is that Argentina has fallen off the map in terms of economic prowess and the people of Buenos Aires still consider themselves elite. Someone from Buenos Aires could be cleaning your toilet and they could still think they are better than you. It’s also important to note that not all people are like this, just most.

The actual feel of the city is very similar to Paris. There are cafes on every corner where most Argentinians go to begin and end their day. Its a very cafe oriented society as most people meet up there and many Argentinians eat out at cafe’s that offer food. The European cars that swarm the streets include Renauts and Peugeots. There are hardly any American or Japanese cars on the streets. That wouldn’t be very French now would it.

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Whatever you do, don’t drink Fernet

The biggest thing that gives you the feeling of Paris is the architecture. The Europeans have really left their mark throughout the entire city with gorgeous buildings, European style squares, and round abouts. Round Abouts! While some the architecture is linked to Spanish and Italian styles, you still get that very European feel that you can link back to Paris.

The city of Buenos Aires has seen better days. The government of Argentina is running on reserves due to the world economic slowdown and there is barely any money to fix up and maintain the city. You can make a case for that or the fact that there is so much corruption they would rather put their money in their coffers than fix up the city. The sidewalks on many streets are filled with pot holes and many of the classic European buildings are falling apart. If there is no money to keep up the buildings there is no money to clean the graffiti off of the walls either.

You really can get the sense of Paris in some respects and it’s the city closest to where you can find Paris around the world. But it is falling apart unfortunately and soon you may not be able to feel Paris at all.

37 Comments

  1. I hope Buenos Aires turns around soon and keeps it’s heritage before it is too late. It is terrible to see corruption ruin a city and people’s lives. I hope to make it there soon to see the parallels of Paris, one of my favourite cities in the world.

  2. I’ve not been to Argentina, but I’ve always had this feeling that it would be a fantastic city to visit. Let’s hope it doesn’t lose what it still has, and brings back what it’s lost.

  3. Very interesting! I’ve been saying that I imagine BsAs would be like Paris but last night a woman was telling me she didn’t think it was anything like it. Can’t wait to see for myself! ~Andrea

  4. Its very far from what it once was… but its still a gorgeous city in my opinion. Im afraid though as time goes on this will continue to deteriorate in Buenos Aires. I would consider Buenos Aires now poor man’s Paris

    1. I don’t know where did you take that from.Buenos Aires is not deteriorating at all, I mean I live in BA and everyday I see plenty of reparations,constructions,renovations and maintenance everywhere I go. You can see that everything is okay reflexed in tourism. Buenos Aires is the most visited city in Latin America and it is constantly winning international awards. Please stop talking about things you don’t even know. I can bet you haven’t been in Buenos Aires in the last 5 years. Thanks for your comments though

  5. Thank you for the insightful article!
    Buenos Aires does indeed have a very Parisian feeling to it, in your article you forgot the influences of Paris urban architect Haussmann, who designed the broad boulevards lined with trees, leading up to important institutes and landmarks of the city. This feature clearly shows in Buenos Aires’ Avenida de Mayo, which directly leads to the town hall and is lined with buildings of breathtaking architecture.
    I really liked your article, keep up the work.

  6. Buenos Aires has about 10 times more dog sh#t on the sidewalks than Paris. You’re also way more likely to get robbed in Buenos Aires, it now has one of the highest rates of robberies in all of Latin American.

    1. Andres.. there is plenty of urine on the streets of Paris and it has gotten so bad that they have had to install new public bathrooms for people to use. I agree with you about it being dangerous but at the turn of the century (1900’s) Buenos Aires was the place to be

  7. Nice video Meghan. I liked that you explained how daogrenus situations are present in any country. I explain that to people all the time when they are like what, you lived where? I remember one time when I was living in Bogota, I was talking to someone in the city who told me that it was daogrenus to live in Bogota haha (that person was a very rich old guy from a gated community in one of the wealthiest parts of the city, so again you have to always evaluate your sources of information). For people out there who are interested in studying abroad, don’t let other people’s opinions, which are often based off a very limited number of sources anyway, stop you from what most likely will be an eye-opening, enriching experience. Certainly, use common sense abroad. And before you go, sure, do your research and seek advice from people who have already lived abroad, but there are many wonderful experiences to have out there and if you are reading this post I hope you are researching around and making plans for travel and study soon! Suerte!

  8. I m living in Buenos Aires. In fact, Buenos Aires looked like Paris in the past (since 1900 until 1980). culture, Cafe, bar, streets, clothing,art, food, etc., but unfortunately today is like bolivians, peruvians or mexicans cities.

    1. As Paris, Madrid, Rome, Berlin and Texas are, nowadays, like Algeria, Rabat, Lybia, Ankara and Mexico City, right? Population movements existed since we are human beings, the problem of Argentina and its inhabitants is the eternal desiring of looking like an european country, what becomes in this kind of xenophobic comments.
      Why “unfortunately”? What does french culture can offer that is better than peruvian culture? Remember when french invaded, killed and raped in Africa, and set their language as the official one in almost the half of african continent…

      1. WHAT? LIKE ALGERIA ? You definitely never came to Buenos Aires. We are constantly winning important awards and you can see the result of this beautiful city reflexed in tourism. Argentina is the most visited country in the region and the most visited place in Argentina is BUENOS AIRES. So please let yourself know a little bit before talking something you don’t even know about. Thank you.

          1. Actually Mexico has the most world heritage sites in all of the Americas for having most of its historical architecture intact. Ecuador also has many too. WTF are you rambling about? Every city (especially capitals) will have deteriorated buildings. Unfortunately. But The majority are still intact and are regularly maintained. Buenos Aires, Rosario, Lima, Mexico City, Morelia, Puebla, Zacatecas, Potosi, Cartagena, etc. are all good examples….

          2. Most cities in Chile doesn’t have deteriorated buildings… they actually have a functioning social system that takes care of these things. Most big cities in Europe the same thing.

  9. Ummm it’s nothing like mexican cities , mex has one of the leading economy’s in Latin America ….you should visit guadalajara someday

  10. I find this offensive, I am from Buenos Aires and I don’t think we are as proud as you wrote here. We defend what we are, what we were made of, and we are accustomed to resist (economically) to the desires of the “first” world which sets the mainstream that should be followed. Wish someone of Paris could resist the ifflation we are in right now and the disorders we had in 2001.
    If we haven’t a good economy is because the leading countries decided us to keep in the periferic zone of the world, however we are here, resisting and offering to the whole world what we are capable of, and the profits of this lands are people recognized all over the world (some with more pride than others) whose main property is passion.

    1. Don’t want to offend anyone but I still stand by my comments that the people of Argentina are like that. It is part of the reason why there is an economic collapse every 10 years in Argentina.

  11. Hello there everyone. As a resident of Buenos Aires I can really say that the city is NOT that abandoned at all. The head of the Goverment of the city is not as corrupt as the president and you can see MANY MANY works, from repairing a hole in the street to mantain those huge and old buildings. So I don’t know where did you take that from,the city is in one of its best moments (unlike the country of course) ……… KEEP YOUR EYES ON MI BUENOS AIRES QUERIDA 🙂

  12. I live in Buenos Aires.
    To my understanding, many comments I’ve just read here are true. Many others are wrong.
    Let’s begin with architecture: At the beginnig of the XX century Argentina had an income per capita greater than those of most european countries save UK. Economically speaking we were feeding Uk in exchange for railroads and prime quality imports. We were a rich country. Accumulation of wealth by large cattle breeders was shown off in building huge palaces mainly French and Italian styles (but also British & German) and when I said huge, they were huge…say 4,000 square meters which is equivalent to 43,056 ft2…
    There are hundreds of palaces.
    For instance you may take a look at a few of them in the fallowing sites:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/San_Mart%C3%ADn_Palace
    http://www.ctalinks.iteda.cnea.gov.ar/?page_id=96
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Palacio_Haedo
    http://www.arcondebuenosaires.com.ar/palacio_sans_souci.htm
    http://www.elarcadigital.com.ar/modules/textos/texto.php?id=259
    http://es.wikipedia.org/wiki/Palacio_Err%C3%A1zuriz
    http://es.wikipedia.org/wiki/Palacio_%C3%81lzaga_Unzu%C3%A9
    http://arquitectos-franceses-argentina.blogspot.com.ar/2010/06/ingeniero-arquitecto-jules-dormal-caba.html
    http://es.wikipedia.org/wiki/Palacio_Pereda
    http://forum.skyscraperpage.com/showthread.php?t=177070

    It will continue…

  13. Corruption:
    Yes! Since Juan and Evita Perón, 70 years of Populist governments (Venezuelan Hugo Chaves’ style) have led Argentina to corruption, inflation, street insecurity and vulnerability, drugdealing, etc.

    Speaking of today’s corruption, even the Vicepresident of our country is under scrutiny for his alleged role in the case involving the company formerly known as Ciccone Calcográfica, which prints the country’s peso notes!.
    Even worse, the President’s apparently surrounded of strowmen and fronters who are making her one of the richest women in Latin America, soon to be listed in Forbes Magazine!.
    On the other side of the same coin, around one third of our population is falling below poverty line, making our country one of the most unfair LAmerican countries in terms of income distribution. (Please google “Gini Coefficient”)
    Another side effect of corruption and populism deseases, is that we are the only country in the world switching from development (7th richest country in 1920) to underdevelopment. Isn’t it cute?
    Just to give you some figures: Durind the 1930’s around 50% of Latinamerica Gross Domestic Product (Latinoamerica includes from Mexico, passing through Central America, Brazil, all the Andes countries, etc. down to Antartic) was produced in Argentina. Nowadays, just to give you an idea, Brazilean GDP is seven times greater than ours.
    Another example: 70 years ago Chilean GDP was equivalent to 15% of Argentinean’s GDP. Todays Chilean’s GDP is equivalent to 56% of ours’.
    Regarding our assumed intellectual superiority vis-a-vis the inhabitants of our neighboring countries, it may have had to do with the fact that literacy levels in Argentina reached almost 100% many many years ago…I don’t know, say 1910.
    It was due to the fact (among other reasons) that former President Sarmiento between 1869 and 1898, brought to Argentina more than 65 teachers from New York, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia, Ohio, New England, etc. The first ten were from Boston (Mass.) and here they became teachers of teachers. They were Mary Graham, Florence y Sarah Atkinson, Clara Gillies, Sarah Harrison, Cora Hill, Amy Wade, Martha Graham, Charles Dudley y Clara Armstrong.
    In case you want to “scout” a little bit more on this subject you may google for example, Mary Olstine Graham, Domingo Faustino Sarmiento, etc.
    Of course, now we are poorer, underdeveloped, corrupted and stoned and we don’t have reasons to feel superior not even to our neighbours’ dog.
    But still, Argentina’s worth it to visit. Our people are very friendly to foreigners, we’ve all weathers, many glaciers, ski resources, plenty of wonderfull beaches, huge pampas, by far! best polo players all around the word, beautiful ladies! and plenty of nice people.
    I love it and couldn’t live anywhere else!

  14. I stayed in Buenos Aires several time during the last 20 years, the last time I was there was about 5 month ago, and I noticed that the city looks very dirty, rubbish absolutely everywhere on the street, people burning tyres (very bad for pollution) on the roads, I saw guys urinating on buildings, dog excrement, nowhere to find recycle bins or rubbish bins.
    It was very insecure, my sister got robbed my 3 young boys driving a very small scooter and holding big kitchen knives and what it looked like a 38 revolver at 2pm.
    I have been robbed in Argentina before, but it was while sleeping on a long distance bus or someone getting into my hotel room while I was out and about, never by young boys holding weapons.
    The citizens of Argentina chose that government and I believe they have been having the same politics for the last 6 or 7 years, so I guess the populations must be happy with the way things are, otherwise they would’ve chosen a different one with a different mentality.
    I will keep traveling to South East Asia instead, where I can leave my hotel without the fear of been harm.

  15. This is serious? It seems that some resentful wrote wants to leave bad Argentina lol
    say that Argentines are unpleasant or feel of the elite? This is anything, it seems that it was written with the intention of leaving a bad country, should renounce them, say the buildings are falling apart? haha All lies! what was written here, other than that I know Argentines do not feel “paris” The unpleasant truth badly want to leave a city that is bellissima, tourists leave happy, I know it is very cute, but beyond that, there’s nothing wrong with criticism but this is not a criticism, that is intending to bad argentina, a beautiful city.
    It would be more correct to travel to Buenos Aires, and know that this is all a big lie, with intent to do wrong, the city grows more each year, the buildings are very nice to photograph, are not neglected, have the avenida among 5 the more luxurious and glamorous world, so is he has called the “alvear avenue”, Buenos Aires among the most visited Latin America, and among the most “beautiful and more culture throughout the region. This among the most recommended in the world to travel, very unpleasant what you read here.
    What lack of professionalism !! PATHETIC !! PD I recommend it as a destination!

    1. Just had two friends come back from Argentina and they agreed they will never go back again. It was ONCE a beautiful country but not more. Especially when compared to Europe. Not to mention the economic collapse that happens every ten years.

  16. Not only the person who wrote this doesn´t know how to speak english, but also doesn´t know anything about Argentinean culture or ways. Another ignorant idiot writing about something they don´t know anything about on the internet, how original!.

  17. BsAs- is gorgeous city. I’ve been there and yeah, felt like one part like in S America and another like in Paris… Cafés were everywhere, bars and crazy nightlife! I really wish that Argentina will rise again, get wealthier, stronger and richer!!! Vamos Argentina!!!!

  18. I lived in Buenos Aires from 1949 to 1976 and in Los Angeles since then. I visited Paris, London and Rome and I liked them all. However, Buenos Aires has a charm that can’t be found anywhere else. In spite of all the bad things I hear constantly from my friends and family that still live there, every time I go to Buenos Aires I love it more. If I could find a job there, I would not hesitate to move back. The only problem is the high crime rate with its consequent insecurity; but as a tourist, if you stick to the touristic circuits and don’t venture into known dangerous areas, you won’t have that problem.

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