Bobo rhapsody

Friday, July 8th, 2016
  • Accordion girl, Paris

    It’s early afternoon and the Canal Saint-Martin in Eastern Paris is quiet. A girl sits alone with her thoughts and an accordion that she plays for her own entertainment. As the afternoon transforms into a warm summer evening, this area will fill up with crowds of people who will sit by the water sipping drinks, smoking, and chatting well into the night.

    Parisians call them “Bobos” – bourgeois bohemians. They’re the affluent liberal and nonconformist crowd being credited (or blamed depending on your standpoint) with the gentrification of this part of Paris.

    “The Bobo is a comfortable contortion of caring capitalism,” according to an article written in the Guardian Newspaper in 2000. Melinda Wittstock wrote that Bobos combine “the free-spirited, artistic rebelliousness of the bohemian beatnik or hippie with the worldly ambitions of their bourgeois corporate forefathers.”

    Of course, times have moved on since 2000, but the oh-so-bobo website, Airbnb, describes the canal as being “the perfect setting for finding oneself while watching others.” It describes those “others” as being “angst-ridden university students,” “model-types,” and “ruminating unshaven philosophers.”

    Well I ask you: who wouldn’t want to hang out with a crowd like that?

    Visit Paris and be a ‘bobo’ for a weekend. Let me give you some money for your first Airbnb stay. (Yep, that’s an ad!)

    Stand here using Google street view.