In my first days of living in Paris, I quickly discovered a way to soften the notoriously frosty Parisian demeanor. “Je suis New Yorkaise,” I would utter, with what I hoped was an air of nonchalance, and would watch my opponent’s expression morph from superiority to something that could almost be mistaken for . . . admiration? Just as Paris seems to be the only city capable of intimidating the jaded New Yorker, that same fascination has been flowing back across the Atlantic in equal measure. The French are increasingly enthralled with all things New York—particularly its crunchier artisanal cousin, Brooklyn. From the endless cohort of sneakers and Levi’s 501s to the ironic Girls references to the bagel shops and vegan eateries sprouting in lieu of traditional brasseries, Paris, it seems, is getting more and more like New York’s own Left Bank. And as the new Brooklyn Rive Gauche exposition at Le Bon Marché debuts, another question arises: Just as American women have fetishized the mythical romantic Gallic gentleman, do Parisians hold a torch for the Brooklyn equivalent? And is that why every guy here wears plaid shirts and week-old stubble?
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