‘Nightlife mayor’ vows to make Paris Dance
by FFE EU News staff
‘It’s going to get noisy’ warned Clément Léon, Paris’ first ever ‘Nightlife Mayor.’
The 31-year-old events organiser was elected over the weekend to assume the unofficial post that aims to bring back the spark in the city’s nocturnal revelries. His goal is to make Paris’ nightlife rival that of London and Berlin, and has been giving tough talks on ‘waking up’ the city of lights.
Forty-five pubs on Saturday night favoured Léon over five other candidates, one of which was punk-rocker Gogol Premier. The election was run by an independent group of nightlife professionals who wanted to breathe life back into the night.
Despite being home to legendary venues like Moulin Rouge and Folie Bergere, Paris has lulled in recent years. In 2009, noisy pubs and clubs were closed due to complaints. That same year, French daily Le Monde called the city ‘the European capital of boredom.’
An open petition letter called ‘When the night dies of silence’ tried to urge officials to act; the same group of nightlife industry professionals who spearheaded the petition also set up notices to revellers in Paris, saying ‘Closed due to death of the city. Please try a neighbouring capital.’
Even American daily New York Times called the city ‘staid and bourgeois.’
One pub owner said ‘Paris isn’t the City of Light anymore — it goes to sleep at 11.’
Léon plans to change these.
First he will tackle trendy neighbourhoods that do not want the smoke and noise associated with pubs. He said ‘People want certain surroundings, but not the life that goes with it.
‘When they move into a neighbourhood, they have to understand that there [will be] noise…They have to understand that Paris is a capital city, and a capital city moves and shakes, it makes noise.’ Léon added that he wants to extend the operating hours of the Metro and to have more late-night taxis for party goers.
Although the position is unofficial, Léon’s influence may just pull the right strings in local government. Anne Hidalgo, Socialist candidate for Paris mayor, herself proposed to open the office in her manifesto. With the election coming up in April, Léon and other nightlife mavens are looking far ahead: ‘If the next mayor wants to bring me into their team, I’d accept that.
His goal is to bring the French capital back in the global cultural spotlight, by day and night, making it a rival to Barcelona and Amsterdam.
‘Paris cannot and must not become a “dormitory town” … Let’s not be the laughing stock of Europe. Let’s make Paris, and its nightlife, great again.’