London. How many times have I been to London? How many times have I walked up and down this city (from the age of 12 on a class trip, then from the age of 25 – a young lawyer who doesn’t knows how to manage her finances, without a penny, walking from the City to Sloane Square with a luggage, 2.5 hours if you want to try – then multiple times for legal cases and no later than yesterday, in meetings but with the kids)?
There is not one London but several.
The tentacular city managed – for more than 2.000 years – the considerable feat of regrouping a thousand communities and therefore a thousand areas.
Knightsbridge, where you can find Harrods, Harvey Nicols and the great majority of London-based couture house’s flagships, is without a single doubt one of the trendiest areas in the capital.
Knightsbridge is also without any doubt one of the least representative areas in London too, be it in its cultural diversity or in its social variety. How lovely though to visit the Victoria and Albert Museum and walk around in its beautiful, even, peaceful roads.
Same in Mayfair, even if the buildings are more varied.
The same goes for Westminster, the first historical place of the West End.
The same goes for Notting Hill and Portobello Road, even if the boho vibe is more obvious.
Parks and squares dot the city – Hyde Park being the best example. Napoleon III will draw inspiration from London to create Parisian parks.
I admire London’s abundant history, I am jealous of its social diversity and its freedom of spirit (punk forever!), I like this city but… but I have no true visceral affection for it as a whole. I do admit a soft spot for Mayfair and Marylebone.
There, I dropped the bomb. We are Irish in this family for Christ’s sake. The first English colony was Ireland. I certainly cannot show unconditional love for London.
Nonetheless, the children and I found an agreement: we find English humour absolutely acceptable.
October 13, 2015 and May 5, 2023