I found no greater alteration in Paris, after ten years’ absence from it, than the prodigious difference of expence; most articles, I think, are one-third dearer, and many double; a horse is not half so well fed or lodged at Paris as at London; but the expence is nearly a guinea a week, and a stranger may drive half round the city before he can lodge himself and his horses under the same roof.[F]
[F] Paul Gilladeau who lately left the Silver Lion, at Calais, has, I am informed, opened a Livery Stable at Paris, upon the London plan, in partnership with Dessein, of the Hotel d’Angleterre at Calais: a convenience much wanted, and undertaken by a man very likely to succeed.
The beauties, the pleasures, and variety of amusements, which this city abounds with, are, without doubt, the magnets which attract so many people of rank and fortune of all nations to it; all which are too well known to be pointed out by me.—To a person of great fortune in the hey-day of life, Paris may be preferable even to London; but to one of my age and walk in life, it is, and was ten years ago, the least agreeable place I have seen in France.—Walking the streets is extremely dangerous, riding in them very expensive; and when those things which are worthy to be seen, (and much there is very worthy) have been seen, the city of Paris becomes a melancholy residence for a stranger, who neither plays at cards, dice, or deals in the principal manufacture of the city; i.e. ready-made love, a business which is carried on with great success, and with more decency, I think, that even in London. The English Ladies are weak enough to attach themselves to, and to love, one man. The gay part of the French women love none, but receive all, pour passer le tems.—The English, unlike the Parisian Ladies, take pains to discover who they love; the French women to dissemble with those they hate.
It is extremely difficult for even strangers of rank or fortune, to get among the first people, so as to be admitted to their suppers; and without that, it is impossible to have any idea of the luxury and stile in which they live: quantity, variety, and show, are more attended to in France, than neatness. It is in England alone, where tables are served with real and uniform elegance; but the appetite meets with more provocatives in France; and the French cuisine in that respect, certainly has the superiority.
Ten years ago I had the honour to be admitted often to the table of a Lady of the first rank. On St. Ann’s-day, (that being her name-day) she received the visits of her friends, who all brought either a valuable present, a poesy, or a compliment in verse: when the dessert came upon the table, which was very magnificent, the middle plate seemed to be the finest and fairest fruit (peaches)