'Paris of Hemingway has gone' Waiter lifts lid on smelly and run down French capital cover


Edward Chisholm, who was dumped by his girlfriend and left with little money, said all he encountered in the French capital was humiliation from rude customers, vile bosses and untrustworthy colleagues.

Writing in his book, he also described the graffiti-covered, dirty streets and unhygienic practices in the restaurant he worked in.

He gave his own account of what it was like “at the bottom of the food chain”.

The waiter noted that the “Paris of Picasso or Hemingway has gone” and the streets are now full of graffiti, sodden cardboard boxes and litter-strewn pavements.

Mr Chisholm described how the city is now full of people with addictions and people who are mentally distressed.

He said there is a “brown fog” over Paris, and the city gives off a “heady, sulphuric, rotten egg, old shoes, brake dust and urine-tinged infusion”.

The city is far removed from the wealthy neighbourhoods of the past, with residents now living in “warrens of sloping-walled buildings with sunken floors and hovel-like rooms accessed by tilting staircases”, he said.

Chisholm can only afford to live in a shared room in a slum, which has a soiled mattress teaming with bed bugs, a blood-stained carpet and a sink which doubles as a toilet.

To afford to live in the expensive city, Chisholm took a job working as a waiter earning just €1,086.13 (£941.34) before tax.

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“French vineyards only send the bottles that are corked to England” is a strongly held belief in Paris, he said.

Working as a waiter in the city of love, Chisholm was able to disclose some of the gruesome goings-on in hospitality.

He said if waiters accidentally spilt food on the floor, the workers will scoop up the meals and plonk them onto fresh plates, with the customers being “none the wiser”.

Soiled napkins and disgusting towels are also used to wipe plates and glasses, while the waiters have “filthy fingernails” and “frightful body odour”.


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