What is the most elegant city outside the United States and the most elegant city in the United States?
Please provide a reason for your responses. This thread is only about elegance not other qualities of the cities. You define "elegance", although your definition is subject to the criticism and bitchery of others.
"We've got elegance."
To me, elegance in a city is the blend of its architecture, planning, place in history, parkland and reputation for 'fine living' (restaurants, hotels, shopping, creativity, etc.)
On that basis, I'd have to say Paris. It benefits from the myth, the legend and the brand, it benefits from some classic landmarks, it's planning says grandeur and its a capital of influence still (outside financial and largely relying on the myth.)
I can't name an elegant city in the U.S. There are some with great character (on the surface at least) like San Francisco and Savannah, parts of DC. Miami... South Beach... a couple of blocks is a destination but not much more than that.)
Sydney is a great city but I can't define why exactly... sort of like a civilized San Francisco in many respects.... London is a fantastic city and while I think I think it's majestic much of its classic elegance lies in zones... the rest of the city is a bit of a mismash. It's my favourite city of all, though.
Paris is elegant. Geneva and the surrounding lake cities are elegant (in that you still have counts and countesses having balls in big manors homes and grand hotels.....
New York is a fantastic city, perhaps the penultimate modern city.
Elegant, maybe not so much, honey.
If New York is the penultimate modern city, what's the ultimate modern city?
Parisians are the most elegant people, but Venice is the most elegant city. Having no cars makes it impossible to beat.
Philly for a city in the US.
[quote]If New York is the penultimate modern city, what's the ultimate modern city?
But thank you, Mamie. I learned something this morning.
"elegant?" Hmmm... meaning restrained, refined, simple? an adjective I don't usually associate with cities, Perhaps you mean glamorous rather than elegant? Eleganit evokes boredom, and sterility in that context, but here goes:
Zurich? Stockholm? Dublin? Ottawa? Vienna? Munich?
And on the more interesting side Barcelona, Buenos Aires, Santiago de Chile, Madrid, Rome, Paris, London?
U.S.: Savanna? Charleston? St. Paul? San Francisco?
No US cities can be considered elegant.
Boston, Philadelphia, Charleston and Savannah are elegant.
NYC and San FRancisco are great and once were elegant but not any more.
Paris and Barcelona do it for me in Europe though I'd rather spend time in London or Rome.
Small cities: Bath (UK), Newport (USA)
Vienna & Paris.
Vienna, with its grand architecture, Habsburg legacy, and annual Opera Ball.
Whoever said NY is smoking something.
Let's revisit the definition of elegance from Merium Webster shall we?
a: refined grace or dignified propriety : urbanity
b: tasteful richness of design or ornamentation
c: dignified gracefulness or restrained beauty of style : polish
d: scientific precision, neatness, and simplicity
Mah gawd - Charleston is tha very definition of elehgance.
Blanche Devereaux nee Hollingsworth
As with most things, if it looks elegant it's best not to look any further. One had the two daughters-in-law once upon and time and...
That is tough, especially for the US. I would say, if you can ignore a lot of the 80's office blocks. DC is probably the most elegant large city, totally human on scale, laid out by L'Enfant, with some really beautiful classical buildings. I'm sure there are more elegant small cities as mentioned.
In Europe, of all the places I've been, Paris, Madrid, Rome. Haven't been to Vienna or Prague.
Charleston (while the old architecture is elegant, its modern architecture is also elegant, albeit in a different way)
I can really only think of cities outside the US that would meet the classic description of "elegant". Also, the real elegance tends to be concentrated in ritzy towns that aren't big enough to have any of the messy problems cities inevitably have.
Rome is stunning -- I would almost move there if I could get a job and anything public there actually worked -- but it's so congested and disorganized at this point that I don't think it qualifies as "elegant" any more. Turin is probably closer to the definition of elegant (though it's far less interesting).
Prague and Venice both have beautiful centers, but they have degenerated into tourist trap Disneylands, and that strips them of true elegance.
Paris is probably the winner here among large cities -- it's pretty, it manages its tourist floods without drowning in them, there's enough wealth and culture to sustain elegance.
I also agree that Vienna would definitely have to be in the top ten for its physical beauty and culture, but I'm wary of luring out the anti-Vienna troll who's probably just waiting for a chance to pounce and hijack this thread.
There's an anti-Vienna troll, R23? What does he dislike about it?
It's difficult for a modern city to appear to be elegant. In the US there are sections of Boston, New York, Providence and Philadelphia as well as parts of the older southern cities (Savannah, Charleston and New Orleans) that have a certain elegance. But most of the elegance in the US is inside and exclusive.
Read the "Livability Rankings" thread, r24.
That's where it popped up.
I couldn't figure out exactly what the problem is, but apparently he/ she feels the place is racist, sexist, you name it.
I guess someone had a bad experience. Maybe the chocolate cake didn't agree with him/ her.
Paris and Charleston.
How would you rate Montreal? I'm thinking of going there next summer.
In North America Montreal is one of the most elegant cities.
The old town is very charming.
The people also dress extremly well, the food scene is great and the French boys are always available
If it wasnt for the weather from Nov-May, it would be the best spot.
Montreal has a lot of brutalist architecture and infrastructure from its boom years in the 1960s and 70s. It's immensely interesting and rewarding, but it's full of ugly concrete.
Thanks R30! Now I can put it on my list of must see places.
R31, Bitch are you crazy have you ever been to Mont Royal, Westmount, St Denis, Outremont?
Outstanding elegance in their fine Architecture.
Plus the people are so well dressed and refined, not like obese Americans in shorts, running shoes and fanny packs looking for McDonalds.
I just spent a month in Italy and several people told me they can always spot Americans because they wear shorts, baseball caps & running shoes everywhere and they are always screaming for an English menu and complaining abut the food.
As a matter of fact I witnessed a group of Americans being refused entry to the Vatican because they were dressed in running gear, and SPANDEX shorts. They argued with the guards because they felt entitleed to entrance .
Vienna might be elegant if it wasn't populated by Austrians.
[quote]Bitch are you crazy have you ever been to Mont Royal, Westmount, St Denis, Outremont?
Yes, hon, I live in the Plateau. I wouldn't live anywhere else, but there's a lot of ugly infrastructure here.
Boston has nice parks, like the Public Garden, and beautiful museums like the Isabella Stuart Gardner Museum, and nice neighborhoods like Back Bay, Beacon Hill and suburbs like Wellesley and Marblehead, all which are pretty elegant. The city as a whole still doesn't quite have the elegant vibe though. I don't think that's a term than can describe any American city.
London has all the Elegance I could ever want. Here in the US I would give that honor to San Francisco. Portland OR would be a close runner up.
No city is entirely elegant. They all have suburbs and collection of horrible buildings that went up from 1950 onward.
Got to be Paris. Surprised so many are mentioning Vienna. I really liked it when i visited but apart from the amazing buildings on the ring I found it a bit run down and got rather bored by all the mozart impersonators. Whoever mentioned London as elegant must be on hallucinogenics.
I can't say I've visited all US cities, but out of the one's I have Charleston, SC would be it.
London possesses the best of everything, and don't you forget it.
Paris is more beautiful than London, but...
oh great r5 is another idiot who doesn't know the meaning of penultimate.
Hope your Thesaurus gives good head.
West Hollywood is the most elegant U.S. city.
[quote]West Hollywood is the most elegant U.S. city.
Stop basing your opinions on Cam4.
Most of those "elegant" European cities were considered bombastic and full of themselves when built (particularly Vienna and St. Petersburg, but Hausmann's Paris as well).
Baden-Baden was considered Europe's most elegant city, and the others were all rich spa towns too: Bath, Karlovy Vary (Karlsbad), and so on.
In the U.S. the only spa town of similar character was Saratoga Springs, New York. Yes, there were places for the wealthy like Newport and Jekyll Island, but Saratoga was the only one that was both of the wealthy but not boringly and tackily so.
Charleston is the most beautiful US city, but Santa Fe is unquestionably more elegant and distinctive.
Sadly America's large towns/small cities get the most buzz for "elegant."
Whereas American cities with large populations define the definition of "elegant" except for some sections.
Paris, St. Petersburg and Vienna do not have any elegant counterparts in similar size cities in the USA.
You might want to brush up on your vocabulary.
Paris and perhaps Buenos Aires, perhaps. Manhattan is, but not NYC.
You know someone out there in flyover land is itching to say "Chicago" but nobody has.
Tulsa would be elegant if you got rid of the people and populated with Japanese.
American cities are generally too sprawling to be elegant. There are some elegant boulevards like Commonwealth Ave in Boston and Monument Ave in Richmond, but let's face it, at the end of the day it's all real estate development. I notice nobody nominated Detroit for elegance even though it has the most elegant planning residue of any city in America.
I think by elegant they mean, why Atlanta is nicer than Dallas Houston; why San Francisco is nicer than Miami; why Boston is nicer than Philadelphia and Detroit; why St. Augustine seems more high class than New Orleans.
A certain je ne sais quoi....
[quote]No city is entirely elegant. They all have suburbs and collection of horrible buildings that went up from 1950 onward
And they all have the tacky, the tasteless, and the undesireable amongst their populations. Even Paris and Vienna.
I love London. Lived there for a while and still visit as often as I can but it is far from elegant. It is overcrowded, polluted, expensive and the public transport is shit. There are some very pretty parts obviously but no one can afford to live in them and the west end is a touristy, tatty hell hole.
That being said I do love London and get a total buzz every time i visit. Brilliant restaurants, great shopping and some of the best galleries and museums in the world.
London has endless character, and sometimes grace, and a sense of energy that isn't exhausting or overwhelming. And much of central London has grandeur. I don't think of it as elegant, but I love it to bits. My favourite city in the world.
Hey, what about that film I was in,elegant euro city, and yes I got a big dick.
Bath, Florence and maybe Dubrovnik although there was still a lot of evidence of the war when I was there a few year ago. I would also put York quite high on the list.
Montreal and Quebec City
Scranton and Fresno.
Just saying them aloud oozes elegance, does it not?
[quote]Paris is probably the winner here among large cities -- it's pretty, it manages its tourist floods without drowning in them,
When were you there, February?
It's completely overwhelmed by its tourists.
Savannah is shabby chic.
The Lady Chablis
Outside the US:Paris.
Inside the US-Dallas.
r65, when has Paris not been a tourist mecca?
Even with the crowds of people, it is still easy to find quiet, lonely spots in Paris, and not far off the beaten path. That's not possible in NYC. And I don't mean that to slam NYC.
I cannot think of an elegant city in America.
Then you gotta come to Boca, honey!
Who said Kyoto? Interesting city with its thousands of temples, but no, not elegant in the way of Venice or Paris or Geneva. Not even close.
My vote goes to Paris, especially at night.
Stateside, easily Charleston. Wasn't burned down by Sherman like the rest of the South, thankfully. DC has its charms as well, as does parts of Philadelphia.
USA and Elegant should never be used together.
Think Country Music, Guns and "Hamburgers & Freedom Fries".
French Quarter in New Orleans
Downtown Savannah GA
Zak, have you ever BEEN to the french quarter?
St Andrews in Scotland. Not so much a city but a wee towne frozen in time.
There is no city in the US that can be described as "elegant".
Some cities have pockets of what might be elegance, but that doesn't define the city as a whole as being elegant.
Agree with Charleston, Savannah and Santa Fe in the US and Paris, France as well as Montreal, Canada.
I was happily surprised on a trip to Montreal even in the cold winter, most people wore nice coats, elegant scarves and nice boots. Yeah, no fanny packs and BUM Equipment shirts did I see.
The architecture was amazing and the people were classy and food fabulous. And I don't mean fatty -- at my host's house, we had salad for dessert, I kid you not and were told it was quite customary in Montreal.
R75, he doesn't mean Bourbon Street and surrounds... go a litte deeper in and and you will find yourself wandering some of the most charming lanes you will ever encounter in the US. Absolutely delightful. Bourbon Street, and streets leading to Canal Street, on the other hand, smell like perpetual puke.
r74 is incorrect in adding it to a list of the elegant. But's I'd allow charming.
Santa Fe is not elegant,it's full of mud huts.
Santa Barbara is elegant.
The Garden District but not really the Quarter.
Forgot about Edinburgh. Very elegant in new town. Old town not south. But nowhere is perfect.
Anyone who thinks Paris is elegant has either never spent much time there or has never been east of the Ile-St-Louis.
But that's datalounge for you.
Santa Fe? Really?
R5, your judgment is no more reliable than your vocabulary. Penultimate doesn't mean what you think it does, you pretentious twit.
A lot of Paris is truly elegant--stately, even splendid with goldleaf everywhere on light posts and bridges and big wide avenues, and stunning parks and views and the Eiffel Tower natch. Of course there are shabby parts too, as in every large city. Venice is not so much elegant as dreamlike, otherworldly, so beautiful with all those round-domed buildings rising out of the water--no photo does it justice. Go see Venice before it sinks! It is just stunning (and much quieter than Florence or Rome because cars and scooters cannot drive inside the city!) Was only there for a few days but am dying to go back.
Outside the US, Barcelona.
Inside the US, San Francisco, if you can ignore the homeless population.
[quote]Inside the US, San Francisco, if you can ignore the homeless population.
How could you not?
Vienna and Newport
That's beautiful r87
[quote] Sydney is a great city but I can't define why exactly
But it is about as elegant as a used car dealer. Endlessly coarse, and crass; terribly car polluted, and the inhabitants, when they do dress, look like slobs.
If you'd said sensual or exciting, which its heat, colour and vibrancy occasionally make it I would agree. Undercutting that is the unspeakable attitude of its gays. Everyone also looks visibly stressed in that New York way.
boston and vienna.
I said I couldn't define Sydney but I would never mistake it for elegant.
The setting is gorgeous. I am not surprised the gays are up themselves.
I've not been to Charleston or Savannah, but Washington definitely has elegance in its setting and built environment. It's perhaps too single-minded and parochial to be truly elegant.
Outside the US the smaller places are most elegant - Bath, Cambridge, Karlsbad, Lyon, Innsbruck. But Paris is the world's most successful attempt at large-scale city planning.
Venice is too voluptuous to be elegant.
Inside of the US - Montecito
Outside - Antwerp is really inoffensive, which is a large part of elegance. Maybe Copenhagen. Depending on your taste, The Algarve could be the most elegant or one of the least.
Have you noticed when I hold my cup, the saucer never moves
People mentioning Paris and Vienna make me LOL. Outside of Ile-St-Louis and the Ring they're fugly. Elegant cities in Europe are The Hague, Geneva, Zurich, Monaco, Munich, Hamburg and maybe a few other places in Germany.
Yes, R100, the refinement of the Germans is legendary. Of course, they were purefied in the ovens.
The Avenue Foch is not on the Ile St Louis. Nor is the Faubourg St Honore. Not klassy enough for you?
Salzburg is gorgeous.
r67, I hope you're joking about Dallas.
Los Angeles, of course.
Los Angeles is not elegant. Cool in some areas and upscale in others, but this doesn't equate to elegance in my opinion.
Lausanne is elegant.
Inside: New York
Outside: Buenos Aires
SO I guess Ryan Reynolds started this thread whilst planning his wedding.
I was captivated by Riems in France. Le Cathédrale. And the fabulous tour of Mumms, the champagne makers. Fascinating and steeped in historical wonder.
I also rate le Cathédrale de Strasbourg and the whole city as an example of artistic French elegance.
God now I want to re-visit France!
Elegance is not a quality I would associate with any American city.
I was brought up in Charleston, SC. She was once beautiful and the people genteel. Now it's plagued with tacky tourist shops and tour vendors. The historic Market once had shop owners that sold local goods, produce and handmade crafts...now there are cell phone case sellers. I took my boyfriend there last week as he had never been, he thought the city was amazing and the people polite and friendly. All I saw were people who are not AS crass and uncouth as what we'd find here in NYC; I didn't see the refined society that I was raised in. I wonder if there are society and debutante balls.
The most elegant city in England is Coventry.
St. Petersburg, Russia
San Francisco, CA
Dumbest thread ever. And that includes the serious responses to the lesbian potluck wedding reception thread.
Elegant. As if. I want to see a photo of this OP, so we can all have the textbook example of pissy-prissy delusion firmly in mind, in order to run if we ever see it on the street.
Tijuana and Coucil Bluffs.
A city can't be elegant if it has any slums within its borders. You have to judge based on the whole thing, not just one part of it. So the most elegant would need to be some enclave of elegance.
Stockholm bar none. I've travelled extensively and have never been to a place where both the city and the people projected the aura of elegance without even seemingly trying all that hard.
The lesbian potluck wedding reception thread sounds like fun.
Vienna, Austria & Newport, Rhode Island is probably a good answer.
There is only 2 candidates on this planet: Vienna and Paris.
Rome does not even want to be elegant, and Barcelona, Prague or London, who do have their beautiful and elegant sides, could also win the price for the shabbiest city at the same time.
The city center of Vienna (and unlike most European cities the Austrian capital has one defined enter) is of breachtaking elegance and architectural beauty. Walking through it you feel like walking in a movie scene, the clean and tidy streets, buildings and monuments are almost unreal.
Vienna has probably undergone the most dramatic clean- and brushup in the past 2 decades, and is unique in one respect at least: No cars in the whole city center. No cars, no motorcycles, no bikes. Just people walking and strolling around peacefully.
And allthough Paris has still a little more to offer in restaurants, bars and art scene than Vienna, mayby that peacful atmosphere is what makes the magic difference in Vienna.
But than again: Paris has the Eiffel tower. And that is just so hard to beat ...
R111, Charleston is a racists city that is proud of it's slave owning, plantation heritage. The old money "society" folk you regard as "genteel and refined" owe their riches to the poor slaves who broke their backs working the plantation rice fields.
I'd have to go with Washington DC -- not elegant throughout (no city is), but contains the most elegance % wise, in terms of architecture, of any of the major US cities. Architecturally the better parts of DC are a fascinating and grand blend of South-meets-North, and while some buildings and public spaces and monuments miss the mark, so many others are beautiful examples of how to do it right.
I don't think of Charleston SC as a major city.
Outside the US, yes, Paris.
Not much love for Amsterdam so far. It should be on the list.
I live in Paris and the elegance wears off faster than you think.
[quote]The old money "society" folk you regard as "genteel and refined" owe their riches to the poor slaves who broke their backs working the plantation rice fields.
As opposed to the New Yorkers who made theirs off the sweat of the Irish, or the West Coast folks who did it off the Chinese and the Mexicans?
Honey, there's no such thing as untainted wealth.
Most elegant small city is Lausanne, Switzerland.
R125, honey, are you really going to equate blue collar workers with slaves? Really?
Edinburgh or Barcelona outside, Savannah inside.
Edinburgh is a very handsome city, but Scots and elegant are not two terms one often finds in close proximity.
Maybe not in Bumfuck, Iowa R129 but if you had a passport you would know that's just not true.
R130, I've been to Edinburgh. What's your point?
Okay, believe it or not, I think Baltimore is the most elegant US city I've seen, and I've been to quite a few. That whole area in Maryland is quite old and colonial-looking.
In Europe, Prague isn't really elegant - it's old and Baroque, but not what I think of as elegant. Neither is Paris - Paris is also old and lovely and stately, but not elegant as such. I think of all the places to which I've traveled, the most elegant was probably either Charleroi, Belgium, or Krakow in Poland.
I'm surprised nobody has mentioned Rio. Best food in the world.
Many years ago, when i was in the Navy, I got off early one morning and turned on the Today show on TV. Hugh Downs asked John Gunther, the prominent journalist, what city he thought was the most beautiful. He mentioned Paris and Vienna. "Well, what is the ugliest?' He quickly replied "Knoxville, Tennessee!" And so it goes.
Ugliest in the world - Manila, easily.
Most elegant in this country? Savannah, easily.
R136 - could very be; I've never been to Annapolis - but have been to Baltimore (thinking particularly Centre Street and the surrounding buildings/area with the wrought iron work and the monuments and cathedrals), Frederick is another pretty little town, though far too small to be considered a city, as such.
the biggest obstacle in finding an elegant city in the United States is the unfortunate fact that they are all populated with United States citizens, which on the whole are a pretty inelegant bunch.
No Place in the U.S.
Juneau, Alaska is America's most beautiful city, but there is not one elegant thing about it.
I'm from Charleston, SC. It's not really a city--more of a large town. And while it is pretty it's small and boring. And very racist. There are real examples of ghettos on the north side of town that the tourists never see. All the old charlestonians, the real ones, are huge racists and classists.
Somebody help me out here:
There once was a man from Nantucket
Whose dick was so long he could suck it
Blah blah blah blah blah
Blah blah blah blah blah
If my ear was a cunt I could fuck it.
Utica, NY outshines them all. Word.
He said with a grin,
as he wiped off his chin,
Is it self-loathing that nobody has mentioned Fire Island Pines? After all, gays drop more money there than anywhere else.
R140, have you been to Monte Carlo? It's not really a city and it's not really elegant. It has some nice buildings and the people are quite crass.
[quote] Juneau, Alaska is America's most beautiful city, but there is not one elegant thing about it.
Beautiful? You must have floated by in a cruise ship. Sure it would be beautiful if there were no buildings there. Half the population lives in three trailer parks, one of them backed up again the north fence of the prison.
It may qualify as a beautiful city in Alaska, but that's grading on a curve.
Charleston--nice old houses that seem unlivable and a still largely dead downtown, but nice things to see.
Savannah--a little less precious than Charleston, but disappointing nonetheless.
Annapolis--nice downtown and waterfront, but basically a tourist trap.
Among bigger cities---New Orleans (the Garden District), Boston (Beacon Hill), San Francisco (Nob Hill and such); a little smaller but unmentioned--Cincinnati, places like the Taft Museum, neighborhoods like Hyde Park.
NYC--not really elegant, but impressive.
Europe: How about Prague? Salzburg is more interesting than Vienna.
Stockholm deserves the praise it's been getting from a few people. No, it's not Paris.
But, it's a beautiful and elegant city, with many things to see and do. And best of all, truly friendly people (Paris and Vienna are friendly as well).
r155, the Parisians and Viennese are the most notoriously cold people on Earth.
r156, you've never spent more than 12 hours in Vienna, have you? The only "cold" people in it are the black-suited waiters in the traditional cafés, and for them it's a point of pride (not that I appreciate it, and I limit tips accordingly).
In fact, most northern Europeans view the Austrians in general and the Viennese in particular the way Yankees view southerners: oozing charm, but not necessarily sincere.
Austria was a great empire; the South was never anything more than a swamp of dysfunction.