Written by Dan Barash
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Topics: Paris Hilton, France

Sunday, 27 March 2005

image for Paris, France Changes Name to Avoid Confusion with the Other Paris
Many Americans cannot find Paris on a map.

The Paris, France City Council voted today to change the name of the city to eliminate ongoing confusion with celebrity Paris Hilton. As Paris Hilton's fame has skyrocketed, the French capital is often the unintended victim of derision and gossip aimed at Ms. Hilton. The Parisian government is concerned that Paris the city and Paris the celebrity are inexorably linked in the minds of millions of people throughout the world. "Unfortunately, many people confuse one of the greatest cities in the history of civilization with that sleazy, no-talent, spoiled rich kid," said mayor Bertrand Delanoe.

Several City Council members explained they are tired of constantly trying to clear up the confusion, especially for Americans. "You say to an American, 'I had a lovely time in Paris,'" sighed Council member Daniele Pourtaud, "And they say, ‘Wow, I didn't realize you knew her so well!'"

The Paris Post Office handles three times the mail it did two years ago, with mail to Paris Hilton making up most of the difference. Travel offices in Paris are deluged with angry tourists complaining that they do not see Paris Hilton walking down the street and are unable to find her home.

Parisian officials appear helpless as Paris Hilton's fame grows exponentially. She is consistently among the top ten Yahoo web searches each week, while Paris, France is typically ranked around 500,000. Google web searches on "Paris Hilton" yield more than triple the results that "Paris, France" brings. Officials commissioned a study in the US that found that 23% of college students believe that the city was named after Paris Hilton in a grand gesture of love and respect. The same study found that 87% of the students have seen the infamous Paris Hilton sex video, and 14% claim to have slept with her.

The city's new name will not be made public until officials can resolve possible trademark conflicts with another celebrity.

Many citizens of Paris, France resent Paris Hilton for all the negative publicity. Showing her films and TV appearances is officially banned within city limits. But not all Parisians agree that linking the great city to Paris Hilton is such a bad thing. According to taxi driver Yves Gegout, "A lot more women are making out with other women, going without underwear in public, and freely distributing their sex videos. So why complain?"

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