In a post-Godard world, to imagine Paris is to imagine glittering lights by nights on the Champs-Élysées; members of the intelligentsia debating politics at Café de Flore; and chic, slender women, the picture of sophistication and insouciance, wearing the world's most elegant labels.
But if you ask Karl Lagerfeld, the German-born creative director of the quintessential Parisian brand Chanel, this is all a myth -- and has been for a long time.
"This is not the most glamorous moment in Paris," Lagerfeld told CNN Style presenter Derek Blasberg ahead of Chanel's Autumn-Winter 2016 haute couture show. "Paris by night is a nightmare now. It is not a cliché anymore.
"I must say, in my whole life I never saw Paris that gloomy."
Lagerfeld, who has been at the helm of Chanel since 1983, and who first got his start in the city working under Pierre Balmain in the 1950s, says he's seen drastic changes since the times when Paris "looked like an old French movie."
"It was another world. There was no feeling of danger, and not even a boy of 16 years old could walk in the street," he explains. "Things are changing, but I have the feeling I lived in a world that no longer exists."