On Lisbon As This Century’s Paris
Experimental creativity, extravagant parties, liberal drug laws and affordable housing.
On a Saturday night in April, I’m in the gardens of a lavish mansion somewhere on the outskirts of Lisbon. An elated crowd of young, beautiful, global people dances around me in a mist of glitter, laughter, and vape smoke. The party’s host, a DJ of Parisian origin named Shugi, provides an eclectic soundtrack of techno tunes. It has the atmosphere of Glastonbury, but with much better weather and a dedicated cleaning team to keep the toilets in order.
Drink and drugs flow freely, but people here aren’t using substances to escape—only to enhance. It’s a far cry from the party cultures of other European cities. The mantra here seems to be: “Work hard, play hard, but don’t forget to take pleasure in each moment.” People in London are tired, people in Paris are unimpressed, and people in Amsterdam are happy. But people in Lisbon? They’re alive.
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