Paris Burning

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Title: Paris Burning
Author(s): thecitysmith
Date(s): Paris Burning: February 2013 – December 2013; Cities 'Verse: Ongoing.
Length: 45k words; 16 chapters
Genre: AU
Fandom: Les Misérables
External Links: on LJ; on AO3

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Paris Burning is an Enjolras/Grantaire fantasy/supernatural AU fanfiction. It is part of the Cities 'Verse collection. Paris Burning was initially posted on the makinghugospin kink meme and then completed on Archive of Our Own. It was inspired by the prompt:

Grantaire is the personification of Paris. (because after all that city's been through, wouldn't you be a drunk cynic?)
Enjolras finds out.
Cue angst and E being all: "But I love you"
"You hated me before you found out what I was."
"And you hate me?"
"No, you remind me of what I wanted to be."
And body worship sex happens.

The fic maintains the premise, and introduces the Cities as supernatural beings that can feel all the goings-on within their borders, collect their history on their bodies, and are only vulnerable to fire. As the fic goes on, the cast of Cities grew larger and prompted fans of the fic to consider other cities, inspiring a flood of headcanons, graphics, and fics reflecting their own cities and others. These include many historical references as well as current events.

The final chapter of Paris Burning was uploaded to AO3 on December 31st, 2013. The author currently maintains a Tumblr blog, thecitysmith, dedicated to the fic's universe, where she posts short stories, answers questions, and shares reader contributions.

The Cities 'Verse collection on AO3 is open and moderated, with 30 works as of 2019.

Themes of Importance

  • Twin Cities - Twin Cities will die at the same time. Examples that have been written about include Salem & Boston, Ottawa & Gatineau, and the Triplet Cities now known as Budapest.
  • Silent Wars - Capital Cities are more powerful than other cities, and thus Cities try to steal power from each other. Athens conquering the other City-States of Greece was the first of these, as was Madrid's rise to power over Toledo, and the American Civil War.
  • Lost Cities - Cities that once were glorious and have since been either killed or abandoned, often mythical or legendary. Examples include Ys, El Dorado, Pompeii, Roanoke, Knossos, Tara, and Atlantis.
  • Atlantis Lives - Words to strike fear into the heart. Atlantis, with the other Lost Cities, aims to rise up and seize power from the humans and make Cities independent - even if the majority of living Cities don't share his vision. After all, it's for their own good.
  • Join Us/Praise Them - Cities aren't the only superhuman beings in this world. There are older, stranger creatures sleeping under the earth. In the 21st century, they begin to wake up.


  • Joan of Arc and Paris - Paris loved Joan, but when she was captured by the British, Rouen failed to intervene. She died, and Paris and Rouen no longer speak. Ever.
  • Portsmouth and Berlin - Portsmouth and Berlin were lovers before the Second World War. They aren't anymore.
  • Washington DC and Canberra - Washington DC has a crush on Canberra, and it's adorable. Wellington delivers letters for them because Sydney and Melbourne are protective of their little sister.
  • Moscow and St. Petersburg - Moscow killed Old!St. Petersburg. New!St. Petersburg has a crush on him. It hurts Moscow more than he likes to admit.
  • London and Lisbon - Since the Elizabethan age, London and Lisbon have enjoyed a remarkably stable relationship, but that stability is challenged when Atlantis rises and secrets are revealed.

Related Works

Quotes from the Les Mis Kink Meme Taken out of Context: I’m not sure what to do; it appears I’ve inadvertently started a cult.

There are at this point several hundred graphic, fics, headcanons, fancastings, and related works for Paris Burning. This prompted thecitysmith's observation that "I’m not sure what to do; it appears I’ve inadvertently started a cult."