On dit « Paris la belle » mais « le Vieux-Québec » (et encore « C'est si beau, Paris », mais je comprends que l'emploi du démonstratif pourrait expliquer ce dernier).

Do city names:

  1. All have the same default gender? If so, which of the above is an exception?
  2. Have an inherent gender that differs from city to city?
    • A more likely variant: Have an inherent gender if an expression like the above has appeared and become fixed, a status presumably only a few of the most famous cities enjoy?
  3. Take a gender at the time of utterance, as determined by whether a butterfly has flapped its wings in China?
  4. Obey some combination of the above or any other pattern you might suggest?
  • @Gilles Thanks, that makes sense. However, the answer to my question is actually contained in the further-back thread referred to in the one you chose. (The one chosen contains an answer claiming it's an underlying ville vs. centre, whereas the thread from further back has a great detailed answer on the pattern/lack thereof.) I can't seem to edit the duplicate notice accordingly; can you, or should I reopen and reclose? Or ignore and let people follow further back? – Luke Sawczak Apr 2 '17 at 22:09
  • I think your question is closest to that one. But if you think it's best, I can edit the duplicate link. – Gilles 'SO nous est hostile' Apr 2 '17 at 22:18
  • @Gilles The questions seem about equally related to me, but the other answer seems like the one I'd want to read if I stumbled on this question. Please do, and thanks! – Luke Sawczak Apr 2 '17 at 22:34
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    Turns out I can edit the links to have both (it's a fairly new feature), so I did that. – Gilles 'SO nous est hostile' Apr 2 '17 at 22:43