A good friend of mine recently asked me if I think Paris is the city of love. I’ve come to the conclusion that no, Paris is not the city of love.
But it is a city of love.
Paris is beautiful. The French language is inherently romantic. There are vibrant gardens, bright lights, delicious foods, and sweet wines. There’s a lot of history in Paris, too. Museums of all kinds, breathtaking architecture, old opera houses (Phantom of the Opera, anyone?), and the catacombs (okay, not necessarily romantic in and of themselves, but what an adventure!).
Paris is marketed as being wonderfully romantic to foreigners; it’s the city of moonlit walks along the Seine and scrumptious pastries, chocolates, wine. It’s depicted in films as this clean and dazzling haven for lovers. It’s the city everyone wants to visit. And perhaps all this is true.
But there’s also a lot of traffic, thick and putrid smells, bums and beggars, scams and pickpockets. The reality is, that’s life in a big city, regardless of where you are in the world.
More than anything, though, to those who don’t live here it’s somewhere fresh, exciting, and mysterious.
Yes, Paris is unique. There is a certain beauty here that you won’t find anywhere else. But every city and town in the world has the ability to reveal something special to the curious.
It is this thrill of exploring the unknown that plants the first seeds of romance. Indeed, there’s something wonderful in breaking out of a familiar rhythm. I think it is within this space that you find romance.
No longer a slave to the schedule you’ve always known, you try unusual-looking foods (you swear it’s moving); you sip on oddly coloured wines; and you visit small shops on quiet and loud street corners alike.
You’re in an unfamiliar land filled with an exhilarating uncertainty. You hardly know the language. And the only person with whom you can communicate in a language you fully understand, share your darkest fears and your deepest thrills, and laugh at a sculpture that, you both agree, looks strangely like Senator Palpatine , is your love.
If that’s not romance, I’m not sure what is.