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So you think you can France?
A lot of people I know (particularly females, but I shan’t generalise) adore Paris – the idea of Paris – whether they have been there or not. It’s the well-regarded city of romance, which I have always deemed as a cliché. I thought, just because the French own the words lingerie and champagne, doesn’t necessarily mean it’s an entirely romantic place… right?
Their assumptions were correct.
It really is one of the most romantic, lovey-dovey cities on earth (or sensual, whatever your goal may be, judging by the many condom and lubricant advertisement posters on the streets).
I stayed in the Latin Quarter, near Notre Dame and the Seine. Along the river there are several small amphitheatres where swap-dances of different genres occur nightly. The first amphitheatre had a batch of hotties in strappy sandals and V-neck shirts dancing the tango, another had the slow waltz, and the last one I saw was some kind of raunchy ballroom (the kind you’d see on So You Think You Can Dance). At first I thought it was just an amalgamation of lucky couples getting publicly ‘jiggy with it’ in the form of stylised dance. I later noticed, as I wandered past each amphitheatre, that the so-called ‘lucky couples’ were actually clucky singles swapping partners and asking other dancers to dance.
Dammit, this place really is very romantic.
Then there’s the love padlock bridge (there’s actually two of these bridges close to one another, only one is the “original”). The bridge(s) are absolutely inundated with padlocks, bike locks, and school locker devices. The oldest lock I could find dated back to 1973, but I’m sure if I really searched I could find an older proclamation of everlasting love reduced to a lock-and-key.
Whether it’s basking in the scorching sunlight or shimmering under the amber street lamps, it’s indisputably drenched with sturdy, heartfelt bling bling. Its many unknown admires must love it very much to shower it in so much gold and silver (and rubber bikelocks).
Paris really is the city for true romantics, for the women who dread the demise of chivalry, and the lovers of rich food and pastries and loving and smoking thin cigarettes post-coitus. Speaking of chivalry, I watched a young woman walk down the Metro stairs with a suitcase – her boyfriend a few steps in front of her – and a complete stranger (a man), who was originally running to the train, stopped and asked if she needed help. She smiled politely and pointed to her boyfriend who was running down the steps with his own bags to swiftly put them down so he could carry hers all the way down the stairs.
If that little anecdote made your heart-sink with the realisation that this act of chivalry/devotion may not happen to you, may I place emphasis on the rich pastries and the street-cats.