There is a reason that people repeat the Audrey Hepburn “Paris is always a good idea.” line from the movie Sabrina! Paris is one city that is on a lot of people's wish lists. The annual number of visitors keeping Paris in the top 3 destinations confirms that. Paris is known by several monikers/nicknames one of which is the City Of Love.
This beautiful, picturesque city is most often associated with romance. Flocks of newlyweds and starry-eyed couples in love head to Paris to celebrate their togetherness. Many romantic movies are filmed here and many authors base their love stories in Paris.
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But what is it about the French capital that gives it the title of ‘most romantic city in the world?'
In fact, the bigger question is, is there a real origin behind it? And does it live up to the title? Let's find out why Paris is called the City of Love.
The Origins of Romance in Parisian Culture
One major part of Parisian culture and its history is its' art. Paris was involved and influential in the Romanticism movement that emerged in Europe. The Romantic era involved art, literature, music, and philosophy that took place at the end of the 18th century. Romanticism in art depicts the artists' emotions and expressions. Charles Baudelaire famously said,
“romanticism lies neither in the subjects that an artist chooses nor in his exact copying of truth, but in the way he feels… Romanticism and modern arts are one and the same thing, in other words: intimacy, spirituality, color, yearning for the infinite, expressed by all the means the arts possess.”
In Paris, you will find paintings of stunning landscapes and sceneries, beautiful faces, and serene vibes in many of its museums. After all, aren't artists known to be the most romantic of souls? And Paris has always been home to some of the top art schools and universities in the world, with many renowned artists. Over the decades where artists lived in the city has changed, Montmartre, Montparnasse, etc., but they have always existed.
This aspect of Parisian culture somehow adds to the ‘romance is in the air' feeling you experience when you're in Paris. There are about 130 museums in the city. Some of the most stunning masterpieces are kept at the famous Louvre Museum, Musée d’Orsay, and the Paris Museum of Modern Art. But there is also an artist “colony” in the 13th arrondissement and murals popping up everywhere.
But it isn't only in the museums and artists' areas. Simply walking through certain areas, you can almost sense the art all around you, pushing you to feel it even more intensely and deeply.
Without a doubt, Paris is one of the most beautiful cities in the world. It certainly is a struggle to keep it that way, but efforts to retain its beauty are always taking place. With its blend of architectural styles, historic significance, and the ongoing preservation of all its' sights, it is a place everyone must see at least once in their life.
You will find grand buildings, architecture from many ages, cobbled streets, and eye-catching, bright-colored houses.
A lot of the stunning buildings are lined by the Seine which you can see by taking a Bateau Mouche. Plus, there is bridge after bridge (37 in total in Paris!), and the brightest of lights to complete the views.
There is a certain grandeur and elegance about Paris that draws you in and makes your heart flutter. It almost feels like stepping into a movie! The capital's exquisite beauty is one reason why Paris has such romantic appeal.
Traditions and Landmarks
There are a number of preserved landmarks in Paris where people still follow the most romantic traditions. Each of these landmarks exudes love and romance and provides the perfect setting for giving in to these emotions. Some of the preferred monuments for couples in Paris include:
Eiffel Tower aka The Symbol of Love
Arguably one of the most popular landmarks in Paris, this artistic structure was once the tallest tower in the world when it was first constructed in 1887. Over the years, the Eiffel tower became known as The Symbol of Love. In fact, it is also a popular marriage proposal spot for thousands of couples. They say there are 20 proposals made there each day!
Indeed, the Eiffel tower is a magnificent sight to see. And you can see it from so many places! When you hold your partner's hand and look up at the lighted tower, it is a breathtakingly beautiful experience. With its' 20,000 lights, the tower shimmers with brilliance and you can't seem to take your eyes off of it.
You can head to the top of the Eiffel tower and enjoy an intimate candle-light dinner here. Another lovely idea is to watch the glimmering tower and appreciate it while on a fabulous boat ride. It looks super charismatic, especially in the dark night.
The Bridge of Arts
The Bridge of Arts is also known as Le Pont des Arts and it is one of the most iconic bridges lining the Seine in Paris. It gets its' romantic significance because of the tradition of making vows of eternal love here.
A much-loved tradition at the Bridge of Arts was attaching love locks on the pedestrian bridge. It was a popular activity that couples could enjoy in Paris. Lovers would write their names on the padlock and attach their locks to the bridge as a symbol of their love. Then, they would throw away the key into the river.
However, the structure was starting to be impacted by the weight of all those locks and the bridge was getting worn down. After all, there were 45 tons of locks! By 2015, officials had started discouraging people from attaching locks, suggesting alternatives like taking a romantic selfie or having a picnic on the bridge instead.
Discouragement didn't work and now attaching locks to the bridge is prohibited by law. Personally, I am happy about this decision because it is my favorite bridge in Paris and I love its simplicity, which you couldn't see with all those locks!
Pont des Arts remains one of the most romantic bridges in Paris. I mean, where else would Carrie and Mr. Big walk?
The Louvre is one of the most famous museums in the world, it's also the largest and of course, it is in Paris, in fact in the heart of Paris as the 1st arrondissement is known. This is one place that endlessly fascinates visitors. Which is why it is always crowded! With its grand sculptures, artistic paintings, metal-crafted work, and musical instruments, there is so much to explore at the Louvre.
Most people don't want to miss the world-famous paintings of the Mona Lisa and Venus de Milo (I say skip them). Instead, wander around the less crowded parts with your loved ones and enjoy the exceptional architecture in this building. This is also one of the most romantic activities you can enjoy in Paris; walking hand in hand with your significant other and appreciating the lesser-known masterpieces in the Louvre.
Some people genuinely believe that food is an expression of love. And I could not agree more! Especially when it comes to the cuisine in Paris. In fact, food is one of the most integral parts of French culture. There are over 40,000 restaurants in Paris and it is the perfect destination for couples.
After all, one of the best ways to celebrate love is to indulge in food and drinks. You will find a plethora of cozy cafes, bistros, and restaurants with a magnetic atmosphere that pulls at your heartstrings. The wine and champagne in France are an all-time favorite for romance-seekers.
And the restaurants aren't the only way to enjoy a romantic meal in Paris. Mr. Misadventures and I often picnic in Paris.
Who doesn't think the French language is romantic? I am a sucker for that accent! French words have a poetic and lovely aura to them. In fact, according to Google, the love-phrase ”je t'aime” is the second most translated word on the search engine.
And even the number one search ranking is a French word “bonjour” meaning hello. The French language itself is considered one of the most romantic ones in the world.
The French language is sophisticated and even in such a simple thing as the “he loves me/loves me not” flower game (invented by the French) you can see they express love in a variety of ways, illustrated here:
Il m’aime un peu, beaucoup, passionnément, à la folie, pas du tout… (un peu or “a little”, beaucoup or “a lot”, passionnément or “passionately”, à la folie or “to madness”, or pas du tout or “not at all)
And of course, there is the I Love You wall in Montmartre (18th arrondissement) which celebrates how to say “je t'aime” in hundreds of languages!
Does Paris live up to the title ‘City Of Love'?
Yes, yes, and yes! Paris is one of the dreamiest destinations in the world. In fact, it may even be number one. The city has an unmistakable charm and an alluring vibe that makes it the perfect stop for honeymooners and couples. In the this stunning City of Love, you can simply sit in one spot and appreciate everything around you. And with your partner next to you, there would be no place you'd rather be.
On top of that, there are a number of activities you can do in Paris. You can take a cruise on a Bateaux-Mouches or enjoy the scenic views from the Montmartre. At night, you can stroll through the streets of Paris where you will come across musicians and painters, adding to the city's romantic element.
Apart from appreciating the fine architecture and art here, you can also enjoy wonderful theater shows and visit the concert halls. Plus, it is also the fashion capital of the world and has an array of luxurious, upscale stores too. You can even find a splendid gift for your loved one here.
Pretty aesthetics, scenery, and architecture make for great photos in Paris, especially with your significant other. Simply put, Paris is super ‘Instagrammable!' That is a given. But it is also a great place to hire a local photographer to capture and celebrate your love. Mr. Misadventures and I did a shoot right after we were first married.
For most people, a trip to Paris is an unforgettable and truly mesmerizing experience. Many people even head to Paris to tie the knot because of its' sentimental vibes and picture-perfect views (although that is not easy to do and I recommend getting married in your home country and then celebrating in Paris). In short, Paris is rightfully called the ‘City of Love.' Couples looking for a truly exquisite and romantic vacation should head to the French capital and experience the magic of what romantic Paris has to offer!
How about you? Do you have a reason to believe that Paris is the City of Love? Do you have a romantic memory of Paris? Do share!
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