March 30, 2008

Is Paris a "Romantic" city???


While I don't really see Paris as a "romantic" city... I do have to admit that after seeing a different view of it tonight, Paris has its charm. Is it "romance?" I am not too sure about that, but I am sure for the gizillions of tourists who pass through each year, there is romance in the air! For all my blogger friends living in Paris- Do you all find it "romantic?" And, can you please elaborate on your response. Even for those of you who live outside of Paris who have an impression of Paris, please share it here. As for me, my idea of a romantic endroit is a tropical beach at sunset. I am more attracted to the ocean and islands in particular. But, that's just me! We all have our different views. Just curious to hear what yours is.
I remember during my earlier years of travel around the world when I would tell people who asked where I was from that I was born and raised in Hollywood, California. Their reaction was always carried a feeling of awe, as though the mention of "Hollywood" sent out an air of fame and glamour and excitement! I always had to burst their bubbles when I told them that it was quite the contrary! Hollywood is quite a dirty and over-rated tourist trap! It's actually Bev. Hills, Bel Air, Malibu that are celeb. and glamourous! As a child of the '70s and after having grown-up in that era in Hollywood, I tend to see Hollyweird more as a place that was always very seedy-- filled with pimps, prostitute, bums and druggies... So much for glamour! I will say that their clean-up efforts for the '84 Olympics in L.A. were successful, as the prostitutes and pimps who once spotted Sunset and Formosa Ave. (my old address) were forced further east on Sunset and Hollywood Blvd. In effect, they became pretty much invisible in my old neighborhood. I was already gone by that time anyway, though...having graduated from HHS in '83 and moved down to San Diego to attend UCSD in La Jolla. San Diego is where my heart lives, in terms of a physical location to live. When I moved there in '83, it was virtually a ghost town- well not really- but in comparison to L.A. it was to me! San Diego continued to develop from the mid-80's through to present time. I do remember during my 5th year at UCSD (I was an undergrad for 6) that I had a desire to get out of San Diego and move abroad. My dream place and of course first choice was Australia. I had dreamed of moving there since age 15. When I studied French in jr./sr. high school and learned more about France and French culture, I felt and attraction there and it became my second choice of places to live outside the U.S. Funny that ever since I was young, I always had the desire to live abroad, to leave the U.S. and to be fluent in a second lang. It's not just chance that my life turned out the way it did, though. My ancestry is European, and my "French" ancestors were situated in Alsace about 136 years ago!!!

9 comments:

barbara said...

Hi Leesa,
So, you also were sweating out imperfect French verbs at a young age ?! My first class was at 16 and I had to sweat it out.But, I did return to take 2nd year French.

What ? Have you been holding out from your genealogy buddy on this interesting tidbit about ancestors in Alsace ?!
Cool ;)

barbara said...

Oh yes...
Your question about Paris being romantic.
I find a lot of good & a few bad qualities in the city of light.
But, not romantic.
Maybe we are too familiar with Paris,since we are both in the burbs?

David said...

I can't believe you've never been to Paris at night...

As for the romantic side of Paris... I think it's complete cliché BS that has been self-perpetuating for decades...
Like the fact so many Americans (cause let's admit it, this notion that Paris is "romantic" is mostly an American notion... and maybe a Japanese one too (but for decades everything the Japanese knew about the Western world was what the US had told them)) go to Paris to propose their girlfriend, or on a honeymoon because "it's so romantic" totally missing the fact that proposing or a honeymoon would be as romantic anywhere else...

I guess there's also the fact that fine dining and drinking is seen as romantic by some. For example, I never really understood the whole "drinking red wine" mythology among Americans...

And I agree with you, for me too a romantic place implies a tropical climate, a beach, a sunset, etc... Definitely not a cold, overcrowded, overtouristy and polluted city...

Le Tigre said...

Hmmm, you've really got me thinking on this one. I find Paris to be really beautiful, but romantic...not sure about that. Even though I've never been there somehow I think Italy would be a lot more romantic.

IslandGirl4Ever2 said...

Hey Barbara! Happy Sunday to you. I can say, "Rain, rain go away...."
And yes, I started studying French at a young age... My mom advised me to take Spanish, saying that I would be able to find a job easily if I could speak Spanish... I said to her at age 14, "No mom, I want to take French!" And that's the story behind it... Little did I know that my knowledge of French was priceless for if I didn't speak French, I wouldn't have met Alex!! :) Anyhow... I think I completely forgot to mention that part of my family history to you... Did I??! We talk about so many different things whe we are together it's hard to keep track... Plus, my age is creeping up on me so I forget a lot!! ;P I hope we will have time to meet and walk in the Parc de Sceau one last time before we partent en vacances...
Take care, Leese

Hi David,
Thanks for your feedback. It's always interesting to here the perspective of a native, though I know you are not FROM Paris itself. I wonder how many French folks share your view. I have an American friend who lives out in the countryside in Vendee and she is a bit resentful of Paris because she says people tend to view Paris as though it were France, forgetting that there is soooo much more of France besides Paris! I agree with her, though there is a heck of a lot more to do in Paris than in the banlieu! In San Diego, there was soooo much to do, but I do prefer living in France much more than the U.S. (mainly for cultural and political reasons)! I agree with you, though... it's hard to romantasize a city that is
dirty, crowded, filled with tourists! There are many amazing landmarks in Paris, aside from the TE, and many different quartiers to check out... So, I think it's cool to go to Paris to see what's up, but as for romance, I think the "American" notion of this is totally upsidedown. How come the Americans have a strange perception of the French if they want to come over here so badly, anyhow? That wouuld be a good topic for your culture blog! Thanks again for stopping by and leaving your thoughts... Ciao, Leesa

IslandGirl4Ever2 said...

Hi R-
Thanks for your comment... I think there are other parts of France that are "romantic..." as I said, I love the ocean, so maybe somewhere on the Mediterrean- Besides Nice, Cannes, St. Tropez, and Marseille (I don't really care for any of those cities). But I loved La Rochelle, it's charming and quaint... and even the Loire Valley... Monet's home in Giverny has a romantic angle to it- the bridge in the spring right when the wisteria is in full bloom (minus all the tourists, though). I actually found Sydney to be a very dynamic and romantic city- I love cities on the bay! San Fran is also a romantic city, I think because it has so much character and charm, it becomes very "romantic." Anyhow, I will post some pics of San Diego at night from Coronado Island so you guys will have an idea of a really beautiful city that has a lot of "romantic" spots! Hey... I wonder if Las Vegas would be considered "romantic," since everyone always goes there to get married. My hub and I went there on our honeymoon and I thought the ride on the gondolas at the Venetian was very "romantic." I think Las Vegas would definitely win hands down over Paris as the official "City of Lights!!" :)

Soulamouse said...

Hey! Lucky you!
I am thinking of California as a place to live one day, however, I hear it is way too expensive.
Romantic Paris? I am sure it is but it depends on you...For me, I am not really into this b/c it has become such a cliche that I think you are supposed to feel romantic even if you feel like crap. Hard to say. The same for Prague. Good for tourists but live there? err, no.
enjoy san diego and post your comments!!!!!!

naturelle said...

Romantic? Paris is not really divided in arrondissements but in "micro quartiers" and some of those micro quartiers are really romantic. I don't know if you've been through the oldest parts of the city... la rue Mouftard, narrow, pitoresque, with all its restaurants and market ... I find it romantic. There's also lots of romantic corners around the 5eme and 6eme arrondissements.

I found it very romantic to diner in a moving boat (bateau mouche) while watching all Paris illuminated.

IslandGirl4Ever2 said...

Hi Soulamouse- Nice to hear from you! I hope you are doing well! Of course I will be posting from Cali as I will have my laptop with me! I may create a different blog for my trip, though.. I will note it on News From France, though... if I use a new blog... Take care...

Naturelle... Thanks for your comments and welcome to my blog! One of the things I love about having a blog is learning things from others through there comments! I do like the rue Mouffetard and there are lots of other areas in Paris that I find very charming... It's a beautiful city- aside from doogie poo and lugies. I LOVE the architechture of Paris- it's one of my fav. cities of the world... Thanks for the info about the "micro quartiers!" Stop by again anytime!! Ciao- Leesa :)