From the Love Issue: The City of Love-ly Clichés

Is there anything more romantic than taking your significant other to Paris? To be fair, I could think of a few things: eating breakfast by candlelight, exchanging shitty love poems or finding your bed full of rose petals when you actually want to sleep. I know Paris is supposed to be the city of love (or rather, la ville de l’amour) but I hope that by the end of this article you’ll know better than that.

The most cliché thing to do is take a picture of the two of you together in front of the Eiffel tower, the ultimate symbol of Paris. The fact that it’s a cliché doesn’t necessarily mean it’s a bad thing; but, before being able to take a cute picture together, you have to refuse selfie sticks/key chains/bottles of wine/models of the Eiffel Tower/cigarettes thrust at you by the tourists and tourist trappers that hang around Paris’s most famous landmark. And not just once, but probably about twenty times per minute. Additionally, you’ll be standing among hundreds of other tourists that you will never manage to get out of your picture. And if you do finally manage, you’ll have to have taken that picture from such a weird angle to get both of you and the Eiffel Tower in the frame that you’ll likely look pretty unsuitable for Facebook.

Another truly ‘lovely’ thing to do is to hang a padlock inscribed with both your names on the Pont de l’Archeveche, better known as the love-locking bridge. That is, if you enjoy pissing off the people of Paris, demolishing a bridge (which gives way under the strain of the thousands of padlocks) and ruining the environment (imagine the effect of thousands of keys drifting in the Seine). Besides, the sheer amount of locks suggests that there’s nothing really unique about your feelings for each other. Fortunately, the bridge is now blocked with barriers, stopping people from taking part in this piece of tourist nonsense.

The neighbourhood most suitable for two lovebirds is probably Montmartre. The typical Parisian cobblestone street lined with wonderful white buildings and cute, little balconies, the still-palpable history of Montmartre as the artist neighbourhood where painters like Renoir and van Gogh worked, the signature dove-white Basilique du Sacré-Coeur… I admit it has a romantic air to it. However, to get in Montmartre you’ll have to take the underground, the smell of which might cause you to throw up. Also, Montmartre lies on a hill, so exploring the neighbourhood will necessarily involve a lot of climbing steep streets or long flights of stairs. Do you really want your sweetheart to be looking at a sweaty red face and very wet armpits when you finally remember the French translation of ‘I love you’?  (PS: Je t’aime)

To conclude on a more positive note, there are obviously many wonderful things to do in Paris, whether you’re a couple or not. One that I’d like to mention is the Pink Flamingo pizza parlour close to the four kilometre long picturesque Canal Saint Martin. You can wait for your pizza while people-watching at the canal, your pink balloon letting the bicycle delivery man know that the pizza is yours. Honestly, I don’t think it can get more romantic than having a date with pizza.

[Aike Jansen]

Image: Fréderic Berthet, Mickaël Goupil

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