Love. If you believe the French, they are obsessed by it. Gallic literature, music and art are all saturated with the perils of passion. But is France the most romantic place on earth? Do the French really flirt better? Read on to decide for yourself. We do love a bit of romance in France – whether it is in Paris, Lyon or any other city.
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Paris: love or lechery?
Not so long ago, Paris was known not only as the City of Love, but also the City of Debauchery. Rumour has it this saucy nickname dates back to the 18th century when British aristocrats travelled to Paris to indulge their most hedonistic desires. Romantic?
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Photo source: Flickr / by NEPMET
Love songs, or lust songs?
The French love to be risqué, and Serge Gainsbourg was no exception. In 1969, the scandalous songwriter released “Je t’aime … moi non plus,” a breathless ode to lovemaking.
The provocative ballad was soon banned in several countries due to its suggestive sounds – the song was even denounced by the Vatican!
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In 1910, the law decided to intervene in the French love scene. Distraught lovers were banned from kissing on platforms, because trains weren’t leaving on time!
‘Till death do us part?
Did you know that according to French law, it’s legal to marry the deceased? Apparently the words “I do” are replaced by “I did.” This certainly adds new meaning to the phrase ‘romance is dead.’
‘Bigamy is having one wife too many. Monogamy is the same.’
Oscar Wilde, famous for his cruel humour, lies in Père Lachaise cemetery, Paris. For years, thousands of literature-lovers have visited his tomb to leave a lipstick kiss, a mark of affection for the genius whose (almost) last words were “Either this wallpaper goes or I do.”
Incredibly, so many kisses were left that the lipstick grease was in danger of destroying the stonework. A glass barrier now surrounds the tomb to make it ‘kiss proof.’
Paris may just be the most popular, most original (ha ha) place to propose. So why not have this moment captured by someone hiding in a bush and spying on you? Paparazzi proposals is a popular new service and, personally, I couldn’t think of anything more romantic – but do you get a refund if the answer is no?
Love has no boundaries, but does it have walls?
In Paris, yes. Head to Montmartre to see the Mur des je t’aime (Wall of Love), where planet Earth’s 3 most famous words are translated into 250 languages. The red paint symbolises broken hearts – because we all know that’s part of the process.
What the cluck?
Adultery. An age old sin that has been threatening the happy couple since Day 1. During the Medieval Ages, it was French custom to force adulterous wives to chase chickens through the town whilst completely naked.
Whether fact or fiction, this one is pretty wild. Paris Syndrome is a malady that affects those who have an unrealistic, overly positive view of the capital – those gentle souls who truly, desperately believe that Paris is the City of Love, with champagne rivers and rose-petal-covered toilet seats. Rumour has it that the Japanese suffer this affliction most strongly, and that their Embassy has a 24-hour helpline for those suffering physical symptoms of this disappointment-related disease.
Eiffel Tower episode
Since its construction in 1889, 2 people have survived when falling off the Eiffel Tower. One was a woman who landed on a parked car that saved her life. Legend has it that she married the car’s owner! Even if this is fiction, it just shows that Paris’s romantic reputation inspires people to add an amorous twist to every story. Vive l’amour!