Written by Lauren Roth
This past weekend my friends; Tommy, Livy, Claudia, Avery and I took a trip to Paris, France. And it was so beautiful! I thought it was a fitting place to have our first big trip outside of Italy, simply because it is the city of love after all, and February just began, which means Valentine’s Day is coming up.
When we were on the train to Paris I was talking to my friend how I was going to Paris, she said to me, “Imagine if you were able to go to Paris during Valentine’s Day weekend, you know like the city of love on the day of love?” We talked about how romantic that could be and I thought about this conversation more when we entered Paris, but the more we walked around Paris, the more I wondered why it was called the city of love to Americans. I asked myself what gives Paris that title? Is it how the city would glisten at night with all the lights? Or how when you hear french each word sounds so delicate? Or perhaps it’s how when you walk around the city you can’t help but love the beauty of the buildings, so as a result you’re filled with love yourself? But, the more I walked around Paris, the more I realized it reminded me of New York City. It was crowded, a little dirty, there was a multitude of homeless people, the streets smelled, and the people could be rude. Don’t get me wrong, I loved Paris, I plan to go back. It was beautiful, and it would obviously be a romantic location to visit with someone you love, but why maybe the city of love is overrated. That’s right, I said it. But let’s compare Paris to Perugia, Italy or another small town in the countryside of France or Italy. Imagine a town where everything is stone, all the buildings have a rich history and you never hear anyone speak English, you’re emerised in a beautiful location and culture where everything is taken slowly, everyone knows each other, and the people get to know you. Who says a town like that can’t be a city of love?
My last night in Paris I was able to reconnect with my French exchange student from my 8th-grade year. While we were together we talked about how Paris is called the city of love. Hortense, my exchange student, made a good point on how Paris is romantic, but everywhere in Europe is romantic. She mentioned to me how people in Paris don’t think of this city as the city of love. There is always something happening, people are always rushing around and shouting. The culture to walk around with someone and get to know them and to talk to them isn’t here. It’s all go, go, go no one ever takes their time to get to know each other. Paris is simply just another city, there are pickpockets, graffiti, awful drivers, high prices, litter and more. The locals don’t see Paris as the city of love, they just see it as a place to live. Paris is a romantic city, ask anyone from Europe and they will agree that it is thought of as a romantic place, but it isn’t the city of love to anyone but us Americans. But, perhaps it’s just romantic to us because it’s a foreign place and we can visit it, we don’t have to face any of the non-romantic elements if we don’t want to.
Despite all the things you should expect from any city, Paris would still be a romantic place with its rich history, beautiful architecture, delicious food, and passionate locals, but so is any other place in Europe. Paris was still more than anything I could have ever imagined, it was still Paris. But, there are many other places to fall in love in Europe other than Paris, I mean what about the town of Skopelos, Greece? Lots of romance occurred in that city in Mamma Mia.