Why Is Paris Called the "City of Love"?

Friday, February 12

Posing in front of the "Wall of Love" (2000) in Montmartre. Paris, August 2012

Paris is believed to be the "City of Love". Everyday hundreds of thousands of people go on social media to share how much they want to go to Paris and hold hands with their loved ones while strolling along the Seine river, drink wine on a sun-lit terraces and kiss under the Eiffel Tower.

Indeed, when you come to Paris, you can almost physically feel that the city is an experienced matchmaker: the architecture, the food and the ambiance awake your emotions, sharpen your senses and leave you no choice but to fall in love - with a stranger you sat next to on a chair in Tuileries, with the guy that picked up the lipstick that fell out of your bag on Faubourg Saint-Honoré, with the man that offered you help when you were standing on a sidewalk confused, map in hand. Or at least with the city itself - not a bad option, I must admit: a city will never have an affair behind your back and it certainly won't forget to put the toilet seat down.

There's a number of reasons why Paris is considered the "City of Love", and all of them have to do with our collective unconsciousness - with the films we grew up watching, with the experiences we kept on hearing about from our relatives and family's friends, with the stereotypes that pop up in our heads when the word "Paris" comes up in a conversation.

I mean, who haven't seen "Casablanca" with its famous phrase "we will always have Paris"? You may say that the young generation haven't, but I assure you: even if they haven't watched Michael Curtiz's classic, they no doubts did watch "Paris, je t'aime" (2006) or "Le Fabuleux destin d'Amélie Poulain" (2001) or "The Dreamers" (2003) or any other French film, old or new, that portrays Paris as an ultimate getaway and a place where love truly conquers all.

The number of romantic movies that were produced in France in the 1950-1960's together with the fact that back in the day the country was one of the most easily accessible foreign language-speaking ones for Americans and those living in Eastern Europe, also plays a big part in why nowadays Paris is one of the most popular honeymoon destinations. Our parents and grandparents (and even Lady Di herself!) would watch "Les parapluies de Cherbourg", dream of France, go to Paris with their partners - and boom! the city, suddenly flooded with couples, would turn into the "City of Love". The fact that Frenchmen are known for their love for public displays of affection - which is so different to, say, the Americans that are much more puritan - also plays a role in why the image of the country's capital has been framed with romance for generations.

Have you ever fallen in love while in Paris?


  1. I like Paris but it's not my favourite place to visit :)

    1. I see! :) To each his own. Which one do you prefer?

      I always find it so odd when people are not head over heels with Paris like I am, but I suppose if everyone has been in love with it, other cities would've been empty, haha, so it's a good thing ;)


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