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Romance in Paris II

Written by Rick Archer
March 2013

In our previous chapter, I made my case as best I could that the experts consider Paris to be the most romantic city in the world.  Then I asked the question why and how did this come about. 

My first assertion is that Paris has achieved great fame as well as great "notoriety" through cinema.  In a review of the 100 greatest Romance classics, Paris fared very well with nine listings.  And if you count Roxanne which is based on Cyrano de Bergerac, then you get ten.

On the other hand, a cursory review of the list doesn't even begin to suggest a city in second place.  Rome, New York, Moscow, London, Philadelphia, Seattle, Monaco, Los Angeles, Prague, San Francisco and Morocco are mentioned.  I suppose if forced to pick a runner-up, it would be New York, then London, but neither city comes close to Paris. 

My point is simple.   When you consider the power of movies to shape our impressions and imagination, you begin to see why we all think of Paris.  Cinema has chosen "Paris" as the most romantic city in the world.

01. "Casablanca" - 1942
02. "Gone with the Wind" - 1939
03. "West Side Story" - 1961
04. "Roman Holiday" - 1953
05. "An Affair to Remember" - 1957
06. "The Way We Were" - 1973
07. "Doctor Zhivago" - 1965
08. "It's a Wonderful Life" - 1946
09. "Love Story" - 1970
10. "City Lights" - 1931
11. "Annie Hall" - 1977
12. "My Fair Lady" - 1964
13. "Out of Africa" - 1985
14. "The African Queen" - 1951
15. "Wuthering Heights" - 1939
16. "Singing' in the Rain" - 1952
17. "Moonstruck" - 1987
18. "Vertigo" - 1958
19. "Ghost" - 1990
20. "From Here to Eternity" - 1953
21. "Pretty Woman" - 1990
22. "On Golden Pond" - 1981
23. "Now, Voyager" - 1942
24. "King Kong" - 1933
25. "When Harry Met Sally" - 1989
26. "The Lady Eve" - 1941
27. "The Sound of Music" - 1965
28. "The Shop Around the Corner" - 1940
29. "An Officer and a Gentleman" - 1982
30. "Swing Time" - 1936
31. "The King and I" - 1956
32. "Dark Victory" - 1939
33. "Camille" - 1937
34. "Beauty and the Beast" - 1991
35. "Gigi" - 1958
36. "Random Harvest" - 1942
37. "Titanic" - 1997
38. "It Happened One Night" - 1934
39. "An American in Paris" - 1951
40. "Ninotchka" - 1939
41. "Funny Girl" - 1968
42. "Anna Karenina" - 1935
43. "A Star is Born" - 1954
44. "The Philadelphia Story" - 1940
45. "Sleepless in Seattle" - 1993
46. "To Catch a Thief" - 1955
47. "Splendor in the Grass" - 1961
48. "Last Tango in Paris" - 1972
49. "The Postman Always Rings Twice" - 1946
50. "Shakespeare in Love" - 1998
51. "Bringing Up Baby" - 1938
52. "The Graduate" - 1967
53. "A Place in the Sun" - 1951
54. "Sabrina" - 1954
55. "Reds" - 1981
56. "The English Patient" - 1996
57. "Two for the Road" - 1967
58. "Guess Who's Coming to Dinner" - 1967
59. "Picnic" - 1955
60. "To Have and Have Not" - 1944
61. "Breakfast at Tiffany's" - 1961
62. "The Apartment" - 1960
63. "Sunrise" - 1927
64. "Marty" - 1955
65. "Bonnie and Clyde" - 1967
66. "Manhattan" - 1979
67. "A Streetcar Named Desire" - 1951
68. "What's Up, Doc?" - 1972
69. "Harold and Maude" - 1971
70. "Sense and Sensibility" - 1995
71. "Way Down East" - 1920
72. "Roxanne" - 1987
73. "The Ghost and Mrs. Muir" - 1947
74. "Woman of the Year" - 1942
75. "The American President" - 1995
76. "The Quiet Man" - 1952
77. "The Awful Truth" - 1937
78. "Coming Home" - 1978
79. "Jezebel" - 1939
80. "French Kiss" - 1995
81. "The Goodbye Girl" - 1977
82. "Witness" - 1985
83. "Morocco" - 1930
84. "Double Indemnity" - 1944
85. "Love is a Many-Splendored Thing" - 1955
86. "Notorious" - 1946
87. "The Unbearable Lightness of Being" - 1988
88. "The Princess Bride" - 1987
89. "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf" - 1966
90. "The Bridges of Madison County" - 1995
91. "Working Girl" - 1988
92. "Porgy and Bess" - 1959
93. "Dirty Dancing" - 1987
94. "Body Heat" - 1981
95. "Lady and the Tramp" - 1955
96. "Barefoot in the Park" - 1967
97. "Grease" - 1978
98. "The Hunchback of Notre Dame" - 1939
99. "Pillow Talk" - 1959
100. "Jerry Maguire" - 1996

The Art and Beauty of Paris

Assuming the reader studied the photographs in the story of my walk through Paris, I assume you reached the same conclusion I did - Paris is a very beautiful city. 

The architecture is graceful, the cathedrals are impressive, the tree-lined streets are lovely, the Seine River is stunning, the bridges are practically art objects in themselves, there are gardens everywhere, and you are in danger of running into a statue wherever you go.  Furthermore the Eiffel Tower is the perfect monument to serve as the city's icon.

One of the things that struck me when I visited Paris was that the streets were unusually wide and long.  Furthermore there was so much "order" to the streets that it seemed like Paris had some sort of master plan.  Of course I was only at the street level, so this was simply an intuition.  Nevertheless, I kept remembering what a mess the streets of Rome were while Paris had some sort of design to it.

When I reached home, I realized my instincts were correct.  Paris has a symmetry to it unlike any city I have ever been in before. 



If you're looking for romance, look no farther than Paris, France, the perfect destination for an unforgettable honeymoon. Whether you're looking for some of the best shopping in the world or a place which offers incredible historical sites. Take a romantic boat cruise on the Seine River or visit the Mona Lisa at the world-famous Louvre. Enjoy a fun-filled day at Disneyland Paris or experience the magic of the Eiffel Tower. Paris, France has something of interest for everyone!  





winding this story like the Seine.


go here to die.


Since the beginning of time, Paris has always been the crossroads where philosophers, historians, politicians, scientists and lovers have exchanged ideas and created the world as we know it today. While France is the country of human rights, Paris is the symbol of light, the capital of luxury, the centre of attraction of Europe. As you stand at the beginning of a new life with the one you love, celebrate this magical moment in the city that hosted so many turning events in history. A wedding in Paris will give this union a dimension uniquely French, a little je ne sais quoi that all will remember…

From the Eiffel tower to a medieval 12th century church in the heart of Montmartre, rejoice on the wonders of a gourmet reception at a three star restaurant, celebrate in Hemingway’s favourite haunt or cruise on a river-boat and or select from the hottest restaurants the city has to offer. Whatever your choice, from a small gourmet-style wedding to an extravagant reception in a palace in the heart of the city, we will make sure that this day will be remembered forever and every detail attended to.

A varied and special selection of the most famous, elegant and beautiful venues is at your disposal regardless of your budget. Our staff will assist you in finding the right fit.

The Marais, Bastille, The Islands

If you are planning to marry in Paris the Marais is one of its most picturesque quarters. The heart of the City of Lights is the old Marais area. While the name actually means swamp, the winding streets of this gentrified section of town are anything but dingy.

Start over near the Les Halles area, a former open air market now surrounded by restaurants and outdoor activities, then head down the famed Rue du Temple to the shopping streets of the Rue des Archives or the Rue des Francs Bourgeois and turn into the Rue des Rosiers, the heart of the old Jewish quarter. The air brims with history while the streets bustle with locals and tourists in the know.

At the far end of the Marais lies the Place des Vosges where the kings lived before heading out to Versailles. Imagine wedding photos taken surrounded by the red brick buildings where Victor Hugo wrote his masterpieces!

Off to the east is the Bastille area. A tall obelisk marks the spot where the famed prison once sat. Up behind the busy area is the Canal St Martin made famous worldwide by the Jean-Pierre Jeunet film Amelie. There’s also the landmark Hotel du Nord. A wedding weekend event topped off by a stroll down the languid canal is something that can’t be beat.

Just south of Bastille lies the Ile St Louis. Rife with small, intimate restaurants and grand views, the Ile St Louis is a perfect setting for a wedding of your dreams. Cozy, candlelit cellars serve as the ultimate in private partying!

And across the river from the Ile St Louis you can spy the flying buttresses of the Notre Dame cathedral. What more needs to be said?

A wedding reception in the Marais or Bastille offers every possible variety of options from elegant private palaces to temples of haute cuisine.

Place Vendome, Champs Elysees

What could be more Parisian than a wedding in the ritzy Place Vendome? This could well be the most elegant square in Paris in its very center and adorned with high end shops and…the Ritz Hotel. A short walk away lie the Tuilleries gardens with their beautiful ponds and flowers which jut up against the world’s most famous museum, The Louvre.

A wedding destination extraordinaire, the Tuilleries provide the perfect setting for the perfect set of photos! Hotels in the area offer wedding facilities fit for a king.

Up the Champs Elysees, Paris’ grandest boulevard, one can seemingly see forever. But some of the world’s best kept secrets lie off the Champs Elysees with wedding facilities for all kinds of celebrations.

Couples wishing to marry in Paris and be close to all of the most famous highlights should definitely consider this quarter; the selection of restaurants, hotels and ceremony options are some of the very best.

St Germain des Pres, the River Seine

On the world famous Rive Gauche sits the small village known as St Germain des Pres. Quaint streets, flower adorned balconies, well-dressed natives and an entirely homey feel make the area a little gem.

Elegant and intimate restaurants abound while the small hotels in the area are among the most sought out in town.

Just down from St Germain lies the River Seine. The boats that line the river are well-equipped for all your wedding needs. Jazz bands and cruises are available on vine laced decks where you and your guests can soak up the perfect sunset.
Paris is considered the most romantic city in the world. For a romantic destination wedding too Paris is the first choice for many. There are several factors contributing for the city’s fame.

The city has a reputation of being the most fashionable one. Every fashion designer is influenced by the trends in Paris. Fashion is synonymous with Paris. No wonder, the city is a premier choice for many for a romantic wedding.

For foreign nationals the colorful wedding in Paris is legally not a binding contract. The beautiful vineyards, castles and Palaces are attractive locations for wedding for any couple. A wedding beside the Seine River is a beautiful affair. The French cuisine is also well known and appreciated by everyone. The majestic Eiffel Tower can be seen from most locations in the city. A walk in the city at night itself is enchanting. Paris is also known as the City of Lights. It is also the city of love. There are wedding planners who will do all the behind the scene work for you. They will take care of all the details.

For a honeymoon too Paris is the most suitable place. Visits to Cafes of Paris, window shopping and the magnificent sight of the Eiffel Tower will not be forgotten for a long time. Champs Elysees, Sacre Coeur Basilica and Centre Pompidou are must visit locations. Paris is the right place for shopping for a new couple. You will not find as many exclusive shops and famous fashion boutiques in any other place in the world. The creations of Gucci, Christian Dior and Coco Chanel are all available here.

For accommodation Paris has some of the best hotels. The Paris Ritz and L’Hotel are among best ones around the globe. The service and food at these places are superb.

Paris, The City of Romance

Welcome to my hub about Paris, The city of lights and the world's capital of romance. In this hub I will discuss the reasons why Paris is known as the city of love and why thousands of tourists flock to Paris to experience a romantic vacation with their significant others.

Paris and love are synonymous in minds of many. Why is Paris the city of love?

I have recently returned home from a fantastic and enlightening vacation in Paris. There is so much to see and do that I really don't know where to start. Perhaps it's best that I begin with some history.

How did Paris become a Romantic city?

It is in the collective unconsciousness, mostly of American women, but also Eastern European women that Paris exists as a city of romance. I think for both groups of women there is a different reason.

The American reason for viewing Paris as the City of Love is because of our grandparents generation. Paris was the closest connection to Europe besides England. England is more a colder climate and culture, however, France is a Gothic Roman catholic culture. The French are a mix between northern European productive and Mediterranean relax and enjoy our lives.

France was the easiest foreign county for Americans to travel to in Europe that was not English speaking. Many of our parents’ dream was to go to France and Italy. Germany and Italy were both rebuilding and Eastern Europe was under communism. Spain was too poor and England was not foreign enough to be romantic.  Therefore, that only left France. And Paris is the center of France.

Our parents and grandparents would visit Paris and see the Gothic structures and charming cafes in contrast to American classical structures and sky scrapers.  In our imagination concepts of Romantic Paris began to be formed.

Eastern European women also dreamed of escaping to ParisPoland had a very good relationship with France. Both were catholic countries that stood in opposition to Germany. So to go to Paris for work or vacation was the ideal since it was close and friendly.

Paris is a beautiful city.  To see its trees and and its art is where the connection starts. Then seeing people relaxing in cafes and the ever-present expressions of love was, how do you say, "infectious".

Paris in a Nutshell

Tourist Sites in Paris

Walk Through Paris with Google Maps

Make your way through the streets of Paris, see the sights, experience the love. Navigating through these maps is nothing like strolling down the Champs Delysee but it does come in as a close second.

Enjoy the map, see the city, leave a comment to let me know what you think of this new function.

How To Explore Paris

Paris is such a big city with so much to see. I felt that there was no way that I would see it all in the 3 days that I was staying in the city. I chose to join a bike tour of the city. The tour lasted an entire day and even went into the evening.

There are so many things to do in Paris that you really do need to spend a fair amount of time sightseeing and touring. If you have some spare tie I would recommend exploring the city. The architecture is outstanding and people are so friendly. One of my fondest memories of Paris is from the mornings when I sat in a small cafe and watched the city wake up.

Choose you tours carefully and only visit attractions that Interest you.
Paris is a stroller’s paradise, home to gracious tree-lined boulevards long cherished by artists, lovers, and the Wehrmacht. However, areas along the iconic banks of the Seine river have been less than flaneur-friendly since 1967, when then-Prime Minister Georges Pompidou flanked them with expressways under the Rob Ford-ish slogan, “Paris must adapt to the car.”

But times have changed, and Paris mayor Bertrand Delanoë has announced the beginning of the “reconquest” of the banks of the Seine for pedestrians.

The plan will reintroduce walking to parts of the Paris riverfront currently reserved for automotive traffic. The first phase will take place next month, when the roadway along a one-kilometre stretch of the right bank will be narrowed and new traffic lights installed to make way for pedestrian corridors, boulangeries, and probably beret shops. In the spring of 2013, two and a half kilometres of the left bank will be rendered off-limits to cars, and Parisians will be treated to a new park, which will include floating gardens, a volleyball court, restaurants, and other pedestrian-friendly installations.



la reconquete des berges de seine

Drivers oppose Seine banks plan

September 12, 2012

A MOTORING lobby group is petitioning against the pedestrianisation of the banks of the Seine in central Paris.

The Socialist Mayor of Paris Bertrand Delanoë calls his project a “reconquest” of the banks for pedestrians.

A first stage has now seen a widening of pavements and new traffic lights along a stretch of more than a kilometre of the right bank in central Paris.

In a second phase, meant to be in place by next spring, a 2.3km stretch along the south bank, from the Pont de l’Alma, just east of the Eiffel Tower, to the Pont Royal, near the Louvre, will be closed to traffic.

The plan was given the go-ahead from the government after being blocked by the previous one.

However the drivers’ group 40 Million d’Automobilistes says the plan will cause more congestion in the capital. It has had several thousand signatures to its petition so far.

“In view of a hyper-saturated public transport system, it is entirely unrealistic to believe that there is going to be any reduction in the number of motorists,” the group said in a statement.

It claimed the plans will mean an extra 40,000 a day of cars will “clog up major tourist boulevards”, causing extra greenhouse gas emissions because of jams.

They will also increase drivers’ journey times, especially for those less well-off people who live in the suburbs and drive in because they can’t afford central Paris prices, says the association, which has 320,000 members.

Another association, l’Automobile des Avocats, has stated it will be “launching a legal battle against the mairie and its car-phobic policies.”

The mairie told Le Parisien that “this is not about a crusade against cars, it’s just so as to defend the quality of life of Parisians, who want a more peaceful, less noisy and polluted town”.

The Paris police say the changes on the north bank so far have not caused problems and journey times along it have even dropped.

Paris For Lovers, the romance of paris

Night or day, Paris lives. It's a city for lovers and a city to fall in love with. Every thing you do in Paris seems to be touched by the glow of romance, whether it is queuing for croissants or sitting on a café terrace sipping an aperitif and watching the world go by. As ever, the art gallery and museum business is booming, but Parisians aren't stuck in the past.

The future is where the Pompidou Center and fantastic new science museum at la Villette. On the other hand, locals lament the loss of one of the world's most famous streets, the Champs-Elysees, to the fast-food and fast-money trade. But other sites, such as the Marais, a rundown district now being restored to former glory, and the trendy Bastille make up for it. When is the best time to visit Paris? Any time bar August when the Parisians head south. Visit Paris whenever the mood takes you - preferably now. YOU SHOULDN'T MISS.

Most people don't spend enough time in Paris to do it justice. This is just a small selection of musts. The Louvre is the worlds largest museum, home of the Mona Lisa. You'll either love or hate the Pompidou Center, which has been linked to ba building's air-conditioning system. It houses the National Museum of Modern Art and has great views from it's glass-walled escalators. Outside in the square there's a constant pageant of street theatre, clowns, trick cyclists and buskers. By night, the lights of the windmill flashing outside the Moulin Rouge burn as brightly as ever.

Nightclubbing is an institution: try the Folies Bergere, Crazy Horse or Paradis Latin or Lido. Climb up the white-domed Sacre Coeur for the view. Then stroll around Montmartre, where Toulouse-Lauttrec, Vincent van Gogh and the like painted. Notre-Dame Cathedral and the lie de la Cite are historically significant and beautiful. They also provide a pedestrian link between the right and left banks of the romantic scene.
Romance In Paris

By David Dadoun | Published: February 9, 2012

Paris is a city for lovers. It offers a full menu of sexy places, romantic hideaways, restaurants, cafes, brasseries, cabarets, bars, and places to stroll for a walk, hand in hand, for a quiet respite. Simple things in Paris spark romance, like buying flowers at a marché , walking in a majestic Paris jardin, or taking a stroll on one of the 37 bridges that line the Seine. Some of our favorite places for Paris romance include:

Romantic Restaurants. There are no shortage of romantic restaurants. From gilded Michelin three-star restaurants to tiny pocket-sized bistros with a handful of tables, Paris offers something for everybody. Our top romantic getaways are:
•Le Meurice. With one of the of the most beautiful dining rooms in the world, Le Meurice offers a white-glove service with cuisine by Yannick Alleno, one fo the top chefs in the world. Dripping with chandeliers, gold leaf mirrors and Louvre like paintings on the ceiling, this Michelin three star restaurant is a romantic star.
•Les Cocottes. This sleek and sexy restaurant on Rue Saint-Dominique in the fashionable 7th Arrondissement, is a big hit with upper-crust Parisians. It takes no reservations, and offers a good value for those on a budget but want to experience an indulgence of superb cuisine by Christian Constant.
•Le Temps Au Temps. This pocket sized bistro is small but charming, and its location on Rue Paul Bert exudes sexy romance. The cuisine is top-notch, and with a price-fix menu under 45 Euros, its a bargain.
•L’Ecallier du Bistrot. If oysters are an aphrodisiac then this place is a serious competitor to Viagra. Also on Rue Paul Bert, L’Ecallier du Bistrot has some of the best oysters, lobster, langoustine and fresh fish in all of Paris. With a large variety of oysters to choose from, few restaurants offer quality fresh seafood at such reasonable prices. To add to its charm, the inside is decorated like the cabin of a yacht.
•Chez Georges. With its white-laced curtains and waitresses wearing classic black and white uniforms, this favorite venue of Julia Child is one of the most charming restaurants in Paris. Serving traditional dishes such as escargot, steak au poivre, and tarte tartin, this is a French classic.
•La Fontaine de Mars. Situated on Rue Saint Dominque next to a fountain that Napoleon’s horses drank from, this charming restaurant with its red and white checkered table cloths and classic menu is perfect for a romantic night out.

Romantic Parks. Let’s face it: no place has more beautiful parks than Paris. Where else can you stroll in a garden with masterpieces by Rodin and other masters in public? While obvious jardins to visit include Jardin des Tuileries, Jardin du Luxembourg and Champs de Mars, lesser known but equally romantic parks to visit include Parc Monceau and Jardin du Ranelagh. And for the quietest park in the city, try Place Dauphine. For more information about Paris parks, please click here.

Romantic Bridges. Paris has 37 bridges spanning the Seine, from the Left and Right Bank, but some bridges are best known for their beauty and romance. Top bridges include:
•Pont Alexandre III. Don’t be surprised to see a photo shoot of models for Chanel, Dior or another venerable fashion house, as this is considered the most beautiful bridge in Paris, linking Les Invalides (where Napoleon is buried) to Le Grand Palais and the Champs-Elysees.
•Pont de Bir-Hakeim. This stunning bridge links to the 16th Arrondissement and a small isthmus that connects to Pont du Garigliano. Best time to walk is in the fall when leaves are on the ground on the islet between the two bridges.
•Pont Neuf. One of the most famous bridges in the city, it connects to hidden Place Dauphine, and is a perfect venue for a midnight kiss.
•Pont Des Arts. Limited to pedestrian traffic only, this romantic bridge connects the Louvre to the 6th Arrondissement, with les bouqanistes and their green box stalls selling vintage books on both sides of the river. Couples and friends can be found having a picnic on the bridge with wine, cheese and baguette.
•Pont Notre Dame. Behind Notre Dame, it offers a spectacular view of the cathedral and leads to a quiet park that was a featured scene in Woody Allen’s Midnight In Paris. Street musicians usually can be found playing on or near this bridge, and there are several cafes close by.

Romantic Cafés. There is nothing quite like sitting at a sidewalk cafe, sipping on a a cafe au lait, and savoring a croissant or pain au chocolate with your lover. Our favorite cafes to enjoy this Parisian past time are Les Deux Magots, Cafe de Flore, Cafe de L’Alma and Cafe du Trocadero.

Romantic Walks. Paris is a city for walking and holding hands. Fun places for a stroll include Le Marais, several marchés (buy her flowers), Marché Aux Puces (buy her a vintage Hermes scarf), a stroll on Rue Cler or, if tired of walking, renting a Velib and biking through the city after midnight. In the 16th Arrondissement, go to the stairs on 11 Boulevard Delessert that were featured in Midnight In Paris, and watch the Eiffel Tower sparkle on the hour after dusk.
Paris’ Plan to Kick Cars Off Its Riverbanks

– by Jeffrey T. Iverson,Paris. Time Magazine, Wednesday, Apr. 28, 2010

On a recent Sunday in Paris, stroller-pushing parents, rollerbladers and cyclists eased their way up and down an unusually tranquil stretch of the Seine’s left bank. Normally this road is filled with thousands of cars zipping along, but once a week it is transformed into an oasis of calm as part of an experiment by City Hall to see what happens when cars are banned from Paris’ riverbanks. So far the experiment, which has been going on for the past few years, is proving popular. Delphine Damourette, 31, a Montmarte resident whose cobblestoned neighborhood is a rollerblader’s hell, says the traffic-free Sundays give her a taste of her city as she most loves it — during summer vacation, when Paris slows down, cars disappear, and pedestrians reclaim the Seine. “It would be great if Paris were like this all year long,” she says. Soon, she may get her wish.

If Mayor Bertrand Delanoë has his way, by 2012 the 1.2 miles of left bank expressway between the Musée d’Orsay and the Alma bridge will be permanently closed to automobiles, while traffic on the right bank will be slowed, all with the goal of turning the urban highway into a “pretty urban boulevard.” The estimated $50 million project — dubbed “the reconquest of the banks of the Seine” — calls for the development of 35 acres of riverside, with cafés, sports facilities and floating islands. “It’s about reducing pollution and automobile traffic, and giving Parisians more opportunities for happiness,” Delanoë said at the April 14 project unveiling. “If we succeed in doing this, I believe it will profoundly change Paris.”

But Parisians have already been through several years of policies — some drastic, some less so — aimed at ending the automobile’s reign in the capital. Are they ready for another transformative transportation project? Deputy Mayor for the Environment Denis Baupin, who as transportation chief from 2001-2008 launched tramways, bus lanes, bike paths, the Vélib’ public bikeshare and other schemes — all while weathering virulent criticism and monikers like Khmer Vert — thinks they are. “If we can talk about reconquering the banks of the Seine today, it’s because we first had the Sunday [closures] … which allowed people to acclimate to the idea that it was possible, pleasant and positive,” he tells TIME. “Mentalities have changed, and desire has grown for a city that’s going somewhere, that’s transforming and becoming more ecological.”

In seeking to take back the Seine, though, City Hall has started a new fight on one of the most historic battlegrounds in Paris for competing visions of the capital. The 1967 creation of the right bank expressway was part of a wider plan to crisscross the capital with high-speed roads, reflecting former President George Pompidou’s belief that “Paris must adapt itself to the automobile.” That philosophy hit a roadblock in 1975 when grassroots opposition successfully blocked plans for an elevated left bank expressway that would have passed in front of Notre Dame.

The victory was a benchmark for France’s nascent green movement and constituted “the last gasp of the Los Angelesation of Paris,” says Eric Britton, Paris-based economist and founder of the transport think tank New Mobility Agenda. “It was the beginning of another idea about how to handle mobility, transport infrastructure and the environment in general.”

Yet 35 years later, more than 30,000 cars still zip down the Seine expressways every day, and for critics of Delanoë’s idea, like French radio commentator Marion Ruggieri, they are “no less than the umbilical cord of the capital for everyone working and living in the suburbs.” Worried about how closing the river’s banks to traffic will affect those who depend on their cars to make a living, Ruggieri told France INFO radio, “Bertrand Delanoë wants a museum city, petrified in its clichés, reserved to tourists and the privileged, all this in the name of pollution.”

Other detractors scoff at City Hall’s claims that traffic diverted by the project will be absorbed into the upper quays and that drivers’ commutes will only increase by 6 minutes. Environment deputy mayor Baupin, however, is confident that, when forced to, people will change their habits. It’s already happened. Thanks to municipal policies such as lowering speed limits and replacing thousands of parking spaces with wider sidewalks and bike and bus lanes, daily car trips in Paris were reduced by 450,000 from 2001-2008. The hope is that by making the river banks automobile-free, more drivers will leave their cars at home and use the east-west-running bus lines, metro, and RER commuter trains along the Seine — all currently under expansion.

But in the end, they may have no choice. “This thing is inevitable, the reclaiming of waterways is happening worldwide,” says Britton. “Major cities like Bordeaux and Lyon have banned automobiles from their river banks in recent years and invested millions to develop green promenades, tramways and other transportation alternatives — projects widely embraced by residents today after initial skepticism. Outside of France, transformations have taken place even in industrial cities like Bilbao in Spain — which since the 1990s has cleaned up the infamously polluted Nervión river and moved its port downstream to reclaim its banks — and Kaohsiung in Taiwan, the country’s busiest port, where the city has transformed shipyards and military complexes into green space and leisure areas.”

Baupin believes that all these examples point to a permanent shifting of the tides. “Not a city in Europe would build the Georges Pompidou expressway today,” says Baupin. “The movement has finally reversed.” Technically that won’t be confirmed until Paris City Council votes on the project in July. But with the right bank to still be partially occupied by cars whatever happens, Baupin and the Greens won’t be fully satisfied. “This is only a step,” he says. It seems the banks of the Seine haven’t seen their last battle yet.

Oscar Wilde

"Either that wallpaper goes, or I do." ~~ Oscar Wilde, writer, d. November 30, 1900

Either the wallpaper goes or I do. -- Oscar Wilde, last word
Either they go, or I do. -- Oscar Wilde, of his new bedroom curtains (attrib.), 1900
My wallpaper and I are fighting a duel to the death.
One or the other of us has to go. -- Oscar Wilde (1854-1900) -- in Frank Harris Oscar Wilde...
You ought to be a doctor," he said to Turner, "as you always want people to do what they don't want to.
-- Oscar Wilde (1854-1900) -- 28 November 1900, two days before his death, -- when he was already rather ill....
I knew it. I knew it. Born in a hotel room - and God damn it - died in a hotel room.
~~ Eugene O'Neill, writer, d. November 27, 1953...
This wallpaper is dreadful. One of us has simply got to go. -- Oscar Wilde (his last words)
Oscar Wilde: I wish I had said that. Whistler: You will, Oscar; you will. -- Oscar Wilde
I always pass on good advice. It is the only thing to do with it.
It is never any good to oneself. -- Oscar Wilde, "An Ideal Husband...
Why was I born with such contemporaries? -- Oscar Wilde

The Parisian Life In The 1920’s
By Anne Rohan

I n France, the twenties were called the "Années Folles". This fascinating decade began after the First World War and ended with the economic crisis of 1929.

During this period, the behaviour of the French suddenly changed, with an aspiration to joy and debauchery, particularly in the upper and middle classes. The French tried by all means to get rid of the pre-war values.

The 1920s were a real watershed in the culture as well as in daily life which went through many changes.

France after the War :

Even though France came back victorious, the First World War had a big impact on the morale of the French. Indeed, they had seen so many disabled people and a lot of them lost part of their family. After five years of distress and austerity they wanted the war to be the "der des ders" (last of the last). A new period full of lightness and distractions was about to begin for a better society.

The 1920’s in Paris :

The main characteristics of the 1920’s were the change in habits and for demand of personal freedom.

This effervescence was most important in Paris, where, thanks to the influences coming from all over the world, mentalities and ways of living were revolutionised. The Parisians, thanks to the progress in great expansion, adopted a new, more modern lifestyle. They took advantage of this new freedom and some of them adopted an unbridled and exuberant behaviour.

The most considerable social change was certainly the feminine emancipation. Indeed, most of the women were alone during the War, and it changed their status in the society. They learned to live in accordance to their aspirations, and how to take responsibilities.

The novel of Victor Margueritte, which was called La Garçonne and was published in 1922, is a good illustration of the debauchery and the extravagance of this decade.

• The leisure :

In Paris in the 1920’s, people knew how to have fun. The middle class could finally have access to leisure the same as wealthy people. The Parisians went out often; they went to Music-hall shows (especially the reviews, like Josephine Baker’s), operettas, theatre, circus, but also to the cinema which was becoming more and more popular.

The consumption emerged during this period with the success of department stores and the institution of correspondence catalogues. The French began to have a different look towards money and the "nouveaux riches", (people who had just become wealthy thanks to the fallouts of the post-war inflation), emerged. The TSF (Téléphonie Sans Fil was created and allowed the society to benefit from the radio at home. The car industry was in full development and democratised this new mean of transport, symbol of modernity and elegance.

• The culture :

The 1920’s were a watershed concerning the culture. André Breton introduced the surrealism, a literary movement which attracted numerous writers. As far as music was concerned the jazz was very fashionable in luxurious parties of the Parisian elite. A new conception of the aestheticism emerged. It had some impact not only on the painting, the sculpture and the design (for example the artistic movement called "Art Déco"), but also on the appearance and more particularly on fashion.

• Fashion :

In the 1920’s, feminine fashion went through a real revolution. The woman’s status changed after the War; she was not only looked upon as a housewife anymore, but as an active and independent woman. Women showed a true will of freeing, they wanted to feel more feminine and liked being in fashion. The 1920’s were a new opportunity for women to taste a new freedom, like cutting their hair, wearing makeup and perfume, or smoking in public. They could dress in accordance with their liking. Thin silhouettes were fashionable as well as short dresses, high heels and bare legs. Women abandoned corsets and big hats that symbolised the pre-war reserve. Women of the 1920’s wanted to get rid of the constraints and remain elegant, what was made possible by the greatest fashion designers of the time, like Jean Patou, Jeanne Lanvin, Paul Poiret, Coco Chanel… The athletic look, as well as golf trousers, was fashionable for men. The tie, coming from the United States, appeared in 1924.

The end of the 1920’s :

The "Années Folles" were a cultural phenomenon which had important repercussions in the capital city but did not really disrupt the French social structures still remaining stiff.

The economic crisis of 1929 had a social and political impact that put an end to this period of lack of concern and "joie de vivre". The French feared the tensions increasing between the states and the rise of the nationalism which might lead to another dreaded war.


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