Why is Paris so romantic? (Part I: architecture)

As I mentioned in the previous post, I was in Paris last weekend just for 3 days. This wasn’t the first time I visit Paris, but it was the first time I smelled the romantic scent of Paris. Paris is so beautiful and chic, and it has such a unique personality. I was just strolling around the city, experiencing and observing at the same time. I become in love with the city. What I realized (and I know this is not anything new) is the city, the people and the food are three important ingredients of this addictive romantic scent. Below is my first shallow description of the city from the view of my iphone (I am a lazy nomad that travel with my iphone mostly)

*city//architecture//urban planning//composition//
ImageWorking in an architecture firm, I have become to pay attention to the architecture aspect of any city that I visit. From the urban planning to small details like the street lamps are all part of the city which set the mood for the city. Here in Paris, thanks to Mr. Haussman (to read about the Haussmann’s renovation in the 19th century: wiki link), Paris has a beautifully crafted street facade. The color of the facade, the iron work of the balcony, and the vast imagination comes along with the  french window create a very casual yet chic couture for the city. I can imagine every morning waking up to those window and balcony with white curtains. Buildings do not all have the same facade, there are slight variety from here to there, but they are in harmony with each other.

I find calmness in these buildings, as if nothing has changed since they were built, and I can visualize how people (especially all the great writers and artists in the early 20th century) used to live. The architectures have become the pattern for a city, silently being the backdrop of the city, setting the right atmosphere to allow anything to happen. The  color of the urbanscape is so soft: creamy yellow and shades of grey. Nothing is screaming at your eye. The network style urban planning, again thanks to Mr. Haussmann, creates short but interesting sight lines. You can always see a destination. Unlike newyork where all the streets are parallel and perpendicular to each other. I guess a maze is more romantic than a grid?

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 *view from Sacre Coeur

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What I realized is, the city is in love with carousel, perhaps the tourists are. And these carousel are like from the 18th century, and with the music and the lights, The horses and the kids go round and round (merrily). I used to be in love with Carousel because they are so magical.

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I must mention the Galeries Lafayette (not just because I really like to shop), this is not just any department store, but it revolutionize the retail industry. It makes shopping so glamorous. The skylight, the dome, the decor, and the smell of the store. Did Coco Chanel shop here as well?

I don’t even need to mention the Eiffel Tower, the Arc de Triomphe, Rue Lafayette, Notre Dame de Paris etc. these buildings just beautifully orchestrated with the city. Even though we are in the year 2013, the city presents itself in a very timeless and romantic manner.

@ Friend’s place in Rivierenbuurt, Amsterdam

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One thought on “Why is Paris so romantic? (Part I: architecture)

  1. I never have been to the Galerie Lafayette and now that I just read your post, I feel a little bit of regret. I think what really amazed me when I was in Paris was ”la maison Laffitte”. I know, it’s not exactly in Paris but since you love architecture (I think?), you would probably fall in love with the building. It’s not that popular when you compare to other castles such as Château de Versailles but, there was practically nobody in there so I got to see all the small details ; angel statuettes, stairs in marbles, beds with tons of prints and flashy colours…Oh and I was in the love mood when I visited the ”jardin des tuileries”. This was totally a romantic scenery with its cafés and red umbrellas everywhere. The fountain is so lovely as well. Anyway, your blog grabbed my attention and made me feel nostalgic. Thanks!

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