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Is it possible to fall in love with a city?

I fell in love with Paris. I was told by someone who will remain unnamed that it would not live up to my expectations. They were right in a way, but it was better. More magical and different than I could have thought. My whole trip felt so surreal. I cannot wait to return. I have so many stones unturned and oddly enough as I had mentioned in a different post...I miss it. Sure I covered a lot of ground and did many things, but there is so much left to explore and find. Dreaming of my next trip,
Stacy

Posted by
207 posts

My loves are Florence and Kaanapali, Hawaii. Hoping to fall in love with Paris in November.

Posted by
69 posts

What did you love about Paris the most? Details! Details! I haven't been there yet and want to hear all about it. I'd love to go there some day.

Posted by
1068 posts

Love triangle! I'm in love with Paris, too! Well, so is my husband. So that's more than a triangle, isn't it? ;o) Seriously, in answer to your question, IMHO the answer is "YES."

Posted by
358 posts

Yes, the two cities I love the most are Paris and Rome. Hopefully in the next few years I plan on living part time in Paris during the spring and fall. The winters are to cold for my wife and the summer to crowded for me. After seeing the movie Midnight in Paris I realized how much I miss the great city. I can hardly wait till oct as a trip to Istanbul/Paris is waiting.

Posted by
1976 posts

Stacy - great question! For me, it has been love at first sight with Amsterdam and Florence (and San Francisco).

Posted by
8179 posts

I am in love with Frankfurt. The more I learn about its' history, step into its' medieval churches and wander around its' neighborhoods, the more I fall in love. The multi-cultural aspect of the city is very attractive to me as well as the many farmers markets and festivals. The location makes it ideal for me to easily visit multiple, medieval towns, Roman ruins, important imposing cathedrals, and the Rhine, the Neckar and the Main of course. I almost can't imagine living anyplace else, I like it here that much.

Posted by
8419 posts

I've loved Paris since I first lived there with my family when I was a little girl. I've been back more times than I can count and I love it more every time. I can never get enough of Paris, and every time I leave my heart breaks. My son, who has been there with me 6x in the last 10 yrs is also very much in love with Paris. We are always saving our money to go back!

Posted by
3696 posts

Definitely.... and better yet, you might fall in love with all of Europe... but there are always the favorites that we tend to long for. You will never be the same again. It's especially fun to go to Epcot after you have been to Paris... I have a great time just talking to the people who work there and finding out where they live, and they are especially happy when you tell them you have been to Paris. When I ask them what they miss the most about home... the answer is always the food! (Epcot came to mind as I will be there next week...my daughter lives in Lake Mary)

Posted by
8876 posts

I am in love with Paris too!! I first went 5 years ago and in a few weeks I will be there for the 3rd time. I can't wait!! This time I will be leaving my husband at home (he loves Paris too), and I am going with a friend. It will be her first trip there. She was surprised I would want to go back. I told her that I would live there if I could, and I hope she loves it as much as I do.

Posted by
276 posts

Yay! I'm so glad you enjoyed your trip! (I didn't notice your new posts on your fashion thread) I felt the same about Venice. I had heard so often that it was smelly, crowded, touristy and disappointing, and I almost skipped it, but decided I couldn't leave Italy without at least one day there - I was smitten! Much better than I had dared dream. I've never been to Paris, but hope, hope, hope to one day! However, I don't think anyplace will usurp my one true love, Krakow:) So I guess Venice is more of a crush:) Along with Rome, and Budapest, and...

Posted by
258 posts

Absolutely! There are many cities/places that I would say I "liked," but then there others that I absolutely LOVED and can't wait to return to. I think all of us travelers have a list like that. The places that just stood out, really appealed to us, really MEANT something to us, etc. (sometimes, for an intangible reason you really can't even explain). My personal "love" list of places would include; in Europe: Prague (perhaps my favorite city in Europe), Vienna, Salzburg, St. Anton am Arlberg, Florence, Capri, Lake Como and Grindelwald/Bernese Oberland; and elsewhere in the word: Jerusalem and Tel Aviv (not nearly as beautiful as Jerusalem, but I once spent 6 months there, so it's a very personal place to me w/ a terrific modern vibe); and in N. America: Banff and Lake Louise in Alberta and Whistler-Blackcomb in BC (perhaps the most spectacular mountain scenery in all of N. America). THESE are the places for which I would drop everything and return to in a heartbeat!

Posted by
1821 posts

For my wife and I it is Rome but, I know what you mean. I hope my second trip will live up to my romanticized memories.

Posted by
711 posts

Yep, pretty sure that it is. My first love was Rome (first Euro city visited), and it is still dear to my heart. When I hit Paris, it was all over. I can't really put into words what it is about that city, it's just... something. I have paris in my plans every year. It's just that the cotswolds, Bavaria, Provence, Tuscany, Vienna, and the Highlands keep throwing me off. My wife and I decide where to go alternately, and when it's my year; Paris is always in the top 3.

Posted by
104 posts

Oh my heart warms to read your thoughts and stories because.... before I went I didn't know what everyone was all a buzz about. I could kinda get it but not totally understand. I do now. I so love Paris. The rain is amazing, and you all should know I hate rain. lol I know it sounds nuts but I truly do. In Orlando it pours not rain. Paris has something about it that says I can be on the Metro surrounded by 30 people yet have an intimate conversation with my friend next to me. Or be with the other 30 people and not be alone. Something about being in the open markets and seeing all the bustle that is calm. I love to see all the people walking their dogs and pushing babies in strollers. Something about a Parisian walking home with a baguette in hand or.... OH One thing I saw frequently was men taking home fresh flowers! What else could break your heart than to have flowers every so often just because. And I saw Parisians smile. Maybe not with teeth but hey its a smile. Everyone has a style. While most look good they have a air about them that says "I dont care I ware this because I LOVE it." I love that. The people I stayed with were so fun and interesting. The TV was off at dinner and we talked. When shopping the woman would say, "This is nice, I love it." and she would buy. Or "this I dont love." Then she wouldn't buy it. She had no compulsion to have it justy because it was in. I love how there is so much to see and do. The city is filled with events, big or small. I so enjoyed not driving. I dont like to drive, the Metro was wonderful. I love the parks filled with people. They play, write, read, tan or sun bathe, eat, talk, smoke, and the list goes on and on.
Continued...

Posted by
104 posts

I dont drink coffee. I drank coffee there. The fresh bread and pastry every day right on the corner. The fact that everything is within 5-10 min WALK. The language...Oh it flows and sounds like silk. I love that they keep their history, they dont tare down builds to build something new. Im in love...what's a girl to do. I think it is not exactly like but similar to falling in love with a person. Sure you have your reasons and they are good for you and you alone. That's all you need (and if your married you just hope your spouse understands, lol). Someone wrote about trying to live in the place you love and I have started to think about how to move there myself.
Even if it were only a few months. Cheers to all of us and the cities we love! :)

Posted by
104 posts

Sorry for the typos I just went back and read it...LOL I was not thinking about my typing, I was daydreaming. LOL

Posted by
104 posts

I also forgot to mention that I loved the smell of Paris. (Not the Metro, lol, Paris.) My friend thought I was nuts but it smells like ripe grapes. Like the sun has just hit them after a rain and the smell alone is intoxicating. I noticed everyone wore perfume. Good ones.

Posted by
711 posts

Wow. You've got it bad. Pretty much par for the course for your first Euro trip. Bad news is it doesn't get any easier with each additional trip. My advice, break down your trip cost into 12 units. Set that aside each month and you'll be back in no time. 12 months, 24 months, 36 months... doesn't matter. You'll be back.

Posted by
6476 posts

London. Been a dozen times. Always find something new that peaks my interest. The comfort factor alone makes me smile.

Posted by
13004 posts

Yes, Paris is one of my top 2 most favourite cities/capitals I visit each time in Europe, ever since 1973, sort of like making a pilgrimage there just as I do with Berlin, even if I have to do it by night train. Even with its downside (the pickpockets, scammers of all types and that ilk), Paris has a certain distinctive charm and atmosphere, a power of attraction unlike anywhere else, just as in song "Ca c'est Paris" regardless of you like dealing with les francais, which has never been a problem, especially now since I know the language. Going to various gardens is a relaxing experience, or just walking endlessly into the different arrondisments....seeing the different neighborhoods where you hardly see any tourists. The food and drink are great...I'll pass on the beer unless you like Belgian beer. Yes, it may be taxing at CDG upon landing, getting the luggage, finding a WC, etc., but once you cross that "bridge" passing the Sheraton heading towards the RER, one thing hits you: you're in PARIS.

Posted by
1806 posts

When you spend a short amount of time there, I think you can be very infatuated to the point you think it's perfect and you think you love the city. It's like having a fling with a really hot guy when you go away on a vacation and neither of you have any responsibilities or real life pressures. It all seems wonderful and new. But try maintaining a long term relationship once you leave the vacation behind and you start to see that perfect guy may still look really great on the outside, but look a little deeper and you'll find he's got some issues that you didn't even notice before. I have my infatuations with certain cities. I even moved to and lived in some of those same cities for awhile. I can sometimes get wistful thinking about certain cities I used to live in if I've been away for a long time, but then eventually I'll visit my old city and after a day or so, I remember some of the things that frustrated me or drove me crazy. I'm not saying don't try to take a chance and go live in one of these cities, but don't expect it to have the same "magical" qualities day after day if you do relocate.

Posted by
711 posts

@ceidleh: Buzz kill. Probably true, but why kill the dream? ;-)

Posted by
853 posts

Yep, Venice is mine. Never tire of it. My record was 4 trips in one year (on ultra-cheap RyanAir) when we lived in Germany.

Posted by
134 posts

Yes!!! Florence and Kracow. I also have a crush on Prague.

Posted by
2193 posts

Am I the only one who finds some of these replies creepy? I mean, how in the world do you have feelings of intimacy for the collective musk of a city?

Posted by
94 posts

YES ! Paris is now at the top of my list. We just spent 5 days in Paris at the very beginning of a 3 week vacation in France and Italy (which I adore). On our last night in Paris I actually cried because I didn't want to leave. Even though I had all these wonderful experiences of vacation ahead of me, I almost could not bear to leave Paris...which of course I did, but immediatly starting planning how and when to go back !

Posted by
11450 posts

I don't find any of the replies creepy, i understand some people have a more poetic or creative sensitive way of expressing themselves, and some are more midde of the road, and some are frankly, more boring. I love Paris,, but I truly enjoy many other places too,, but yes, if going to Europe, no matter where else I visit, I have to include Paris.

Posted by
104 posts

Yes Darren I have it bad. Very Bad. Thank you for the advice on the break down. I'll keep it in mind for all trips. I now love that so many people also love Paris. There must be something about it...something in the air. Lol Which leads me to Michael... Like Pat said (thank you Pat) some people are poetic and I am not really good at it, but I was trying to convey a feeling. I don't know how it is possible but I don't find it creepy. As for the smell, it's like a perfume or smoke. Something smell good and others bad, and each person likes different smells. (Also smell is most strongly linked to memory.)

Posted by
8419 posts

I don't find it creepy either. And I agree with you Stacy. I loved reading your wonderful description of your experience in Paris. Much more interesting and enjoyable than the average.

Posted by
104 posts

Just read a different thread where a man comments that he and his wife fall in love all over again when they are in Paris. How sweet and wonderful. The idea that good memories could be so strong it sparks a marriage anew! Romantic! Thank you Paris! lol :)

Posted by
104 posts

Thank you Susan. :) Yeah I'm serious about wanting to go back and as soon as possible. I just got my Masters and I keep wondering what I could do as a career that would allow me a lot of vacation. lol
Tho to be honest I have always wondered that. :)

Posted by
15058 posts

I too am in love with Paris, a love that grows stronger with each visit. I am lucky enough to live an hour away from my other love, Jerusalem. There are places and vistas that I've seen hundreds of times, and I still get a little charge every time. I can't decide if I have fallen in love with Venice or whether it is just an infatuation. Two visits definitely weren't enough.

Posted by
334 posts

Stacy, add me to the in love with Paris list. My first trip was in 1993 and have been back over 10 times. I cheated on Paris this summer and went to Rome/Venice without making a quick stop over like all my previous trips. At least I was there November 2010 so it hasn't been a year yet. I got my fix seeing Midnight in Paris at least 3 times this summer. I have also been obsessed with reading lots of Paris related novels which helps with withdrawals. I finally found the Alliance Francaise center in Chicago this summer which has lots of fun stuff. I really enjoyed Rome and would give it my #2 city, but there is no where like Paris. I enjoy that every city is so unique; London, Amsterdam, Rome and Paris even NYC, Chicago, Seattle; but Paris by far is my love. With my youngest graduating from college this December I am investigating my own "Study Abroad" interests and would like to take French classes in Paris for a few weeks. One suggestion for you would be upon your return try to stay in a different section in Paris. I love walking around a new neighborhood, find the local bakery and resturants, shop at markets.
Thanks for the post.

Posted by
711 posts

Stacy,
Don't cut yourself short, you're poetic enough. Your thread took me right back into Paris with your descriptions of life over there, not just sights. I could see the people walking, talking, gawking at all that Paris has to offer. For that, I thank you. The smell? Yeah, some are repulsed while others enamoured. It's like wine, you may smell pineapples and grapefruit, while I smell pears and apples. Everyone's different. Hope to see you there soon.

Posted by
104 posts

Well thank you too Darren. You know it is interesting that so many things in life are just like that; each person experiences things in a different way. Their own way. :) I do like a good wine. I too hope to met up with people who share my love, like you and your wife. It would add another layer of interest.

Posted by
837 posts

London, Paris, Prague, Venice, Rome. Having grown up in the San Francisco area, I never saw it as a tourist. Having just returned from a high school reunion, I think it might be at the top of the list.

Posted by
1955 posts

Stacy, what a fun post. It reminds me of how Carrie Bradshaw (was that her character name) in the old Sex in the City shows would start an article...........the thought-provoking question. My husband tells me that my favorite place is wherever the most recent vacation took us. (And, he is right.) But, I always say how I would to love to live there. Love Paris, still do. Love Greek Isles (not Athens). Love Turkey. Love Banff, Love Victoria, Love Italy(maybe a favorite) etc., etc. Even stateside, Love Alaska, Love Colorado, Love Newport, Love the mountain lake in NC, and on and on and on. I light up when I see a glimpse on TV, movies, in magazines, etc. of any of the places to where we have traveled. I am instantly transported back for just a moment. It's a love of something very special, a love of a dream that came true and being there was so much better that what I ever dreamed it would be. When I come home, I forget the very hot July (where I almost melted) in Paris for two of our eight days....the photos don't show the heat....I forget the taxi driver who tried to rip us off in Athens and the tired, stressed city....the photos show only the beauty. But, the poster who mentioned the reality of living in a place day in/day out is correct. On our second trip to Italy (that tells you something...we did a repeat to a country), our tour included a professor who spoke about contemporary Italian life. It was a good reality check hearing about what stresses Italians. I want to visit again, but I do not want to live there. But, oh as a visitor, yes it is LOVE.....love of place, love of adventure, love of the dream. Keep traveling, and I wish you lots of love with many places. You've got to "date around" to know the real thing when you see it. Always good to come home.

Posted by
264 posts

Paris? It's a horrible place? No body go! Leave it all for me. ME ME ME... ALL FOR ME ME ME... HA HA HA... ALL MINE... Are you kidding me? I fell in love with Paris. My wife fell in love with Paris. My son that hates everything and says NO to everything (he was at THAT age at the time we went) fell in love with it and can't wait to go back again. With all the places he's been to, if you ask him where in Europe he wants to go to, he will answer you "Paris and Asturias Spain, where our family's roots are".

Posted by
6021 posts

It is certainly possible to fall in love with a city, but be warned, given the number of lovely cities out there, you will find yourself to be a philanderer. For me, my first love is Amsterdam, but I have had wonderful and sometimes repeat flings with Paris, Rome, Barcelona, Prague...I will stop there lest you think I am a cad.

Posted by
62 posts

The love of my life is Venice, and I don't know exactly why. Paris is more beautiful, Rome is bolder and stronger, Amsterdam is more charming, Berlin is hipper. When you truly love something, it defies words, it's beyond description. I just know it feeds my soul and it haunts me everyday I'm not there.

Posted by
3696 posts

@ Pam... Have you read the book Watermark about Venice by Joseph Brodsky? It is about his love of the city during the winter... Also, in case you have never been during Carnavale, it becomes an even more mystical and enchanting city.

Posted by
123 posts

I also love Paris. My last visit was in 2007, and I cannot wait to return. I read articles about Paris, all over the internet. The New York Times travel section periodically publishs an article about cafes, neighborhoods, restaurants, you name it. I am studying my French by listening to CD's while driving. So yes, I too am in love with Paris, and cannot wait to return to explore.

Posted by
2995 posts

I felt the same way when I first visited Paris - although it happened I was meeting up with a great friend and it was just an awesome experience all around. It was slightly tarnished a few months later while leading cranky in-laws around during a horrible heatwave, but I'm still in love with it. (I'm just going to avoid July in the future.) Some cities are just like that, and what city "gets you" varies individually. I never understood NYC. Been there a dozen times, does little for me. Fell in love with San Francisco as a child, ended up living in that area by choice for most of my adult life. Still think San Francisco/Oakland is the most wonderful place in the world. New Orleans. In Europe, Paris, Berlin, and Vienna all have that 'spark' that makes me dream of returning again and again - or trying to figure out how to move there. A lot of people feel that way about Munich, but it was an NYC experience for me - OK place to visit, but didn't "grab" me. But Paris is one of those cities that will cast a spell on almost anyone. It's famous for that ability, really - it's PARIS. It's what it does! (But my heart is still in San Francisco).

Posted by
791 posts

I've had quite a love affair with Venice for over 10 years now but I'll admit that she's getting a bit too high maintenance for me lately. The true love of my life is Hong Kong.

Posted by
13004 posts

Ouite right....some cities just "gets you." That's well put. And, Paris is one of those few cities. After all, with all its ups and downs. pluses and minuses, it is in the end Paris. My sentiments exactly on Berlin and Vienna as cities you return to over and over, as in a pilgrimage. I always find time when traveling there in the summer to go back to Berlin and Potsdam, and Vienna. Vienna is a place that "gets you" even though I find it depressing, charming fascinating, haunting...all at the same time. I like Munich too, but it doesn't "get you," zipped by train back there 3 times on this last trip this summer. But given Munich and its environs to Berlin and Potsdam, I'll take Berlin/Potsdam anytime, the same goes with Vienna.

Posted by
104 posts

I love reading the posts and finding out that I'm not the only one. Its wonderful to be able to share how different cities are viewed from different people. It also adds to the charm and warmth of knowing something different through their eyes. In short your posts are amazing. :) Plus they make me miss it. lol
I think Darren is too right, I have to start planning my next trip so I wont miss it so much.

Posted by
335 posts

I think maybe by now this love triangle is a hexagon (or more!) I, too, love Paris and have been 7 times in the past 6 years and still have things to discover and old faves to revisit! Working on moving there for 3 months next Fall. Ahhh, Paris!

Posted by
335 posts

Continuing the above note: I've done some research and decided that staying longer than 3 months involved WAY too much bureaucracy. So that's how I decided on the 3 month trip next Fall. My first grandchild is due in Spring 2012 and Paris is dead in the summer (right?). That time period involves much less bureaucracy and will allow me to decide if I want to move there for longer. I'm now researching long-term apartment rentals, taxes, health care, etc. Wish me bon chance! PS--I hope you decide to go now instead of waiting until you're in your 60's like me.

Posted by
104 posts

Ok Holly now I am jealous! Lol Bureaucracy or not, that is awesome! I do wish you the best of luck. Heck I wish it were me. :)

Posted by
875 posts

Yes, definitely. Paris for me too. I didn't think I'd ever get my husband to Paris (or France or Europe even), but his first visit to Paris did the trick. Now he really doesn't want to go anywhere else, even though I have "forced" him to see other places....which he has also loved -- but Paris remains at the top of his list.

Posted by
125 posts

Why to I love Paris.....a stroll over the pedestrian bridge with the love of my life and a whiff of wind unfurled my recently purchased whispy scarf from Italy and there is was....floating down to the Seine creating a memory I will never forget. Another story is when my then 4 yr old granddaughter was looking at the cover of my RS Paris book and and asked me if I could put her in my suitcase so she to see the "beautiful tower" and she has called it that ever since. Some day I hope to take her to Paris. I have been to the City of Lights 3 times and as a friend once said...."there is always unfinished business in Paris"!!