Your Romantic Holiday in Paris: Real and Movie Romance
Check out my other posts about Paris travel and vacations
Versailles Fountain (click to enlarge)
Marie-Antoinette (Kirsten Dunst) at Versailles (click photo to enlarge)
Dream a Little Bit in Paris
Paris is romantic, if you walk down the street with your imagination whispering all the while in your ear. As I mentioned in another post, I've heard that Paris is the word most used in movie titles. (You can verify this by Googling "Paris movies" or going to Amazon and entering the same words for DVDs. I've just posted a sampling of their lists.)
If you go to Paris looking for romance, it's best to take it with you, though. One of the French national sports is flirting. Unfortunately, for those who don't speak French, they flirt with wit and innuendo. That is, until they've had a few drinks and then the flirting gets very personal. But-for the most part it ends with wordplay. I hate to bring this up, but surveys have shown that the French are quite a bit less promiscuous than Americans, Swedes, Germans and Brits. But, hey, go do your own survey.
(In case you aren't marching, or wiggling, off to France to do your own survey, here is a link to a very interesting study about, monogamy, flirtation, one-night-stands, etc. related to France in comparison with the U.S.)
The French are not terribly religious, meaning they aren't church going nor do they talk very much about religion. Compared to Americans, where about 90 percent believe in God, the French are veritable agnostics. But when thinking of their lack of promiscuity, I tend to think that perhaps their disciplined upbringing has something to do with their Catholic tradition (I believe the country is about 93% catholic). Put it this way, they don't just go on drinking binges and wonder how the hell they got into a stranger's bed. (The incidence of drunkenness in France is way below America and way, way below England.)
You can see romance in the movies about Paris. It's all those silks and fine decorations (see the photos below from the film Marie-Antoinette). And the tradition of Bohemian writers and artists, American as well as French. And, I think a big part of the romance comes from the accordions which somehow have become linked to the "good old" pre-World War II or even World War I days when life was slow and musical and there were wonderful dance halls in old windmills (check out the Moulin Rouge's symbol) and on the banks of rivers.
As any woman will tell you romance lives mostly in the imagination and being a poetical and Latin people, the French have cultivated the imagination.
So don't expect Paris to serve romance to you and your girl friend, boy friend, partner, spouse. When you land at Charles de Gaulle, try to overcome the paranoias and pragmatism of traveling and dream a little. Paris will meet you halfway, at least.
(If you want an Amazon "listmania" list of many movies with Paris in the title or as a subject click here for "Paris in the Movies."
By the way, as a movie, I didn't like Marie-Antoinette with Kirsten Dunst because, as many reviewers say, the acting was 1. stiff and 2. not believable. But the sets and costumes were truly marvelous. What I most disliked was that the story took place over about 20 years and there was no attempt at all to show any change in the characters, especially the King and Queen. It made it all rather unbelievable for me, though it was great as a spectacle. I also think the film was much too easy on Marie-Antoinette and Louis XVI. Their greatest problem is that 1. they were both extremely bull-headed and listened to no one but their closest associates and friends (reminds me of a certain American president). And 2. The King believed, literally, that he was God's gift to the French and without him having all power the nation would dissolve. I feel sad that they were both murdered, along with their son, but in many ways they did nothing to avoid the tragedy. Oh, yes, they made a very bumbling attempt to escape over the border at the last minute to joint the Austrians and wage war against their own France. Again, being caught in their huge and obvious carriage and being late for their rendez-vous with their military guards was very much their own fault. The rest, as they say, is history.
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Report of a survey comparing French and Brit Sexual Activity
Survey puts myth of French love to bed
By Henry Samuel in Paris
The secret life of French lovers has been exposed by new findings from a major study of French sexual behaviour.
The research found that the French were only slightly more sexually active than the British, long derided as Europe's least romantic nation.
The French have their first had sexual encounter after their seventeenth birthday - 17.2 years for boys and 17.6 percent for girls, compared with 18.8 and 20.6 respectively 50 years ago.
In Britain, the average age for a first sexual experience is 16, according to the Family Planning Association.
On average the French make love just over twice a week: in all 8.7 times per month, a little more than the 6.5 monthly British average.
And the study, which questioned more than 12,000 men and women aged from 18 to 69 found that 16 per cent of French women and 15 per cent of men had had no sex at all in the past three months.
The myth of the prolific French lover was also laid to rest by the survey: women interviewed last year said they had had sex with an average of just 4.4 men in their life - up from 3.3 in 1992 and 1.8 in 1970.
Adultery also appears to be on the decline: fewer than three out of every 100 Frenchwomen and just over five out of every 100 men said they had an affair in the past year.
The internet is also playing an increasing role in bringing young French people together, with one in 10 French males aged 20-24 having slept with someone met online.
Marie-Antoinette (Kirsten Dunst)
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