Feb 15th, 2017, 05:14 PM

The City of Love™

By Melisa Ulkumen
Image Credit: Tatum Van Dam
The drawbacks of romanticizing Paris.

When most people think of Paris in the Spring they picture sharing a glass of rosé by the Seine, the blooming Tuileries gardens, and picnics under the Eiffel Tower. Despite the past week of clouds, rain, and occasional hail storms, this image of Paris is fairly accurate. Paris's innate beauty attracts millions of tourists every year and earned it several unofficial titles including the "City of Love." However, have these preconceptions cost it the validity of the statement and made the city commercialized? 

After visiting various websites that specialize in making couples' time in Paris romantic, I began to think that many companies exploit the beauty of Paris to make more profit. Web sites such as kissinparis.com, proposeinparis.com, and other countless threads view Paris as a commodity to be exploited. There is definitely a materialistic side of Paris that derives from designer brands, nightlife, and travel companies that value prestige over true love when advertising their products. Even historically, Paris was built on consumer space with grands boulevards and bazaars. Overly romanticizing Paris has made truly romantic gestures such as proposals and vacations here marked as "mainstream" or a fabricated act for social media. Glamorizing romance in Paris too much can also lead to high expectations and visitors setting themselves up for disappointment. Admittedly, it's hard to not be amazed by Paris, no matter how high expectations are but we must question whether this over-romanticization is warranted. 

Image Credit: Tatum Van Dam

Francesca Coyne, an AUP student, used to work for a company that specialized in elopements from the United States stated that the company "completely played off the commercialization of a Parisian lifestyle" and she stopped working for them to preserve her idea of romance in the city. Perhaps the world should follow suit with Finland, where Valentine's Day (Ystävänpäivä) which literally translates to Friend's Day, and celebrates the love that reaches beyond romance.

"I think it is truly a romantic city at the end of the day." —Francesca Coyne

In spite of the toxic, over-commercialization of Paris, there is no denying there is nothing more romantic than a walk at night along the Seine or watching the Eiffel Tower's last twinkle of the night with your significant other. Whether it is with someone else, with the city, or with yourself, there is no better place to fall in love. Especially in the springtime. 

Image Credit: Tatum Van Dam

Special thanks to Tatum Van Dam for providing the beautiful pictures!