Paris: The City of Love, The City of Lights

Paris; the city of love, city of lights… The descriptions are perhaps interchangeable. The city of love: where the wealthy came during the 19th century to enjoy the art, culture and high-life of Paris and a city to where today, thousands still flock to wander, stopping to enjoy a lingering café crèmes on pavement terraces. The city of lights: the birthplace of the Age of Enlightenment, its reputation for being at the center of education and philosophy throughout Europe but Paris’ early adoption of street lighting may contribute to this too. Interchangeable: the romantic ambiance that the lights create; silhouetted buildings, sparkling monuments and not least, their twinkling reflection in the Seine.

Whatever the description, Paris is a beautiful city and where better to head during a girls day out than to Montmartres’ Abbesses metro station to visit Le Mur des Je t’aime, ‘the wall of love’. This monument is the work of two artists – Frederic Baron and calligraphist Claire Kito using a total of 612 enameled tiles to cover a surface area of 40 sq. meters. It began with an idea to use love as a powerful bond in a world where humanity is torn apart. Baron collected phrases in a notebook, knocking on doors of neighbours then Embassies until he eventually cataloged more than 300 languages expressing the powerful sentiment of love; the bursts of colour representing the broken hearts that the wall aims to reunite.

A more controversial monument to love are the growing number of locks fastened to Paris’ bridges; as a dedication to love that will never be torn apart, sweethearts attach a lock to the railings before tossing the key into the Seine. Opinions differs as to the attractiveness of this colourful street art but the problem lies in the weight of these locks that are causing damage to the structures and some railings have collapsed under the stress. Instead, the authorities of Paris are encouraging photo’s to be taken then tweeted or posted on ‘Love Without Locks’ web page.

A steaming bowl of onion soup for lunch, an hour or so perusing books in Shakespeare and Company to a perfect finale; L’ Île Saint-Louis for Berthillon ice cream, this was fig...