Yesterday V said, I am afraid I don't find Paris as romantic as you do.
I'm reading pre-trip David Downie's Paris, Paris Journey into the City of Light insightful, informative indepth essays. After 20+ years living in Paris, Downie evokes Parisian atmosphere with facts and personal stories not romantic fluff.
Bear does not view Paris through rose-colored glasses either by the way.
The wait list to get a spot is usually 80 names long and it takes four years to get your first placement - always in a lousy location, says Downie.
Life certainly isn't romantic for the bouquinists - out in all kinds of inclement weather and often not making a single book sale. Their 'moneymakers' are those souvenirs of Paris - I admit buying many French wine bottle fridge magnets from them..ahem
Photo by Alison Harris from Paris, Paris
The chapter on Paris dogs and their upkeep had me enthralled. Downie says, the statistics on the number of dogs in Paris varies wildly, from 150,000 to nearly 500,000 (the capitol's human population is 2.2 million).
'France has an estimated 3,000 canine beauty salons, hundreds of them in Paris...the dog salon trade is booming'. Why does this come as no surprise? French butchers do not carry 'scraps' for dogs. 'Only filets, rib steaks, ground round...' Not surprising either...
What I refered to as mini-monuments like the Wallace Fountains, are rightly called 'street furniture' in Paris, Paris.
Every street lamp, kiosk, bollard, Colonne Morris (that we love to romantize) that make Paris Paris for us, has their origins often from the Hausmannian period. These charming icons were designed 'as elements of a complex system of barriers and signage whose purpose is to restrain, thwart and redirect unruly natives, Downie tells us. Who knew?
Designing street furniture is an ongoing process with Philippe Starck's history 'shovels'/panels histoire de Paris and Norman Foster's glassy bus shelters, now copied worldwide.
One very 'romantic museum I love but haven't told you about yet is mentioned in Paris, Paris - Gustave Moreau house 14, rue de la Rouchefoucauld 75009. The very top floor, up these winding steps holds a treasure chest of original drawings and watercolors you can page through yourself unattended - they're encased in revolving glass doors.
No way will Downie's book leave you feeling unromantic about Paris, just better informed about many mysteries.
After all the Parisians are just as infatuated with their town as the rest of us...