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Wednesday, February 11, 2009

When it Sizzles


The Romance Pavillion has been at my side for a few weeks now and it has me thinking about....Paris. Everyone knows there is a connection between Paris and love, thus the structure is adorned with Parisian themed gossamer and a glittering miniature Eiffel Tower. But what is that connection? Where did it come from and when did it start?

While on my search for answers, I meandered and found some love-ly detours.

The last time I saw Paris
Her heart was warm and gay
I heard the laughter of her heart in ev'ry
street cafe.
Oscar Hammerstein II, The Last Time I Saw Paris (1941 song)

46 years later in 1987, British author and critic John Berger wrote this in the article,"Imagine Paris" Harper's Magazine.
Every city has a sex and an age which have nothing to do with demography. Rome is feminine. So is Odessa. London is a teenager, an urchin, and in this, hasn't changed since the time of Dickens. Paris, I believe, is a man in his twenties in love with an older woman.

And in between those years, there was Ernest Hemingway in A Moveable Feast, 1964.
If you are lucky enough to have lived in Paris as a young man, then wherever you go for the rest of your life it stays with you, for Paris is a moveable feast.

Who can forget the famous line in Casablanca spoken by Rick to Ilsa, "We'll always have Paris." And, of course, Cole Porter's song "I love Paris." The 20th century has clearly embraced the love and Paris connection.

In the early 1800s, Paris was a dark place, literally and figuratively. It was troubled by dissension and crime amidst the salons and cafes. The invention of gas street lighting at the end of that century allowed the physical beauty of the city with its winding streets, curious alleys, the Seine and magnificent monuments to be explored and enjoyed at all hours. Thus, the City of Light moniker was born to represent the physical glow and a new openess of ideas.Alas, Paris and love became a world famous couple.

Meander to the 3rd floor Romance Pavillion and find your detours here at the library.

Casablanca

Oxford Dictionary of Phrase, Saying and Quotation

You're Sensational

2 comments:

Jo B. said...

I love the idea of seeing a city with a gender, age and personality. Chicago has to be a middle-aged guy - blue collar, muscular, drinking a Bud, watching a Bulls game with his buddies at the corner bar. Berger was wrong about Paris, however. Paris is feminine.

P.S. That Parisian romance pavillion is oo-la-la!

Joel Sawyer said...

Though it doesn't connect Paris with love, one of my favorite scene-setting passages concerns Paris. It's from Guy de Maupassant's novel, Bel-Ami: "Duroy saw before him a reddish light in the sky like the glow of an immense forge, and heard a vast, confused, continuous rumor, made up of countless different sounds, the breath of Paris panting this summer night like an enchanted giant."

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