It's not only l'amour in Paris

For hundreds of years Paris reigned as the world’s undisputed capital of literature, culture and cuisine. In more recent times however many tourists overlooked Paris in favour of brasher, burgeoning cities like Berlin or Buenos Aires: the sentiment which pervaded travel circles was that creativity and discovery have vanished in France’s capital. Yet Paris is a city prone to revolution, with an inherent tension burning slowly below the surface, and Paris is never far poised from a rebellious comeback. Like the spiralled orientation of its twenty arrondissements, Paris’ potential energy is coiled tight like a spring, ready to release at any moment. From the political revolutionaries who overthrew Louis the XVI to the impressionists who challenged the Academie de Beaux Arts to today’s super chefs who reject the pomp and circumstance of traditional French haute cuisine, when Parisians have had enough, they aren’t afraid to stir the ever simmering pot of dissent.

The original Celtic and later Roman foundation of the city was centred around the islands of the Seine, the river that bisects Paris into two banks: the traditionally bohemian Rive Gauche and the more sophisticated Rive Droite. Within those sides, each individual arrondissement possesses its own personality traits (the 4th is traditionally gay, the 16th old money, etc). They are connected to each other by large sweeping boulevards that date back to a massive 19th century restructuring of the city. These renovations reshaped the medieval city into the modern metropolis we know today: a mélange of stately boulevards and winding alleys, now full of old world brasseries and trendy “gastro-bistros”, sprawling museums and petite galleries, tiny boutiques and corner tabacs. A city ripe for exploring…with or without a romantic flavor.

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