Romance, revisited

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For many years, my firm handled the design and production of various British Airways consumer brochures. So for years, my team and I would scour the numerous stock photo houses in search of fresh imagery to capture the essence of many European destinations. And for years, I was both bombarded and seduced by Paris and her countless brand images filled with idyllic couples. Whether kissing with the luminous Eiffel Tower posing as the perfect backdrop, cuddling as they propelled up and down the Seine, or penetrating the open air-cafes with their open air loving — one thing was certain, couples ruled Paris. Doesn’t every Cinderella long for the day that she too would play out that picture? Yes, Paris. Romance capital of the world. Yet, I found myself in Paris recovering from a romance. Go figure. But just like wedding dresses were once boxed and saved, they are now being trashed and recorded. But does a picture really capture it all?

Paris, discovered. (Gentlemen, plentiful.)

Newly showered, but weary-eyed after a ten hour flight from Los Angeles (that was filled with – hello – many USA boys playing in the French Open) and armed with nothing more than a few practiced phrases like “sil vou plait” (please), and “excusez-moi”, I paraded myself in front of the hotel’s consignee seeking advice as to where to dine before a gal passed out. My soon-to-be-trip confidant, Emmanuelle, glared me up and down and immediately shuttled me off to Kong, where apparently part of “Sex and the City’s” last episode was shot. Although not thrilled about being cast as a stereotypical “Carrie,” I landed at Kong and was pleasantly surprised when a very Philippe Starck motif welcomed me (in the KENZO fashion headquarters on Pt. Nuef no less!!!). Good lord! Talk about fusion — and Asian & Parisian done like only Starck could. So reminiscent of his work at the Mondrian in LA, and Faena Hotel in Buenos Aires, he is a guy I always love to see – room, views and all.

It wasn’t long until I was invited to join a threesome from Pasadena, and upon learning of my solo trek on French soil, the lady friend of the group declared: “My dear, Paris is going to change your life.” That’s a very big statement I said to her, but hey – change is what moves us forward. I’m all for it. Feeling partially renewed after my Starck discovery and an abundance of champagne, I then traveled onward to the Hemingway Bar at the Ritz to counter the contemporary start of the evening with a French classic haunt. And just as both Time Out and Forbes reports — it wasn’t long until Colin, head barkeep, whipped up the perfect Ritz 75 for a girl to nurse while she hid in her prop and scoped out her surroundings. It was like stepping into a Hitchcock movie with elegant black and white photos mounted on the wall, cigar scent that seemed both acceptable and well-placed, many well-dressed Parisian men in three-piece suits, and thank god not a flip-flop or hoodie in sight. It felt great to be in a place where men were well – gentlemen, and girls were welcomed – as ladies. Although hating to break up the rare scene, this Cinderella knew her time was fading as the mid-night hour was fast approaching and jet lagged was bound to hit her like a ton of pumpkins. I quickly said my au revoirs, numbers were exchanged (of course I made friends… after all, never let the French get in the way of one enjoying Paris) — and was happily escorted to a taxi by one very pretty Parisian man, who was kind enough to explained to the taxi driver that the American woman had one more stop before she could call it a night…

And although out of the way, my driver did taxi by the Eiffel tower – and it was like seeing an old glorious friend. Although I must admit, she was more imposing than the photos implied. The driver mustered in his best English, “Madame, I stop, photu?” To which I replied, “No. Necessito.” (I know it’s Spanish – but hell – he understood.) At that moment, I had a major revelation – well actually two:

1) I finally understood why my BA clients had such a hard time approving any final photo selects, no matter how creatively we cropped.
2) “Yes, dear lady friend from Pasadena. Paris will change my life.” This lady is going to get herself one of those men in a three-piece suit. *xo*

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BG Skinny:
Check out the New York Times Travel Guides for what, who and why. The Frommer Guides offer 1, 2, and 3 day itineraries that cover much sought after culture, but I must admit that they seemed a tab ambitious even for the fanny pack and Reebok toting crowd. Keep in mind that the city of lights as much as a place for lovers and culture – is a place for grazing. Make time to stumble onto things that might not be in any travel Guide like Le 24 or dancing along the Seine.

Warning: One will return home from Paris with an insatiable desire for champagne, well-dressed boys, metro life and if you are like me… Lancel handbags. (Ouch!)

Filed: boys, branding, travel

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