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Amour is in the Air and On the Sidewalks

Love must be in the air. In the last few weeks, the word “wedding” has entered my verbal and written world from a myriad of sources.

My daughter has been invited to photograph back-to-back brother-sister weddings next month in Delhi, India, unifying families from both the northern and southern regions of the country. We are both attending and feverishly studying up on the traditions of the ceremony and how we, as westerners, are going to fit in to such colorful and exciting events (it will last for days!). (During those weeks, I will do my best to report in to you and send a glimpse of the sensory overload we are sure to experience!)

Meanwhile, I have received letters from friends, colleagues and clients asking how to go about having their weddings in France. It’s such a romantic idea. Why? Because France itself is a romantic idea. Doesn’t it seem impossible to think of Paris or France without thinking of love.

Remember Looney Tunes own Pepé Le Pew, the stinky but amorous French skunk? He is described by his creators as having all the qualities of a great lover…a born romantic with an enthusiasm that knows no bounds. His ego is as big as the Eiffel Tower, he showers “les femmes” with flowery come-ons, champagne, and gifts. He purrs. He coos. He cajoles…all in that entrancing French accent. Unfortunately, like all great heroes, he has a flaw — his natural “perfume.”

This is the image we grew up with as kids — the Latin lover from France…and oh how we dreamed of having our own…but without the “odeur!” Now, as adults, France still holds the dream of “amour.”

It’s more than just a dream on the streets of Paris. Four years ago, water colorist Jean-Luc Duez declared “After her, there was room for nothing else” and began to paint the word “Amour” in a cursive script on sidewalks, walls, Métro stops, benches and even cars, all over the city (Pascal Fonquernie of Parismarais.com was one of the lucky few to have his car branded!). Even as the little green men with their scrub brushes tried to eradicate it, it came back again and again, with even more vigilance.

The story goes that the woman left him after two years and to win her back, he tried the usual tactics…letters and flowers…just like our old Pepé! She continued to reject him, but he didn’t wan. He draws mostly in white paint, and left roughly 100 Amours around the city each day. Fitting…for the most romantic city in the world, n’est-ce pas?

So, let’s say you want to get married in France? Unless you are an official resident of France for at least 40 days prior to the marriage, you can not officially marry here. But that doesn’t stop you from having a ceremony! Have a small private ceremony before a judge in your hometown, then pack up for your dream wedding in France, with all the trimmings.

If you’re living here or attending school or one of you is resident in France, and wish to obtain a marriage license, here’s a great site to tell you just how to do it: Love Tripper

Weddi

ngs take place regularly in the “Salle de Mariage” at the city halls in Paris and of course, at châteaux all over France designed specifically to make your day special. One I am personally familiar with is Le Château de Saint-Loup, a jewel of France’s architectural heritage near Poitiers, and a perfect setting for romantic honeymoons and marriages.

I don’t recommend, however, that you try to organize it all on your own. Angela and Ben Harris who recently married here, worked with an event planner in Toulouse — Sunflower Events. Angela wrote, “She knew local companies here in Paris as well…she was really great at what she does!…I’d recommend her to everyone I know that is getting married.”

There are lots of other resources to make the most of your wedding vows in France thanks to the Internet and all those who have the same romantic idea of “l’amour”…

A la prochaine…

Adrian Leeds
Editor, Parler Paris

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