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-   -   American obsession! (https://www.fodors.com/community/europe/american-obsession-106039/)

panahs Feb 14th, 2001 11:36 AM

American obsession!
 
I have realized that this forum is mostly used by americans... <BR> <BR>So I believe you can explain me why americans are so obsessed with Paris! As if all americans are oblidged to visit Paris at least once in their lives, like the moslems who go to Mekka! <BR> <BR>Is it Hollywood that promotes Paris so much in its movies (french kiss, frantic, armaghedon, an american in Paris, etc)? Is it something else? I cannot explain it! <BR> <BR>Europe has so many cities equal in beauty and elegance like Prague, Budapest, Lisbon and so on that deserve to be widly appreciated. <BR> <BR>

hamlet Feb 14th, 2001 11:42 AM

I'm sure that I will one day be obsessed with Prague, Budapest and Lisbon, it's just that, unlike Paris, I have not yet visited those cities!

Ess Feb 14th, 2001 11:48 AM

It's true that there are many other beautful cities in Europe, and if you read the postings here you'll see that Americans travel to those cities as well. But I think Paris is mythic and magical to the American imagination - like Oz (as in Wizard of). Maybe it IS from the movies, who knows. And maybe it is also a karmic thing. (Ouch! I'm anticipating a nasty remark on that one!)

Uknowme Feb 14th, 2001 12:08 PM

Paris is incredibly overrated in many ways, and obsession is the correct word to describe the feelings of many on this board about the place.

Heather Feb 14th, 2001 12:15 PM

By "Americans", you may be implying ALL Americans are obsessed with Paris, which just is not the case. In fact, a large number of Americans are completely turned off by France/French and would never set a toe in the country let alone Paris. But, on this Forum and perhaps in Hollywood, the pro-Paris contingencies may just be a bit more outspoken than pro-Budapest or pro-Lisbon crowds. All are wonderful, historic, beautiful cities for different reasons. As more Americans travel to Europe, more of us (speaking for the non-veteran travelers) are becoming better educated about less popularized (less cinematized?) cities like Prague, Krakow, Ljubljana, etc. Even Hollywood is shifting film locales to these areas. Prague and Budapest are booming film locations for the US film industry. <BR> <BR>I saved Paris and France for my fifth trip to Europe because I had placed Italy, Austria, Ireland, England, and other areas higher on my priority list. After last year's trip to Paris, I fell in love with the city--it surpassed all of my expectations. But, I always keep an open mind and form my own opinions based on my own experiences (not Hollywood fantasies). So, please try to keep an open mind toward US citizens as we learn more about the endless variety of places that we have the fortune to visit (or dream about visiting).

Patrick Feb 14th, 2001 12:15 PM

I have been to all the cities you name and many more and have enjoyed them all. But I simply cannot go to Europe without a stop in London and a stop in Paris, each time trying to milk those stops for more and more time. I never grow tired of either one. And the only two cities in Europe that I anxiously await the opportunity to spend a full month in are London and Paris. Have been to Prague and Budapest a couple of times, but Lisbon only once, which was enough. Sure I could go back to many other cities, but Paris just seems to call me. Is it the food, the ambiance, the architecture, the tree lines streets, the friendliness of the people (yes the ones I have greeted with a smile have all been very friendly)? Now let me ask a question. Why is it that the British have such an obsession AGAINST Paris? Nearly every Brit I talk with says, "what's so great about Paris?"

xxx Feb 14th, 2001 12:25 PM

I am obsessed with Paris and always have been since I was a child. We honeymooned there and fell in love it and try to return every few years at least. I'm not sure WHY I was always drawn to, but I think I was always shown a negative connotation of it (rude people, dirty city, etc.) - but the people have always been friendly. I don't think I'll ever tire of going there b/c every time I do, I discover something different. It's also a lot easier to get to than my favorite other cities which are in Asia.

Angela Feb 14th, 2001 12:32 PM

My question is: Why are Americans obssessed with London? I was born in London, but lived in New York for the past 3 years. New York is a much more exciting and cosmopolitan city. I only left to go back to London because my H-1 visa ran out. Hoping to go back in the near future and get away from these boring British men.

nancy Feb 14th, 2001 12:34 PM

Panahs, <BR>You could easily have said this about an Italian city , I think.Lots of posts on Italy. <BR>I , for one, have no desire to see Paris. <BR>Don't know why, it is just way down on my list of cities, and even France is pretty far down on my list of countries to go to. <BR>This is just another generalization.

Pierrette Feb 14th, 2001 12:43 PM

I try to visit a European country every year and there is not one that I would not love to return to. I had avoided Paris for the last 25 years but did go last summer after becoming convinced by Fodorites that maybe I was missing out. There are many very close seconds but it is now my favourite city and I can't wait to go back.

mark Feb 14th, 2001 01:01 PM

Be it Paris or a South Seas island or the 1950's - I think a lot of Americans are very nostalgic about certain places based soley upon Hollywood / movies / tv / magazines. Being an art director I know that the image lies - we see extremely "polished" versions of places. I'm always amazed when I see pictures of New York looking so clean. Trust me - it's not. Street life is not what it was even 10 years ago - yet New York is a major tourist hot spot. Why? Could it be because of "Friends" and "NYPD Blues"? Could be a case of "the grass is always greener elsewhere"?

cowtipper Feb 14th, 2001 01:04 PM

Part of the reason that Paris is discussed so frequently in this forum is that questions asked about Paris get lots of responses, and thereby keep jumping back to the top of the list. Questions about lesser-known, but equally fascinating cities (such as those you mention) often get no replies, and drop from the 'first fifty' within a couple of hours, never to be seen again...

Capo Feb 14th, 2001 01:10 PM

While I've yet to visit Prague, Budapest, and Lisbon (as well as Madrid, Rome, Vienna, and Berlin), I have been to London, Edinburgh, Dublin, Munich, Salzburg, Amsterdam, Nice, Barcelona, Florence, and Venice. With the exception of Venice -- which is so unique as to be incomparable -- I have not found any of those other cities to be as beautiful or elegant as Paris (although, with its boulevards and plane trees, Barcelona reminded me a little bit of Paris.)

rusty nail Feb 14th, 2001 01:19 PM

It is built on an enchanted piece of the earth, and if you are sensitive to the vibrations and whispers of 2000 years of habitation, it calls to you and you cannot resist it. The light IS different, and you can feel the energy of the city, even when the streets are deserted.

Shanna Feb 14th, 2001 01:20 PM

Having spent a considerable amount of time thinking about this and asking myself why I'm drooling and stammering like a dope when I think of my upcoming Paris visit, I can only conclude that the United States is English in form but French in spirit - independent, proud, conceited, demanding, irritating, perfectionists. (I am perfectly aware that this understanding leaves out decendants of those who immigrated here after the revolution - and others - who may not feel this way, so please don't bother taking me to task on this. This is what I think; you won't change my mind.) Heading home now after a crummy day for a glass of wine and a little Foucault.

Joe Feb 14th, 2001 01:30 PM

America's fascination with Paris long predates Hollywood. Jefferson, struck by America's largest city, said that Philadelphia is more beautiful than London but less beutiful than Paris. And Oscar Wilde said that good Americans, when they die, go to Paris (and bad Americans go to America). There are, as you say, many beautiful European cities, but to me none matches Paris in its combination of grandeur and homely charm.

elvira Feb 14th, 2001 02:11 PM

I'm not sure it's an obsession, more like a preference. I like Pepsi better than other colas, but I wouldn't call it an obsession. It doesn't mean I don't like the other colas, I just prefer Pepsi. Same with Paris - I love London, and Venice, and Rome, and Barcelona, but Paris is my preference. It's like putting on my favorite black dressy dress - it makes me feel grown-up, I act differently when I'm in it, and I've never looked at it, thinking "oh that old thing". <BR>Maybe it's a self-fulfilling prophecy: it's a mecca for artists and writers and philosophers, so they go, and it becomes even more of a mecca for those that come after. It is a fashion capital, so more designers and couturiers go there, and it becomes even more fashionable. <BR>And France is inextricably linked to America through our history: the French and Indian Wars, the American Revolution, the War of 1812, the Louisiana Purchase, both World Wars, Vietnam, and even the Civil War. The treaty that ended the American Revolution and in which Great Britain recognized the independence of the United States was signed in Paris; John Paul Jones died in Paris and was buried there for many years; the American Legion was founded in Paris. Visit Lafayette's grave to see how we feel about him. <BR>As for Hollywood influencing us, I think Gertrude Stein and Hemingway might beg to differ.

Capo Feb 14th, 2001 02:30 PM

Shanna ~ Re: "I can only conclude that the United States is English in form but French in spirit - independent, proud, conceited, demanding, irritating, perfectionists." <BR> <BR>Interesting thought, that the U.S. is "French in spirit." If so, maybe that accounts for some of the American dislike of France, like looking in a mirror and not liking your reflection.

Pat Feb 14th, 2001 08:21 PM

Yeah, I guess I am obsessed with Paris. It was the home of so much of what I value...food, language, art, faith, music. Same for England and Ireland. <BR> <BR>I've been obsessed with Japan for years. It was not on my cultural radar at all, which is why I wanted to see it so much. <BR> <BR>I'm also obsessed with Mexico, Nova Scotia, Vancouver, New York City, Buffalo, and Peoria, illinois. <BR> <BR>I like to travel and meet the people in the places I visit. I like to see how they arrange their museums and parks and grocery stores. I like to wash my clothes with them. I like to talk to them over breakfast, if they speak English. If they don't I like to smile. <BR> <BR>I like seeing new people and places. I guess that's it in a nutshell.

x Feb 15th, 2001 03:11 AM

BTW, it's MeCCa, not MeKKa


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