I came to France dreaming of ways I could get a French visa. I wasn’t intending to start down the path that may lead me to that dream, but as the French say C’est la vie! (life happens)…
Paris is magical place to fall in love. It may be the city of lights, but the romance is far from lacking in this beautiful city. And my little story is full of this romance and magic. It started out as a single date in this enchanting city and turned into a whirlwind romance that lasted only a few weeks. It just wasn’t meant to be. However, the magic of Paris grew and it helped me believe in love again. It was a wonderful two and a half weeks. But I’m getting ahead of myself, let me start at the beginning.
As her parting words, a friend back home suggested I get a French dating app and go on a couple dates. I am in Paris, right?! Why not meet some nice French guys and practice my French? So, jokingly, a friend and I downloaded dating apps just to see what kind of French men we would find. Most of the guys were either boring or dumb, but then I happened on one guy who seemed a bit different. From the very first message, my two friends began planning the wedding. It was to take place in Notre Dame Cathedral followed by a River Boat Party on the Seine River. These two seemed more interested in this budding romance than even myself and thus, the teasing began.
Anyways, after messaging for a couple days, he asked me on a date to a café the following evening. Plans were made, and we met at the beautiful Luxembourg gardens at dusk. Four of my friends, who are here in Paris with me, followed me, taking photos along the way, to make sure the sweet Frenchman wasn’t a serial killer. I mean, he had two master degrees and worked on the Champs Elysées, the most fashion/luxury street in Paris, so how bad could he be?! This first date consisted of lots of walking around the city and quite a bit of awkwardness. The date with the handsome Frenchman ended well and I was even kissed under a beautifully lit Notre Dame Cathedral. That was a bit of a surprise. Before the date, I had done a lot of research on French dating, just in case I needed any of the information. I didn’t that night, but only days later came of the most French things I have experienced thus far.
The following week was filled with walks through the gorgeous streets of Paris and sitting in gardens and parks talking and getting to know each other. From that first date, his French accent had me smitten. A favorite phrase he said to me in broken English: "You're the best thing that has happened to me since a long time." Unfortunately, he didn’t speak much French to me, because he had just returned from a semester abroad in America and loved speaking English. Nonetheless, Google Translate was our friend and often mediator. On the other hand, he thought my French accent was “cute” and I still don’t know whether to be offended by that or not.
Well, only four days after that first date, the words “I love you” came out of his mouth and I have never had more culture shock than in that very moment. In America, you would never say those three precious words unless you were sure that you wanted to be in a serious relationship with someone. But alas, this is France and the way of life here is a bit different. So of course, “I love you” or as the French say "Je t’aime" doesn’t mean the same thing in France as it does in America. Here it just means a very casual, “I like you and enjoy spending time with you”. I still don’t really know what I replied, as I was so much in shock. I quickly said goodnight and headed back to my American friends to discuss the night’s events. We all began researching and messaging people who may have some information as to what he actually meant by these three words. Eventually, we found out the French meaning and were all put at ease.
The cliché Parisian dates continued. We ate at cafés for lunch, drank chocolat (hot chocolate) in the afternoons, walked hand in hand along the Seine river, ate pains au chocolat (chocolate croissants) in gorgeous French gardens, walked along the glamourous Champs Elysées, and kissed under a sparkling Eiffel tower. The charm of Paris grew and he laughed at me every time I said something about Paris being magical. We were falling in love in the city of lights and it still think it may have just been a dream.
He was charming and respectful. He was romantic and sweet. He never failed to remind me how beautiful I looked in both English and French. They say that French men are romantic and let me tell you, they are not wrong! I was charmed by this French way of romance and admiration. The “I miss you” and “I love you” texts were unending and the flirting was abundant, but welcomed. The French nicknames began from “canon” (literally translates to canon, but is a slang for gorgeous) to “mon cœur” (my heart). He was over the top enamored with me and I don’t know how that happened.
In only three weeks, I fell in love with him in French, and had even started falling in love with him in English. But alas, I’m sad to say that it didn’t work out. We met in yet another beautiful Parisian garden on a beautiful sunny day, only for me to tell him that I couldn’t continue to see him. Our beliefs didn’t line up enough to continue the relationship and I had decided to end it. He didn’t say much and I may have cried, but he kissed my cheek, said goodbye. I watched as he slowly walked away, my dream of a French visa dying with every step.
I’ll never forget my whirlwind French romance that almost got me a French visa. It may have ended quickly, but it was magical and memorable. Oh, and for anyone especially interested, I live tweeted the entire thing (including a photo). Link here.