Letter from Paris – Valentine’s Day Window Displays
C’est cela l’amour, tout donner, tout sacrifier sans espoir de retour. That’s love: giving everything, sacrificing all without hope of returns.
– Albert Camus
If the French know anything, they know how to love. They know how to say it, sing it, and feel it. Not that other cultures don’t, but the French have mastered the language of love because they understand the emotion of those four letters and the romance in the spaces between.
Paris is a city swept up in the exaltation of love. Whether it’s the tingle of new love, the happiness of an enduring love, or the suffering of a broken heart, the French welcome the drama. It’s always about love. Every. Day. Of. The. Week.
French Cartesian logic, with its appreciation for rational thought and calculated step-by-step approach to problem solving, doesn’t lend itself to going with the flow, or taking risks, yet the French hardly play it safe when it comes to the Game of Love, preferring a no-holds-barred approach. The stakes are high. Within weeks of the first day of school, children are chanting “ils sont amoureux” meaning two young souls have found each other. Phew. Just in time.
Exaggerated drama? Too much emphasis on finding love? Love naysayers might suggest that independence is the secret to one’s happiness. Perhaps, but the words of men and women of letters stress the vitality of love for survival. Molière suggests, To live without love is not to properly live.
George Sand goes as far to say, There is only one happiness in life, to love and be loved.
For the French, the pursuit of love is an all-consuming passion, and following one’s heart is a noble quest. Everyone recognizes that the chance for love must be seized. A late lunch, a lingering look, a prolonged kiss, are understandable reasons for running late, and arguably more acceptable than “I got stuck in traffic.”
Like dreams, love offers possibility. It means we are alive. There is someone out there for everyone. Each dream finds at last its form; There is a drink for every thirst, and love for every heart. - Gustave Flaubert
Enjoy the love-inspired window displays of this virtual walk through the streets of Paris – and see where your heart takes you…
Kathryn Kemp-Griffin is the President of Pink Bra Bazaar, a lingerie charity dedicated to raising money and awareness for breast cancer. Kathryn also organizes exclusive lingerie tours in Paris as an unusual alternative to the regular tourist attractions. A Toronto native and a Princeton graduate, Kathryn lives with her husband, five children, two cats and a dog in a 500-year-old mill outside of Paris.