Supposedly, Paris is the city of love.

Last month I had dinner at the Eiffel Tower with my mother and her friend, who were visiting Paris for a few days. While there, I saw some interesting things. I’m always interested in hearing other people talk about relationships, so my ears perked up when the family behind me started gabbing. At one point, the mother explained to her son that women of his age were looking to settle down now, so he’d better get used to it. (He seemed to understand what she was saying, but he didn’t look happy about it.)

Their conversation was slightly amusing, but I really like just watching people more than I like listening to them talk. So I turned my attention to the Québécoise couple next to us, who was occupying the window. They were barely talking, and it seemed like they were out on a date, but then I realized they were probably traveling together. What fascinated me was how mundane and boring their conversation was. They were in this romantic place and they’d ordered wine and the $50 entrée and the fancy dessert, but they were acting like they were at some sort of religious function. No touching, no hand holding and no kissing.

What came next was a shock, especially after having watched the Canadian couple have their drab dinner. In the span of 30 minutes I witnessed 2 couples get engaged! It was such a surprise, but then I realized where we were, “the city of love”. What do I think about that? Well, I never really did and still don’t think this is more of a city for lovers than any other major European destination. But this IS the city of bisous. L’embrasse. The KISS.

People are kissing everywhere here. Some people think it’s cute or sweet or just plain expected in a place like Paris. And that is partly true, there is something about this culture that permits more PDA than in America.

There is one kiss that every couple here seems to love, and that’s the one on the escalator. I will call this the “step” kiss. inevitably, every time I’m on an escalator, there is a couple, with the girl one step above the guy, locked in some sort of embrace. It’s like as soon as they see the escalator, the guy lets the girl get in front of him, she turns around to face him and now that they’re the same height, they have to celebrate this opportunity to smooch while riding up to the next floor.

Another favorite excuse to get close here is the “Let’s stand up so that we can hug, and I’ll hold onto you so that I don’t fall on the métro” kiss. This one is usually executed on a crowded métro so that the couple can ignore dirty looks and eye rolling (usually just from me). I see this one a lot with the youngins.

I’m not sure if all this kissing is the effect this city has on people, or what. But I do know that I’ve never seen so much smooching in my life!