BootnAll Feb 4, 2011
Ask anybody who has never been to Europe which foreign city they would most love to visit, and you can be almost sure that the answer will be: Paris. Paris is the most visited city on earth, the world’s favorite travel destination. But have you ever wondered why and how Paris got there?
Sure, there is the city’s long and rich history, the museums and all. But Istanbul, Cairo and Jerusalem have longer and even more varied histories – and museums full of ancient stuff as well.
Okay, Paris has a large number of beautiful buildings. But so do Cracow and Prague – actually, both of them beat Paris hands down in this respect, and where’s the rush?
Yes, I hear you say, but Paris is also a place where many different cultures meet in interesting and fascinating ways. Well, this is true – but even more so for Marseille. Never mind the Parisian suburb of Saint Denis, where teenagers from many different cultures meet every Saturday night in the streets to set stolen cars ablaze. So what are you waiting for: book your St Valentine’s Day weekend trip to Saint Denis NOW.
In fact, none of these places can rival Paris for the same reasons that help Coke to outsell all other brands of soft drinks. They may have the flavor, but not the PR. Paris owns a monopoly on the market for elegance, glamour and sophistication: people want to visit Paris for the same reason that they may want to purchase expensively advertised cologne – in the hope that some of that elegance, glamour and sophistication will rub off on them.
But how did Paris manage to acquire this image as the global capital for the good life: for elegant dresses and discourse, artistic excellence and sophisticated tastes? How did it turn into the luxury brand among travel destinations? Many people probably believe that it took several centuries to build up this brand, but this is only partly true and wholly misleading.
Paris’s current standing as the global capital for elegant sophistication is, in fact, of a fairly recent vintage and dates back to the period immediately after WWII, when – with much of the world lying in ruins – Paris was just about the only candidate. In many ways it was, almost literally, the last town standing.
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