Naughty Paris Expert: What Makes Paris So Sexy?

Naughty Paris Expert: What Makes Paris So Sexy?

Woman barefoot in front of Eiffel Tower
© Kirsten Loop. All rights reserved

“Paris is the sexiest city in the world.” Everyone has heard the cliché, of course, but probably because it’s hard to refute. After all, there’s much to dazzle and seduce us in the City of Light. The stunning Parisian architecture, the artistic abundance of its museums and galleries, fashions ranging from street style to haute-couture, world class performance artists, the intricacies of the French language, and the wine and food alone could make any hedonist swoon.

Is there any other city in the world where the champagne flows as freely as the water? Tourists are often sold the “romance package”: dinner at the Eiffel Tower, a “Paris by Night” cruise on the Seine, and a show at the Moulin Rouge…accompanied by a busload of complete strangers (who are most certainly not Parisians). Perhaps some couples are so infatuated with each other – or with Paris – that they could find even the dingiest metro station romantic.

Couple kissing in Paris
© Kirsten Loop

But being part of the herd just isn’t sexy.

And once you’ve spent enough time in this city and get to know the locals, you’ll discover that all Parisians live by this mantra in their own special way.

“There’s no true glamour without a little naughtiness,” says the très Parisienne haute-couture designer Ana Quasoar.

What makes Paris – and the Parisians – inherently sexy is that naughty little rebellious streak. Parisian women are often considered to be “difficult”, the Parisian men to be “snobs”. And despite the fact that everyone thinks Parisians are rude (another cliché that won’t die), it’s still the most popular vacation destination in the world. Imagine how many more people would come if Parisians were also known to be friendly, welcoming everyone with big grins and open arms, sharing all of their personal stories, helping everyone feel right at home in their home? It would feel like Disneyland without the rides, a sort of Stepford-en-Seine where everything is a little too perfect. That’s no fun. And it’s certainly not sexy.

Woman in corset, from Naughty Paris
© Kirsten Loop

Paris is sexy because it’s still a little rough around the edges.

Paris knows it’s beautiful, so it doesn’t bother hiding its flaws, and never apologizes for them (or anything else, for that matter). Paris drives us crazy with its stubbornness, refusing to be what we want it to be, or to act how we want it to act. If we were the rational beings we think we are (I’m talking to you, Anglophones), we’d run from Paris screaming the first time we encountered the flood of emotions that Parisians let loose at one moment, followed by the calculated Cartesian logic they coolly deliver the next.

Parisians commit crimes of passion when they’re heart-broken, then strike or riot when they’re angry.

Parisians spend more time carefully constructing their artfully disheveled look than they want you to know, but would die of shame if someone described them as “trendy”. Parisians don’t always stand patiently in line, or move out of your way on the sidewalk.

Parisians are sexy because they refuse to be pigeon-holed as consumers instead of individual human beings. Parisians know that seduction isn’t just for the bedroom, and it isn’t something that only comes out of the lingerie drawer on Valentine’s Day. And even the frumpiest, down-and-out Parisians know that flirting for better customer service is a win-win situation.

Paris is a sexy city because once you know how to play the game, you get the ultimate reward of transforming their non into a oui.

Parisians drive us crazy, but if we didn’t enjoy it we wouldn’t keep coming back for more.

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Heather Stimmler-Hall is a professional travel writer and private tour guide living in France since 1995. After her first job working at, she created the Secrets of Paris in 1999 ( ) and became a full-time freelance travel writer specializing in France. She has written for many international travel magazines, websites and newspapers, was the Paris correspondent for EasyJet inflight magazine for over a decade, and has updated several guidebooks including Fodor’s Guides, and the Michelin Green Guides. Her award-winning book Naughty Paris: A Lady’s Guide to the Sexy City, is now in its second edition. Always looking to share the best Secrets of Paris with visitors in person, Heather has been giving private, customized tours since 2004.



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