How to propose in Paris.
For the first of the 2012 series of interviews on Guide2Paris, we begin with Nicolas Garreau, owner of ApoteoSurprise, a company that helps lost men (we assume it is usually men) pop the question to their loved one. Paris is certainly one of the most popular locations in the world for marriage proposals and with the approach of Valentine's Day, we expect lots of head scratching and last minute planning before the big day.
With this in mind, we asked Nicolas to tell us a bit more about the marriage proposal business in Paris to give some inspiration to our single readers out there (take note guys!).
How did you come up with the idea for your business?
A few years ago, I realised that 3 million loving couples from all over the world were coming to Paris each year, for romantic reasons, but that there was no specific services which existed to help men to propose, in a creative way! That’s why I launched ApoteoSurprise in January 2006 after two years of work and preparation. My goal was to help lovers coming to Paris to amaze their sweetheart like in an film. I wanted to offer something really crazy and unreal!
Why do you think so many couples come to Paris to propose?
Because Paris has a real story, and in every country of the world, everybody knows that Paris is romantic. Movies, books, legends, luxury, our history, all of those elements make Paris appear as being the ideal city for a proposal. A proposal not only needs romance, but also an exciting and amazing environment, and the City of Lights is a wonderful location for that...
Tell us your favourite proposal story from one of your customers.
In a few weeks, I’ll plan my thousandth marriage proposal, and I can say that every love story is individual, different and respectful. I saw so many wonderful stories that it’s very difficult to choose one in particular. However, I could talk about an Italian who asked me to project, on the Seine banks under the Eiffel tower, a giant message saying to his girlfriend that he would like to have a baby with her. Precisely nine months after the surprise which I planned, I received a beautiful announcement card with the photo of the baby who was just born ! I was really amazed!
Have you had any special requests and if so, which is the most unusual?
I almost never receive special requests, because, most of time, men really don’t know what to do and how to propose. They really have no idea to be creative, romantic and elegant, and when they have ideas, I often notice that these ideas are really not adapted for a marriage proposal. That’s why I have so many scenarios on my website. With these scenarios, the lovers only have to chose the one they prefer. There are so many ideas that my clients usually find a wonderful proposal idea to fit what they want and the kind of people they are.
You have 30 different romantic scenarios on your website, which would you say is the most popular and why?
The most popular is the scenario “Say I love you in a limousine”, for 490 euros. This scenario is a one-hour Paris-by-night tour, with champagne, and during the tour, the limousine suddenly stops near a giant light board. When the limousine stops, the personalized message of love, often a marriage proposal, suddenly appears on the giant screen. That’s like in a movie or like some of the wonderful proposals we can see on Youtube! And, of course, almost every time, women cry...
Which nationality uses your service the most and which would you say are the most romantic?
My clients really come from all over the world: USA, Europe, Russia, Asia and, that was a surprise for me, from France, because Paris can also be a romantic place for French people. Being romantic is not a question of nationality but a question of personnality. There are romantic people everywhere, but I would say that most of my clients have known each other for less than two years, and most of them are between 25 and 35 years old.
What do you love about living in Paris and which is your favourite district?
When we live in Paris, we know that at any moment, in every part of Paris, we can find something that fits to what we like. They are so many different things to do and to see that even by living in Paris, we can be surprised every day, if we want it. My favourite district is the one including Place Vendôme, Opéra, Madeleine and the Champs-Elysées. Here it’s all about luxury and beauty. In this district, we can really understand why Paris is called the City of Lights. Doing a tour there, in a limousine or another luxury car, is a must. I also like the Seine river. Having a dinner-cruise on the Seine river is something I really appreciate...
What do you least like about living in Paris?
Traffic jams. I really hate that. At rush hours, it’s almost impossible to drive in Paris. I think they should do something, like in London, to regulate the traffic...
What advice would you give couples coming to Paris for Valentine’s Day?
To avoid touristic areas and touristic restaurants, and to do something really creative and romantic... There are so many possilibities in Paris!