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The Christian Science Monitor (États-Unis)

Talking about love: Valentine's Day tales from around the world.

Romantic expectations are sky-high in what has long secured a spot on top 10 lists of most romantic cities: Paris. It's the “city of love,” the epicenter of the Romanticism movement in the 1800s, and the setting of Cyrano de Bergerac’s exploits in amour.

And French entrepreneur Nicolas Garreau has sought to capitalize on the world-celebrated setting, from the Champs-Elysées to the Eiffel Tower, offering a series of “romantic scenarios” that cost anywhere from a couple hundred dollars to many thousands.

“It certainly is the most beautiful capital in the world,” Mr. Garreau says. “It has a very romantic side.”

Garreau’s company, called ApoteoSurprise, offers 30 scenarios that customers can choose from, such as a ride in a carriage followed by dinner on a boat down the Seine or a one-hour limousine ride at the end of which a marriage proposal message appears on a screen outside the limousine.

And Valentine’s Day is always much busier for Garreau’s company than the rest of the year.

“It is a particular time,” Garreau says. “Everybody is talking about love. You are about to enter the long winter time and it’s good to take a little romantic break.”

The company usually sells three to four scenarios a week but it can go up to a dozen on Valentine’s Day.

“It’s a complicated time to manage for lovers,” Garreau says. “You always wonder which idea to come up with.”

Garreau says he was specifically targeting Paris’s foreign tourists, which number about 18 million per year, when he launched the company in 2006, but later realized that locals were interested, too. Now the French account for half of his customers. Garreau says most of his foreign customers are from the United States and Russia.

“My goal, I say this very openly, is to allow men to offer a fairy tale to their loved one,” Garreau says.

Bastien Inzaurralde

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