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Swoonable: Cities that Set the Scene for Love

A great Valentine’s Day has as much to do with where you spend it as it does with the person you share it with.

Here’s a list of a few of our favorite romantic movies of all time — and the cities that made them sing:

  • Vienna, Austria: Before Sunrise (1995)
    Two strangers (one French, one American) meet on a train…and jump off in Vienna to spend the night walking around the city. Ever think about a person you met long ago, but never gave a chance? This movie captures that “two ships passing in the night” feeling, and makes us wonder about what could have been — or what could be, if we have the guts to follow our hearts.
  • Mumbai, India: Slumdog Millionaire (2008)
    This crowd-pleaser — about three kids from the Juhu slums in Mumbai who walk down very different life paths after being separated — shows us that sometimes good things (like love) come to those who wait, and despite great odds.
  • New York City, USA: When Harry Met Sally (1989)
    The film that famously asks, “Can men and women be friends?” proves that sometimes your best friend can be someone you used to hate — and can even end up being the love of your life. “I’ll have what she’s having.”
  • Paris, France: Amelie (2001)
    When a shy waitress begins helping the people around her find happiness, she comes to find that she deserves it herself. A good lesson to learn indeed. Plus, the whimsical, brightly colored Parisian world created by director Jean-Pierre Jeunet will make you want to book a plane ticket, stat.
  • Tokyo, Japan: Lost in Translation (2003)
    Two Americans meet by chance in a Tokyo hotel — one a washed up actor in the midst of a midlife crisis, the other a young wife in the midst of a quarter-life crisis — and form a special friendship (love takes many forms) that takes them to the pulsating streets of this uber-modern city and leaves them (and us) forever changed.
  • Budapest, Hungary: The Shop Around the Corner (1940)
    The inspiration for 1998’s You’ve Got Mail, this quirky film centers around two co-workers who fight like cats and dogs in real life, but who are (unbeknownst to them) pen pals embarking on an anonymous epistolary romance. This is a movie that challenges us to give people the benefit of the doubt — and to open ourselves up to the possibility of love.
  • London, England: My Fair Lady (1964)
    Audrey Hepburn shines as Eliza Doolittle — and Edwardian London provides the perfect backdrop for this delectable musical confection about a rags-to-riches (and May-December) romance. A direct predecessor to Pretty Woman.
  • Casablanca, Morocco: Casablanca (1942)
    This bittersweet love story — about a cynical, bar-owning American expat, his long-thought-lost Norwegian lover, and their love-hate relationship — proves that sometimes love means letting go. Just try to listen to “As Time Goes By” without tearing up.

Check out Traveler’s Valentine’s Day quiz to test your amour mettle.

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