Paris, city of lights... Venice, city of water... Merthyr Tydfil, town of... romance? Residents' surprise as community comes third in love test.
LOVE is in the air - in Merthyr Tydfil.
With Valentine's Day around the corner, a survey has named the Valleys town as the third most romantic place in Britain.
But Merthyr residents are finding the idea of their town as a hot spot for passion a little hard to believe.
When told of the accolade, the news was greeted with looks of amazement, and even laughter.
But as romantic destinations go, people could not fault the impressive setting of Merthyr's jewel in the crown Cyfarthfa Park, with its castle and extensive grounds.
The town owes its romantic accolade to a survey by local information website local-life.co.uk which found that Merthyr had more "passion-inducing businesses" to every 10,000 people than almost anywhere else.
The survey found there were 6.36 jewellers, florists, French restaurants, gift shops, lingerie retailers and perfumers per 10,000 people.
The Valleys town is only beaten in the top 10 by wealthy Kensington and Chelsea in London and Skipton, Yorkshire.
On the streets of Merthyr yesterday Martin Firth, 47, in town with his partner of two years, Sian King, 45, said he felt romance was very much alive in the town.
"It's the same as anywhere else - romance is what you make of it," he said. On Valentine's Day Martin plans to prove the romantic pedigree of the Merthyr male with "all the nonsense - out for a meal, flowers..."
"He's very romantic," said Sian. But for some, romance in Merthyr is not what it was.
Rhondda-born David Thomas, 69, living in Quakers Yard, said: "Merthyr might have been romantic about 50 years ago - when I was young!"
He has been married to Pauline, 67, for 47 years, and they have six children, 10 grandchildren and one great-grandchild.
They met in Porthcawl and married 14 months later. "We haven't had Valentine cards since we got married," said Pauline.
"I think Cyfarthfa Castle is a romantic setting. We've been to a wedding there," she said.
Ian Francis 21, of Bradley Gardens, Merthyr, and Hannah Glassey, of Georgetown Villas, have been a couple for four years.
When asked if Merthyr was romantic, Hannah said: "Not really, no."
Ian is working on Valentine's Day but has a meal planned next weekend. He believes Hannah is the more romantic, "more soppy, just more lovey, dovey".
Rhymney couple Martin and Janette White, from Castle Park estate, have lived in Merthyr for 22 years. "We get a Valentine's cardeachand that's just about it," said Janette. But she says their sons Christopher and Nicholas "go over the top - roses, cards, chocolates" for their girlfriends.
What's the most romantic thing Martin's ever done? "A long time ago I bought a big basket of teddy bears for Janette and a huge card - cost me a fortune," he said. "The dog chewed them up."
OTHER ROMANTIC SPOTS
PARIS is famed as the "city of love". You can enjoy culture, history, good food, enchanting walks along tree-lined boulevards or the River Seine, and propose at the top of the Eiffel Tower with breathtaking views.
VENICE with its famous magical gondolas, 150 canals, 400 bridges and splendour of its 16th and 17th-Century palaces and piazzas and cultural delights, is considered one of the most beautiful and romantic cities in the world.
The islands of the CARIBBEAN have always been a hot spot for honeymooners with the lure of sun, sea, sand and seclusion at stylish resorts. Loved-up couples can chill out on beaches, share dreams on a romantic moonlight walk or enjoy the sunrise.
SAY ITWITH FLOWERS Anthony, 84, and Bronwen Evans, 81, who recently celebrated their diamond wedding anniversary, enjoy a romantic chat in Cyfartha Park. Bronwen said: "When you find the right partner every day is romantic in Merthyr." PICTURES: Richard Swingler Y; LOVELY Top, Merthyr town centre and, above, a couple on a romantic walk.
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|Publication:||South Wales Echo (Cardiff, Wales)|
|Date:||Feb 9, 2008|
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