“I Love Paris” was introduced in Porter’s 1953 musical “Can-Can”. This was a glorious time in the history of Broadway as shows like “Guys & Dolls”, “South Pacific” and “The King and I” were also in town. The book” tells the story of several showgirls in the 1890’s area of Montmartre (a large hill in Paris’s 18th arrondissement), who dance what at the time was considered to be a scandalous dance, the Can-Can. While the city of Paris – with all of the magnificent cultural baggage that goes along with it – has been the subject of countless pop and jazz songs, Porter was said to be disappointed with “Can-Can” despite the public’s enthusiasm for it. Other numbers from the show which are still performed today include:” It’s All Right with Me” (see my post 10/29/2017) and “C’est Magnifique” (see my post 4/27/2019).
“I Love Paris” opens in a minor key which Porter intended to impart a sense of sadness and longing for his favorite city. Still, listen to how the tune jumps dramatically to a major, much brighter mood after the line “when it sizzles” and the singer launches into “I love Paris every moment”. In spite of the song’s simplicity, no two performers interpret the lyrics the same way. Some performers take them slowly and as if in a dream while others want to make them swing.
“I love Paris every moment, Every moment of the year. I love Paris, why, oh why do I love Paris? Because my love is near.”
The “dreamy”, Doris Day version attached was said to be Porter’s favorite rendition while I’ve picked out Peter Cincotti’s interpretation for its upbeat, swinging feel.