Cet article a été publié dans FR2DAY en 2011 (this article was published in FR2DAY in 2011)
One can fall in love with a city. It happened to me some 14 years ago. I came to San Francisco as a law student to do a 9-month internship and ended up staying there nearly 10 years. And if today the girl from St.Tropez in me is glad to be back on the French Riviera, with its beautiful landscape and glorious weather, I have, like millions of other people before me, left a piece of my heart in San Francisco.
People keep asking me why I like the city so much but I don’t have a simple and clear answer. I like the city as a whole. However if I had to give ten good reasons to visit San Francisco, they would be the following:
1 – A beautiful city
This one is a given. Located at the tip of the peninsula between the Bay and the Pacific Ocean and built on 43 hills, San Francisco offers some of the most breathtaking views you will ever see. The city hasn’t been ruined by ugly high-rises and wherever you go, you will find beautiful Victorian houses, cute little cable-cars and impressive architectural prowesses such as the striking Golden Gate Bridge or the highly recognizableTransAmerica pyramid (pictured below).
2 – A walkable city
San Francisco is a relatively small city of only about seven square miles which can easily be explored in a few days and on foot. Yes, the streets are sometimes steep, very steep even, but you will be rewarded every step of the way by beautiful views of the city and little discoveries here and there, such ashidden stairways, original murals and perched gardens.
3 – Diverse neigbourhoods
There are over 30 neighbourhoods in San Francisco, each one with a unique personality, feel and charm. The Mission with itsMexican Taquerias is very different from Castro, the gay district, which in turn has little in common with Haight Ashburywhere the Summer of Love started or the Marina where the young and fit 20- and 30-somethings live. Yet all the neigbourhoods coexist peacefully. It is impossible to determine where exactly North Beach with all its Italian restaurantsends and where Chinatown starts, and if you walk alongFillmore Street you will pass by Japan Town to go from one of the city’s richest neigbourhood, Pacific Heights, with all its superb mansions, to one of the poorest, Western Addition.
4 – A multicultural and ethnically diverse city
San Francisco is one of the most culturally and ethnically diverse cities in the US. From the gold rush era to the present, the city has welcomed waves of immigrants from around the world. Everybody can feel at home in San Francisco: It is probably the most European of US cities but it also has a hugeMexican population and boasts the biggest Chinatown in the world.
5 – A tolerant city
Probably because of its multiculturalism, San Francisco has the reputation of being the most liberal and open-minded city in the USA. Terribly rebellious, the city has nurtured the Beat Generation, started the Flower Power revolution, saw the start of the Black Panther’s movement and designed the Rainbow flag as a symbol of gay and lesbian community pride. No matter in which era you are, there is always a revolution going on!
6 – A paradise for food lovers
San Franciscans love to eat and Californian cuisine is known for cooking fresh local ingredients in simple ways and for mixing the culinary traditions of many different countries. The quality and quantity of restaurants in the city make San Francisco a real food heaven. You will find wonderful Farmer’s Markets and very diverse restaurants from Mexican delis to Japanese restaurants and from Italian trattorias to Ethiopian places. And of course, the wine country is only just a short drive away from the city.
7 – An artsy city
The city has a great art scene with many museums andgalleries, internationally recognized symphony, opera andballet companies, and avant garde theatre and dance companies. The nightlife is vibrant and diverse as indie rock, latin music, jazz, blues or swing can be found all over town.
8 – A tech capital
Arguably the tech capital of the world, San Francisco’s Bay Area is home to an extraordinary array of breakthrough companies such as Google, Apple, eBay, Pixar and LucasFilm. It also boasts some of the nation’ s top universities such asStanford and UC Berkeley.
9 – A Mediterranean climate
This point may not be obvious to everyone. Mark Twain once said “The coldest winter I have ever spent was a summer in San Francisco“, and it is true that July and August are particularly foggy. However, for the most part, San Francisco’s weather is temperate. The temperatures seldom dip below 40°F, or reach90°F all year long. And anyway, because the city has its ownmicro climate, you just need to drive a few miles away to find temperatures that can be 20°F higher.
10 – Surroundings
Finally, if you like nature, San Francisco has it all. North and south you have wonderful beaches such as Santa Cruz andStinson, while Ocean Beach in the city is a perfect place to go surfing. If you like skiing, the beautiful mountains of Lake Tahoe are just a few hours away. Napa Valley is always a great destination to go sample wines while Muir Woods and its giant redwoods and Yosemite National Park are amazing places to visit.