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Party planner helps lovers recover from a romance shortage

A former hotel concierge has carved out a niche for herself arranging romantic interludes for couples.

Bird Rock resident Alice Francillon has started Simply Romantique, a home-based business specializing in romantic occasions for lovers.

A French native, Francillon claims to be a born romantic. She thinks she’s found the secret recipe for romantic success, but she’s not revealing her secrets.

“It’s for everybody,” she said, “involved couples, lovers who want to have an extremely romantic time, something original, something they’ve not done for awhile or they want to do for the first time.”

Whether it be for wedding anniversaries, birthdays or even first dates, Francillon promises one thing to client couples: The event she prepares will be a welcome surprise.

Francillon credits her grandmother, who raised her, with fostering her flair for the romantic, which led to her filling rooms with candles and flowers from an early age.

She moved to La Jolla a decade ago and fell in love with the seaside community, which she considers quintessentially romantic.

But Francillon’s new profession has a very practical side too.

“We have very busy lives and we don’t have time to do things,” she said. “That’s why I’m here to do this. I love it and my clients love it.”

Anyone can organize an event, said Francillon, but not everyone has the insight to come up with that extra touch of something special that makes a romantic occasion truly memorable.

The biggest difference between men and women as far as romance goes, said Francillon, is women generally have some idea of what makes a get-together romantic. And though some guys seem clueless when it comes to romance, it’s Francillon’s job to help clue them in.

Most of them, she said, are quick learners.

“I talk to them and I describe what I do,” she said. “All of a sudden they say, ‘Well, how about this? How about that?’ And it becomes something spectacular.”

Love letters between partners is an integral part of the romantic mix with Francillon.

“I have them write something celebrating their anniversary,” she said, “or reminding them of the beginning of their relationship.”

The Coantic ve is one of Francillon’s favorite spots to set up a romantic rendezvous. But she knows the La Jolla area intimately.

She also employs a bevy of local vendors such as florists, hotels, boutique owners and restaurants to help articulate that memorable romantic occasion.

“This village is so small that you find everything,” she said. “I always look for something very special for my clients, like a bottle of wine the couple tried together five years ago in France that they remember or a taste, like a chocolate, or a present or gift.”

She prefers setting up romevents in La Jolla, but she can do so anywhere. Coronado is also a romantic haven where