If you were to quiz most people around that world about what they think the most romantic city in the world is, chances are pretty high that Paris would be on top of the list. After all, think about it: what could be better than strolling through the City of Love with your sweetheart, the Eiffel Tower sparkling in the background? Paris is the city built for romance.
That is certainly my opinion!
In the early years of our relationship, Mr. Misadventures and I were working in Switzerland and living in France. We were 5 hours by car and 3 by train to Paris and we went every month. It was the perfect romantic setting for our urban and culinary explorations and we not only fell head over heels with each other but also with this city that has our heart.
And the world’s as well, although there is plenty to check off when it comes to a global couple’s bucket list!
Whether it is in movies, literature, or art, there is no shortage of depiction of Paris as the romantic city where one can fall in love, be it with a beautiful stranger, one’s partner, or the city itself. Between Robert Doisneau’s embracing couples or Woody Allen’s Midnight in Paris, an abundance of sinful French pastries and cheap wine, or the notoriously sexy accent of the locals, there is no shortage of clichés. No wonder Paris is a favorite destination among honeymooners or old lovers who are looking to reconnect.
There are many ways one can enjoy the city of romance. It is always a good time to woo your other half with a trip to the City of Light. Here are some ideas for romantic things to do in Paris to make your next visit the most romantic yet.
Get lost in the city
I would recommend getting lost in just about any city as a means to get to know a place. Not having an agenda or a final location in mind can result in some pretty epic adventures, particularly as a couple. Paris is very walkable and you can turn any jaunt into a romantic stroll. Whether it is your first time or the hundredth, walking hand in hand with your beloved amidst the grand avenues and the tiny medieval alleys never gets old. If your legs get tired or the weather gets to you (don’t forget to pack appropriately for all seasons), you always have the option of sneaking into one of the charming little restaurants and cafes on your route for a glass of wine or a hot chocolate.
Some of my favorite areas to wander without an agenda include Montmartre, Le Marais (both in the 3rd and 4th) Saint-Germain-des-Près, or even – schedule permitting – a day trip to Giverny. You can always take a stroll along the Seine, with its bouquinistes, its bridges, and pedestrian strips, it is a lovers’ favorite. Other great walks include Rue des Thermopyles, a cobblestone street in the 14th and the Cité Florale in the 13th.
Paris is full of hidden treasures. Maybe it is a cute little street that belongs to another time or a square with a fountain and the murmur of conversations. You can stumble upon a farmer’s market or your new favorite hole-in-the-wall restaurant. Frankly, there are no limits: Paris is a heaven of Insta-worthy places that are begging for a selfie with your darling. The best way to experience the city is sometimes to let go of the guidebooks and see where your feet lead you. After all, nothing can go wrong with your sweetheart by your side, and the closest metro station is usually only a hop skip and a jump away should you get tired of exploring.
Besides the urban pleasures of the city, Paris is home to some of the most beautiful parks and green spaces I have seen. There is no mystery as to why French gardens are renowned and have been for centuries. Parks like the Tuileries or Luxembourg (in the 6th) are incredibly romantic and offer plenty of out-of-sight spots where you can steal a kiss without onlookers. Between features like suggestive statues and romantic places, or secret grottos to Greek temple-inspired follies, they offer a refuge even when flowers are not in bloom. For a side of sport with your romance, you can also row to the Temple of Love in the Bois de Vincennes (in the 12th). On a warm day, you will see plenty of couples lounging on the grass with a bottle of wine. Don’t hesitate to join them; there are worse ways to spend some time in Paris with the one you love. One of my favorite under the radar parks is Parc André Citroën in the 15th, the balloon ride gives you amazing views and a perfect opportunity to snuggle!
Lastly, I think some of the most romantic places in Paris are the passages in Paris. These covered shopping arcades that house museums, restaurants, and boutiques are from another time and it is hard to walk through without envisioning couples of old strolling through in 19th-century splendor. A few of my favorites: Galerie Vivienne, Galerie Colbert, and Passage des Panoramas, but there are many, many more!
Share an experience
A trip to Paris is fun in and of itself, but you can make it even more memorable by trying something new together.
One of my favorite things I’ve done in Paris is taking a cooking class – you can read about my experience baking bread here. It is such a fun way to enjoy some delicious French food, gain some new skills, meet new people and maybe even the ability to reproduce a fun time in Paris once back home.
There are countless tours catering to you and your sweetheart’s interests, from food to art or history. You can also hire a photographer to immortalize those moments together. Although it may lack the intimacy of being alone, it is always interesting to get some insider info from local guides. Besides, you can always come back later, just the two of you.
Watching the Eiffel Tower with its sparkly lights makes for a romantic evening, but there is more to Paris than that. Catch a show with your other half for a unique experience. The Opera Garnier deserves to be seen in all its splendor during a ballet or an opera. However, Paris also has a well-earned reputation for more risqué shows, which has made the city infamous from the Belle Epoque to the Roaring Twenties. Shows at the Moulin Rouge or the Lido can be pricey (and touristy), but they are sure to put you in the mood.
For a more low-key soirée, cinema lovers will appreciate the old school movie theaters like the Studio 28 or Le Champo. Note to the wise: unless you speak French, go for the VO (original version) English film. But then again, if you are going to the movies to find a nice dark place where you can cuddle with your beloved and not so much for the plot, any movie will do!
Finally, if you want to seduce your darling by showing your dance moves, there is no shortage of clubs catering to music and dance lovers, no matter their tastes. Some bars offer dance lessons before a concert. For a romantic evening in one of the temples of French music, head to the Caveau de la Huchette in the heart of the Latin Quarter. And if you are lucky enough to visit Paris in the summer, dancers take over the bank of the Seine every evening in July and August – and you can join them for free!
Art with a romantic twist
There are so many museums in Paris, from the well-known names like the Louvre or Orsay (my favorite!) to more obscure ones, like the Museum of Magic (Musée de la Magie) or the Relief map museum ( Musée de Plan-Reliefs). It is certainly enough to keep you busy even on the rainiest of trips. Besides, some Parisian museums will undoubtedly put you in a romantic mood.
Like the Musee de la Vie Romantique, tucked in a pink-hued hotel particulier below Montmartre, which displays artifacts from the Romantic period. Some of them belonged to writer George Sand (not one to shy away from dramatic love stories) and her lover Chopin. If that’s not enough, there is also a lovely hidden garden, which is a piece of heaven in the spring. The Musée de Montmartre, on top of the hill, is a stroll away. Stop by the Place des Abbesses on the way to take a look at the “Je t’aime” wall, with its thousands of love declarations in 300 languages. With its small enclosed garden and is its exhibitions recollecting the life and art of the bohemian generation, it is an enchanting pit stop while exploring one of the most romantic neighborhoods in Paris.
The Musee Rodin and its passionate couples is another place worth visiting with your darling. Nobody will blame you for recreating some of the most enthusiastic poses, or for lingering in the sculpture garden. However, you will find your share of inspirational lovers intertwined in the corners of museums throughout the city.
“All you need is love. But a little chocolate now and then doesn’t hurt.” ― Charles M. Schulz
They say that the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach. Well, it works just as effectively if you want to seduce a lady! Thankfully, some of the most incredible food in the world can be found in Paris and is sure to put anyone in a sentimental mood.
From Michelin-starred restaurants to small bistros only locals know about, experimental eateries or traditional brasseries, Paris caters to everyone’s tastes and budget. If you are feeling a little intimidated about eating out in Paris, check out my guide about dining etiquette before venturing out.
A romantic trip to Paris for food lovers should include a stop in one of the “dignified” restaurants which have made the city’s reputation. If you don’t feel like selling a kidney for the privilege of seating at one of the white-clothed tables, many of them offer a (relatively) cheaper formula for lunch. However, for foodies, it’s all worth it: not only do you get a delicious meal, but you also get to experience a slice of history.
Many of these places were the stomping grounds of the (in)famous men and women who made the reputation of France. You can grab your morning coffee at the Deux Magots or its rival the Café de Flore, where writers and philosophers, from Picasso and Hemingway to Simone de Beauvoir and her lover Jean-Paul Sartre, used to hold court. A short walk away, you can lunch like Voltaire, Benjamin Franklin, or Thomas Jefferson at the Procope. If you prefer the crystals and gilded atmosphere of the Belle Epoque, you can sit like Victor Hugo (or myself) at the Grand Vefour. Fancy establishments, with their private salons and cozy ambiance, used to be a favorite rendez-vous for courtisanes and their rich and powerful lovers. You can still see the scratches on the mirrors of Lapérouse, where the ladies of the nights tested the diamonds offered by their admirers…
If the dancing couples of Renoir’s paintings are more your cup of tea than scandalous intellectuals, you can join them in one of the guinguettes. Those open-air drinking establishments have been an institution since the nineteenth century when Parisians (and impressionist painters) discovered the beauty of the countryside near the city. They are only open seasonally, so make sure to check before heading out. They offer simple food and drinks, music, and a casual atmosphere, inviting lovers to relax and enjoy the sunset with a glass of rosé. The main attraction is their location on the banks of the Seine or the Marne (accessible via the RER).
If you want to kill two birds with one stone, you can also take advantage of one of the food tours and sneak in, not only some sinful food but also a good dose of French culture and history. This way, there is no shame if you decide to spend the rest of the day taking a nap in a Parisian park in a delightful food come. I am a big fan of Context Travel food tours – you can read more about my experience with their Baguette to Bistro and Bobo Palate tours.
Romantic stays in Paris
After all this walking, eating, and experiencing, you will need a place to rest while in Paris. Be prepared to spend a good share of your budget on this, since the City of Light does not come cheap. However, some neighborhoods are more affordable than others, and, thanks to the vast network of metro and bus stops, you can usually get where you want to be in a reasonable amount of time. Each area has its unique identity, so don’t hesitate to check my arrondissement guide to find out which one may be the best fit for you and your sweetheart.
I have stayed in countless hotels throughout the years, but some of them stand out. One of my favorites built with romance in mind is Relais Christine and its dreamy garden is perfect for a special occasion, truly a very romantic Paris hotel.
If you are looking for a unique stay, Paris certainly knows how to cater to lovers. Given the history of the neighborhood, which served as Paris’ Red-Light district, Pigalle and nearby Montmartre offer different accommodations playing on the sultry atmosphere of the area. Since it is also arguably one of the most romantic neighborhoods in the city, amorous couples won’t need to go much further than their doorstep to go for an intimate stroll through the cobblestone streets. L’Hotel Amour and its big brother L’Hȏtel Grand Amour rely heavily on (you guessed it) love-themed décor. Montmartre Mon Amour offers romantic packages for the happy few who stay in its rooms named after legendary lovers. Les Plumes adopts a more intellectual, but no less passionate approach in its guesthouse inspired by the great artists and lovers of the nineteenth century.
I have now been to Paris more than 50 times and each time I not only feel connected to the heartbeat of the city but also more connected to my honey. So if you are new in your relationship or have been going strong for decades, I highly recommend a trip to THE city of Romance, Paris!
What about you? Do you have any suggestions for romance in Paris?
Illustrations commissioned from Linden Eller.
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