Valentine’s Day is quickly approaching and as many of us (especially men) struggle to find that perfect gift for their other half, Paris offers a great gift that is romantic and affordable. There is no escaping the romance of Paris. In the early 19th century Paris revelled in the artistic and literary liberation of Romanticism, yet this graceful city has always inspired love. It permeates through the city where loved-up couples laze in its manicured gardens, get intimate in candlelit wine bars and stroll along the Seine arm-in-arm at sunset. With all that said, here are the 4 greatest ways to spend your time in Paris during the romantic holiday.
Take in the view from the Eiffel Tower
It’s no surprise why the Eiffel Tower witnesses so many marriage proposals: scaling the three floors of the 324m Parisian icon to the sweeping panoramic views of the city is utterly romantic – and even more irresistible with a glass of pink Champagne in hand at the top-floor Champagne Bar. Rev up the romance stakes with an ascent after-dark when the tower sparkles every hour on the hour with 20,000 gold lights that even a Christmas tree would envy!
Take to the water
There is a certain romance to sailing down the Seine on a Bateaux Parisiens or Bateaux Mouches river cruise. But two in a boat is more memorable. Head to the Bois de Boulogne to glide in a rowing boat around Lac Inférieur – romance and serenity guaranteed. Afterwards make your way through the woods to Jardin Shakespeare where plants, flowers and trees mentioned in Shakespeare’s plays grow. Summertime performances in the garden’s delightful open-air theatre are magic.
Dinner for two
Les Ombres and Café Branly have splendid Eiffel Tower views, certain to set hearts aflutter any time of year. In summer warm Paris evenings woo lovers with a stunning rooftop garden at La Tour d’Argent, cobbled courtyard dining at Derrière, and romantic dining beneath the stars on cafe terraces all over the city.
The maze of candlelit rooms inside a vine-clad 17th-century townhouse in the 5th arrondissement at Le Coupe-Chou is overwhelmingly romantic – as are the tables between art nouveau columns at Mini Palais in Grand Palais. Top choices for a romantic lunch are the art-nouveau jewel Bouillon Racine or Le Frank at the Fondation Louis Vuitton in the Bois de Boulogne. Feast on aphrodisiac oysters at Au Rocher de Cancale – a favourite since 1804 – or pair a dozen with wine at Le Baron Rouge then whisper sweet nothings in each other’s ears while gorging at dessert restaurant Dessance.
Discover Covered Passageways
Indulge in the romantic nostalgia of 19th-century Paris in the Right Bank’s covered shopping arcades. Browse antique and secondhand bookshops in Passage Verdeau, and doll house miniatures and old-fashioned toys in Passage Jouffroy. Tea room Le Valentin seduces with homemade gâteaux (cakes).
Stroll south to Passage des Panoramas, the first arcade to be lit with gas lamps in 1817. Vintage boutiques burst with collectibles here (stamps, coins, medals, postcards etc) and old-world bistros mix with on-the-trend eating addresses like gluten-free Noglu and Philippe Starck’s Caffè Stern in an old engraving workshop at No 47.
Of course, Paris has so much more to offer than what I have listed here, I honestly could go on for hours and if I had the time I’d make this post “Paris Romance in 44 Paragraphs” as opposed to just 4. Enjoy every second that you spend in this wonderful city, full of culture, beautiful sights and amazing food.