The romance of Paris
The City of Love
Undeniably Paris is for lovers. But where did the reputation for romance come from? Maybe it’s just the heady mix of candle lit bars and bustling brasseries, secret courtyards and shuttered windows, the chic and the shabby, the champagne and the oysters, the bright lights and the dingy darkness.
To still your beating heart, we have prepared a Belle France round up for lovers. We don’t wish to dampen romantic spontaneity but a little forethought can pay dividends.
Paris in the movies
Plenty of films over the years have featured Paris in the lead role. These are our top three.
▲ An American in Paris With dazzling dance by Gene Kelly, a Gershwin score and Impressionist styled cinematography, this is a visually sumptuous movie set in post-war Paris.
Midnight in Paris A charming, dreamlike movie by Woody Allen which somehow combines whimsy, humour, romance and melancholy, sticks a big bow on top and delivers a quirky, original lover letter to Paris.
The Hunchback of Notre Dame A Disney classic, bringing Esmerelda and the lonely bell ringer Quasimodo to life in an uplifting story for all ages.
Where to eat in Paris
Paris has romantic restaurants whatever your taste. Starched linen tablecloths and starched waiters? No problem. Faded elegance and dark panelling? Bien sûr. Funky interiors, statement lighting and hipster service? Naturellement.
▲ The money no object option La Tour d’Argent
Grand in the grandest sense, this restaurant, to some, is past its glory days. Time was when celebrities would dine on its speciality duck signature dish and choose from the wine cellar valued at over £20 million in 2009. Its Michelin stars may have dwindled in number but it remains an icon of the culinary landscape and a sense of occasion is assured. (Image credit http://www.lefigaro.fr/gastron...)
The old school option A traditional Parisian café
Why not gaze into each others’ eyes over a simple meal in a vintage Parisian establishment, awash with authentic City of Light ambience. Les Deux Magots should fit the bill: it’s been the haunt of earnest intellectuals and artists including Sartre, Hemingway and Picasso, as well as the glamorous fashionista set.
The museum restaurant option Musée d’Orsay
A heritage-grade room, complete with frescoed ceiling, vast windows, parquet flooring and rococo work, mixes it up with funky Italian designed seating and contemporary style. The art collection is peerless, including some of the most romantic works ever created by the Impressionists, and the magnificent railway station proportions of the architecture set the tone nicely for a romantic meal à deux.
Where to go in Paris
A tantalising trio of hotspots for a romantic rendez vous, guaranteed to set the mood and provide a suitably memorable backdrop for that special moment.
▲ Place des Vosges The oldest formally laid out square in Paris, this elegant gem is tucked away in the heart of the Marais arrondissement. Dating from the early 17th century, it has been home to the nobility and power brokers through the ages and today is a decidedly romantic spot to rest on a bench and murmur sweet nothings in your loved one’s ear.
Jardins Luxembourg Situated between St Germain de Prés and the Latin Quarter, these stylish gardens were inspired by the Boboli Gardens in Florence. Designed in 1612, there are formal plantings, meandering paths, over one hundred statues and a large formal lake. The perfect venue for a dreamy stroll, hand in hand.
The Opera The Opera Garnier is a classic architectural landmark, known today for its classical music and ballet (opera lovers are directed to the more contemporary surroundings of the Opera Bastille).
Romantic things to do in Paris
From the grand symbolic statement to the smallest, most personal gesture, you are spoilt for choice in Paris.
▲ Stroll across a bridge Pont Alexandre III
If in doubt, a romantic stroll over an elegant bridge is never a bad idea. And this is perhaps Paris’s most beautiful bridge, a Belle Epoque masterpiece. Built in 1900 it links Les Invalides (where Napoleon Bonaparte’s tomb is laid) with the Champs Elysées. Art Nouveau street lights, gorgeous sculptures and views of the Eiffel Tower, make it irresistible for wedding photos and a slam dunk, dead cert, stone cold hit for seekers of romantic locations. (Image credit https://bonjourparis.com/td_d_...)
Take a dinner cruise Bateau Mouche
How about drifting along the river Seine by night, watching the city go about its business while you sip champagne, share romantic small talk and hope the crowd of tourists on the next table will soon finish their epic selfie frenzy. Truth be told, the idea of a romantic evening on a bateau mouche can be a sensational, magical experience, or just a little risky.
Climb the tower Eiffel Tower
OK, admittedly the Tour Montparnasse has absolutely the superior views, but somehow doesn’t quite cut the romantic mustard in the glamour stakes.
The Four Tips for the Big One
We’ve whittled it down to just four locations for popping that question (you know, the ‘Will you…?’ one). There are many more of course, famous and not so famous. Best play safe though and not consider the Catacombs…
▲ The safe bet Eiffel Tower…
Yes, it’s an old cliché but no one ever got the cold shoulder for trying to be romantic up here. Did they?
The perfect combination Musée de l’Orangerie
This gorgeous, small but exquisite gallery showcases Monet’s Waterlilies in two large oval rooms which envelop you in a watery, shimmery wash of Impressionism. The paintings were a gift to the nation at the end of the First World War. Combining flowers and art (not to mention world peace) – surely you can’t get a more romantic spot?
The dignity of religion Sacré-Coeur
A memorable location, for sure, overlooking the whole of Paris from the basilica. Romantically speaking, it has its risks though, being still popular with tourists and street vendors whose enthusiasm might just steal the sanctity of the moment.
The best bet? The Kiss
Where better to pop that question than beside Rodin’s iconic and sensuous sculpture of a couple kissing. On the evening of 14th February they are even holding a ‘Soirée Love’ between 7pm – 11pm, with music and dance to stoke the amorous fires higher. Could be the perfect moment for the ultimate romantic gesture…
Romantic getaways away from Paris
Relaxed Cycling along the Alsace Wine Route
Gentle cycling through the iconic villages of the Alsace
Alsace is an ideal cycling holiday destination. The “green” routes run along Alsace’s many canal towpaths and disused railways which are appropriately surfaced and well-maintained for comfortable, safe cycling. Our new holiday, following the Wine...
The White Villages of Andalucia
Following the ancient trading route between Cordoba and Granada, through the heart of some of the most beautiful Andalucian scenery.
When the Moors ruled Southern Spain, this route linked some of the most important trading cities of the time. These towns are still steeped in Moorish history and boast monuments such as the mesmerising Mezquita, the Great Mosque of Cordoba –...
Luxury Sparkling Champagne Walk
Bubbly sensations, luxury hotels and gourmet dining
Drinking Champagne in Epernay is like listening to Mozart in Salzburg. Walk through leafy vineyards and lush woodland on this luxurious holiday, where you’ll enjoy charming accommodation and fine cuisine. 5 Champagne tours and tastings en...