Paris - The capital of love, is full of wonderful, storybook places
Paris, the capital of Love © Olga Gavrilova / Bigstock.comParis, the capital of love, is full of wonderful, storybook places to discover with your beloved. From romantic parks and intimate covered passages to evocative settings and sumptuous hotels, the city is the perfect place for a romantic escape, whether you’re in the heady stages of new love or a long-term couple.
SECRET ROUTES TO DISCOVER EACH OTHER
Draw up a lovey-dovey itinerary
For a first stroll as a couple in Paris, pick up a map of the city and follow ‘inspiring’ street names. You could start at the Passage du Désir, in the 10th arrondissement, and then on to Rue de la Fidélité, only a short distance away, leading to ... Rue de Paradis! Or you could walk down Rue de la Gaieté (14th) and Rue de la Félicité (17th). Newlyweds could explore Rue Monsieur (7th) and go on to Rue Mademoiselle (15th) before joining Rue Madame (6th), and perhaps continue on to the nearby Rue Princesse. To put an end to a lovers’ quarrel, what could be better than a peaceful stroll along Rue de la Paix? In love, the language of flowers is particularly eloquent, and some secret corners of Paris are evocatively named. Take a walk along the Quai aux Fleurs (4th), Rue des Rosiers (4th), then Rue des Camélias (14th), before losing yourself in the utterly charming Cité des Fleurs (17th). More flower-themed streets: Rue des Glycines, Rue des Iris and Rue des Orchidées (13th), Rue des Primevères (11th) and Boulevard des Capucines (9th).
Romantic visits, with or without a guide
Allow yourself time to discover the romantic city streets with your sweetheart. A stroll can be instructive with Paris as You Like It: the tour guide takes visitors around the French capital’s most iconic monuments. Delphine Lanvin offers walks in the footsteps of famous Parisian couples. Suggestive paintings, sensual sculptures, cheeky bronze statues: museums have many a work of art to make visitors blush. Tour guide Philippe takes visitors on a tour of a hidden aspect to the city – its former brothels. Instant Tours is happy to loan photography enthusiasts a vintage Polaroid camera during their tour. With Meet My Spots, couples get expert advice from a professional photographer while taking a guided tour. In the Nouvelle Athènes district, the Musée de la Vie Romantique houses a collection of souvenirs and objects relating to the writer George Sand and the painter Ary Scheffer. Other romantic icons: the Lady and the Unicorn tapestry at the Musée de Cluny and the painting of Romeo and Juliet at the Musée Delacroix.
Explore the covered shopping arcades
With their high glass roofs and quaint boutiques, the covered arcades of Paris are full of timeless charm. They are perfect for a romantic stroll away from the noise of the city, especially on rainy days. The most opulent ones are Galerie Vivienne and Galerie Colbert, with their neo-classical decor. Jean Paul Gaultier was one of the first people to open a shop in Galerie Vivienne. The Passage des Panoramas has been nicknamed ‘the passage of the palate’ because it has plenty of places to eat: there’s a bistro, a Michelin-starred restaurant, a tea room and a wine bar. Passage Jouffroy and Passage Verdeau will delight those in search of collector’s items and great little secret places. At the far end of Passage Jouffroy, the charming Hôtel Chopin with its old-fashioned decor offers a superb view over the rooftops of Paris – the ideal hideaway for a romantic weekend. The Passage du Grand Cerf and the Galerie Véro-Dodat are magnets for design fans. The Passage Choiseul is a popular spot to linger, and the Passage Brady takes visitors on a voyage of the senses with its numerous Indian restaurants. The Cour du commerce Saint-André, an open-air passage, is home to many secrets and historical details dating to the French Revolution, as well as Paris’s oldest café the Procope, a favourite haunt of the French Enlightenment’s great thinkers. Enjoy a break and a bite to eat in the different arcades – especially Beaupassage, where you’ll find restaurants from celebrity French chefs and many artisan food producers.
Secret Paris streets
People around the world are familiar with the usual pictures and clichéd images of romance in Paris, but lovebirds in search of tranquillity will find plenty of romantic spots off the beaten track. Rue des Thermopyles, a cobblestone street, is an oasis of calm and greenery in the 14th arrondissement, offering a glimpse of a bucolic side to Paris, like the Cité Florale in the 13th, where even the street names – Orchidées, Volubilis, Mimosas, Glycines, Iris, Liserons – evoke the fragrance of flowers. Rue Crémieux, a stone’s throw from the Gare de Lyon, provides a colourful excursion for people with a taste for the unusual. And then there’s the Square de Montsouris, formerly inhabited by several artists, with its houses draped in wisteria and ivy. Enjoy the birds singing in some of the city’s more unspoilt sites, such as the Mouzaïa district, in the 19th arrondissement, or the Campagne à Paris (the countryside in Paris), rue Jules Siegfried, in the 20th. The houses are tucked away at the end of small gardens and ivy covers the wooden doors and shutters. the intrepid: the tethered hot air balloon at the Parc André Citroën takes you up into the sky to hover over the park from a height of 150 metres. The Terrass Hotel rooftop affords another viewpoint over the city from this part of Montmartre. The narrow streets winding from Place du Tertre offer spectacular views of Paris, and the little-known Butte Bergeyre in the 19th arrondissement stands right opposite the Sacré Coeur. Strolling through the Parc des Buttes Chaumont feels like walking on the city’s rooftops, as if on a tightrope. La Défense is an area with less warmth, but with a fabulous view of the Arc de Triomphe in the distance. You can also see this contemporary district from the Fondation Vuitton terraces, along with the green hills around the outskirts of Paris.
The most beautiful views of Paris
The best viewpoints are for sharing with your loved one. The most famous is the one from the square in front of the Sacré-Coeur basilica, at the top of Montmartre hill. In eastern Paris, the hill at Belleville also offers a spectacular view. From the 56th floor of the Tour Montparnasse, the Ciel de Paris restaurant high above the capital offers amazing moments. Only the Eiffel Tower is higher – so high, in fact, that you’ll sometimes literally have your head in the clouds. Great views are also guaranteed as you travel up the glass-walled escalators at the Pompidou Centre. At the top, you can carry on enjoying the vista and watch the sun setting over the city as you sip a drink at Chez Georges, the restaurant on the top floor of the modern art museum. Note to the intrepid: the tethered hot air balloon at the Parc André Citroën takes you up into the sky to hover over the park from a height of 150 metres. The Terrass Hotel rooftop affords another viewpoint over the city from this part of Montmartre. The narrow streets winding from Place du Tertre offer spectacular views of Paris, and the little-known Butte Bergeyre in the 19th arrondissement stands right opposite the Sacré Coeur. Strolling through the Parc des Buttes Chaumont feels like walking on the city’s rooftops, as if on a tightrope. La Défense is an area with less warmth, but with a fabulous view of the Arc de Triomphe in the distance. You can also see this contemporary district from the Fondation Vuitton terraces, along with the green hills around the outskirts of Paris.
Legendary bridges and footbridges for sharing a lingering kiss
Bridges can also be very romantic! Maybe because the arch symbolises an alliance, or because water will carry away even the craziest promises … Tradition dictates that those in love should kiss while making a wish on the Pont Marie, nicknamed the Lovers’ Bridge. Even if you’re not in love, you still have 37 bridges and 49 pedestrian footbridges across the Seine to choose from! The Bichat pedestrian footbridge (10th) is a great place to stand hand in hand and watch the barges perform their ballet while the locks fill on the Canal Saint-Martin. The Pont au Double (4th), which links the square in front of Notre Dame to Quai de Montebello, is ideal for losing yourself in thought while gazing at the Seine riverbanks. The Rue de Crimée lift bridge (19th) affords a lovely view over the Bassin de la Villette Ourcq Canal. Crossing the Arsenal Marina on the Mornay footbridge (7th and 12th) with your loved one, you may even be tempted to cast off and sail away together… The BZ/12 footbridge (12th) on the Coulée Verte spans the garden known as Jardin de Reuilly: the perfect spot to stretch out for a siesta on warm days.
Romantic green spaces
Nature lovers will be in seventh heaven in Paris’s many parks. With 106 huge statues, bandstands where musicians perform in fine weather, and superb gardens, the Jardin du Luxembourg inspires couples to get lost in delightful reverie. The famous Fontaine de Médicis is the perfect spot to declare your love. Created by the painter Carmontelle in the 18th century, the Parc Monceau is a shrine to Paris romance. It is filled with secret spots where lovers can hide away, and a little bridge on which to exchange languorous kisses. The Parc des Buttes Chaumont feels like the countryside in Paris and has many romantic features: little streams, magnificent waterfalls, a big lake and a viewpoint at the top of the hill. After a boat ride on the Lac Daumesnil, couples can pay homage to their love at the Temple de l’Amour. The Roseraie is an inviting place for a leisurely stroll amid a sea of roses. For a brisk walk with your lover, the Coulée Verte, a 4.5-km walkway through gardens, parks, trees and plants, is just the place. A perennial source of inspiration for painters, writers, filmmakers and singers, the banks of the Marne River are very romantic: you can walk or cycle along the banks, try to spot plants and animals on the islands, which are protected nature reserves, admire the holiday villas along the river, sip a glass of white wine in one of the famous open-air guinguettes, or take to the water together in a two-person canoe or kayak.