Laugh your troubles away
Paul Taylor’s #FRANGLAIS is hilarious stand-up comedy that flits between both French and English culture. It’s the perfect anti-Valentine’s Day event to have on your agenda because you’ll simply be too overcome with laughter to think about anything else.
Paul is a bilingual Brit who is very confused about his identity, speaking French but thinking (and drinking) like an English person. This means that his jokes poke fun at both nationalities. The jokes touch on everything from how the French cram 15 days into two weeks because they don’t know how to count, to the ridiculous hyper-politeness of English people and their passion for queuing.
You’ll also enjoy getting tangled up in the hilarious confusion of French anglicisms – le footing, le pressing, le jogging – and the haphazard greeting system of kisses in France that, apparently, not even the French understand. It’s a whirlwind of confusion so complex and convoluted, you definitely won’t be thinking about Valentine’s Day.
Head to La Nouvelle Eve in Montmartre on any Thursday, Friday or Saturday in February to fall head over heels with laughter. Afterwards, you can continue the fun at home with his new Behind the Scenes daily vlog series, which he’s just launched on his YouTube channel called Being a Comedian.
La Nouvelle Eve, 25 Rue Pierre Fontaine, Paris, France, +33 1 4874 6925
Enjoy a mouthwatering chocolate experience
The main highlight of any Valentine’s Day is often the chocolate, and just because you’re not celebrating on this day doesn’t mean you can’t indulge in this sugary delight. The ultimate melt-in-your-mouth experience to indulge in would be at the best-kept chocolate secret of Paris: Museé du Chocolat.
Not only can you discover the history of chocolate and dive into the wonderful world of this treat for a incredible journey through the ages, it’s immersive and hands-on, with the chocolate experts describing the hidden secrets of chocolate-making, followed by a live demonstration of how to make it.
You can also marvel at incredible ‘choc art’, such as the Arc De Triomphe made entirely from chocolate, three metres (10 feet) high and weighing 200 kilograms (440 pounds), claiming to be a more realistic sculpture than the arch itself. There’s also the chance to create your own chocolates, for the ultimate romantic gift – to your significant other or yourself.
Take a hands-on cooking class
There’s no better distraction for Valentine’s Day than to stay busy learning a new skill, and it’s even better if you’re making new friends along the way. Cuisine Paris is a top French cooking school in the heart of Paris, whose award-winning masterchefs will teach you the secrets to serving the most delicious croissants and cakes, macaroons and mouthwatering tarts.
It’s a very social experience, as everything you bake is achieved as a group, with participants taking it in turns to slice and stir, meaning it’s more than fine to turn up solo. It is sure that after you leave, you’ll have made new friends and you’ll have a tasty, homemade souvenir to savour.
La Cuisine Paris, 80 Quai de l’Hôtel de Ville, Paris, +33 1 40 51 78 18
Spend some quality downtime at Paris’ most bohemian bookshop
If you’re in Paris over Valentine’s Day and want to dodge the crowds, then this incredible bookstore is the place to go for some quiet and quality downtime. It has been welcoming ‘tumbleweeds’ (lonesome bohemian poets and writers) for decades, making it the perfect spot for any book-loving solo traveller to ponder.
There are armchairs and benches with soft-seating throughout the bookstore, actively inviting you to pick up a book and sit down in solitary literary heaven. What’s more, you’re not actually alone: there’s a resident cat mooching around in case you get lonely. You’ll often hear someone playing the live piano in the background, and there’s a host of evening workshops, readings and author talks to keep you busy until late.
Shakespeare and Company 37 Rue de la Bûcherie, Paris, France, +33 1 43 25 40 93