Many hotels in the City of Love can satisfy the demands of the romance-seeking couple but two spring to mind. The Hôtel Grand Amour is aptly located on the Rue de la Fidélité in the 10th arrondissement, close to the buzzing Canal Saint-Martin but far enough removed that you won’t be disturbed by anyone else’s merrymaking. One of the newest hotels in Paris, it exemplifies the best of modern, quirky French design. A little further north, both in terms of geography and budget, is the Maison Souquet. This converted Belle Époque pleasure house in Montmartre is a hotel you’ll never want to leave.
On the other side of Montmartre, you’ll find one of the most affordable Michelin-starred restaurants in Paris, La Table d’Eugène. The intricate placement of fresh, seasonal, and locally sourced ingredients will get your hearts racing while the bill at €89 (US$95) for a five-course tasting menu should not. One of the most popular restaurants with locals in nearby South Pigalle is Buvette. Candlelight and small, rough wooden tables create an intimate feel and the French tapas are perfect for sharing. For a totally different vibe, head to L’Oiseau Blanc, a rooftop restaurant at The Peninsula where you can dine in full view of the Eiffel Tower.
A less expensive way to see Paris’ epic skyline is at a rooftop bar. (That’s obviously dependent on how many cocktails or glasses of champagne you decide to have.) The Terrass” Hotel near Rue Lepic offers stunning views over the city from its restaurant and open-air bar. It is sometimes closed for private parties so call ahead to avoid disappointment. Another romantic spot where you can listen to some sweet jazz is the bar at the Très Honoré. Its soft lighting and plush sofas recreate the feel of Paris in the 1920s.
Great beauty resides in all of Paris’ museums but the pleasure of viewing them is often lost in the melee of people craning to see or stretching to snap a photograph. Better instead to try out some of the city’s lesser-known museums. It doesn’t get more tranquil than the specially built water lily rooms at the Musée de l’Orangerie, one of the best places to see Monet’s art. The recently reopened Musée Rodin and its gardens are also charming – be sure to see The Kiss and The Thinker. Finally, the Musée Jacquemart-André is the place to see what love and the love of art collecting can achieve.
Sure it’s a cliché but, let’s be honest, if you come to Paris with your significant other then you’re going to want a picture with them in front of the Eiffel Tower. Most people head straight to the Trocadéro but unless you go in the dead of night or in the middle of a storm (and maybe not even then) you can expect it to be jam-packed with tourists. A slightly less-crowded means of approach is via the Champ de Mars. An alternative romantic activity is a tour of the Musée du Parfum Fragonard. It’s free and explains just how the ensnaring aromas of perfume are created.
Sometimes the thing people enjoy most about a trip to Paris is getting out of the city for the day. Particularly if you come during the summer, days on end pounding the pavements can be exhausting. One of the most pleasant day trips that you can do is to Monet’s house and garden at Giverny. Trains run regularly from Paris to Vernon from which you can take a coach, an open-sided train on wheels, or walk through the countryside the rest of the way. Seeing the water lily ponds after having already witnessed Monet’s giant canvases at the Musée de l’Orangerie is truly magical.
Of course, wandering around hand in hand and getting lost is the best way to discover any neighborhood or city. In Paris, this can most romantically be done around the quieter streets of Montmartre (away from the crowds at the Sacré-Coeur and Place du Tertre). One sight to see here is the Wall of Love, where you can see the words ‘I love you’ written 311 times in 250 languages. Another good place for lovers to be lovers is the Marais. One of the oldest parts of the city, it’s full of narrow, winding streets and cozy places to curl up together.
Paris has no shortage of transport options but some are more romantic than others. The smell of certain lines of the metro, for example, is sure to wipe out any pleasing residual odors from the Musée du Parfum. One of the most exciting ways to see the city is from the water. You can take a sightseeing tour (popular operators are the Bateaux Mouches at the Pont de l’Alma or the Vedettes du Pont Neuf on the Île de la Cité) or pay €19 (US$20) for a weekend pass on the Batobus which stops at nine locations between Beaugrenelle in the west and Les Docks in the east.