Whether you’re visiting Paris on a romantic weekend or doing your bit to help your home city earn its keep as the City of Love, you have to try out these 10 unique date ideas. From fine dining at dizzying heights to some deep relaxation with Dior, our list has something to suit every couple.
Montmartre is undoubtedly one of Paris’ most romantic neighborhoods and it’s here, nestled between the architectural gem of Avenue Junot and the foodie haven of Rue Lepic, that you’ll find the Hôtel Particulier Montmartre, the city’s most intimate couple’s retreat. If you can’t stay in this stunning 19th-century manor home, you’ll certainly want to make a reservation for the supremely talented Thibaut Spiwack’s (formerly of Georges V and Jules Verne) weekend brunch. Comprising two starters, a choice of main course and two desserts, accompanied by a hot beverage, a fresh juice, French pastries and fresh bread, it’s a worthwhile treat at €38.
Can you imagine just how much luxury can be achieved when one of Paris’ leading fashion houses joins forces with one of its top 5-star hotels? Well, a day at the Institut Dior at the Hotel Plaza Athénée should make it blissfully clear. Their expert therapists offer a wide range of treatments, all of which utilize the brand’s top-quality products. This level of pampering doesn’t come cheap, however, with one-hour massages starting at €240. Yet, surely, the harmony they’ll bring into your relationship is priceless.
A fun and interactive date idea that could very well have some long-term payoffs is taking a cooking class together. There are loads of schools in Paris offering lessons in everything from baking the perfect croissant to preparing a French feast for thirty people. Some of the best include Le Cordon Bleu, whose name most likely precedes it, the École de Cuisine Alain Ducasse, and Cook’n With Class, where the group sizes are kept to just six or eight people.
If your date has a sweet tooth then there’s one address that you absolutely have to go to: Angelina at 226 Rue de Rivoli. Founded in 1903 by Austrian confectioner, Antoine Rumpelmayer, and named after his stepdaughter, this legendary tea house, once frequented by Marcel Proust and Coco Chanel, is famous for its Belle Époque style and, above all, its hot chocolate. On the dessert front, the house specialty is the Mont Blanc – puréed, sweetened chestnuts topped with whipped cream – and their macarons are also worth a try. Why not order both and share?
It doesn’t get much more glamorous than cruising along the Seine on your own antique boat, sipping champagne and taking in the sights, and this Bond-like vision can easily be achieved with the 30′ Cuddy Cabin. An hour-and-a-half ride on this beauty costs an admittedly eye-watering €690, but there are plenty of other options available for a river or canal cruise in Paris that don’t involve hanging out on a barge with 350 waving tourists.
There aren’t many Parisian museums that couldn’t be described as romantic, but in a field of beauties the Musée Rodin blooms the brightest. The great sculptor’s works, including The Kiss and The Thinker, are spread across the Hôtel Biron, a spectacular mansion in the exclusive Faubourg Saint-Germain where he lived and worked from 1908 until his death in 1917, and its expansive grounds. Standard entry costs €11.30 and the museum closes at 5.45PM (the Wednesday late-night openings have, unfortunately, been temporarily suspended).
Ô Chateau is a perfectly lovely wine bar, located just a five-minute saunter from the Louvre, and heading there for a casual glass or two would be a fantastic date night in itself. However, if you want to get the most out of the place, and your evening, sign up for a group or, better yet, private wine tasting session. The specifics of these can easily be organized on request with Ô Chateau, though the typical format would be a two-hour guided experience, either at the bar or in a private room.
Paris’, and perhaps even the world’s, most famous tourist attraction might not seem like the kind of place for an intimate meal for two, but the Eiffel Tower’s second-floor restaurant is actually one of the city’s most highly recommended. It is run by French master chef Alain Ducasse, whose establishments have acquired a dazzling 21 Michelin stars, and his goal is ‘to ensure that a moment spent at Le Jules Verne is forever etched into the memory of those who have lived it.’ The three-course lunch and five- or six-course dinner cost €105, and €190 or €230, respectively.
Sometimes you just can’t beat the classics, and there’s nothing more classic than dinner and a movie. Plus, seeing as Paris is the home of cinema, there’s really no need to mess with a winning formula. You have your pick of arthouse theaters in the capital but the Grand Rex in Grands Boulevards is the most extravagant. Admittedly, the films it shows are more mainstream than most but none can compete with its Art Deco design and vast auditorium – the biggest in Europe with a capacity of 2800. If you want to end your evening with some dancing, head downstairs to its basement nightclub.
The Palais Garnier represents the pinnacle of decadent 19th-century Parisian architecture and, indeed, of a classy night out for two in Paris. Each season offers new delights from the world of ballet and opera and, if you act fast, you can snag tickets to an unforgettable performance for as little as €10. Those buying closer to the curtains going up will likely be left with the expensive seats, which are capped at €170. As if the extraordinary music and dance weren’t enough, those with a ticket can also gaze up and enjoy Marc Chagall’s spectacular ceiling.