10 Romantic things to do in Paris

10 Romantic things to do in Paris

Paris, the most romantic city in the world, is perfect for a honeymoon or romantic break. Gemma Noble shares her tips to get a taste of 'joie de vivre'

1. Lock down on love

Take an afternoon stroll through Paris to Pont de l'Archevêché, a bridge that crosses the Seine near Notre Dame. Here couples come to lock (literally) a symbol of their love to the bridge for good luck and longevity. Official disapproval has meant that occasionally locks are unceremoniously removed, but the spirit of romance is indomitable and locks keep cropping back up.

If you can't find any, search out the mosaic hidden at in the Place des Abbesses in the heart of Montmartre that tells you how to say 'I love you' in more than 250 languages.

2. Stroll the Champs Elysees at night

No trip to Paris is complete without walking the Champs Elysees. This iconic street is best explored at night time to admire the lights, especially over the festive season. The shops stay open late and there are lots of street cafes to stop and have un café au lait and people-watch. If you're feeling peckish, head to the Dragon Elysees, (located just off the main strip on Rue du Berri) for Asian cuisine in a unique setting - on a glass floor above an aquarium.

3. Get lost in the Louvre

Although sometimes queues can be long, the Louvre is second to none when it comes to iconic art galleries and museums. The Mona Lisa is overrated, and if you've seen it before head to the lesser known exhibits. The Louvre takes days to get through, so you can easily find somewhere to potter about away from all the crowds. Admission is free on the first Sunday of every month.

4. Versailles

Get lost in romantic Versailles for the day. A visit to the palace, former home of the French Court is a must; make sure you see the Hall of Mirrors and marvel at the incredible plush décor. Take a stroll through the gorgeous gardens then (depending on the season) take a horse-drawn carriage or a passenger train around the grounds to take in the beauty of the Palace, The Grand Trianon and Marie Antoinette's Petit Trianon.

There's more than just the palace at Versailles, however! Once you've had your fill of royal heritage, head to the market square. It's the perfect place to act like the locals and have a long lunch over some gourmet French food.

5. Visit the arcades

Paris is full of winding arcades filled with beautiful shops and ornate decorations. Galerie Vivienne, located of Rue des Petits-Champs is a must, full of designer boutiques and restaurants. Everything here, including the people, is gorgeous. For the more bohemian couples, head to Passage Jouffroy for some truly unique items, and a much more lively setting.

6. Le Tour Eiffel

There is no escaping the Eiffel Tower when you're in Paris. It dominates the skyline, and is one of the most iconic structures in the world. Although at close quarters, the romance can pall quickly as there's always hordes of tourists and vendors, if you go at night you'll avoid the bulk of the crowds. Or pick a hotel nearby and watch as it lights up when the sun goes down; it's truly spectacular.

For those who need to go up, do it with a difference and visit Le Jules Verne Restaurant. Located on the second floor of the tower, the panoramic views are unforgettable - as is the award-winning food.

7. Flânerie en France

The best way to see Paris is on foot, so cultivate the art of the flâneur and stroll the streets of the most romantic city in true Parisian style. Bikes aren't recommended as Parisians are notoriously bad drivers, but if you take a walk you can easily see most of Paris in a day.

Take a wonder through the Latin Quarter and visit quirky shops and cafes, and try to find Abbey Books - a tiny Canadian run gem with books piled to the ceiling, great for getting lost in for an hour or two. Pick up a famous Parisian crepe to munch and take the quintessentially romantic quiet stroll along the banks of the Seine.

8.  Go Bohemian

Montmartre, Paris' famous artists' quarter is one of the highlights of the city. On a sunny day nothing beats climbing up the hill to Sacre-Coeur and taking in the views from the top. For added romance walk down through the lanes and visit all art and jewellery shops; you can even have your portraits drawn.

Have a glass of red in the main square and watch the world pass you by, or head down to Pigalle (there is a bus that will take you if you don't want to descend the hill on foot). The famous red light district is home to the Moulin Rouge, which still does daily shows. For something less saucy take a walk through the Père Lachaise Cemetery, visit Oscar Wilde's grave and take in the scenery.

9. Saint-Germain

In the centre of town, only a stone's throw away from Notre Dame, Saint-Germain is a haven for locals and tourists alike. Filled with great shops and restaurants, especially if you explore the backstreets, you can easily fill an afternoon here. The foundations of the church at the heart of Saint-Germain, St-Germain des Prés, date back to the 3rd century A.D, and it's a nice spot to contemplate the history of the area.

For a bit of atmosphere try Café de Flore, a place Picasso was known to frequent. Wander down the rue Bonaparte and look out for the Ecole des Beaux Arts, once the most prestigious art institution in the world. The Paris Metro will get you into the centre of St-Germain, and is a relatively cheap way to get around the city quickly.

10. City by boat

For an alternative view of the city, take a boat trip down the Seine. There are plenty of options to choose from, ranging from the typical guided tour to the gourmet dinner. If you just want to see the sights take a daytime tour, you'll see everything and the boats are open top (if it's sunny). They don't go very fast, so nervous sailors needn't worry. For the most romantic option, take an evening dinner cruise for some gourmet food and watch the twinkly lights of Paris as you float gently past.

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