Rome and Paris. Both ooze romance – in their culture, food, architecture and attitude. But which is best for couples and honeymooners?
What to do?
1. St Peter's Basilica
Whether you're religious or not, a visit to St Peter's Square, the Basilica and its iconic dome is a must. Not only is it a pristine landmark, but it's a cosmopolitan one too. There are few things that give that warm fuzzy feeling quite like seeing people from across the world flocking to one place - whatever their cause. You'll be inspired to clasp your belle or beau's hand as you gaze up at the symmetrical columns outside, the gilded statues inside and the heart-stopping city below from atop the cupola. Entry into the church is free, but it costs €5 (£4) to tackle the slanting staircases of the dome and enjoy that incredible aerial view.
2. Ice cream
Need we say more? From quirky biscotti flavourings to the traditional mint choc-chip, Italy is the birthplace of gelato, and Rome offers ice-cream parlours by the bucket-load. Head to the streets around the Pantheon where you can have your pick of the city's best.
3. Palatine Hill
No visit to the Colosseum and Roman Forum is complete without stopping off at The Palatine Hill. Once home to the wealthy aristocrats of the Roman Empire, it is now aglow with wild flowers - such as the eye-catching purple wisteria - and is dotted with precarious columns. Compared to the other two sites, it is often peaceful and crowd-free, particularly towards the end of the day, and offers romantic sunset views across Rome's corrugated rooftops. Entry to all three attractions is €12p/p (£9.50) on the door.
4. Trevi Fountain
A fairly new creation (c.1762) compared to the rest of Rome, the Fontana di Trevi is still a magnificent icon, its wild seahorses only out-done by the coin-filled basin below. It is effortlessly romantic and, despite the crowds, the sound of the water is peaceful and calming in contrast to the hustle and bustle of the rest. Elbow the hordes out of the way and get an unsuspecting tourist to take a snap of you and your spouse, before you throw in your coins and make a wish…
5. Villa Borghese Park
Boasting tree-lined avenues and majestic arches in abundance, the Villa Borghese area, to the north of Rome, is particularly beautiful. It's also a picnic-perfect (free!) escape from the fast pace of the city centre. Grab some bubbly, snacks and strawberries from the supermarket and relax beneath the shade of lofty pine trees, or bask together in the scorching sunshine. When you're done, take a gentle stroll back to the city; it's just a 10-15 minute walk.
What to do?
1. Eiffel Tower
This iconic iron latticework may not seem romantic at first glance, but catch it at night - when it's aglow with twinkling yellow lights - and you'll soon change your mind. Climb the 324-metre tower and you'll see the glorious city below too, illuminated so that all the buildings seem to blur together. It may be a touch clichéd, but the allure of getting down on one knee atop this behemoth is undeniable. If you're contemplating popping the question, consider this landmark, and the shimmering French capital below, as your backdrop. The lift to the top is €15 (£12).
2. Seine River
Take a romantic stroll along the Seine and you can discover Paris at its most seductive. From love-lock bridges, like the narrow Pont de l'Archevêché, to intimate parks, walking by the river's edge is an experience neither of you will ever forget…
3. Speak the 'language of love'
Where better to recall what you picked up during your GCSE French lessons than Paris? Learn a few key phrases and your loved one will be putty in your hands. They may not understand what you're saying, but it'll certainlysoundromantic. Here are a few of our faves: amour (love); je t'aime (I love you); embrasser (to kiss); and - most importantly if you're planning a proposal - veux-tu m'épouser (will you marry me?) or se marier avec (to get married).
4. Musée de Louvre
Renaissance and romance go hand-in-hand at the Musée du Louvre. If beautiful Italian drawings from the 15th and 16th centuries fill you with passion, then this famous attraction is certainly a must-see. And even if you're not an art buff, the quirky architecture - especially the pyramid at the front of the museum after dark - will be a great backdrop for you and your spouse's photos together. Entry is from €13.60p/p (£10.80).
5. Café de la Paix
If it's luxury you're after, head to the famous Café de la Paix. Over 150 years old, it is a Parisian institution, frequented by Oscar Wilde in the late 1800s. It is part of the original Hotel de la Paix - which has since become the Intercontinental Paris le Grand Hotel. You'll feel like a French king and queen if you dine here: we're talking oysters, strawberries and more knives and forks than you can fathom. Beware, chances are you'll blow your budget here though: even a light brunch with a glass of rosé Champagne costs €85p/p (£68).
Paris may claim the moniker of the 'City of Love', but we're leaning towards Rome in this heated standoff. It has delectable pizza and ice cream, perfect for sharing (or not!) with your loved one. No contest really. If it's good enough for Audrey Hepburn and Gregory Peck, it's good enough for us!
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