My romantic trip to Paris
There are some spots in Paris that take romance and magic to another level: secret garden courtyards, whole museums dedicated to love itself, views of the sunset over Paris’ rooftops, rarely visited centuries-old mansions where you can steal a kiss in a deserted ballroom…. Life in this city feels magical. I’ve spent time in Paris in many states of mind and relationship statuses – completely in love, utterly heartbroken, smiling on magical adventures with friends and quietly appreciating everything on beautiful days where it was just me and my headphones. In all of these conditions, Paris always feels romantic, surprising, inspiring and never quite real. So here’s my personal list of the most romantic things to do in Paris when you’re in town with your lover, if you’ve met someone special in the city of light or if you just want to feel that extra special brand of Paris magic all on your own.
1. Sip Rosé At Hotel Particulier
This hotel, bar, and restaurant with the most beautiful courtyard garden is actually a former 19th century family home, owned for a time by the Hermes family. Tucked away within a secret, gated mini-village in the heights of Montmartre, try some rosé with your lover (the affordable option) or a special meal in the garden with all the dappled light from the trees. Buzz at the locked gate and ask to be let in, walk down the cobbled laneway past a private boules club and into the secret garden announcing the entrance to this Paris dream.
📍 Pavillon D, 23 Avenue Junot, 75018 Paris
2. Enjoy The Sunset At Butte Beygeyre
On the edge of a secret village on a hill in Paris’ East, there’s a sundown drinks spot with a clear view of the Sacré-Cœur. As the sun sinks below Paris’ rooftops, you’ll find yourself looking over a private vineyard. There’s just one bench and it’s definitely reserved for lovers. The streets are quiet up here and there are a million little things to stumble upon when walking through the streets. From pretty houses to balconies bursting with flowers, there’s lots of dreamy magic to fall in love with.
📍 Cnr Rue Georges Lardennois & Rue Rémy de Gourmont, 75019 Paris
3. Have Breakfast At La Palette
This pretty little bistro sitting on the left bank in the historical Saint-Germain area is the former hangout of Ernest Hemingway and his crew. It feels oh so French sitting on the cute yellow bistro seats under the white and green awning on this quiet little street, deep in the Latin Quarter. It’s a great place to flirt with your date and play footsies under the table with a glass of wine. They also do great eggs for breakfast!
📍 43 Rue de Seine, 75006 Paris
4. Stroll Around The Musée de la Vie Romantique
Down an overgrown driveway in Montmartre, not far from the Moulin Rouge, you’ll find this tiny museum. Hidden behind the pastel pink and blue shutters of this 1830s era house is The Museum of Romantic Life with portraits of lovelorn women and sculptures of surly men exhibited throughout. There are also intimate artefacts from the past, the sorts of things gifted between lovers: beautiful combs, jewels and trinkets. The circular garden, drenched in flowers and greenery, is a perfect spot to take in your surroundings and eat lunch (or something sweet) from the glassed greenhouse café.
📍 16 Rue Chaptal, 75009 Paris
5. Have A Lovers Picnic At Canal Saint-Martin
Paris is full of spots for lovers’ picnics. One of my favourite romantic things to do in Paris can be found along the Canal Saint-Martin in the 10th arrondissement. Order a pizza from Pink Flamingo, just one street back from the canal, and they’ll deliver it to you along the water’s edge by locating the pink balloon they give you when you order. Trés romantique!
📍 Pink Flamingo, 67 Rue Bichat, 75010 Paris
6. Relax In Buttes au Chaumont
This huge park (and former quarry) is perched high above Paris. It’s sprawling and wild, which makes it easy to find a patch of grass in the sun or secluded corner to while away hours with your love on a picnic blanket. The nearby fromageries, wine shops, delis and bakeries provide you with all the bread, cheese, wine and treats you’ll need for your picnic. At the highest point of the park, you’ll find a temple-like structure offering incredible views over the city, obviously best at sunset or sunrise.
📍 1 Rue Botzaris, 75019 Paris
7. Read Books And Sip Wine At La Belle Hortense
A small, nostalgic and cosy wine bar in the Marais, this place allows you to sip on French wine while you peruse the many books they serve alongside the drinks. It’s a bar-cum-bookshop with lots of dark corners and candlelit magic going. It’s also perhaps Paris’ only bookshop open into the early hours of the morning. Come here with your love and compare your literary prowess.
📍 31 Rue Vieille du Temple, 75004 Paris
8. Walk Along The Seine And Les Bouquinistes
Take your love for a walk along the Seine with the aim of stopping in and perusing all the very old and pretty French books from les bouquinistes, the open air bookstalls lining the river in the middle of the city. Look up coyly from the page you’re each on at the exact same moment and catch each others’ eyes, twinkling…it’s all very romantic and cute.
9. Watch French Cinema At Studio 28
Paris’ oldest cinema screens vintage French films as well as new ones in both English and French in a beautiful space. It’s a classic cinema untouched by time: buy your ticket from the retro ticket booth and sit in the dark for a few hours holding hands and trying to decipher the beautiful French language and always charming storylines. If you’re looking for films in English from Hollywood’s golden age, Grand Action is another good option in a similarly cute old cinema. Tip: When checking the program, VO means version originale aka original version, so if it’s an English film you’ll get the original audio track, whilst VF means version français‘ aka French version, if it’s an English film you’ll get a dubbed French audio track over the top.
📍 10 Rue Tholozé, 75018 Paris
10. Hide Away At Hotel Amour
Once a ‘love hotel’, this cute boutique hotel has a great restaurant housed in the prettiest greenhouse, complete with chairs coloured the deepest of reds (the colour of love). Squirrel yourselves away in the garden or greenhouse, hidden from street view in the back of the hotel, and feed each other fries. If you’re lucky you might even score the very private table deep in the back of the garden, shielded from view of nosy fellow patrons by thick greenery.
📍 8 Rue de Navarin, 75009 Paris
11. Enjoy The Views From The Rooftops Of Paris
If you can manage to track down a private residential rooftop in Paris – we’re talking literally climbing up a ladder onto someone’s roof – you will have found the most romantic spot in the city. Secluded, quiet and private, the view from one of these spots is always a feast for the eyes with all the Paris rooftops laid out before you, perhaps with a view of the Eiffel Tower in the distance. Ask anyone and everyone you meet in Paris nonchalantly if they know of a secret rooftop you can borrow or pay for to commandeer for the evening. Failing this, Le Perchoir’s rooftop bar in Oberkampf is pretty cute and romantic as a backup plan.
12. Scoot Along The Champs-Élysées
We’ve all had that vision of breezing through Paris on the back of a scooter: the Eiffel Tower coming into view as you coast alongside the River Seine, the Musée d’Orsay passing before your eyes, as you glide over a gold-encrusted bridge on your left and the Cathedral of Notre Dame is just ahead on your right. It certainly beats schlepping to your destination on the metro underground if the weather’s nice. If you or your companion can ride a scooter, I highly recommend hiring one for a day and seeing where the streets take you, stopping off anywhere that tickles your fancy. Freescoot offer scooter rental in Paris.
📍 Freescoot, 63 Quai de la Tournelle, 75005 Paris
13. Marvel At The Gardens And Corners Of Versailles
OK, so maybe you’ve been the Palace of Versailles and shuffled around from grand room to grand room at a painstakingly slow speed with tourists walling you in on all sides. But have you explored the enormous gardens and the other smaller palaces, houses and curiosities the rest of the sprawling grounds have to offer? I hadn’t until recently and in the half day I spent wandering the green gardens, popping in and out of the smaller palaces (a 30-minute walk or 15-minute bike ride – yes you can hire a bike and take it into the gardens! – from the main palace), I was in a far more romantic mood than I ever was crammed into the main château. Highlights include the Temple of Love on its own little island, the Grand Trianon mini-palace built mostly from pink marble, the Hamlet built around its own lake (with a farm complete with animals to pet) and the tiny theatre building where you can imagine Marie-Antoinette and her entourage sitting watching a show from the plush red velvet chairs.
📍Place d’Armes, 78000 Versailles
14. Eat In Bed At Derrière
Hidden away behind big double doors and an archway, this restaurant in the Marais has the cutest courtyard and is lit only by candlelight in the evening. The food is modern French food here and the décor is quirky: they have their own ping pong tables inside and there’s even a double bed that serves as seating for some of the tables upstairs. You’ll be the cool guy or girl if you book a table and bring your date here. The brunch buffet is great too, with all the cheese you can eat.
📍 69 Rue des Gravilliers, 75003 Paris
15. Wander Through Montmartre’s Streets
There’s something magical going on in the streets of Montmartre in the North of Paris, sloping up through its gentle and not-so-gentle hills. This is the Paris of the movies more than any other part of the city in my opinion: the Paris of Amèlie, Moulin Rouge and Midnight in Paris, to name a few. All the streets are old, narrow, winding and cobbled, dotted with tiny restaurants, crêperies and bars that have been around for a very long time I imagine. You can always find your own little clandestine corner of Montmartre wandering these streets, and when you’re done, climb all the way up to the Sacré-Cœur church and see that amazing Paris rooftop view again.
16. Row Your Boat To The Temple of Love
Take your love out to the wild Bois de Vincennes park in the East of Paris – it goes on forever so you can find your own quiet spot here to throw down your picnic blanket. This hotspot for romantics is found on the lake where you can hire a row boat and sail your love out to the Temple of Love in the middle of the water.
📍 Route de la Pyramide, 75012 Paris
17. Dine At The Romantic Le Coupe Chou
If you’re looking for that romantic, old-world Paris, fancy kind of restaurant for a special date, look no further than this 17th-century townhouse on the Left Bank. This restaurant serves all the French classics – snails, beef bourguignon, entrecôte steak and fries – and the set menu is under 30 euros.
📍 11 Rue de Lanneau, 75005 Paris