The art, the architecture, the culture, la passion of the people – the French capital is a romantic city beyond compare. Here, in the right place, in the right moment, it is possible to feel like you are in a romance novel come alive.
Here are my favourite romantic spots in the city, places that lend the perfect ambiance to a special moment.
Montmartre is a high hill that is often remembered for its iconic windmills of yesteryear. Long a hub for artists, the village itself has a charming feel to it and is the perfect place for an intimate coffee or meal. La Maison Rose, pictured below, is a popular restaurant that has been open for more than 100 years and has connections to several celebrated artists.
A big draw in Montmartre is the view from up here over the city, and the perfect place to see this is the Sacré-Cœur basilica. From all over Paris you can look up and see this glowing white symbol of devotion, and from the basilica itself – either on the forecourt or, if you have a head for heights, at the top of the dome – you can take in all of the city. It is the perfect backdrop for a moment to remember.
While you are in Montmartre, be sure to visit Le Mur Des Je T’aime, the Wall of Love. This artistic collaboration between calligraphist Fédéric Baron and mural artist Claire Kito says ‘I love you’ in 250 different languages.
Art and Paris are, of course, synonymous, and the artistic heritage of the city has contributed greatly to its standing as the City of Love. Here, in the late 18th to the mid-19th century, Romanticism flourished, an artistic and intellectual movement that had at its heart an emphasis on emotion. A date at the Louvre is guaranteed to be romantic. In the first place, the historic palace itself is beautiful.
But of course one visits the Louvre for its treasures. The museum – the most visited in all the world – is home to so many breathtaking artworks. I love the Venus de Milo, a statue from Ancient Greek times that depicts Aphrodite, goddess of love. My absolute favourite, though, is Psyche Revived by Cupid’s Kiss by the Italian sculptor Antonio Canova (1793).
Walking hand in hand along the River Seine, drinking in the sights… que c’est romantique!
I especially love to walk by the river in the evening, when the lights of the city reflect on the water, sparkling and dreamy, or take a sunset dinner cruise.
Equally romantic is watching the world go by from one of the bridges over the river. The Pont Des Arts at the Louvre is famously romantic; in the early 2000s it became ‘the love lock bridge’, with lovers attaching to the side of the bridge padlocks on which were etched or written their names, to symbolise their love. Sadly, this custom had to be halted when concerns emerged about the bridge bearing the weight of all the locks. Still, the Pont Des Arts remains a special place for romantics.
The Gardens of Versailles
Strolling through the gardens of the Palace of Versailles is like walking in a dream, so beautiful are they. These are the very epitome of the jardin à la française (French formal garden) style, at whose heart is a great respect for symmetry and order. The gardens’ design dates back to the 17th century when the palace was built by Louis XIV. Fountains, reflecting pools, verdant lawns, shady nooks, beautiful statues (no fewer than 221!)… this is a little paradise on Earth, a place to promenade with a loved one.
The Palais Garnier
Timeless romance abounds here, in this opera house built in 1875. It is famous for being the setting of The Phantom of the Opera, the novel written by Gaston Leroux in 1910 and since adapted for stage and screen. There is no spooky atmosphere here, though, don’t worry, no opera ghost. This is a lavish and grand setting to tour on a date – or, better yet, have an evening out here at the opera or ballet.
Here I’ve shared just five Parisian places with you, but there are so many more romantic locations. I do hope you will have the chance to visit Paris and explore the city, finding your own special spots in which to create beautiful memories.
Photo credits: 1) Mistervlad/Shutterstock.com; 2) Bastien Nvs/Unsplash; 3) Tonchino/Wikipedia; 4) Andrei Popescu/Unsplash; 5) Michael Fousert/Unsplash; 6) Kimberly Vardeman/Wikipedia; 7) Riley Bathauer/Unsplash; 8) Rudy Balasko/Shutterstock.com; 9) abadesign/Shutterstock.com.