15 of the Most Romantic Things to Do in Paris
If we know anything at all, it's that there isn't a non-amorous alley in the City of Love. Tree-lined streets, charming cafes, sultry bars, Art Nouveau buildings, Baroque palaces, Gothic cathedrals, and discreet secret gardens are just a handful of the factors that lend Paris its status as the romance capital of the world. (That's right—step aside, Rome.) While you really can't go wrong anywhere in the arrondissements, these are 15 of our favorite saccharine pastimes.
A Brooklyn-based writer and editor, Chelsea's work has appeared in Matador Network, The Huffington Post, the TripAdvisor blog, and more. When not planning her next trip, you'll usually find her drinking way too much iced coffee (always iced—she’s from New England) or bingeing a Netflix original series.
Visit The Wall of Love (Le Mur Des Je t’aime)
Tucked away in Montmartre’s petite Jehan Rictus garden square, Le Mur Des Je t’aime attracts its fair share of lovebirds each day. Artists Fédéric Baron and Claire Kito created the mural in 2000, adorning it with hundreds of variations of Je t’aime (I Love You) in 250 different languages and dialects.
Picnic at the Luxembourg Palace and Gardens
In the sixth arrondissement, on the border between Saint-Germain-des-Prés and the Latin Quarter, you’ll come across Luxembourg Gardens. If you’re familiar with French literature, you’ll recognize the verdant collection of tree-lined promenades, orchids and rose flowerbeds, orange trees, pear and apple orchards, 17th-century statues, and wrought-iron gates as the meeting place of Marius and Cosette in Victor Hugo’s Les Miserables. Park your blanket around the iconic, grotto-style Medici Fountain—or any quiet spot—and enjoy the intimate calm.
Take a sunset cruise along the Seine
Paris is at its most magical come golden hour. Grab your beloved and go for a Bateaux Mouches ride along the Seine. Hour-long open-air cruises escort guests past some of the city’s most recognizable sites including the Eiffel Tower, Louvre, Notre-Dame Cathedral, Musée d’Orsay, Pont Neuf, and Pont Alexandre III. Don’t forget to lean in for a kiss as you cross under Pont-Marie (on of Paris’ many lover’s bridges)—it’s tradition.
TOUR TO BOOK: If renewing your vows is in the cards, hiring a celebrant and professional photographer will make it the memory of a lifetime. Whether you exchange words by the Eiffel Tower or another central landmark is entirely up to you.
Dress up for dinner at Hôtel Plaza Athénée
Give yourself a reason to get all dolled up with a dinner reservation at haute cuisine hotspot Alain Ducasse au Plaza Athénée. An emblem of Parisian glamour—and right near the Champs-Elysees and Eiffel Tower; on Avenue Montaigne—the historic luxury hotel and its three-Michelin-starred restaurant have hosted international royalty, celebrities, and politicians.
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Go for a tasting at Le Clos Montmartre, Paris’ sole vineyard
Bet you wouldn’t have guessed that Paris was hiding a vineyard right in the heart of Montmartre, huh? Organize a tour with a local Montmartrois guide to explore the closed-to-the-public space which produced 800 to 1,000 bottles every year; you’ll even get to indulge in a mid-tour tasting.
Stroll Rue des Barres in Le Marais
Idyllic Rue des Barres—just across from Pont Louis-Phillippe on the Right Bank—is one best enjoyed by couples. The charming street weaves its way past half-timbered houses, gargoyle-adorned churches, tiny tea rooms, and photo galleries in such whimsical fashion that it looks more like a movie set than an authentic Parisian thoroughfare.
Explore the ornate halls and highly-curated gardens of Palace de Versailles
About an hour outside of the city, Palace de Versailles—once the home of infamous Marie Antoinette—is a day trip worth making. Wander through the chandelier-strung Hall of Mirrors, the King’s seven-room, ostentatious Grand Apartment, and the highly-curated, maze-like gardens (replete with an Orangerie); it’s hard not to imagine what life could have been like had you and your beau been French heirs.
Browse romantic works at Musée de la Vie Romantique
Originally the personal residence of Dutch-born painter Ary Scheffer, this abode-turned-museum once hosted La Nouvelle Athènes’ famed Friday night salons which saw the likes of luminaires like Frédéric Chopin, Eugène Delacroix, Charles Dickens, and Ivan Turgueniev. Today, the estate shows off Romantic-era sculptures, canvases, and objets d’art perfect for joint perusing.
Catch a classic film at Le Champo
Art Deco Le Champo has been showing arthouse cinema since it opened its renovated bookshop doors back in 1938. Once a beloved haunt of those in the French film scene—today, twenty-first-century cinephiles drop by the Latin Quarter landmark for classic flicks from prolific filmmakers like Federico Fellini, Alfred Hitchcock, and Edouard Molinaro.
Observe the city from Square du Vert-Galant
On the western end of Île de la Cité—one of two natural islands in the middle of the Seine—the public garden of Square du Vert-Galant juts out into the water in a splash of green. Enamored pairs take to the central lawn (surrounded by chestnuts, weeping willows, lilacs, and walnut trees) for picnics and park themselves on benches to watch passing swans.
Steal a kiss at Pont des Arts
Better known at Love Lock Bridge, Pont des Arts has been a popular spot for Parisian rendezvous since 2008—when committed couples first began affixing engraved locks on the bridge’s railings, dropping their keys into the Seine below. Though this practice is now banned, visitors are still encouraged to drop by and take photos as they enjoy the view and each other’s company.
Wander Père Lachaise hand-in-hand
Ok, hear us out on this one—a cemetery may not seem like an innately romantic spot, but Père Lachaise is an exception. The 20th-arrondissement, 110-acre garden plot is all winding paths that take you past discreet, unadorned headstones, ornate, chapel-like family tombs, and inscribed monuments. Keep your eyes peeled for famous novelists, actors, playwrights, and composers like Marcel Proust, Edith Piaf, Frédéric Chopin, and Oscar Wilde.
Tuck into lunch in Saint-Germain-des-Prés
Just a stone’s throw from the Latin Quarter, in the heart of the 6th arrondissement, this neighborhood is one of Paris’ most quintessential. Upscale art galleries and chic boutiques meet tony 18th-century townhouses and storied cafes. While the nabe’s historic streets see quite a bit of foot traffic, it’s worth facing the crowds to stake out an alfresco table.
Stand under the stained glass at Sainte-Chapelle
Gothic Sainte-Chapelle, on Île de la Cité, served as the Kings’ residence until the 14th century. Renowned for its soaring stained glass windows—there are 15, each 50 feet high—the royal chapel is one of the world’s most staggering medieval attractions.
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Take a spin on Sacré-Coeur’s Carousel
It’s not rare to spot a hand-carved, mirror-covered, or Art Nouveau carousel in the City of Light, but the enchanting double-decker one at the foot of the Sacré-Coeur has made a name for itself among both adults and tots. Show up at night when the ornate, flower-adorned ride flicks on all of its carnival lights and wooden horses, planes, and convertibles spin round in the warm glow.
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