‘Il faut plus de courage pour aimer que pour faire la guerre.’ Transl.: It takes more courage to love than to make war.
For us lucky Parisians, romance is just a state of mind. And this is a sate of mind that, with some discipline, you can embody every day of the year. For example, simply take a walk across the famous ‘Lover’s Bridge,’ the Pont des Arts at sunset or sunrise, to get that rush of romance. Or meander down an ancient passage, where they once secretly cast iron munitions for the French revolutionaries…
Paris is a city full of the emblems of love. Of course, the notion of romantic love is a relatively recent social concept, springing up first in historical references only in the late 17th c. It is even thought that the origin of the English word “romance” originates from a French vernacular dialect. Perfume, too, is credited to France. Le Grand Musee du Parfum is a sensual way to explore the art of scent with one another. And what better to add a dose of magic and illusion to your romance than with a visit to the Musee de la Magie?
To celebrate love & romance in the City of Love, any special occasion or any special moment enjoyed by lovers can be revered as a sort of private Valentine’s moment. On this list, you will find just ten (of the dozens and dozens of possibilities here in Paris) recommendations of how to pay homage to this most noble of human emotions – love. To start with, a river cruise is in order. You have plenty to pick from here, but why not take the cruise down the Canal St. Martin? This affords you long, lingering moments shared together while the boat waits for the canal locks to open. It’s a different way to cruise the city and one that the French seem to adore. The Musée de Magie is another immersive, experiential excursion that can be enjoyed ‘en deux’ or ‘en famille.‘ It’s a small museum devoted to the magician’s arts, located at the entrance to the Jardins St. Paul.
The Eiffel Tower of course beckons seductively to all who visit Paris. So to give your visit that extra shot of romance, start at the Trocadero which affords a wonderful view (photo op!) onto the Eiffel Tower in the near distance. And for those looking to pay tribute to Love itself, there is Le Mur des Je T’Aime a whole, wall dedicated to declarations of love.
Photo courtesy of Paige Donner
Rich with historic context, this hidden passage near the Bastille played a role during the Revolution of 1848. For generations this area was famous as being the home to the wood crafters, a guild finally designated by none other than Henri IV in 1598. As the world modernized, the main cross street, rue Fbg. Saint-Antoine became renowned as the furniture district. This is still true to some extent today, though much less so than even 20 years ago.
In this historic passage, you will still find furniture restoration boutiques and artisanal craftsmen. Its proximity to the Bastille is what is said to have lent itself to Number 10s famous role in the revolution of 1848. It was here that the ‘key maker’ actually covertly fashioned ammunition for the revolutionaries.
Recommended for Romantic Things to Do because: Peeking behind facades and main avenues here in Paris is what brings the city alive even more in your memories.
Paige’s expert tip: As you walk up and down this narrow passage, be sure to keep your eye out for Number 10. This ancient key maker once clandestinely fashioned munitions for the revolutionaries of 1848.
Read more about Passage du Chantier →
Photo courtesy of PDao
Mint your memories. Nothing speaks more voluminously than photos of a wonderful vacation. Sure, everyone has selfie sticks and camera phones, but is that really the best way to capture those candid moments of you and your travel companion(s), family members when you’re all busy vacationing?
Schedule an hour or two with this photographer, specialized in portraiture and cityscapes, in order to capture the magical memories. Certainly they are the keepsakes that will be treasured throughout the years to come. Bespoke packages are available for every reasonable budget. Get fancy, or keep it real. Choose from several iconic Paris landmarks as backdrops around the city. What’s more, if you want to mint your favorite photos from the session as NFTs, the photographer can do that for you, too.
Recommended for Romantic Things to Do because: Pictures speak volumes. When you’re on vacation, it’s essential that you have some professional photos taken of you and your travel companion(s).
Paige’s expert tip: Bring just yourselves. The photographer will do the rest. Paris is a place where you want your photos to speak volumes even after memories fade. One to two hours spent with the photographer snapping photos of you and your loved ones at iconic Parisian landmarks will be what you cherish most when you get back home.
Read more about Paris Photo Excursion →
Photo courtesy of Paige Donner
A newer edition to the city’s cultural landscape, this aptly named ‘Light Workshop’ for the City of Light, draws you into an immersive art experience. Housed in a cavernous building in the trendy 11th arrondissement, once you step through the black doors, you enter into not just the chosen artist’s world, but his/her imagination, too. Digitally projected images from the artist’s repertoire and life are projected on all walls, the floor and the ceiling, creating a swirling light show all around you.
It is a sort of Sound & Light show 2.0…but the immersive experience, the sound of music and narrative that accompanies the spectacle and the overall sensory stimulation makes this better than going to the movies. It’s also a great family activity.
Recommended for Romantic Things to Do because: An instant hit in the City of Light, this art-come-alive show by Culturespace draws spectators in and keeps them enthralled for the duration.
Paige’s expert tip: This is an all-ages activity. Many of the spectators walk around the floor space and then find themselves a spot to just sit back, gaze around and take it all in. The spectacle lasts about an hour, give or take, but you can stay as long as you like if you want to catch it on repeat.
Read more about Atelier des Lumieres →
Photo courtesy of Paige Donner
Wonder what the Illusionists and Magicians from the 18th century France were like? Look no further than this quaint little museum tucked right in the heart of the Marais, one of the most authentic and ancient parts of Paris.
Potions, sleight of hand and other magicians’ tricks are on full display here. The visit is guided by a docent who offers commentary throughout the visit. The short tour ends with a performance by a magician.
Yes, this is a bit offbeat and unusual. Perhaps it is not the kind of outing that one readily thinks of when thoughts turn to romance… But, still, what romantic interlude couldn’t benefit from a healthy dose of magic, or, at the very least, some illusion?
Recommended for Romantic Things to Do because: Romance requires a good dose of magic sometimes, wouldn’t you agree?
Paige’s expert tip: Open only Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday afternoons, this little magic museum offers a great excuse to spend the day in the Marais. Sure, it’s popular with families, but adding a bit of magic to your romance doesn’t hurt.
Read more about Musee de la Magie →
Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons
This is Europe’s largest movie theater and its location right on Grands Boulevards means it’s walking distance from the major department stores and one of Paris’s best shopping districts. With 2,650 seats it was purportedly modeled after NYC’s Radio City Music Hall. It opened in 1932 and its kitschy interior is still a mix between Art Deco and neo-classical Oriental. Best to see for yourself, and you can, as there is a 50-minute tour of the cinema that you can take year-round. The theater is not to be confused with its dance club, the Rex Club, which is adjoined and whose entrance is just a few yards down the way (known for its electro-pop music). Le Grand Rex is hands-down the most most impressive movie theater, in terms of largesse, d�cor and history, in Paris.
Recommended for Romantic Things to Do because: This is Europe’s largest movie theater and a Parisian landmark perfect for a date night out on the town.
Paige’s expert tip: Take the 50 minute tour of the cinema, offered year-round. There is also a nightclub just next door, by the same name. So after your movie is finished, you can continue your night by dancing in the club just a door down.
Read more about Le Grand Rex →
Photo courtesy of Geolina 163 Wikicommons Media
This museum, set in the Hotel Biron, is a tribute to one of the world’s finest sculptors. Thanks to Rodin’s own donations, the facility offers a wealth of objects, including terra cotta, bronze and marble creations. Plaster and wax studies are available as well, along with his sketches, drawings, engravings, and his own collected art. Among the items on display are “The Kiss” and the sculpture that brought Rodin much fame, The Thinker.
The museum is now re-opened after 3 years (2012 – 2015) of renovations on the main building, Hotel Biron, which is an early 18th c. building.
The gardens are an idyllic draw unto themselves. They were also the setting for the scene where former First Lady of France, Carla Bruni, played her role for Woody Allen’s film, Midnight in Paris. A café in the gardens offers refreshments.
Recommended for Romantic Things to Do because: This is a museum that offers as much viewing outdoors as indoors. It’s a pleasing blend for all in your party, whatever the weather.
Paige’s expert tip: Just one euro gets you entrance to these magnificent gardens, a gorgeous place to quietly sit and read a book. It is also favored by art students who bring their sketch pads for some still-life practice.
Read more about Musee Rodin →
Photo courtesy of Grand Musee du Parfum
This museum in Paris is devoted fully to the art of perfume. It is a private museum funded partially with state funds and partially by private investors. Perfume is as integral to French culture as couture, fine wine and art. That there had not yet existed in the French capital a museum wholly devoted to perfume, unaffiliated with a perfume brand, was seen as something of an empty space that needed filling.
The museum’s location is just a block or so away from the French White House, the Elysee. It is devoted to sensory perception and has been designed to be highly interactive. Visitors are easily and luxuriously drawn into testing their olfactory senses and playing at finding the scents that most please them.
In the four floors of the perfume museum (including the Roederer-like champagne cellars basement) of the renovated private mansion, the visitor is introduced to the history of perfum and its importance at the King’s court especially Versailles. The upper floors are devoted to sensory and smell perceptions. This is a museum that is certain to appeal to both young and old, male and female.
Recommended for Romantic Things to Do because: Walking through the garden of scents installation is a delightful way to test your olfactory senses.
Paige’s expert tip: Experts tell us that our sense of smell is inseparably intertwined with our memories. Here you can make beautiful memories together while exploring your sense of smell and the making of perfume, with your significant other.
In the four floors of the perfume museum (including the Roederer-like champagne cellars basement) of the renovated private mansion, the visitor is introduced to the history of perfume and its importance at the King’s court especially Versailles. The upper floors are devoted to sensory and smell perception. Walking through the garden of scents installation is a delightful way to test your olfactory prowess.
Read more about Le Grand Musee du Parfum →
Photo courtesy of Oh Paris
Paris is often considered to be the city of love, ideal for romance, and epitomizing that Paris aura is the Le Mur des Je T’aime, aka the I Love You Wall. This understated work of art is in a Paris park (Square Jehan Rictus Place des Abbesses in Montmartre) amidst flowers and trees, which add to the romance of the wall. What makes this wall so appealing for love that it has become the meeting place for romantics? On the black wall are 311 declarations of love in 250 different languages written in white. It’s a simple, but powerful work of art paying homage to one of the most powerful phrases in all languages: I love you.
Recommended for Romantic Things to Do because: To escape from the city and indulge in relaxation and rejuvenation without having to go anywhere is the key to an excellent urban spa getaway.
Paige’s expert tip: Look up how to say “I love you” in several different languages and then search for them on the wall. This is a fun game to play with kids or to create a bit of fun competition between you and your significant other to see who can find each phrase first.
Read more about Le Mur des Je T’aime →
Photo courtesy of Paige Donner, Sunrise view from Pont des Arts
The Pont des Arts, a pedestrian bridge across the Seine, connects the Louvre with the Latin Quarter while offering some of the city’s most stunning views. It is also known as the Lover’s Bridge since lovers have been coming here for centuries to gaze into one another’s eyes.
In recent years, the phenomena of Love Locks has swept not just Paris but romantic spots throughout the world. Alas, this bridge, however, became one of the epicenters for this cultural tradition and its 19th c. railings crumbled under the weight of all that love. The city replaced these with plexiglass panels.
In the evenings it is a popular spot to come share a bottle of wine that special someone, and also just to sit and revel in the sounds of the street musicians, the passersby and other lovers such as yourselves, while basking in the breathtaking views.
Recommended for Romantic Things to Do because: Gazing at the sunset from this bridge with Notre Dame in one direction and the Grand Palais/Eiffel Tower in another is a timeless moment.
Paige’s expert tip: Last summer the bridge’s metal paneling began to give way under the weight of all the Love Locks fastened to them. So the city has started a campaign called #LoveWithoutLocks, a digital wall where you can post your declarations of love.
Read more about Le Pont des Arts →
Photo courtesy of Paige Donner
A cruise that lasts for hours here in Paris isn’t along the Seine, but along the Canal Saint Martin. This escapade is famous for lasting hours, not so much because of the distance covered, but because of the canal locks that must be opened, then closed behind the boat before it proceeds on its way.
You can book the cruise for the crepes and cafe version or you can book it for the ‘guingette’ version which is a drinks-and-fun atmosphere. Count on a 2-hour minimum excursion where the Parisian cityscape is at your fingertips.
Starting up again in April this year are their 8 hour cruises which start on the Seine but bring you out along to the Marne riverbanks. You can always pack a good book and just relax into the day. Now doesn’t that sound enticing?
Recommended for Romantic Things to Do because: Cruising along the Parisian cityscape up the Canal Saint Martin affords a whole new perspective of the city. If you prefer authentic, this is it.
Paige’s expert tip: This is the cruise you take when spending time with your companion is equally as important as seeing the sites. You can embark upon this cruise for the Canal Saint Martin, or opt for their Seine cruise, too.
Read more about Canauxrama – Canal Saint Martin →