The combination of Paris and romance has probably had more column inches dedicated to it than the length of the City of Light’s entire Metro system, but there can always be more words…
In a city whose look hasn’t changed a great deal since Napoleon III commanded Georges Eugene Haussman to renovate the old disease-ridden neighbourhoods back in 1853, the counter balance is that the culture, cuisine and nightlife remain in constant forward motion. Paris can never be a cliché because as well as the must-see sights like the Eiffel Tower, Montmartre and the Louvre there are always fresh things popping up. That’s why it remains the place to go for a romantic getaway. Well, that and the rail links…
If it is the ultimate London to Paris romance package you want then the trip begins the night before with a stay at the St. Pancras Renaissance Hotel. However, for those who don’t have a spare £319 burning a hole in their pockets, a drink at the concourse Champagne Bar prior to departure is just as special. Eurostar tickets can be booked up to four months in advance and deals of £69 return per person offer great value.
After leaving behind the beauty of St. Pancras and arriving amongst the hectic bustle of Gare du Nord, you’ll want to get to your hotel or apartment as quickly as possible. Forget those first moments, ten minutes on the Metro or in a taxi and you’ll be in the heart of Paris.
Where to Stay
Common sense would suggest that staying in central Paris near the main attractions is a good idea but that means crowds. We would recommend taking in the less busy Pigalle. Home to the old red light district, now you’ll find a plethora of bars and restaurants as well as the advantage of being within walking distance of Sacre Coeur and the amazing Place de Tertre square in Montmartre.
Alternatively, choose to stay in the old Jewish Quarter of Le Marais. Here, in the 3rd Arrondissement the cobbled streets of old Paris can still be found. Romantic walks will be peppered with sweet wines bars, boulangeries and falafel shops.
What to See
Montmartre, the Eiffel Tower, the Arc de Triomphe, the Louvre, the Champs Elysees and Notre Dame are the most famous tourist traps and all worth visiting. But if you want fewer crowds, more intimacy and charm then there are alternatives. For outdoor adventure try the slightly morbid but totally beautiful Pere Lachaise cemetery - where people go to seek the famous graves of the likes of Jim Morrison, Marcel Proust and Oscar Wilde – or head north to the neighbourhood of Belleville for the relaxed pace and the stunning park blessed with rare expansive views across the city.
Literature fans should see the ramshackle Shakespeare and Company Bookshop on the way to Notre Dame, fashionistas should hit the area around Le Halles early before the throng and all you lovers should never fail to leave Paris without seeing the sunset from the top of Sacre Coeur, surrounded by twinkling lights and other likeminded couples.
Where to Eat and Drink
You’re in Paris, so embrace the French cuisine. Head to the restaurant Bofinger for the grand brasserie experience. It may be a well-trodden path but the classical ostentatious interior is a sight to behold. For pate and red wine travel to Le Petit fer a Cheval in Le Marais. This cute tiled bar is the ideal place to gaze into one another’s eyes and offer public displays of affection – nobody will mind, it’s Paris!
The sweet of tooth won’t want to miss Laduree on the Champs Elysees. Famous for its macaroons, the ultimate pan au chocolat and its green and gold upholstered interiors, it is the perfect place to take a romantic break from wandering the city’s most famous boulevard.
And when you’re done, hop back on the Eurostar and you’ll be home to the grand St. Pancras within a few shorts hours.