Paris equals to romance, that’s what most people think. Walking down Les Champs-Elysees, or locking a love lock on the famous “love-locking” bridge, that’s what most lovers will do at Paris. But apparently Paris can give us more than that, and actually you’ll never go into the deep romance of Paris if you just stop with that. Here we listed top 10 romantic things that you could do with your beloved, and don’t hesitate, you can pack now. And don’t forget to inform your lovers.
1. A Lady and the Tramp Dinner in a hidden Alley
If you ever wanted to re-create that spaghetti scene in a cobblestone alleyway from Lady and the Tramp, I have your place. Keep a sharp eye out on the Rue du Faubourg Saint-Antoine or you’ll surely miss the hidden passage at number 159. Sample Fabrizio’s homemade pasta and Italian dishes such as clam linguine and melt-in-your-mouth saffron risotto, at this charming little secret of the 11th arrondissement.
When you’ve finished dinner, no need to retreat home. Head back out of the alley, down Rue du Faubourg Saint-Antoine (towards Bastille), and turn right onto Rue Charonne for an off-beat evening stroll through the local neighbourhood with charming bars (avec terrasse) for a drink.
2. Tango on the Seine
As long as the weather is good, tango enthusiasts (advanced and never-before-danced) gather at the mini amphitheatres along the Seine in the 5th arrondissement to dance seductively until twilight. If you don’t want to join in, sitting with a bottle of wine on the steps, watching these dancers is still absolutely mesmerizing and incredibly atmospheric. A little old man sits on the edge of the river with his radio playing tango-esque music and guarding the dancers’ belongings. Spectators watch quietly, listening to the dragging of tango feet on the stone quai. Beautiful Parisian women often turn up alone here in paisley summer dresses, waiting to be asked to dance by strangers. It’s people watching with a very sexy twist– the perfect date spot in Paris.
3. A Canal + a Pink Balloon + Pizza Delivery
You’re sat holding a pink balloon in a spot you chose along the banks of the Canal Saint-Martin, a four-kilometer-long picturesque canal lined with art galleries and old warehouses converted into trendy lofts. You were given the pink balloon by Pink Flamingo, a pizza parlour down the nearby Rue Bichat, whose bicycle delivery man will use the balloon as a beacon to locate you on the canal and present you with your order– a fresh pizza pie reminiscent of some of the best New York-style slices.
4. Go for a Drive in a Vintage Citröen
Here’s a nifty idea for a special day (or night) out in Paris: a charming Frenchy wearing a striped Breton shirt shows up your hotel/ apartment to take you on an open-roof tour of Paris in his vintage convertible Citröen CV2. You can tell him to lead the way and show you all his secret spots of the city, or give him a more specific idea of the sort of off-beat things you’d like to see. All the drivers have an encyclopedic knowledge of Paris and speak several languages. This could also be the perfect activity for any parents visiting Paris with a teenage daughter– she gets to sit up front, chatting with the cute young Parisian chauffeur while Mum and Dad make eyes at each other in the back! Just a thought.
5. Until Death do us Part…
Sending you to a cemetery in search of romance is probably going to sound a little odd, but then again, this is Paris. Yes, trust the city of romance to have made its largest cemetery not in the least bit spooky but rather, irresistibly romantic. Père Lachaise is like a miniature city of its own; all the winding pathways have their own street signs and names, and the tombs look like beautiful little Wendy houses. Strolling hand in hand with your other half, I guarantee you’ll start, rather bizarrely, hoping that one day you can be buried here with the love of your life.
6. Blues in a Wine Cellar
Blues jazz– you know the kind that consists of a soulful harmonica player, a dirty electric guitar solo and lyrics like, “woman you ain’t no good for me”– is seriously seductive music. On Sunday nights, Le Caveau des Oubliettes, is exactly where you need to go to be seduced by the best live blues in Paris. The oldest jazz club in Paris and remembered as a hotspot or post-war jazz, there’s nothing much to the bar upstairs, but it’s the 12th century underground wine cellar that draws in the music-savvy crowd. It’s cosy to say the least, be sure to get there before 9pm to get a seat.
7. Discover the secret Waterfalls & Vineyards of Paris
Pay a visit to Paris’ most exotic park and take a little adventure down to the foot of a waterfall to explore the impressive grotte (ps. inside the park, there’s the jovial Rosa Bonheur, the infamous watering hole of hip young Parisians for a rewarding
glass bottle of house rosé). Then, just minutes from the gates of the well-known Parc des Buttes Chaumont, a quiet hilltop village hidden in the 19th arrondissement, awaits, accessible only by three staircases or a single winding road….
On top of the hill is your own private view of Montmartre with a halo of sunlight perfectly centred over the Sacré Coeur. And you’ll be so taken with the view that like me, it might take you a several minutes to realise that there’s a vineyard right under your nose– one of the last of three remaining vineyards in Paris.
8. A Platter of Aphrodisiacs: Oysters in the City of Romance
Huitres, (oysters), don’t they just sound sexier in French?! Then again, a bad oyster can do some rather unsexy things to your tummy so here are my two fool-proof recommendations for oysters in Paris. L’Ecailler du Bistrot (pictured above), serves up five star seafood platters in that ridiculously charming old bistro setting. It’s on Rue Paul Bert in the 11eme, which is sort of littered with adorably quaint French bistros.
9. Sip Iced Tea in the Garden of Hopeless Romantics
Since 1981, the private townhouse that once entertained the likes of Delacroix, Chopin and Rossini, has been a museum devoted to the romantic movement in the arts. But come mid afternoon, it’s simply paradise. Nestled at the top of a tree-lined lane shutting out the noise, bell flowers, lilacs and wisteria are thriving happily as if they were in the middle of the countryside. An old glass-house next to the main townhouse that used to be commissioned by artists is now home to a lovely tea room serving lunch and the best iced tea you might ever try– Egyptian style made with hibiscus flowers and cinnamon. Paradise: found.
10. Houseboat Hunting on the Seine
So let’s end this post back on the Seine, but instead of love-locking on a bridge that might be about to collapse, how about just locking hands and actually taking a stroll down the river itself, spying on all the lovely houseboats as you go. Below street level, down the staircases to the riverbank and under the bridges, finding solace away from the crowds here is one of my favourite activities with my guy on a sunny Sunday. It’s free and involves doing that thing I love– snooping around other people’s stuff.
Actually romance is not as complicated as people thought, as long as that man is here, be with us, then everywhere is Paris. Don’t you think?