Celebrate Valentine’s Day with your other half by escaping to some of the most romantic places in Paris
The wall of je t’aime, Montmartre, 18th arrondissement
A favourite picture spot for tourists and enamoured couples in particular, the Mur des je t’aime (I love you: the wall) in Montmartre is an artwork created by Frédéric Baron and Claire Kito. Located in a small garden in Square Jean Rictus, Place des Abbesses, the wall is a sight to behold. It’s hard not to feel moved by more than 300 declarations of love written in 250 languages and even harder to resist the temptation to snap the perfect romantic selfie.
Quais de Seine and Canal St-Martin
Any picturesque riverside setting is enough to trigger the romantic poet or Impressionist painter in us as we walk beside our loved one, and the banks hugging the River Seine in Paris are no exception. One of the nicest walks is from the tip of Île Saint-Louis to the Pont des Arts. Here you are in the heart of the capital’s historical district, passing famous landmarks including the Cathédrale Notre-Dame, as well as typical Parisian sights such as the stands of booksellers known as bouquinistes. Another popular waterside destination is the peaceful Canal Saint-Martin in north-eastern Paris, with its arched metal bridges and tree-lined quaysides; perfect for an evening picnic while listening to the buskers.
The Latin Quarter and Saint-Michel, 5th
With winding cobbled streets lined by art galleries and bookshops, this district has plenty of character and a bohemian air to it. As the historical student and intelllectual centre of Paris, the area is often buzzing with young people while the thrill of walking in the footsteps of Sartre or Camus is enough to inspire any visitor. There’s no shortage of cafés and bars here and, although they are slightly less polished than other café areas in Paris, they are no less charming.
The Tuileries garden, 1st
Stretching over 23 hectares from the Musée du Louvre to Place de la Concorde, the Jardin des Tuileries is a fine example of à la française gardens, where flâneurs let their mind wander as they stroll along the hedge-lined paths or sit back on the metal chairs around the fountains. Created by Catherine de Médicis in the 1560s, these royal gardens were the first to be open to the public in the 17th century and retain some of their original grandeur. Although the garden attracts a lot of visitors, its size makes it relatively easy to find an isolated bench under the trees or to lie on one of the lawns to relax in the sun.
Le Marais, 3rd and 4th
Sandwiched between Saint-Paul and République on the Right Bank, the Marais is a historic district full of crooked streets buzzing with art galleries, museums, vintage boutiques, hip fashion designers and trendy bars and restaurants. Because of its aristocratic past, the Marais is home to jaw-dropping architecture, including some of the capital’s most beautiful hôtels particuliers. The district is popular with the LGBT community, who have helped to turn it into one of the capital’s most vibrant, inclusive and creative areas. Make sure you stop for a coffee in the arched galleries surrounding the capital’s most beautiful square, Place des Vosges.
Musée de la Vie Romantique, 9th
Located in the artistic district known as ‘La Nouvelle Athènes’, this museum is housed in the former residence of the 19th-century, Dutch-born portrait artist Ary Scheffer, who received many writers, painters and musicians including Delacroix, Rossini, George Sand, Chopin and Charles Dickens. The home and studios have retained their original charm and offer an insight into the work of Scheffer and his contemporaries in the Romantic movement. The museum also has a fine collection of mementos connected with George Sand. Prolong the feeling that you have stepped back in time with a hot drink and a pastry in the flowered garden.
The cafés of the 4th and 3rd
Particularly buzzing in the summer with an atmosphere similar to the South of France, Place du Marché Sainte-Catherine (4th) is lined with some lovely restaurants to enjoy a romantic meal. A short walk away is the charming little tea salon, Le Loir dans la Théière which serves an incredible lemon meringue tart. Further up, towards the Musée Carnavalet is the Swedish Institute, housed in a beautiful hôtel particulier, which has a café hidden away in an inner courtyard.