Some sceptics have questioned whether Paris is the City of Love, but when in 2014 part of the Pont des Arts bridge collapsed under the weight of thousands of ‘love-locks’ left by smitten sightseers, the city’s reputation as a love nest was only cemented. From hand-in-hand strolls along the Seine to admiring the city skyline from Sacré-Cœur, Paris exudes amour – and who are we to deny its romance? To ensure your trip isn’t ruined by a fatal bridge flop, we suggest you twitterpated tourists steer clear of weighing down the Pont des Arts any further with your tokens of everlasting affection. Instead, follow our step-by-step guide to charming your chéri or chérie.
Take away the U and the R and Louvre spells love – coincidence? We think not. Since the château opened its doors as a museum in 1793, it’s been full of loved-up couples fighting to impress each other with their grasp of the art within. From Greek sculptures to Egyptian antiquities, the Louvre’s collection spans from about 7000 BC until 1848. No trip to the Louvre would be complete without laying eyes on the enigmatic Mona Lisa, so usher your lover to the museum’s most visited masterpiece and astonish them with a few facts you’ve practised in advance (for example, the Leonardo da Vinci painting was stolen from the Louvre in 1911 by an Italian criminal, returned only in 1913. FACT). Our top tip of all? Regardless of their gender, tell your treasure their smile is more mysterious than lady Lisa’s could ever be, while you peruse the painting.
Paris is teeming with sweeping ooh la la-worthy views, and there’s no better way to smother your sweetheart than to tell them they’re The One atop one of the city’s many viewpoints. Why not express your torrent of affection over a ride in the Funiculaire du Montmartre, or if you prefer the panting, sporadic approach, as you ascend the 1665 steps of the Eiffel Tower? Our favourite spot from which to contemplate the city with a loved one is alongside the grotesque gargoyles of Notre-Dame Cathedral. You’ll look utterly ravishing stood next to the surly sculptures as you gaze 115 feet down at Jean-Paul-II square, with beautiful views of the rippling River Seine.
For a city frequented by canoodling, kissing couples, a fair amount of onion goes into the haute cuisine for which Paris is celebrated. Could this sweet pungency be traced to that certain je ne sais quoi that makes the French so irresistible? We’re not entirely convinced, but you mustn’t leave without trying classic French starter soupe à l’oignon, a buttery broth of silky onions topped with bubbling cheese. If that doesn’t get your senses stirred, slurp up another French favourite instead: oysters. The delicious aphrodisiacal dish is rich in zinc, thought to trigger sexual potency. Casanova allegedly ate 50 oysters a day to fuel his seduction of a trail of virgin nuns. Need we say more?
If the real love of your life is literature, then grab your unsuspecting sweetie and follow in the wining and dining footsteps of writers that once graced the streets of Paris. Head to the Left Bank (southern bank of the Seine) to see the literary haunts of expat writers Hemmingway and Fitzgerald, along with remnants of the explosive jazz age. The Saint-Germain-des-Prés neighbourhood lines the Left Bank and was the core of the existentialist movement during the 1940s and 1950s, ruled by Jean-Paul Sartre and Simone de Beauvoir. Seated in the legendary Le Café de Flore from breakfast until dinner, the philosophers would draw crowds of intellectuals. Today the café is a tourist trap, where a croissant will cost you nearly the price of a checked-in bag on a Ryanair flight. But if your literary love is strong enough, you’ll shell out to soak up the artistic atmosphere of Le Café de Flore, leaving your luggage’s fate to the lobby boy you’ve affectionately named Pierre.
However you spend your stay in the City of Love, the most romantic gesture of all is to book a surprise trip to Paris for your lucky beloved. Make sure you look out for deals on Wow Go!
Fancy heading there yourself? You could win a 4* Valentine’s weekend in Paris for two including return flights by just clicking here!