Lifestyle & Culture

Lovin’ in the City of Love: Zoé Manset’s five favorite romantic date destinations in Paris

You’ve made it to the city of lights, love and heavy traffic and it is now time to seize the day and go on romantic walks along the Seine (think Owen Wilson in “Midnight in Paris”). But where to start? And where to go when the city is equal parts picturesque and noise nightmare? These tested and approved date ideas should take you right where you and your plus-one want to be.

The historical

In a city like Paris, history is always looming over you from some gilded statue or from unassuming rickety buildings.

Why not embrace this reality and take your date on a tour of Paris’ Latin origins?

In the 5th arrondissement otherwise known as the Latin Quarter, you can walk up part of the Arènes of Lutèce (Paris’ Gaulois name) and even play pétanque where gladiators used to fight each other. The thought of these combats may make you dizzy and in need of well-earned repos.

Head to the Le Petit Café on the charming rue Descartes to enjoy a lemonade on the shaded square.

The Lit fanatic

We may talk of modernity, the Olympics and new builds all we want but Paris still houses ancestral secrets linked to its cultural and more specifically its literary heritage. Tucked away behind a heavy wooden door reminiscent of a Middle-Ages tavern, the Club des Poètes, Rue de Bourgogne, vibrates every evening with the power of words.

Started in the 60’s by poet Jean-Pierre Rosnay and carried on by his son Blaise, the Club des Poètes is a haven for poetry where people reunite at 7 p.m. to eat a simple but hearty meal, drink wine in café style glasses and most importantly listen to poetry.

A mix of classical recitations and new writing, it is most definitely the recipe for a romantic evening.

Ville de la Mode

You’ve come to Paris thinking of the legendary scene at the end of the “Devil wears Prada” where Anne Hathaway is seen throwing her phone in a fountain Place de la Concorde, wearing the most gorgeous Dior New Look style black dress, and you want your date to share in this part of your personality?

Fear not for Paris holds just the activity. Head out to the Palais Galliera, the French fashion museum, and delight in the permanent collection as well as the temporary exhibitions which are always of very high standard.

When you’ve had your fill of beautiful costumes, set sails onto the Palais de Tokyo and to the restaurant Bambini with its terrace overseeing the great courtyard where skaters, a prominent fashion tribe if there ever was one, come to play.

Au Petit Fer à Cheval

The typical (roll out the berets)

Let’s imagine that the date goes wonderfully; banter back and forth beyond the wildest expectations. You’ll probably want to do the restaurant/bar/café hopping that flowing conversations often lead to.

Here is my advice in order to do it seamlessly.

Start with a drink and a nibble at the Crèmerie, Rue des Quatre Vents, Rue des Quatre Vents, Rue des Quatre Vents (it’s hard to find more typical in terms of French hospitality). For something more substantial, head next to the Bouillon Republique on the other side of the Seine and be ready to queue for 10 to 15 minutes before indulging in an extremely affordable, classic French meal.

For a night cap head next to Au Petit Fer à Cheval. It is one of those cafés with seats facing out front, perfect for people watching and holding hands under the table. It is also where my best friend’s parents had their first dates 30 years ago and as such, I still regard it as the ultimate deal sealer.

The teenage dream

For a twist on the classic combo of movie, a pizza and an ice cream start with heading out to the Ecoles Cinéma Club where timeless classics are shown every day. For the best pizza in town, try Marzo (four different locations around Paris, the one at No. 5 Rue Paul-Louis Courier will be your geographical ideal after the movie).

End the night with an ice cream from Grom and relish the early bedtime reminiscent of teenage first dates.


Read more about Paris here in Dispatches’ archives.

See more from Zoé here.

Zoé Manset
author at  | Website

Zoe Manset is a French actress, writer and producer based in London, UK. After growing up in the Fragrant Harbour otherwise known as Hong Kong, Zoe moved to London in 2018 to pursue a BA in Art History at the Courtauld Institute of Arts. Missing the stage too much, she then completed a two year MFA in drama school and is now living the freelance actor life at full speed. Zoe is a fashion history lover, a great pub amateur, a dancer and a big foodie!

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