(Editor’s note: With St. Valentine’s Day coming up, American expat in France Alice Verberne has tips about where lovers can find the most romantic corners of Paris.)
The word for love in French has been voted the most romantic expression, according to this post on Reuters. The French have an undeniable soft spot in the world’s heart when it comes to romance. Perhaps that’s why loved up couples often use Paris as their backdrop for marriage proposals.
And I have to agree: What better place to share a weekend tête-à-tête?
Below are four of my favorite romantic locations where you can share a kiss with your lover in the city of romance, one for every season.
“When spring comes to Paris, the humblest mortal alive must feel that he dwells in paradise.” – Henry Miller
Tango along the Quai
For me, the most sensual dance is the tango, and when it is set to the backdrop of the Seine river with a view of Notre Dame, it’s pure magic. Start your romantic journey with a promenade along the 600-meter quai de St. Bernard (along the Seine from Gare d’Austerlitz to the Arab World Institute).
Along the way, you will find groups of dancers. Tango Argentin hosts free tango at Paris’s quayside Jardin Tino Rossi. Linger awhile to watch their sensual moves; participate if you feel the urge. If you can’t master the fancy footwork, meander further down, there are other groups practicing everything from the jitterbug to salsa. Look down the Seine and you will see Notre Dame and the Isle of St. Louis, it’s an idyllic spot to share a kiss.
“I love Paris in the summer, when it sizzles.” – Cole Porter
Summer stroll 30 feet off the ground
Remember the scene from the 2007 Pixar/Disney animated film Ratatouille when Linguini takes Colette on a romantic roller-blading date? You can recreate that feeling at the promenade plantée René-Dumont. This converted railway infrastructure 32 feet above the street has been repurposed into an elevated walkway festooned with plants.
It begins at the Bastille and winds through the 12th arrondissement for three miles before coming out near the Bois de Vincennes, where you can rent a row boat (at 2 route du Pesage) and have some one-on-one time with that special someone.
“He who contemplates the depths of Paris is seized with vertigo. Nothing is more fantastic. Nothing is more tragic. Nothing is more sublime.” – Victor Hugo
Fall in love with Paris – cultural classics
Are you and your significant other are equally smitten with Paris and want to know more about her? Then head over to the Musée Carnavalet. This foundation holds the secrets of Paris’ past. The building was once the residence of a beautiful young widow who made her livelihood entertaining intellectuals.
Lovers will be tempted to play hide-and-seek through the hallways and garden lanes. When you’re finished, stroll through one of the oldest planned squares in the city. Place de Voges is one of four royal parks in Paris and former stomping ground of the Romantic writer Victor Hugo. Hugo’s residence is also a museum. Inside there’s a discreet courtyard café where you can share a drink with your date.
The best part is that both museums are free of charge.
Love on ice
I once ice skated 57 meters above the ground on an rink that was temporarily set up on the first level of the Eiffel Tower. I’m a novice skater; so I fell. My date helped me up and gave me a kiss. He said, “Je suis tombé amoureux de toi.” (I’ve fallen for you).The lights of the Eiffel tower were twinkling. The world melted away, I felt like the woman in the Robert Doisneau photo, “Le Baiser de l’hôtel de ville.”
I suppose the study conducted by Disney that says the Eiffel Tower is one of the top ten places to propose wasn’t based on anecdotal responses like mine. But, I do believe that sporty types will love the amazing backdrops ice skating in Paris offers.
Temporary rinks pop up each winter around the holidays. Locations such as The Grand Palais des Glaces (the rink is set under the glass roof), Champ-de-Mars Christmas Village (skate at dusk when the Eiffel Tower starts off its nightly twinkling light show), or Montparnasse Tower (where the rink is on the 59th floor offering a sky-view of the city).
Once you choose your location to have your romantic kiss, saying “I love you” in French would add that special level of “amour” to the moment.
Here are some ways to say just that.
About the author: Alice Verberne is a contributing writer for Dispatches Europe. She has worked in print journalism and magazine production in the United States and Europe throughout her career. She currently resides in France where she enjoys weekends getaways to Paris with her husband.
Read more about Paris here in Dispatches’ archives.
Read more of Alice’s adventures in France here.
Alice Verberne is a contributing writer for Dispatches Europe. She has worked in print journalism and magazine production in the United States and Europe throughout her career. She currently resides in France where she enjoys visiting former French speaking colonies and discussing history with the locals.