Paris – the City of Love!But why is this, actually?We went looking for the most romantic spots and highlights of this beautiful city.Here are a few reasons why Paris fascinates us – especially when there are two of us to enjoy it.
1. Because of the Eiffel Tower
What does the Eiffel Tower have to do with love? You only really find out when you’re standing in front of it! 😉 Just looking at this unique landmark is enough to put you in a romantic mood. No wonder, then, that there have been quite so many marriage proposals made here. The mood is particularly lovely after nightfall – when the Eiffel Tower is lit up in an amazing way and 20,000 lights twinkle for 5 minutes on the hour, every hour. Romantic highlight:dinner for two at the 58 Tour Eiffel. The restaurant is on the 1st Floor of the Eiffel Tower, and the experience of dining there will take your breath away.
2. Because of the lights
It’s not just the Eiffel Tower that is bathed in a sea of lights at night – it’s all Paris. Just before night actually falls, though, you should definitely watch the sunset, ideally from the Pont des Arts.This bridge is famed for its ‘love padlocks’ – more about these in Point 3 😉 On foot or by boat? A nighttime walk through Paris has a very special attraction, as does a boat ride on the Seine. On the boat, you can just lean back and watch the sights such as Notre Dame and the Louvre slip by. On some ships, it’s even possible to dine during the trip. Details of these boat rides will be provided by most hotels.
3. Because of the love padlocks
The Pont des Arts links the Quai du Louvre on the right bank of the Seine with the Quai de Malaquais on the left bank and is widely viewed as one of the mostromantic places in Paris. Why? Because until lately thousands of loving couples have vowed their undying love here – with the help of ‘love padlocks’. Countless numbers of these padlocks have been attached to the railings of the bridge; so many, in fact, that the city administration was forced to remove them. The bridge is not built for the additional weight of the padlocks. Nevertheless, many lovebirds come here to vow endless love to each other.
4. Because of the food
Paris is not just an aesthetic pleasure, of course, but first and foremost a culinary one. The way to our hearts is through our stomachs, of course – and nobody knows this better than the French! 😉 France is a true Paradise for anyone who likes to eat and values great cooking. The French are true masters of the art, especially when it comes to sweet dishes. You’ll find numerous patisseries throughout Paris, where you can indulge in sweet pleasure. Facebook fan Dora L. recommends the Patisserie Carette (on Place des Vosges), which serves the best coffee and most delicious macaroons. The macaroon is a typically French meringue made of ground almonds which is produced in every imaginable colour.
5. Because I love you
The world’s most beautiful sentence has been immortalised in 311 different languages in Paris, on the Mur des je t’aime. The wall of love is a must-see for any loving couples visiting Paris. Designed by artists Frédéric Baron and Claire Kito, it is on a square at the Place des Abbesses, on the Hill of Montmartre. The Hill of Montmartre is the highest natural elevation in the city; its ‘summit’ (130 metres) is home to the marvellously beautiful Basilica of Sacré Cœur – one of the most important sights in the capital, and with an amazing view across all Paris. Tip: be sure to take a stroll through the Montmartre District. The impression of this artis‘ quarter is one of cobbled streets, small alleys, narrow stairways, arts and craft shops, and playful little details. It’s unbelievably charming, and the district where the film ‘Amélie’ was made.
Post tags: CDGcityDestinationFranceParis
Six months since the Paris terror attacks, our writers reflect on the enduring appeal of one of the world's great cities.
Love Letters to Paris: What our travel writers love about the City of Lights
Six months since the Paris terror attacks, our writers reflect on the enduring appeal of one of the world's great cities.
Katie Byrne: 'I once stayed up until 7am writing a short story…'
There's something about Paris that inspires creativity. Perhaps its front-facing, people-watching café culture adds ink to the well. Or perhaps the ghosts of Proust and Balzac make this city the eternal muse.
Either way, I once stayed up until 7am writing a short story during a stay in the City of Light. I generally can't get past the first paragraph...
If there is something in the ether in Paris that invigorates the artist, then Saint-Germain-des-Prés is the source. It's golden hour all day long in the erstwhile stomping ground of Oscar Wilde. Spots like Café de Flore (cafedeflore.fr) make it all the more enticing.
When I get a little too intoxicated by Paris - and drunk on the idea that I'm going to move there right now, this very minute - I take a breather in The Chapel of Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal on the Rue du Bac (chapellenotredamedelamedaillemiraculeuse.com). My shoulders come down from around my ears the moment I walk through the doors.
Of course, it would be blasphemous not to mention the fashion. Some of my favourite labels - Iro, Vanessa Bruno and Isabel Marant - were born in Paris, and I always pop into the Chantal Thomass lingerie boutique on Rue Saint Honor (chantalthomass.com; trust me on this one).
Thierry Lasry sunglasses are a more recent distraction. He's opening a flagship store on Rue du Four this month (thierrylasry.com). It's just a short walk from Café de Flore, so I may as well stop in for another coffee...
Bairbre Power: 'It's like walking into a Toulouse-Lautrec painting…'
Culture, cuisine and gourmand Parisian experiences make the French capital one of my favourite destinations to visit and if I only have a few hours, I'll swing by Galeries Lafayette (galerieslafayette.com) on Boulevard Haussmann for a look at its international fashion edit under the light-filled, stained glass cupola.
Across the road on Rue Scribe (where the bus for Charles de Gaulle Airport departs), you'll find the Japanese store Uniqlo (uniqlo.com) - its ultra-light down jackets and coats are definitely worth a look.
If you find yourself dining alone and don't want to spend the night swiping Twitter in some restaurant, go savour the spectacle and theatre of the historic dining room at Le Bouillon Chartier (bouillon-chartier.com), also in the 9ème arrondissement.
Be warned, this is not a place for hardcore foodies. This is basic, brasserie food where starters are priced from less than €2. It gets very mixed reviews and waiters can be notoriously rude, but when they scribble your bill on the paper tablecloth, you'll be surprised at how cheap it is. Maybe it's the vin rosé, but I giggle at the sideshows around me. It's like nothing else I know in Paris - going there is like walking into a Toulouse-Lautrec painting.
Pól Ó Conghaile: 'The magic is never more than a street corner away…'
I didn't fall head over heels for Paris. At first, I didn't even fall for it. I arrived by bus from Germany, taking a spur-of-the-moment notion as a student summering overseas. I learned a lot. Never to order a drink on the Champs-Élysées. Never to arrive without a hotel sorted. To laugh off snotty service. That it is impossible to 'do' the Louvre (louvre.fr).
Still, something stuck. I loved the syrupy sound of those accents; the whiff of fresh baking outside the boulangeries; the men and women who brushed by with an enchanting insouciance; the gigantic clocks on the fifth floor of the Musée d'Orsay (musee-orsay.fr), framing views of the Sacré Cœur just a short walk from Degas's dancers and Cezannes' apples.
Paris doesn't give itself easily. It doesn't come to you. Like New York, the distances between neighbourhoods can be surprising. The cuisine which once made it the envy of the world has lost ground to London, Tokyo, Copenhagen and Spain. It can be a maddening place. Yet despite all of this, the magic is never more than a street corner away.
For me, this is something I've come to appreciate over several visits.
I've done deep dives in the quartiers, into neighbourhoods like Le Marais. I've discovered random gems (did you know Foucault's pendulum swings at the Musée des Arts et Métiers?), toured the catacombs, ticked off countless cafés and restaurants (try the velvety cassoulet at Comptoir de la Gastronomie, comptoirdelagastronomie.com), marvelled at the chic boutiques and concept stores. And bit by bit, the flame has been kindled.
Since November, it's burned brighter than ever.
Jillian Bolger: 'It is the unfamiliar that I love most about you…'
The familiar sight of your sky-scraping Tour D'Eiffel makes my heart skip a beat each time I return to your streets, but in truth it is the unfamiliar that I love most about you. Each trip reveals a new facet of your complex personality that reminds me why you are so universally revered and celebrated.
Your streets are a mesmerising tangle of architectural gems and while your style credentials impress, it's your old-school sensibilities that appeal to me above all else.
Sure, I love the cool vibes of Marais and the hillside hipness of Montmartre, but my heart belongs to the blink-and-you'll-miss-it neighbourhood of Ile Saint-Louis. The genteel islet, dwarfed in size and status by Île de la Cité, is my idea of Gallic heaven. All narrow, cobbled one-way streets and shuttered, honey-hued buildings, it looks and feels deliciously lost in time.
Your markets, boulangeries and restaurants thrill me each visit, but it's your streetscapes and buildings that draw me back. You can keep your Louvre though. For me it's all about Musée d'Orsay, that magnificent Beaux-Art railway station (musee-orsay.fr; who makes train stations this ornate?) that's filled with bona fide treasures.
Perhaps I love it because it was the first art gallery I ever visited with the man I would marry. Or maybe it's because of Monet's gardens, Degas's ballerinas and Toulouse-Lautrec's showgirls. Pour me a pastis, and let's try and figure this out…
À tout à l'heure, Jillian
Nicola Brady: 'I feel like that wide-eyed 15-year-old all over again...'
To me, Paris isn't the city of love, but rather the city of freedom.
I first went on a school trip with friends when I was 15, with the aim of practising our French. As any attempts we did make were met with confusion and derision, the trip quickly became an opportunity to run loose in a city that, to us, was the height of glamour.
We shared plates of snails and frogs' legs on a café terrace by the Louvre, raced up the steps of the Eiffel Tower and meandered around the streets of Montmartre, where we were staying.
The area was more than a little rough around the edges, but I fell in love with its steep steps, tiny iron balconies and bohemian history. One evening, a friend and I set off with our beloved English teacher to see Montmartre by night. We weaved between the al fresco drinkers and rose sellers, marvelling at the Sacré-Cœur illuminated under the night sky.
It was one of the first times I felt like I was turning into an adult, and whenever I return, I feel like that wide-eyed 15-year-old all over again.
Conor Power: 'A moveable feast? More like an immutable beauty…'
Did I ever take the time before now to tell you how much I love you?
You turn my head with curves and cuts that never go out of fashion; hypnotic and alluring at any time of the year, day or night.
I love you because you're always surprising me: It took years of visiting you before I discovered that the Jacquemart-André Museum (musee-jacquemart-andre.com) and the Marmottan Museum (2 Rue Louis Boilly) existed. In any other city, they would be the main highlights.
I remember too, the first day I discovered Rue Cler in the 7th arrondissement, where all that's wonderful about Paris is encapsulated in one long cobbled street: the daily market; the multiple speciality food shops and restaurants; the enchanting antique toy shop around the corner; the wonderful old-time "Aux PTT" brasserie (auxptt.fr) beside the post office and the overall sense that you're in a vibrant local community in the heart of an extraordinary city.
Those sorry fools wounded you last November, but you've endured so much worse in the past. In the 1800s, you were practically razed to the ground and rebuilt, emerging as the prettiest and most magnificent city in the world. A moveable feast? More like an immutable beauty.
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