Romance done right
It’s no secret that Paris is one of the planet’s most romantic spots.But while the city’s magical ambience can work wonders, it never hurtsto give romance a helping hand.
It’s no secret that Paris is one of the planet’s most romantic spots. But while the city’s magical ambience can work wonders, it never hurts to give romance a helping hand. Here are suggestions for planning your perfect getaway à deux:
Designer in Beaubourg
Right in the heart of the city, Beaubourg is the area around the famous Pompidou cultural centre. It’s strolling distance from the major sights along the Rue de Rivoli; the romantic alleys of the Marais area with its boutiques and trendy, cosy cafés; the fabulous restaurants of the étienne Marcel area; and the mainstream stores at Les Halles and the majestic department stores Printemps and Galeries Lafayette on the Grand Boulevards.
Where to stay: A Great Apartment in Paris, a unique studio apartment lovingly furnished with designer lamps, organic bed linen, handcrafted tiles, flatscreen TV and beautiful window box gives you a tasted of Parisian life. From about $125 per night; visit www.great-apartment-paris.com
Romantic dinner: Restaurant Georges, the utterly chic restaurant on the top floor of the Centre Pompidou, with fabulous views over the city from the terrace; www.centrepompidou.fr.
Where to propose: The sumptuous Philippe Starck-designed Cristal Rooms restaurant at the “hotel particulier” dedicated to prestigious crystalware manufacturers, Baccarat; www.baccarat.com.
Absolute classic Paris
For the ultimate wow factor, spend a weekend at the Hotel de Crillon at Place de la Concorde, the huge square flanked by four key sights — the Seine to the south, the Champs élysées to the west, the romantic Jardin des Tuileries on its east side and the grand opera house a block north.
Go shopping in the high-fashion boutiques along rue St. Honoré and hip designer department store Colette. Stroll through the Tuileries to an exhibition at the Louvre and pause for a coffee in the formal gardens of the intimate Jardins du Palais Royal. Reward yourself with mouth-watering Ladurée macaroons from its shop on Place de la Madeleine; www.laduree.fr.
Where to stay: Treat your lover like royalty with a stay at the luxurious Hotel de Crillon, the most majestic hotel in the city, overlooking the breathtaking Place de la Concorde, with views over the city to the river and the Eiffel Tower. From about $1,220; www.crillon.com.
Romantic dinner: If you’ve splashed out for the Crillon, go the whole way and stay for the memorable dinner experience at Les Ambassadeurs, the hotel’s two-Michelin-starred restaurant. Despite being so posh — they even give you a stool for your handbag — there’s a friendly atmosphere to match the sophisticated but imaginative dishes, served in various playful ways. From about $475 per person.
Where to propose: Pont Alexandre III, one of the most ornate bridges over the Seine.
Intellectural on the Left Bank
An obvious choice here is a walk around the stunning gardens at Jardins de Luxembourg. Stop for a coffee and watch the entertainment, then walk all the way along the famous Boulevard St. Germain, taking in typically Parisian stores including luxury candle makers Dyptique. At the other end you’ll find the city’s beautiful botanical gardens, the Jardin des Plantes.
Where to stay: Right opposite the famous Left Bank university, Hotel de la Sorbonne has stylish, cosy rooms with hip designer furniture and sumptuous fabrics in bright or sultry colours — the perfect setting for seduction. Each room has a Mac with unlimited free Internet, so you can set the musical mood or browse for places to go, although you don’t even need to leave the hotel for that — each floor hosts a different photo exhibition. From about $158, discounts online, www.hotelsorbonne.com.
Romantic dinner: Cosy up in the romantic, classic atmosphere of Closerie des Lilas, a classic Paris restaurant once frequented by the likes of Hemingway; www.closeriedeslilas.fr
Where to propose: The secret gallery at the top of the cupola of the Pantheon.
Arty in Montmartre
The artists and musicians who live in Montmartre rarely leave this so-called village. No surprise when you consider what’s on offer here. Meander through the alleyways and climb up to the Sacre Coeur church at the Butte de Monmartre and take in amazing views across the city’s rooftops.
Paris views don’t get much more romantic than this. If you’re feeling racy, you can visit the Musée de l’Erotique or catch one of the erotic cabarets in the evening at Moulin Rouge or further away at the Crazy Horse — Dita Von Teese is guest starring this month.
Where to stay: Hotel Amour is a hip establishment set up by trendy graffiti artist André, and each room has been customized by a different cool young artist. A charming bistro on the ground floor has an outside courtyard complete with billowing bamboos; www.hotelamour.com.
Romantic dinner: Make like a local and dine at hip Italian restaurant La Pizzetta. The food is delicious and seasonal, its sunny terrace a gem, and its 1960s Italian cinema inspired interior is very cool; www.lapizzetta.fr.
Place to propose: The pretty courtyard garden of the Musée de la Vie Romantique — a museum dedicated to the romantic era, rather than romance itself; www.vie-romantique.fr.