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Revealed: The real romantic spots in Paris

If you had to pick the most romantic spot in Paris, which would it be? See what a group of Paris-based writers went for when we asked them.

Revealed: The real romantic spots in Paris
Photo: Flickr/Damien Roué

Paris has a world-renowned reputation for being the City of Love, and if you've ever visited you'd surely agree. 

But where are the most romantic spots in the city?

We've asked Paris-based photographers, bloggers, and writers for their opinion – just in time for Valentine's Day.

Pont des Arts
 
Marc Lagneau/Flickr
 
Marco Hazan, the man behind the hit website Humans of Paris, says there's nowhere more romantic than the Pont des Arts. 
 
“It's not only a bridge, it's a symbol of true love in the most romantic city of the world,” he says.
 
And he says it's even romantic if you're alone.
 
“All you have to do is stand there and watch the Seine River and think about the person you truly love. That's Paris.”
 
But be sure not to bring a padlock to attach – the practice has been banned and the love locks have long been removed.
 
Musée de Montmartre
 
Photo: AFP
 
“I go all soft and gooey each time I visit the Musée de Montmartre,” says Nicola Williams, France-based writer for Lonely Planet.
 
“Not only is the museum squirrelled away in one of Montmartre’s oldest townhouses; its delightfully un-manicured garden evokes the 19th-century romance of this ancient artist neighbourhood to a tee. Renoir had his studio here for a while and it is easy to imagine him propped up effortlessly before his easel, painting. 
 
“Be sure to explore the garden right to the end, where age-old trees and rambling brambles give way to something of a secret staircase. Walk down it, turn the corner and swoon over an utterly romantic view of Paris’ Clos Montmartre vineyard.”    
 
Place Dauphine

You can't go past the Place Dauphine in the first arrondissement, says Carin Olsson, photographer and blogger at Paris in Four Months.

“Even though it's in the middle of the city (quite literally), Place Dauphine is calm and quiet most of the time since it’s tucked away in between the beautiful houses surrounding this little square,” she says.

“It’s one of my favourite places for a romantic little stroll – either during daytime in the spring when the trees are in full blossom or during a colder winter night when the square is lit up by the traditionally French lampposts. It’s quite enchanting to find yourself almost completely alone in the busy city of Paris.”

Square du Vert-Galant


Photo: John Weiss/Flickr

If you ask Sedulia Scott, Blogger at Rue Rude, she'll say there's nowhere more romantic than this small garden, which is hidden away below the western edge of the Île de la Cité.

“When you stand at the end of the point, it feels as if you are on the prow of a ship floating down the Seine, with beautiful Paris on either side,” she says. 

Rue des Barres

Photo: John Weiss/Flickr

Lily Heise, author and blogger at Je t’aime me neither, wouldn't miss Rue des Barres on a Valentine's Day.

“Crossing to the Right Bank from Pont Louis Philippe, you’ve got one of the most charming views of Paris up the historic rue des Barres,” she says.

“Like a Parisian time capsule, along its leisurely stairs you’ve got classic bistros with bustling outdoor seating, quirky antique and curio shops and the whimsical flying arches of the gothic St-Gervais-et-St-Protais.

“Plus if that weren’t enough, there are some of the city’s few remaining half-timbered houses and little secret garden you can peer into on the church’s north side. The perfect ambiance to savor a romantic Parisian kiss.”

Rue des Abbesses

Photo: WikiCommons

“Montmartre is without contest one of the most romantic neighbourhoods in Paris,” says Serge Massignan, blogger at Comme un camion

“I love strolling down Rue des Abbesses at the end of the day and having a drink at a little table on the cobblestone street. Toward the hill, in the winding streets, there are loads of nice little restaurants where you can eat simply but very well.”


Photo: Flickr/Alessandro Tortora

He notes that it's not far from artist hangout Place du Tertre (above), nor the view from the majestic Sacré Coeur Basilica.

“At the top of Montmartre, you have the most beautiful view of Paris. There’s no more beautiful place to stroll hand in hand.”

The Moonshiner speakeasy

Photo: Moonshiner Facebook

Lisa at Savoir Faire Paris reckons if you want a good date, you should head to a hidden bar.

“Moonshiner is one of our favourite romantic speakeasy bars in Paris,” she says.

“The element of surprise, combined with the atmospheric lighting, the intimate ambiance and the 1920’s décor, makes you feel as though you’ve stepped back in time in a world of your own, just you and your partner. Behind the large fridge door of an inconspicuous pizzeria close to Bastille, this hidden gem is one to visit!”

Serge Lutens at the Palais Royal

Photo: Serge Lutens Facebook

“Testing perfumes with your sweetheart is a very tactile and delightful olfactory experience,” says Melissa Ladd, blogger at Prete-Moi-Paris.

“The sales staff is elegant and discreet and the boutique is beautiful and very romantic with deep purple tones and access to the gardens where you can stroll while deciding which perfume you prefer.”

Follow the names of the streets

Cité des Fleurs. Photo: Flickr/Klasse im Garten

The team at Paris je t'aime sent us what they called a “funny lovey-dovey itinerary” of the most romantic place names.

“Start out at Passage du Désir, in the 10th arrondissement, and then on to the nearby rue de la Fidélité, which leads to… rue de Paradis,” they write.

“In love, the language of flowers is particularly rich, so be sure to walk along the quai aux Fleurs (4th), rue des Rosiers (4th) then rue des Camélias (14th) before losing yourself in the Cité des Fleurs (17th).”

The Tour d’Argent Restaurant (5th arrondissement)

“Well, of course, all of Paris, even the idea or concept of Paris is romantic,” says food blogger John Talbott.

“But as a food guy, when asked this question, I think immediately of the Tour d'Argent restaurant; sitting high above the Seine, watching the flickering lights below and the moon beams from the bateau mouches and looking into the eyes of my beloved of 55 years.”

Fun fact, the restaurant in Pixar hit Ratatouille is based on the Tour d'Argent. 

Saint-Germain-des Prés

Photo: Flickr/Max Sat

“The architecture here represents what I think of as the classic, beautiful Paris that you see in films, and it’s full of little galleries,” says Marissa Cox, blogger at Rue Rodier.

She recommends a quick stop at the flower market and the Shakespeare & Co bookshop before wandering the area's tiny streets.

“It's best in summer with an ice-cream in hand, or warming up with crepes during the winter on Rue Saint-André des Arts or a hot chocolate in Le Bar du Marche.”

Sadly, Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo did not respond when The Local asked for her most romantic spot in the city. But she'd probably pick Hotel de Ville. 
 

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READER INSIGHTS

‘Painful’ – is Paris Charles de Gaulle airport really that bad?

Following a survey that said Paris Charles de Gaulle airport was the best in Europe, we asked Local readers what they thought...

'Painful' - is Paris Charles de Gaulle airport really that bad?

Recently, Paris Charles de Gaulle was voted the best airport in Europe by passengers.

The 2022 World Airport Awards, based on customer satisfaction surveys between September 2021 and May 2022, listed the best airport on the planet as Doha, while Paris’s main airport came in at number 6 – the highest entry for a European airport – one place above Munich. 

READ ALSO Paris Charles de Gaulle voted best airport in Europe by passengers

Given CDG’s long-standing reputation doesn’t quite match what the World Airport Awards survey said – in 2009 it was rated the second-worst airport in the world, while in 2011 US site CNN judged it “the most hated airport in the world” – we wondered how accurate the survey could be.

So we asked readers of The Local for their opinion on their experience of Europe’s ‘best’ airport. 

Contrary to the World Airport Awards study, users erred towards the negative about the airport. A total 30.8 percent of Local readers – who had travelled through the airport in recent months – thought it was ‘terrible’, while another 33.3 percent agreed that it was ‘not great’ and had ‘some problems’.

But in total 12.8 percent of those who responded to our survey thought the airport was ‘brilliant’, and another 23.1 percent thought it ‘fine’, with ‘no major problems’.

So what are the problems with it?

Signage 

One respondent asked a simple – and obvious – question: “Why are there so many terminal twos?”

Barney Lehrer added: “They should change the terminal number system.”

In fact, signage and directions – not to mention the sheer size of the place – were common complaints, as were onward travel options. 

Christine Charaudeau told us: “The signage is terrible. I’ve often followed signs that led to nowhere. Thankfully, I speak French and am familiar with the airport but for first time travellers … yikes!”

Edwin Walley added that it was, “impossible to get from point A to point B,”  as he described the logistics at the airport as the “worst in the world”.

And James Patterson had a piece of advice taken from another airport. “The signage could be better – they could take a cue from Heathrow in that regard.”

Anthony Schofield said: “Arriving by car/taxi is painful due to congestion and the walk from the skytrain to baggage claim seems interminable.”

Border control

Border control, too, was a cause for complaint. “The wait at the frontière is shameful,” Linda, who preferred to use just her first name, told us. “I waited one and a half hours standing, with a lot of old people.”

Sharon Dubble agreed. She wrote: “The wait time to navigate passport control and customs is abysmal!”

Deborah Mur, too, bemoaned the issue of, “the long, long wait to pass border control in Terminal E, especially at 6am after an overnight flight.”

Beth Van Hulst, meanwhile, pulled no punches with her estimation of border staff and the airport in general. “[It] takes forever to go through immigration, and staff deserve their grumpy reputation. Also, queuing is very unclear and people get blocked because the airport layout is not well designed.”

Jeff VanderWolk highlighted the, “inadequate staffing of immigration counters and security checkpoints”, while Karel Prinsloo had no time for the brusque attitudes among security and border personnel. “Officers at customs are so rude. I once confronted the commander about their terrible behaviour.  His response said it all: ‘We are not here to be nice’. Also the security personnel.”

Connections

One of the most-complained-about aspects is one that is not actually within the airport’s control – public transport connections.  

Mahesh Chaturvedula was just one of those to wonder about integrated travel systems in France, noting problems with the reliability of onward RER rail services, and access to the RER network from the terminal.

The airport is connected to the city via RER B, one of the capital’s notoriously slow and crowded suburban trains. Although there are plans to create a new high-speed service to the airport, this now won’t begin until after the 2024 Olympics.

Sekhar also called for, “more frequent trains from SNCF to different cities across France with respect to the international flight schedules.”

The good news

But it wasn’t all bad news for the airport, 35 percent of survey respondents said the airport had more positives than negatives, while a Twitter poll of local readers came out in favour of Charles de Gaulle.

Conceding that the airport is “too spread out”, Jim Lockard said it, “generally operates well; [and has] decent amenities for food and shopping”.

Declan Murphy was one of a number of respondents to praise the, “good services and hotels in terminals”, while Dean Millar – who last passed through Charles de Gaulle in October – said the, “signage is very good. [It is] easy to find my way around”.

He added: “Considering the size (very large) [of the airport] it is very well done.  So no complaints at all.”

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