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Single in Paris? Here’s where to avoid over Valentine’s Day weekend

Single in Paris? Here's where to avoid over Valentine's Day weekend
There's likely to be a lot of this near the Eiffel Tower this weekend, don't say we didn't warn you. Photo: AFP
With romantic couples set to flood into Paris for Valentine's Day over the coming days, there are certain parts of the city that singles should avoid.

With the festival of lovers (or the festival of an obscure priest murdered during Roman times, depending on which way you look at it) falling on a Friday this year, the weekend is set to be couples central in Paris, the official city of love.

But what about if you're here as a single? Nothing to worry about, we've put together the survival guide for all the places to avoid to escape all that cloying romance and togetherness.

Avoid the heights

When people are feeling romantic they love nothing more than spending a little time sitting hand in hand stroking each other’s hair, while admiring a stunning view.

And Paris, with its combination of chimney-covered Haussmannian apartments and famous historical monuments, has one of the most beautiful skylines in the world.

But single folk should avoid all the high places, especially the Eiffel Tower. There might as well be a sign up that reads “Couples Only”. If you go to the top floor, the chances are high that you'll trip over some guy who's travelled from Beijing, Brighton or Berlin to get down on one knee atop the Iron Lady.

Other places to avoid include the top of the Arc de Triomphe, the top of Montparnasse Tower and the steps of the Sacré Coeur. One place you could safely head to is the top of Belleville Park. It’s pretty ugly up there, but the view is splendid and it might just be free of people smooching. Having said that, this is Paris – where people kiss on the Metro.

Avoid the bridges

The Pont des Arts, which is no longer covered in padlocks

Normally a city’s bridges would not necessarily represent the most romantic spots to declare your love for someone, but that’s not the case in Paris.

Some of the city’s bridges have become a magnet for lovers from all around the world, who come armed with a padlock to attach to the weary railings, before they throw the key into the Seine river below – even though it's strictly illegal.

Since they've been removed from the Pont des Arts and the Pont de l'Archevêché, this “metal graffiti” is turning up on the bridges over the Canal St Martin and it probably won’t be long before we see them attached to shopping trolleys at the Monoprix supermarkets.

So if you are single and don’t like padlocks don’t go anywhere near a bridge. 

Avoid the water

Single folk need to avoid the temptation to get on a cruise along the river Seine at all costs. The Bateaux Mouches often turn into love boats transporting the world’s most amorous couples up and down the river, while they feed champagne-soaked strawberries to each other.

If you really feel the need to get on a boat, then try the hop-on, hop-off Batobus. There’s no coupled seating and there’s only a vending machine that sells crisps and soft drinks.

Avoid the restaurants

If you are planning on treating yourself to a meal in Paris, it might be a good idea to stay in or go to burger chain Quick and get some toast.

The atmosphere in restaurants in Paris feels a bit like Valentine’s Day all year round, so imagine how uncomfortable and sickening they will feel for singles on February 14th, with the influx of couples from all over the world.

Unless you want to overhear proposal after proposal, or the incessant sound of lips meeting lips, then try to avoid some of the city’s more romantic neighbourhoods such as Saint-Germain des Prés in the sixth arrondissement, where you are very likely to be surrounded by couples having a candlelit dinner while being serenaded by a violinist.

And lastly… Avoid Montmartre

It’s arguably the most beautiful neighbourhood in Paris, which is why you should maybe think twice about going. With its cosy “village” atmosphere, and its beret-wearing painters, it will be overrun by couples looking for the heart of romantic Paris. For any singleton passing through the area, it could rapidly turn into a nightmare.

And if you end up next to the famous “Mur de je t’aime” (I love you wall) on Place des Abesses where couples gather to scrawl “I love You” on the wall and take “smoochies” (selfies with kissing involved), you better beware – it might just spark a panic attack at best and at worst a full-blown mid-life crisis.

The best tip to escape the lovebirds is probably to get as far away from Paris as you can. The slagheaps on the old coal fields of northern France are a UNESCO World Heritage Site, remember, and can be reached on a day trip from Paris.

Or there's always Père Lachaise cemetery where you can cheer yourself up with the knowledge that we'll all be dead soon anyway.

by Priscillia Charles/Ben McPartland