Beyond the main tourist sites (an essential part of any romantic city break), a stroll through the quieter lesser known districts of Paris will take you behind the scenes, into the secret heart of the city. From Montmartre to Saint-Germain-des-Prés and the Marais, wander hand-in-hand through the most romantic districts of Paris.
In the north of the city, the district of Montmartre has a delightful villagey atmosphere that attracts visitors from around the world. Lovebirds adore getting lost in the narrow bohemian streets winding up to the steps of the Butte leading to the Basilique du Sacré-Coeur (also accessible by The little train of Paris Montmartre). And there is all the fun of a merry-go-round ride in the pretty Place des Abbesses. In this square is the ‘Mur des je t’aime’ (I Love You Wall), designed by Frédéric Baron and Claire Kito. This famous mosaic has ‘I love you’ written in 280 different languages. During the day, couples can have their portrait painted by the painters on Place du Tertre. Nearby is the charming Musée de la Vie romantique, in a tranquil setting where time seems to have stood still.
In the historic centre of the city, the Maraisdistrict is both hip and historical. The narrow streets are lined with some of the oldest buildings and monuments in the capital and full of charm for a stroll together. The romantic Place des Vosges, which houses the Maison de Victor Hugo, is a must.
In the heart of the Left Bank in the 6th arrondissement, Saint-Germain des Prés is another romantic district, well-known to those nostalgic about the Paris of yesteryear!It was the meeting place of artists and intellectuals. Enjoy visiting cafes such as Deux Magots and Café du Flore, frequented by writers and artists such as Jean-Paul Sartre, Pablo Picasso and Simone de Beauvoir. Next to the Musée Delacroix, the romanesque Place de Furstenberg is one of the most well- preserved spots in the capital.
Head for the Bourse district – the historical Paris stock exchange – in the 2nd arrondissement, for a walk through the authentic and charming covered passageways. Here you can experience the ambiance of the belle époque. With glass roofs, charming boutiques and special atmosphere, these period shopping arcades are a delight to wander through. Couples love to saunter through with their arms around each other, away from the noise of the city. Ideal for rainy days! One not to be missed is the Galerie Vivienne which, with its superb mosaics, is one of the finest in the capital. The Passage des Panoramas is a gourmet paradise, being home to a number of foodie addresses, including a bistro, tea room and wine bar. Other covered passageways can be found in Paris, particularly in the 9th arrondissement.
Tempted by a walk off the beaten track?
For a romantic escapade far from the hustle and bustle of the city, there are several districts in Paris with a ‘villagey’ atmosphere. In the south, the Butte-aux-Cailles (13th) is a hilltop corner of paradise. With its cobbled streets lined with small houses and little gardens full of flowers, it is popular with couples. The picturesque Mouffetard district (5th), with its old houses and narrow, winding streets, is reminiscent of bygone villages. And leafy Charonne village (20th) has such a peaceful, bucolic atmosphere, you could almost be in the country. Other pockets of greenery in Paris include the Mouzaïa district (19th), little-known to tourists like La Campagne à Paris (literally, the countryside in Paris), in the 20th arrondissement.
In the east of the city, a must see is the Père-Lachaise cemetery. This unusual place to visit is a pleasant place for lovers winding paths are the graves of famous men and women, including Proust, Jim Morrison, Colette, Fréderic Chopin and Héloïse and Abélard … An opportunity to lose yourself in mystical contemplation.