Love might be all around, but if it’s romance and seduction that you’re looking for, there is no where better to find it than Paris.
With Valentine’s Day upon us, here some picks for the most romantic spots to woo your beloved in Paris, the City of Love.
THE PACKING EDIT
Where to SLEEP
It’s hard to find a more intimate spot for cosying up over Valentine’s Day than L’Hotel, Paris’ smallest five-star hotel, and famously the last home of Oscar Wilde.
The hotel offers just 20 guest rooms, each lavishly decorated with patterned wall coverings, antique furniture, chandeliers, and Marie-Antoinette style beds. Downstairs, there is an atmospheric hammam pool (which the hotel asks you to reserve for ultimate privacy) and a fantastic cocktail bar which is decorated as decadently as the bedrooms.
Saint James Paris
If you’re looking for something grander, then the Saint James Paris should fit the bill. Built at the beginning of the 19th century, this impressive château-style building takes its inspiration from the grand country mansions of French royalty, and yet can be found within the 16th arrondissement of Paris.
Formally a school and a private members club, it’s now a five-star address belonging to the prestigious Relais & Châteaux group, which called on designer Bambi Sloan to stamp her “crazy chic” style onto the luxury hotel. The eclectically designed rooms combine a mish-mash of patterns and colours, ranging from tartan and leopard print to French trompe l’oeil, complete with huge beds and decadent standalone tubs. There’s also an intimate private bar, open only to members until 7pm, an excellent gastronomic restaurant (dinner here one night is a must), and a spa by Guerlain for some indulgent pampering.
Hotel Providence Paris
Located in the oh-so-cool 10th arrondissement, Hotel Providence is a boutique design hotel that takes its inspiration from a Parisian pied à terre. A choice of just 18 guestrooms makes for more private sejour, with rooms showcasing the hotel’s flair for style with jewel-toned colour palettes, printed velvets, gold-toned headboards and an eclectic selection of flea-market treasures.
There’s a bar and restaurant downstairs with a very tempting menu, but with your own in-room marble-topped cocktail bar (complete with retro record player and vinyl), you might want to skip it for a night in mixing up the drinks yourselves.
Le Train Bleu
If you want to surprise your loved one with a romantic dinner, then make a reservation a Le Train Bleu; they’ll never guess that hidden inside the Gare de Lyon station is this Belle Époque beauty of a restaurant. Built in 1900 and now a listed historical monument, Le Train Bleu is one of the city’s most stunning restaurants, boasting a grand frescoed ceiling, huge glittering chandeliers, and gilded gold finishings. It also impresses with its menu; a selection of well-executed French classics, many of which are served with dramatic flair right at the table, from lamb carved in front of you to steak tartare prepared to your liking, and crêpes Suzette flambéed with Grand Marnier for a dramatic end to dinner.
Le Coupe Chou
For something more traditional and low-key, but also rich in character and history, make a reservation at Le Coupe Chou. Nestled on a historic street in the old Latin Quarter, this Parisian institution charm its guests with its antique furnishings, ancient wooden beams, and velvet armchairs; it’s also one of the few restaurants in Paris with a roaring open fireplace.
On the menu you’ll find a crowd-pleasing selection of rustic French fare, think boeuf bourguignon, ratatouille, and classic crème brûlée, which over the years has even enticed the likes of The Beatles and Marlene Dietrich.
In addition to cosy bistros, Paris has no shortage of upscale Michelin-star addresses, where you can dress up and dine on some of the finest cuisine in the city. One of the most romantic is Restaurant Anne, Le Pavillon de La Reine’s recently-crowned one Michelin-star restaurant.
Chef Mathieu Pacaud has designed an indulgent menu that combines luxurious ingredients such as foie gras with black truffle, scallops with caviar, and gratinéed macaroni with black garlic, all finished off by his signature dessert, a rich soufflé au chocolat. The décor is also perfect to set the scene for a romantic evening, with plush velvet armchairs and cushions, wooden bookshelves stacked with fashionable tomes, and views onto the private terrace.
If you don’t believe a romantic weekend in Paris is complete without seeing its most famous icon, then head to the rooftop at Terrass Hotel.
The 7th floor terrace offers sweeping panoramic views of Paris, where you can spot the Sacré-Cœur and the Moulin de la Galette by day, whilst by night a sparking Eiffel Tower will provide the romantic backdrop to your candlelit drinks.
Le Tres Particulier
Hôtel Particulier Montmartre is just as popular with in-the-know locals as it is with weekend travellers, who flock to its seductive Le Tres Particulier bar for drinks after-dark.
Intricate patterned wallpaper, plush carpets and low-lighting sets the moody atmosphere indoors, or head outside to the David Lynch-esque conservatory, drink in hand, to sink into scarlet velvet armchairs set amongst leafy foliage.
Another hidden spot, quite literally, is La Mina, a clandestine craft cocktail bar secreted away below the fashionable CARBÓN restaurant. Whilst many head here for CARBÓN’s exceptional cooking, La Mina is a destination point in itself, with deliciously crafted cocktails served up under a stone-arched roof.
The space is small so you’ll definitely have to move in close to each other, and you’ll need to head there early if you want to snag your own table.
Brach Pâtisserie par Yann Brys
With Paris known for such perfectly pretty pâtisserie, you cannot spend a romantic weekend here without indulging in dessert. Brach Pâtisserie par Yann Brys is the newest spot in town for a goûter (the French equivalent of tea-time), and the second pastry shop from Brys and the EVOK Hotels group, where the patissier works as Head Pastry Chef.
Located on the beautiful Place des Vosges, it has its own heated terrace (complete with cosy blankets) so you can snuggle up outside with a view over the historic square, enjoying Brys’ delicately decorated creations with huge silver pots of steaming tea and coffee.
Musée de la Vie romantique
An equally enticing spot for dessert is the Musée de la Vie romantique, where “romantic” is even in the name. This small and lovely museum, which celebrates the “beaux-arts,” has a little known salon de thé hidden away in it’s the bucolic setting of its leafy garden.
Cakes, cookies, tarts and other sweet treats come courtesy of popular Parisian brunch spot Rose Bakery, which can be enjoyed in the shade of the trees or under the curved roof of the greenhouse on rainy days.
Le Bristol Paris
If one cake isn’t enough, head to Le Bristol Paris for a decadent hours-long afternoon tea at Café Antonia. Head Pastry Chef Julien Alvarez serves up delectable miniature pastries in the gorgeously opulent setting, which takes its inspiration from Marie Antoinette with 18th century-style furniture, frescoed walls, and crystal chandeliers.
Le Bristol also recently installed its very own chocolate factory in the hotel, meaning every chocolate is now handcrafted by Chef Alvarez and his team. Look out for the special Valentine’s Day box of chocolate if you want to pick up a treat for home.