There’s no doubt that Paris is one of the most romantic destinations in the world. Every year, couples flock to this beautiful and iconic city, making the most of its charms.
There are a few cliche experiences you have to indulge in when here, but in the City of Lights there’s plenty more to see than just the Eiffel Tower and the Louvre. Take some inspiration from this guide, make like Audrey and Fred in Funny Face and say “Bonjour, Paris!”
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Okay, after you’ve gotten the three go-to sights (the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre and the Arc De Triumphe) out of your system, make your way over to Montmartre. A famous haunt for artists since way back, the hilltop spot is still popular for having your portrait painted and sitting lazily at a café.
If you can resist ordering one more chocolat chaud, get yourself un café crème and enjoy more chocolate-y heaven when it’s covered in chocolate flakes. Like, really covered. (Note to caffeine addicts: if you order un café (a coffee) in France you’ll probably be served an espresso. A café au lait (coffee with milk) is something served at home at breakfast, in a large bowl. If you’re after a milky coffee, order the aforementioned un café crème. But FYI, a Parisian would never order one of these!)
As the light fades and the charming streetlights illuminate, find yourself a spot on the steps by the iconic Sacre-Couer to see the Eiffel Tower’s glittering light show. A fantastic vantage point, this spot can be a favourite with tourists but hey, with views as enchanting as these you kind of have to join in at least once.
Top off the night with dinner in a charming little bistro (there are many straight-from-a-storybook options here) and let the live music spilling out from Montmatre’s bars guide you to your final port of call.
For a sight that will really take your breath away and stop you in your tracks, visit Sainte Chapelle in Ile de la Cite. When you first step into this dimly-lit Gothic royal church you’ll think oh yeah, nice. But its when you climb the winding steps to its upper level that you’ll realise this isn’t ‘just another church’.
Depicting 1,113 scenes from the bible and stretching 15 metres high, 15 technicolour stained glass windows line the church’s exterior and make you feel totally and utterly small in comparison. The impressive feat took seven years to build, so it’d be simply rude not to include it on your itinerary.
While you’re still soaking up the culture, stroll over to Musée d’Orsay on the left bank of the Seine. A unique and light space, this famous museum is dedicated to art from the Impressionism, Realism, Art nouveau, Symbolism and Academism movements. If this is all gobbledygook to you, don’t worry – and don’t be put off from visiting. Here you’ll find world-famous works from the likes of Monet, Pissarro, Van Gogh, Renoir, Cezanne and Rodin – perhaps most notably, Bal du Moulin de la Galette by Renoir, Self-Portrait by Van Gogh and the sigh-inducing Blue Water Lilies by Monet.
Need a little sit-down? We don’t blame you – after all, the best way to see Paris really is by walking. While still on the left bank, stop in and get your caffeine fix at the historic Les Deux Magots. Literature and art-lovers, this is where the original hipsters hung out: Hemingway, Picasso, James Joyce, Jean-Paul Sartre and Simone de Beauvoir.
On the other side of the Seine, there’s a bittersweet and beautiful place you have to visit. The most visited cemetery in the world, Père Lachaise Cemetery hosts the graves of Chopin, Colette, Proust, Maria Callas, Georges Bizet and – a true Parisian icon in her own right – Edith Piaf. Lining the cobbled streets are grand tombs and structures dedicated to some of history’s most influential people, including but not limited to Jim Morrison.
A tradition you have to partake in while here though is leaving a white lily at the grave of author, poet and tortured soul, Oscar Wilde.
Arguably the fashion capital of the world, Paris is perhaps most famous for its labels and designers, so we wouldn’t blame you if you wanted to pick up a souvenir or five during your stay. Swap the crowded Champs-Elysees for la rue du Faubourg Saint-Honore. A mecca for haute couture, this stretch of road might be best left for window shopping, but is still a must-do. Along Avenue Montaigne you’ll find luxury brands like Louis Vuitton, Fendi, Gucci, Ralph Lauren and Givenchy that will also fulfil the shopping-day-in-Paris daydream.
If you’re going for an all-out, pull-out-all-the-stops getaway, book a room at Hôtel Plaza Athénée (also on Avenue Montaigne). Everything you’d expect of a high-end Parisian hotel, this stylish spot boasts views of the Eiffel Tower, wrought iron balconies decorated with flower boxes and sumptuous suites. The bar here is impeccable and don’t even get us started on the über-glam Alain Ducasse restaurant.
Full of romantic sights, culture and world-renowned icons, Paris is one of those places that casts a spell over you. A destination that never loses its glamour, this truly beautiful city is well worth discovering.
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