TCO GUIDE TO PARIS ROMANCE
by Raphaelle Pasquier
That Paris is one of the world’s most romantic cities, is a universally accepted axiom. Who can resist the expressively curvaceous architecture, flower-bedecked parks filled with classic (mostly nude) sculpture, the Seine winding gracefully under ornate bridges — and the coup de grâce, a spectacularly grand Tour Eiffel presiding over the entire scene.
To walk the streets of Paris is to imagine being with your beloved on a park bench at the Jardin des Tuileries…arms entwined, lips exploring…or walking hand-in-hand down a charming side street in Montmartre…then stopping at an adorable built-for-romance hotel….olala!
To aide our TCO pursuit of romance, Raphaelle Pasquier has complied a list of Paris’ most-alluring spots. In addition to being a native Parisian, Raphaelle is also uniquely qualified for this task as the digital ambassador for Vinealove.com — the first online community to bring together wine lovers from around the world. Vinealove is a dating website, social network and communication hub for the wine industry all rolled into one. After all, what would romance in Paris — or anywhere — be without a good glass of wine?
MOST ROMANTIC PLACES
Musée Rodin: There’s nothing more romantic than strolling around the Musée Rodin on a sunny day. Most sculptures (including The Thinker) are outside, within one of the Paris’ most beautiful and intimate gardens. From the park you also have a great view of the Eiffel Tower.
Getting there: Métro: Varenne (ligne 13) ou Invalides (ligne 13, ligne 8)
Le Pont des Arts: As countless films have proven, the Seine is the perfect backdrop for any romantic Parisian rendezvous. The Pont des Arts, a pedestrian bridge over the river, offers a picturesque view of Île de la Cité and has become a display place for artists and street performers. With street musicians providing the soundtrack to movie-perfect liaisons, it’s also a favorite spot for lovers, who come from near and far to visit the bridge, to attach padlocks emblazoned with initials and messages before throwing the locks’ keys into the Seine below.
Getting there: Métro Pont Neuf
Palais Garnier: The site of one of Paris most famous love stories – The Phantom of the Opera – the Garnier is home to the Paris Opera and ballet. Dazzlingly opulent, the Garnier is open to tours. Maybe you’ll catch a glimpse of the heart-broken phantom.
Getting there: Métro Palais Garnier
Canal Saint Martin: Avoid the crowd and tourists by escaping along the Canal Saint Martin. The Canal Saint-Martin neighborhood is located between Gare du Nord and République (Northeastern Paris) in the 10th arrondissement. It is a very romantic area where most locals come to picnic and play guitar along the banks of the Canal or on the iron footbridges. Beautiful cafés and boutiques along the way.
Getting there: Métro République (Lines 3, 5, 8, 9 and 11)
MOST ROMANTIC RESTAURANTS
Les Nuits des Thes
22 rue de Beaune, 75007 Paris
This tiny tea shop is all Parisian charm, from casually arranged bouquets of roses to artfully mismatched china. Tables inside and out are draped in pretty flowered prints. The salads and luncheon specials are all very good. But the pastries are extraordinary. Beautiful tarts, macarons, chocolate marvels and an unforgettable specialty – chestnut cake.
21 Rue de Caumartin, 75009
A true Parisian café! Here, local businessmen and tourists flock to enjoy the well-priced traditional plates: Eggs with Foie Gras, Roasted Farm Chicken (“Label Rouge” – highest standard), Andouillette (small sausage made of chitterlings) and great cheese selection highlighted by raw-milk Camembert and Fromage Blanc.
Qui Plume la Lune
50 rue Amelot, 75011 Paris
Located in the heart of Bastille. Chicly elegant, with wooden tables and brick walls. A very intimate gastronomic restaurant with no menu. The chef changes the menu daily and even during the day depending on his mood and inspiration. So every table in the restaurant always gets something different.
28 rue du Mont-Thabor, 1st E
A tiny café with a first-rate prix fixe dinner menu, for about $35E. Entrées include traditional French plates beautifully prepared: mushroom and foie gras ravioli with smoked duck; pork with procini mushrooms; red mullet with creole sauce. The staff is efficient and the wine list well chosen.
1 bis Passage Saint Sébastien, 75011
Located at the end of a long alley, this tucked away bistro offers a variety of small, well-priced plates: Burrata, oysters, lentil salad, escargot, and braised lamb are a few of the features. A solid wine list and music help create a mood for wooing.
9 rue de l’Eperon, 6th E
The pretty setting in this bistro is made for romance — charming striped chairs in a spacious dining room that helps accommodate private moments. Menu offerings include stuffed suckling pig with turnip choucroute, seared slices of lamb with root vegetables, goose liver in wine. Best of all, the prices are extremely reasonable — guaranteed NOT to break your heart.
For additional dining options see A Country Countess Visits the City of Lights by Countess Marnie de Vanssay featured in a previous issue of TCO.
MOST ROMANTIC HOTELS
Hôtel Caron de Beaumarchais
12 Rue Vieille du Temple, 75004
The decor in this adorable hotel may be over the top for some travelers — from the flowery wall paper to the flickering electric candelabras and chandeliers. But the Marais location, near Notre Dame, and bargain rates will appeal to everyone. Rooms are small but comfortable. Cute balconies overlook the neighborhood. Windows are heavy and seal out any sounds from street traffic. Breakfast isn’t included, but a delicious spread is offered for 10E that includes large portions of eggs, croissants, fruit, yogurt, juice and good coffee.
Hôtel Bourg Tibourg
19 Rue du Bourg Tibourg, 75004
Also located in the Marais, the Hôtel Bourg Tibourg is filled with creative detailing and wonderful surprises – a XIXth century engraving here, a Viollet Le Duc chandelier there, a gargoyled-decorated folding screen futher away. The rooms themselves are like little jewel boxes and slightly decadent – a guilty pleasure you won’t want to leave.
3 Rue de l’Odéon, 75006
The Odéon Hôtel sits in the historic Latin Quarter of Paris just steps from the beautiful Luxembourg gardens and chic boulevard Saint-Germain. The property has been run by the same family for four generations, who are justifiably proud of their historic hotel.
151 rue de Rennes, 75006 Paris
This boutique hotel located in the heart of Saint Germain, on the bustling rue de Rennes, offers romantic rooms imaginatively decorated. Contemporary furniture and fantastic lighting created by the French designer Virginie Cauet create a warm and romantic ambiance
Hôtel du Petit Moulin
29/31 rue de Poitou, 75003 Paris
The Hôtel du Petit Moulin is an authentic residence, decorated throughout by Christian Lacroix. With its location in the Haut Marais district, guests will discover a host of treasures.
Raphaelle Pasquier Began her career with a family-owned winery in the Loire Valley, then worked at Domaine Chandon in Napa Valley. She continued her travels across the Pacific Ocean and landed in Shanghai. There, she worked for DT ASAIA, an importer of international wines. Later, she decided to switch continents again and moved to New York as the US export manager for Labouré-Roi, the third largest winery in Burgundy, traveling frequently between Burgundy and the United States.
Says Raphaelle: “After 4 years with Labouré-Roi I have decided to start a new adventure — a new challenge called Vinealove.com, where I am working as a digital ambassador in the United States.
Hope to see you soon on Vinealove.com. Santé!
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