St Valentine’s Day will soon be upon us once again. What better way to celebrate love than in the world’s most romantic city, Paris? I asked our travel bloggers what sights and attractions simply have to be on any Paris itinerary. Here’s what they said.
Because of its location right next to the world famous Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Paris, this place in Paris is often overlooked. Did you guess what it was? Alright I won’t keep you guessing any longer: it’s the Sainte-Chapelle.
Built on the Ile de la Cité in 1248 by Louis IX, this chapel is one of the jewels of French architecture. What’s so special about it? The upper chapel has 600 square meters of stained glass, and it’s truly one of the most impressive room I’ve ever been in.
Right after entering the Sainte-Chapelle, take the small staircase to your right: it will lead you to the upper chapel, where you’ll be taken aback by the absolutely jaw-dropping stained-glass windows, covering the whole chapel.
One of my favourite things to do in Paris is to wake up early and go to the Sainte-Chapelle with my spouse right as it opens (8am from October 1st to March 31st, and 9am from April 1st to September 30th) and enjoy having the upper chapel for ourselves: it doesn’t get any more romantic than this!
The first thing that comes to mind when thinking of Paris is the Eiffel Tower, and for a good reason. The symbol of the Ville Lumiere, the Eiffel Tower can be easily seen from many places in town – though the best views are from Trocadero and from Montparnasse Tower.
Built to celebrate the centenary of the French Revolution in 1899 and standing 324 meters tall, the tower is one of the most popular attractions in the world. It’s the kind of place where romantic men propose to their girlfriends; where families go to enjoy the incredible views of the city; where people splurge on luxury dining with a view.
There are 3 levels of the tower. The first one has good views of the city. The best views are from the second level. Yet, the summit is the most interesting one as this is where Eiffel secret apartment is located, in a small niche.
As the lines to get up the tower tend to be long, you should consider getting your tickets to visit well in advance.
Claudia, My Adventures Across The World
One of my favourite must-see romantic places in Paris is Montmartre. Located at the highest point in Paris, Montmartre was Paris’ original artists haven dating back to the Belle Epoque era. Home to Degas, Renoir, Toulouse-Latrec, Montmartre is still the place to be in Paris if you’re a lover of the arts.
There’s no better place in Paris to wander through beautiful winding streets or to capture an amazing view of the Eiffel Tower. Montmartre is the perfect place for a walking tour of Paris, as there are a myriad of award-winning boulangeries, patisseries and artisan butchers not to mention the hundreds of charming cafes and restaurants.
If the perfect Instagram photo is on your Paris bucket list, look no further than Montmartre’s famous “Wall of Love”, where “I love you” is written in all major languages, (including some rare languages like Navajo and Inuit!)
Topped by the gorgeous white dome of Sacre-Coeur, Montmartre is the perfect destination for a romantic day in Paris.
Pont des Arts
Arguably, the prettiest of Paris’ numerous bridges, the Pont des Arts offers panoramic views of famous Paris landmarks like the Louvre, Ile de la Cite, and Notre Dame. It’s appeared in countless films, and for good reason. Connecting the reputable Institut de France on one side of the Seine River to the Louvre’s central courtyard on the other, it’s one of the most popular spots in Paris to attach your own padlock of love. Couples from around the world flock here to leave padlocks, engraved with their names.
An elegant, pedestrian-only bridge is a hotspot for tourists and Parisians alike. People come here to snap photos of light reflecting off various surfaces onto the calm waters below. It’s easy to spot the spire of the Eiffel Tower in the near-distance or simply take selfies. The Pont des Arts connects 6th arrondissement of Paris to 1st arrondissement, so chances are you’ll be crossing it over and over again.
Many lovers visiting Paris look forward to attaching a metal padlock, or “lovelock” on the metal railings of the bridge to celebrate an anniversary or other romantic moments. While Paris authorities banned this practice several years ago and completely removed 40 tons of love padlocks from the bridge in 2015, the lovelocks emerge constantly because it’s impossible to ban love.
Ivan, Mind The Travel
Musee d’Orsay is one of the finest and my most favourite museum in Paris. It’s also the most romantic. It much smaller than the Louvre, more intimate and not as crowded in winter and spring. It’s just right for celebrating Valentine’s Day with the love of your life. My most favourite collection is the impressionist by the masters like Claude Monet and Vincent Van Gogh. Many people visit Musee d’Orsay just for its magnificent collection of impressionist art. But really Èduardo Manet’s art is so romantic, especially of the female models in his famous paintings like Olympia, Emily Zola and Luncheon on the Grass. Probably the most amazing painting is the Birth of Venus by Alexander Cabanel.
The building of Musee d’Orsey is a piece of art in itself. The story of the building is just a fascinating and the art on display. The curators have done an absolutely remarkable job of displaying these masterpieces in the most flattering ways that highlight and accentuate the art and bring them alive for the audience.
I would highly recommend anyone to visit Musee d’Orsay for half a day while in Paris.
Jyoti, Story at Every Corner
You can’t visit Paris without a short stop at Sacre Coeur. This white Roman Catholic church impresses through its architecture and location. Situated on top of a hill (the highest point in the city), once you get in front of Sacre Coeur you can admire one of the best views of Paris.
Sacre Coeur was finished in 1914 and it currently is one of the most visited tourist attractions in the city. Some come here to pray, others to admire the views. However, I think that Sacre Coeur is worth visiting for its architecture.
Take your time to walk around it and if time allows you, go inside. Both the exterior and interior are in romano-byzantine style.
If you’re looking for a romantic place to spend your evening, Sacre Coeur is simply perfect. At sunset, the view of Paris is simply breath-taking. Admire the sky changing its colours and relax while enjoying the views.
Aurelia, Daily Travel Pill
Chateau de Vincennes
The Château de Vincennes is an imposing royal fortress built in the 14th and 15th centuries on the site of an old hunting lodge next to the Bois de Vincennes. Once a royal hunting preserve, this ancient forest (bois in French) is now the largest public park in Paris. It’s definitely worth allowing some extra time to visit both the castle and the park while you’re in Vincennes. The most impressive part of the castle is the dungeon or keep. Standing at 52 meters in height, it’s the tallest medieval fortified structure in Europe.
Entry is 9 euros, or a discounted 7 euros if you’re under 26 years of age and not from the EU. If you’re lucky enough to be under 26 and from an EU country, you get in for free! After visiting the castle, stop in for lunch at Bioteafood. This cosy restaurant is nestled between the château and the Bois de Vincennes and is one of the best restaurants for vegan and vegetarian food in Paris.
Wendy, The Nomadic Vegan
An essential stop on any Paris itinerary is the Palais Royal. This elegant 17th century site used to be the residence of both Cardinal Richelieu and Sun King Louis XIV before he moved to Versailles. To this day, it’s the cultural heart of Paris, housing the Théâtre du Palais-Royal, founded by Molière, the Comédie Française state theater and the Ministry of Culture. The Palais Royal’s picturesque inner courtyard, the Cours d’Honneur, is also a fashion hotspot: The black and white striped artwork Colonnes de Buren, designed by artist Daniel Buren, are a Paris Fashion Week favorite. Right behind it, you’ll find one of Paris’ best kept secrets: The intimate garden Jardin du Palais Royal, dotted with fountains and flower beds, is the most tranquil place in the heart of Paris. Have a picnic on one of the shaded benches before (window)shopping at one the many posh designer boutiques that are housed in the Palais Royal’s covered passages. This elegant site truly is one of the must-see attractions in Paris.
Paris Opera House
The City of Lights is widely recognized as a world capital of culture and its opulent Paris Opera House is a prime example. Make time to visit the venue, also known as Palais Garnier, which is home to the famed Paris Opera Ballet. If you’re a dance enthusiast, you should definitely try to snag tickets to one of their ballet performances. But even if you don’t get to see any dance shows you can still tour the historical building – the setting for The Phantom of the Opera.
As you walk throughout the spectacular opera house, you’ll marvel at the marble, gawk at the golden grand foyer and stare at the famous auditorium ceiling painted by Marc Chagall. You can embark on a self-guided tour (with or without a headset), book a themed guided tour or sign up for a private backstage tour to see the costume workshops.
Alison, Dance Dispatches