I have been putting off this Paris post for awhile now. Mostly because I’ve been intimidated; Paris left such a mark on me, my curiosity and romanticism. Paris is a feeling, a way of life that I know my words will never do justice to, and I’m terrified to even attempt.
I remember feeling a yearning to go to Paris, but I never allowed it to get my hopes up. I kept my mind open, ready to either love or hate the city. From the moment I walked out of the central train station and the streets unfolded before me, every non-existent expectation I had was blown out of the water. Each building more beautiful than the last, my mouth gaped open as the cab whisked us away to our Airbnb.
I wish I could let you into my mind and heart and allow you to feel what I feel for this city. But I am going to write this guide to Paris in hopes that you will go there, walk the steps that I walked, see the sights that I saw, and feel the things that I felt.
Here is my guide to 21 romantic things to do in Paris, which is kind of funny because everything you do in Paris is romantic. And it doesn’t have to be romantic because you are with the love of your life (although, that is nice) it’s the kind of romance that gives you a zest for life even if you are alone, the kind that bonds friends and brings families together. So, without further ado, here is the list:
Eat Breakfast in a Cafe
One of the most simple and romantic things you can do is to savor breakfast in a quaint cafe. In the morning, get out of bed and follow the scent of baking bread to a bakery or cafe that catches your eye. Order some coffee, pastries, and just sit and stay while taking pleasure in everything this Parisian experience has to offer
Walk the Seine
The Seine is a large river that flows through the heart of Paris. Walking the Seine is gorgeous and relaxing. You’ll pass stretching bridges and timeless buildings as well as vendors trying to sell paintings and touristy items. If you find a view you particularity enjoy, feel free to stop and stay awhile.
Visit Place Saint-Michel
Plaza de St. Michel is the perfect place to have lunch. The beautiful fountain with the sculpture of St. Michael is one of my favorite stops in all of Paris. It’s a busy square, so be prepared for a crowd.
Visit Notre Dame
Notre Dame is a medieval catholic cathedral in Paris, not to mention one of the most famous Parisian landmarks, and one of the most beautiful structures to see. Entry inside the cathedral is free and the stained glass windows are stunning.
Picnic at the Luxembourg Gardens
The Luxembourg Gardens are beautifully landscaped gardens with hedges, flowers, trees, and patches of grass outside the Luxembourg Palace. Lay out a blanket, grab some wine, bread, and cheese from a market, and enjoy the site of the palace as birds chirp around you!
Walk around Montmartre
Montmartre is a neighborhood on a large hill in Paris’ 18th arrondissement. Montmartre is an iconic neighborhood with bustling cobblestone streets and shops. It’s a nice place to shop in vintage thrift stores or find affordable markets. We stocked up on $2 bottles of wine here.
Walk the Champs-Élysées
The Avenue des Champs-Élysées quite possibly may be the most famous avenue in the world. The avenue is lined with trees and home to many designer boutiques and restaurants. The Champs-Élysées makes a perfectly straight line from the Louvre to the Arc de Triomphe, although it is a rather long trek.
Climb up the Arc de Triomphe
On my first visit to Paris I only caught a glimpse of the Arc de Triomphe, but the next time around I actually climbed up it, and wow the view was spectacular. The Arc de Triomphe is another famous monument in Paris, and it honours those who fought and died for France in the French Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars.
Explore the Creepy Catacombs
The catacombs of Paris hold the remains of over 6 million people. Romantic? Maybe if you love Halloween as much as I do. Or you can bond over the fact that you’re both horrified. Either way it is definitely an experience to be had in Paris.
Split a bottle of Wine
Split a bottle of wine at a candle lit restaurant with outside seating on the street. Watch the cars go by, take in the sweet breaths of life. Do it. It will change you.
Dance on the Trocadéro
The Trocadéro is an area with a spectacular view of the Eiffel Tower, there are also musicians there sometimes and it’s the perfect place to dance with someone you love.
Wine and Cheese at Sacré-Cœur
Sacré-Cœur is one of my boyfriend’s favorite spots in Paris. It’s a beautiful church filled with history. It sits on a hill that looks over all of Paris. It takes some effort to walk up to, but the view is more than rewarding. Sit on the steps and open a bottle of wine and just look over and enjoy the view of the City of Lights. Sometimes there is a band or musician playing here which makes the experience that much better.
Paris Opera House
The Paris Opera House is incredible. It was built in 1875, and is decorated with gold ceilings, renaissance paintings, and unbelievable chandeliers. It is fit for royalty, and truly breathtaking. It is a must-see stop in Paris. If you are up for it, take a look at the show schedule and see if you can catch a ballet.
Sainte-Chapelle is a famous chapel in gothic style. It was built by Louis IX for use as his royal chapel. Despite its humble exterior, the jaw dropping stained glass windows on the inside are the most elaborate and alluring I have ever seen.
Enjoy Coffee with a View
Many times in Paris the weather is cold and rainy. Find a cafe with a view (this is not hard) and sip coffee to warm up. We found a cafe overlooking a gothic church and enjoyed coffee, tea, and a dessert.
Louvre and Musée d’Orsay
Nothing is more romantic than walking around a famous Parisian museum, and it’s the perfect activity to do on a cold day after enjoying coffee. The lines are long for these museums so be prepared, and try to purchase your tickets in advance!
Saint Germain is a beautiful neighborhood in Paris. It is in the 6th arrondissement, which is in close proximity to all the major tourist attractions, making it a great place to stay. The neighborhood also has delicious (albeit pricey) restaurants with great ambiance. If you don’t stay here, at least take a few hours to walk around and explore!
Place de la Concorde
Place de la Concorde is a huge square in Paris that you are bound to walk by. It was the site of the guillotine during the French Revolution, and was actually the spot where both King Louis XVI and Queen Marie Antoinette were beheaded! Today there is a somewhat touristy ferris wheel that you hop on if you are up to it!
Climb the Eiffel Tower
This is not for the easily-winded or for those with fear of heights – it’s 1710 steps up! However, it is exhilarating at the top, and the view is unbelievable. If you are not interesting in making the climb, you can opt to use the elevator. Tickets are available for purchase on the ground floor.
Lay Under the Eiffel Tower
There is a big area of grass under the Eiffel Tower called the Champ de Mars. Spread out a blanket, get out that bottle of wine, and wait for the magical Eiffel Tower to sparkle (this happens every turn of the hour). Put on your favorite music and wait for your entire view on life to be altered (no, I’m not exaggerating!)
The true serendipity of Paris is that you don’t even need a list of romantic things to do. Every street, every cafe, every shop is teeming with style and romance. Don’t feel to constrained to a list or itinerary. If you find a shop or street you like, spend the whole day there, or keep walking if it’s a nice day or you are enjoying the view.
Well, now I’m nostalgic and want to go back to Paris. I hope this post inspires at least one person to visit this spectacular city, and you have some idea of what you can do. Oh and P.S., please don’t keep track of how many times I said “get out a bottle of wine” on this post. Au revoir et bons voyage!