The City of Love
Secret spots to fall in love again in the world’s most romantic city.
WORDS JEAN MICHEL DE ALBERTI AND JEREMY DRAKE POETRY ATTICUS
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Listen to the latest poem by Atticus about love in Paris
You can hear the longing and romance that oozes from Ernest Hemingway when he wrote about Paris, “If you’re lucky enough to have lived in Paris as a young man, then wherever you go for the rest of your life, it stays with you.”
Like Hemingway, those among us who have been ‘lucky’ just to visit, we share a bond whereby we know if we close our eyes, we can still remember our time in the city as fondly as our first kiss as a teenager.
There’s no other place on the planet that is capable of stoking that same rush, or those same feelings of complete, unbridled passion.
Paris’ succession of twenty arrondissements - arranged on either side of the Seine - spread like tentacles outwards like they’re searching for romantic souls on every street corner. Afterall, Paris is the city for lovers.
Oh no I've had the slow murmur of a Paris thought, the kind that won't leave until well after a month-long-week of rose, cafes, and sunsets on the Seine.
But throughout the city there's also a rich tapestry of history, food and late-night hospitality that are all ripe for exploring whether you arrive here with a partner or without.
And when the tourists scurry back to their hotels in the evening, this is when the real charm of the popular districts Montmartre, Saint Germain and the Louvre all truly come to life. That’s because Parisians like to dive deep within their own city at night. They unpick it’s threads in ways we’re unable, exploring their city like a poem and a love letter with a much deeper meaning.
Here's a much closer look at three spots to help with your next untethered, passionate-filled leap into this magical city.
Wander the colorful streets of Montmartre.
The Magic of Montmartre
The Place du Tertre and the Sacré Coeur (the church which dominates the city’s skyline) are the two most famous places on ‘The Hill.’ Both of which are usually inundated with tourists during the day.
But just a few steps from Place du Tertre, you’ll find one of the most romantic and private avenues in all of Paris.
The Avenue Junot is loved by Parisians for its colorful terraces and lime trees which ferry couples, holding hands, up towards the vineyards of Montmartre.
Among the rows of houses, you’ll find 15 Avenue Junot, the home of Dadaist writer Tristan Tzara. The villa was built by Adolf Loos, the Austrian master of modern architecture in 1925. This is the only work of Loos in Paris and is registered as a historical monument.
Hidden a short stroll away, the Hôtel Particulier Montmartre invites you in to discover its magnificent restaurant on the terrace in one of the city’s most private streets. But even good secrets don’t guarantee you a view in Paris, so make sure you book a table on the terrace well in advance. Your lover will thank you.
Paris teach me of your cobbled streets and rivers teach me of your painters who sit by your bridges teach me of the gardens and the cafes and the treats teach me of the sun as it sets in the trees teach me for i will listen teach me and i will paint it with all the words it gives me
If you’re planning a proposal, a crazy moment of passion, or simply need to give your better half a reminder of why they’re still the center of your world, Montmartre has two of the most beautiful views in all of Paris.
Wander to the front of the Dali museum where you’ll stumble upon a terrace that overlooks the glistening lights of the city. It’s here that you can sit on a public bench together, open a bottle of champagne and watch the Eiffel Tower in the distance flicker and sparkle on the hour. Perhaps it does this to keep lovers in check, or to remind them that time is immaterial in a place like Montmartre?
If it is more upmarket and chic you’re looking for, the restaurant on the top floor of the Terrass Hotel is one of the most sublime places to dine in the entire city. The hotel’s 180 degree views unfold from the balcony like a tablecloth, which is then pinched only in the middle where the Eiffel Tower interrupts an endless horizon.
Lovers spots around the Louvre
The most famous museum in Paris is a tourist magnet, but that also means the surrounding avenues and public squares are well kept secrets, undiscovered and packed full of experiences. Especially at night.
It’s the sort of secret part of Paris where your lover won’t hesitate to sneak you a sideward glance and a kiss on the neck.
Starting within the museum itself, the magnificent terrace of Café Marly faces the illuminated Pyramid. As you would expect with a spot as central and as famous as the Louvre Museum, this is a place where all of Paris' fashionistas and elite love to meet.
But the much more discreet Palais Royal restaurant in the garden of the same name is better known to the locals. Its excellent menu boasts a Michelin star under the direction of chef Philip Chronopoulos.
Dining outside is elegant and refined at the Palais Royal Restaurant.
Views from the inside of the Palais Royal Restaurant.
Spoil yoursellf and your lover at Spa Nolinski by La Colline.
A short stroll away, the owners of the restaurant Palais Royal also run the elegant Nolinski Hotel, which has a swimming pool and spa in the basement that is also very popular with locals. Come here to get away from the hustle and bustle of the city where the hotel organizes day spas for couples, highlighted with treatments from prestigious skincare brand, La Colline.
And as day turns to night, we recommend your first drink together be at the Café de Nemours, where it is not unusual to be sitting within earshot of Natalie Portman. Together you'll watch actors leave their final shows at the nearby Comédie Française, before you both dissapear hand-in-hand into the Parisian night.
Views don't get more romantic than the Suite Amour at the Hotel Lutetia.
Secrets of Saint Germain des Prés
As you cross the Seine at the Pont des Arts - one of the most romantic bridges in all of Paris - you’ll find yourself on the Left Bank.
The famous Café de Flore is your first stop for a coffee hit. It is still one of the most popular meeting spots in the city. However, our favourite cafe is much less prominent and tucked away in the small garden terrace of the Hotel de l'Abbaye on rue Cassette.
The bistro-style cuisine within this quaint, green oasis, hidden away from the chaos of the busy Left Bank is unparalleled and perfect for a lover's breakfast. A handful of tables are arranged around a fountain which are again very popular with French and international celebrities.
The nearby and recently renovated Hotel Lutetia has remarkable views of the Eiffel Tower and unmistakable Parisian rooftops. Francis Ford Coppola has a suite named after him here, decorated with his own personal effects and film memorabilia. We think the hotel bar also has a few stories of Coppola that it could tell. Be sure to visit here first before heading out for dinner.
The breathtaking terrace views across Paris from the top of Hotel Lutetia.
Start your evening strolling through the quiet streets of Saint Germain: rue Bonaparte, which houses the Ecole des Beaux Arts, rue Mazarine and its small galleries and be sure to discover the smallest street in the district, rue Visconti.
Not far from the Orsay Museum, the newly opened J.K Place (which is set in the antique store filled rue de Lille) is arguably the most romantic hotel in all of Paris. The sort of place that newlyweds come to Paris to never leave their room.
Beautifully styled and designed, the hotel adopts the feel of a private residence, cleverly mixing it’s French and Italian influences.