Love it or hate it, France is uncontestably the world’s most romantic destination. If you’ve been planning your Provence honeymoon since you stepped into 6th grade French, you know that lovers can find more in France than the Eiffel Tower. From wine tasting to Renaissance castles, without forgetting the glitz of the French Riviera, France has something to offer for every type of lovers. Follow us on a tour of the most romantic destinations in the land of love!
Paris, the city of lights
Although France has romance to offer beyond its capital, no romantic guide to France would be complete without a mention of the city of lights. If you step on the Parisian subway, you may however soon realize that not every corner of Paris was created equal when it comes to romance. Here are the top three spots you don’t want to miss:
• Bourg Montmartre. If Amelie Poulain found love here, so can you. Book a small apartment in this swanky neighborhood and fall in love in one of the many cafes that populate its winding streets. When you’ve found your match, get one of the portrait artists by the Sacré Coeur Cathedral to make a quick sketch of you and your other half.
• Eiffel Tower. For the ultimate romantic experience, head to this Parisian landmark in the winter and you will be able to ice skate on the second floor. If it’s not winter, settle for a (slightly overpriced) flute of champagne on the top floor and a view of the Arc du Triomphe at night. You’re in good company – the Eiffel tower is the most popular place to propose in the world.
• La Seine. For some more laidback romance, bring a blanket and a bottle of wine to Ile de la Cite and settle down on the banks of the Parisian river. You can philosophize on the meaning of love as night falls. If you’re looking to avoid the crowds, head to the equally romantic but more hidden Canal d’Ourcq in the 19th arrondissement.
Whatever romantic shenanigans you get to in Paris, resist the temptation to purchase a love lock! Since 2010, honeymooning couples from around the world have locked padlocks around the Pont des Arts, creating disturbance for the city and causing a partial bridge collapse in 2014. Nothing romantic about public destruction.
Only a few hours from Paris, you will find the French aristocracy’s former playground – the Loire Valley. Hundreds of castles are strewn across this riverbed, ranging from the majestic to the near familial. Rent a bike and cycle through Chambord’s expansive gardens for a taste of the countryside. When night falls, cuddle up and watch the award-winning lightshow bring the castle back to life. If Francois Ier could build his wife a castle, your partner can definitely buy you that birthday present you’ve been begging for. If that leverage doesn’t work, the Loire Valley is also a great place to drown your romantic sorrows at a wine tasting.
Up north, the town of Honfleur was inspiration for Baudelaire’s best romantic poems. Take a train from Paris and settle for a few days in this quaint little fishing town. As one of France’s culinary capitals, Honfleur is sure to deliver on the food front: taste fresh seafood or French delicacies at one of its award-winning restaurants. If you feel up for it, you can rent a small boat and cruise along the bay at sunset. If you have time, make the day trip out to Mont Saint Michel for a view of the fastest rising tide in the world.
Right across from Switzerland, the small town of Annecy is built on the crystal blue Lake Geneva. Venice better watch out – Annecy’s water canals make this a smaller, less crowded version of the classic Italian destination. Rent out a room in a chalet for some privacy, and relax in one of the many thermal baths found in the city. In the winter, you can hit the ski slopes with your significant other, or use the cold as an excuse to cuddle up in bed all day.
If romance conjures up pebble stone beaches in your head, head to the capital of the French Riviera for a taste of life in Southern France. Nice combines the convenience of a large city with the charm of a provincial town. Take a stroll down the Promenade des Anglais for a view of the beautiful French Riviera, and then head to the old city for a kiss in the meandering side streets. When your skin has reached the perfect level of sunkissed, stop by the world-famous Fennochio ice cream shop for a dizzying selection of 92 flavors. If sharing a rose sorbet on the French Riviera isn’t romantic, then we don’t know what is.
—Article written by Sarah Fellay, Let’s Go Travel