Paris is a destination that is synonymous with romance. The illuminated Eiffel Tower, exquisite cuisine, and fine wine elements represent just the tip of the Champagne bottle. With Valentine’s Day on the horizon, the City of Light certainly ranks as one of ultimate couple’s retreats in the world. With a rental car in Paris, why not see them all? The following five intimate outings are best enjoyed while holding the hand of the one you love.
Île de la Cité – Locks of Love and Flowers
This little island is where Parisian life all began, more than 2000 years ago. Clearly, Paris has grown immensely since ancient times, but Île de la Cité is still considered the epicenter of Paris. Pont de l’Archevêché is an arched stone bridge that connects the eastern tip of the island to the Seine’s southern bank. Since 2010, couples have been clipping padlocks to the chain linked fence that runs along both sides of the bridge, and then the key is tossed into the river. The ritual is supposed to symbolize eternal love, but it is best not to add to the lock collection. They have been put there from couples visiting the City of Love, and Parisians frown upon the newly cropped up tradition. Île de la Cité is also home of the famous, French Gothic Notre Dame Cathedral. As you meander about the island, be sure to stop by the historic Marché aux Fleurs (the Flower Market) for a fragrant bouquet to brighten your hotel room during your stay.
Seine River – Evening Champagne Cruise
Take an intimate evening cruise down the River Seine. Sip Champagne with your love, and get lost in the moment as the boat gently passes by the luminous Parisian monuments (book a river cruise like this one). The atmosphere will be cozier, and the experience will be more personal than with one of the larger river cruise ships. Not to mention, your voyage will include the sampling of three varying types of Champagne. The one hour tour casts off at 6pm and is the perfect way to start an evening out on the town.
Le Ciel de Paris Restaurant – Breathtaking Panoramic View
If you aren’t afraid of heights and would like to savor a gourmet meal while taking in the best view Paris has to offer, Le Ciel de Paris is the place for you. This chic establishment boasts floor to ceiling windows, a Champagne bar and an extensive menu. Make dinner reservations online, and the memories of dining above the twinkling Parisian cityscape will last a lifetime.
A Stroll through Montmartre
Meander along the same narrow cobblestone streets that great artists, such as Dali, Picasso and Renoir, used to frequent. Follow an online guide like this one, and don’t worry too much about getting lost. Just keep following the streets uphill. There are plenty of guided tours available, too. The white domed Sacré-Cœur and stunning views of Paris await you at the top of the hill. On your way back down, stop by Le Moulin de la Galette for lunch. It is one of the two remaining windmills in Paris and is famous for being the old stomping grounds of renowned, Bohemian artists. One of the final pauses of your walk should be at Le Mur des Je t’aimes. It’s a mural of 311 different ways to say I love you, written in 250 languages.
The Best of Champs-Élysées
Often referred to as the most beautiful avenue in the world, a trip to Paris simply wouldn’t be complete without visiting Champs-Élysées. Climb to the top of the Arc de Triomphe for one of the nicest views of the Eiffel Tower. While walking down the grand avenue, swing by the Ladurée tearoom and taste one of the best macarons made in the City of Light. Dinner at La Fermette Marbeuf (which is just off the main strip) will take you back a century in time with its authentic Art Nouveau décor. Then catch a colorful cabaret performance at the Lido (Moulin Rouge may be the most talked about cabaret but the Lido boasts a better show).
When you’ve had your fill of Parisian charm, your rental car in France provides the ideal escape to the countryside. Why not explore one of the country’s picturesque wine routes and the quaint towns along the way?