To visit Paris is to fall in love, with the city, with the object of your affection, and above all, with yourself. Anyone who has ever stepped foot in the City of Lights knows that the French capital will charm you. Simply strolling the cobbled streets of the Right or Left Banks is an experience in indulging the senses.
Beyond each historic café-lined
Let’s start with chocolate, everyone’s favorite indulgence, non? While there are many artisanal chocolatiers that merit a tasting, it’s Jacques Genin that wins my heart. Maybe it’s because his chocolat chaud is one of the most decadent in Paris, not to mention his famous Paris-Brest, a light pastry with a creamy praline filling. Regardless, it’s an experience you won’t soon forget. Take a seat at his cozy Haut Marais tea salon and order sweets to your heart’s content. And don’t forget to pick up a box of chocolate on your way out.
Since Paris is also the capital of fashion, stop by Galeries Lafayette, one of the most regal department stores in the world. If your heart isn’t into shopping, enjoy the ornate interiors, dating back to the 19th century. These days there’s a 9-meter long glass walkway suspended 16 meters high in mid-air, allowing you an even closer look at the majestic dome. Continue to the top floor for one of the most stunning rooftop views of Paris. Are you in love yet?
Only in Paris will you find the Museum of Romantic Life, better known as the Musée de la Vie Romantique. Once the home of painter Ary Scheffer, this was where Parisian intellectuals would meet, to the tunes of Frédéric Chopin playing the piano. Included in their entourage were George Sand, Franz Liszt, and Charles Dickens. Take a walk through this 1830 hôtel particulier and settle into its enchanting garden for lunch by Rose Bakery.
Given the chill of February, where better to spend an afternoon warming up with your loved one than in the heat of a luxurious hammam? Les Cent Ciels is just the place to spoil yourself, and maybe even a date. Revel in a cleansing
The capital of love is also the capital of fine dining. Why not dine in a historic monument? Head to the Gare de Lyon, one of Paris’s seven train stations, and rather than booking a ticket (though that’s always enticing), head up the stairs to Le Train Bleu. Originally created for the Exposition Universelle in 1900, each room represents a different region of France, with 41 paintings lining the richly decorated walls. In 1963, it was coined with its current name and has since then become an address frequented by those with a taste for elegance.
Regardless of where you find yourself on Valentine’s Day, take time to inhale what is so deeply Parisian; strolling from the Right Bank to the Left with no clear destination in mind; stopping at a café terrace for a café crème with a side of people watching; picking up a warm baguette as the scents of freshly baked bread waft through the air. More simply, falling in love with each moment.
Wouldn’t it be nice to make some French friends? If you’ve come to France with the expectation to mix and mingle with Parisians and catch up on your French, but you still don’t have any actual Parisian friends, welcome to the club.