The City of Lights, capital of France, and when it comes to the 14th February, the City of Love. It may seem cliché to head to Paris when it comes to the February Holiday, but there’s certainly plenty of (mildly) romantic things to do with your loved one in the city. Here’s your ultimate guide on how to spend Valentine’s day in Paris.
Go and make your own chocolates!
France is considered to have some of the very best chocolates in the world. And so, this Valentine’s Day, why not grab your beau and head to one of the many chocolate workshops around the city to learn to make your own? This Valentine’s Day, plenty of prestigious Parisian pastry schools are holding chocolate making workshops, including Le Cordon Bleu.
Feast on some of the best Macarons in Paris
Is there any sweet treat more synonymous with France than the macaron? While the best selling cookie in France can be on the pricier side of food in the city of love, there’s no gift more synonymous with saying ‘I love you’ than that of the macaron. Head to Carette, Fauchon, and Hermé for some of the very best macarons in Paris.
Go for a Parisian Picnic with your beau
While it’s true that February can remain a little chilly when it comes to the weather, going for a picnic in the park with your loved one is guaranteed to melt your heart if you wrap up warm! Head to your local Parisian supermarket and boulangerie, pick up some picnic essentials (wine, baguette, all the cheese), and venture out into one of the many Parisian parks, green spaces, and squares that the city has to offer.
Visit the Musée de la Vie Romantique
Literally translated as the ‘museum of Romantic Life,’ the former home of painter Ary Scheffer welcomed some pretty famous guests over the years; Frédéric Chopin, Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres, Alphonse de Lamartine, Franz Liszt, Charles Dickens, and Ivan Turgueniev all visited the residence at some point or another.
Today, the Musée de la Vie Romantique remains a quaint property tucked away on its own little street at the base of Butte Montmartre. You can explore the collections, or enjoy a tea in the museum’s café and be transported back to a time gone by.
Take a romantic (and historical) walk along the Seine
One of the very best, and totally free, things to do for Valentine’s Day in Paris is to take a stroll down the Seine, hand in hand with your loved one. Wander past Notre Dame, the cutest café in Paris (Au Vieux Paris d’Arcole), the prestigious Sorbonne School and past the intricately stained glass windows of Saint Chapelle.
Perhaps you could even pick up an ice cream from Berthillon en route, or may a crêpe. Oh so French! Oh so romantic! Wandering which route to take along the Seine? Here’s a self-guided walking tour of Paris I made just for you, just a little while ago…
Learn about medieval Romance in Père Lachaise
Pere Lachaise sits in the North East of Paris. With tree-lined boulevards and even its own signage mimicking that of Paris proper, Pere Lachaise Cemetery sits in a world of its own. A world inhabited by the dead. Reputedly over a million of them… The very real people, Abelard and Heloïse, are buried in Père Lachaise cemetery, not far from the main entryway to the graveyard.
The story of Heloise and Abelard is a tale of forbidden love, the Romeo and Juliet of its time if you will. In the middle ages, Abelard was Heloise’s professor and the two were never meant to fall in love. But they did. And, eventually, they were separated by Heloise’s furious uncle, who also happened to hold a senior position at Notre Dame.
Take a day trip to a magical Castle
The Île de France region, where Paris sits is filled with Gothic masterpieces, fairytale castles and quaint French towns, all of which are worth visiting. But if you’re looking for an especially Romantic Day trip from Paris (particularly if you want to avoid the crowds of Paris on the 14th February), then you should head to one of the many French Châteaux in the region. Personal favourites include Chantilly, Fontainebleau, and Vincennes.
Enjoy a fondue and wine in Montmartre
Of all the romantic destinations in Paris, the former hilltop village of Montmartre is probably the quaintest of them all. Wander along the cobbled streets, enjoy a coffee en terrace or explore one of the last remaining vineyards in Paris during the daytime, that of Le Clos Montmartre.
And when it comes to your Valentine’s Day meal, head to one of the ‘Frenchest’ eateries in town, Le Refuge des Fondus. Based down a little cobbled lane, there are two choices on the menu (meat or cheese?) and two drink choices on offer (red or white wine?) It doesn’t get more Parisian than this!
Pay a visit to the ‘I love you’ Wall
Located near the metro station of ‘Abesses’, the ‘I Love You Wall’ (Le Mur des je t’aime in French) is filled with how to say ‘I Love You’ in hundreds of different languages. While I don’t recommend visiting the wall specifically to see the wall (there are always crowds of people and the wall merits only a short visit), the area surrounding the wall is beautiful and well worth a wander around.
If you’re looking for a romantic walk around Montmartre and beyond, then I recommend taking my Montmartre Self-Guided walking tour! On it, you’ll discover the hidden windmills of Paris, learn about Place Dalida, and see some of the places that inspired artists such as Picasso and Vincent Van Gogh!
Wander the lost villages of Paris
You may well not know this, but there are plenty of obscure, hidden and totally lost villages dotted throughout Paris. These small communities were once settlements in their own right but have since been absorbed into the fabric of the city of love.
Personal favourites include Square de Montsouris (close to the Catacombs of Paris), Butte Aux Cailles (reminiscent of wandering around Provence), and Butte Bergeyre (a micro-arrondissement away from the city centre with its own private vineyard). Head to one of these villages for a glimpse of French life outside of Paris without ever leaving the Peripherique!
And if you don’t have a date…
…Create a Galentine’s Day in Paris outing for you and your friends! Just because you don’t have a romantic partner for the 14th doesn’t mean that you can’t celebrate Valentine’s Day in Paris. Instead, grab a few of your friends and head to see a vintage film at one of the many independent cinemas dotted throughout the city, or go in search of some of the very best panoramic views over Paris!