We have all either experienced or imagined a night in this city of romance: Paris.

Whether it’s enjoying the atmosphere of Montmartre, the joy of walking along the Seine or the amazement over watching the sunset from atop the Eiffel Tower, there is no doubt that Paris has become one of the most sought-after travel destinations in Europe and the World.

But…is it really that romantic? Does it live up to the hype? Is Paris, THE city of Love?

No. Yes. Maybe.

Let me tell you about my experiences in the City of Lights.

Pont Alexandre. Paris, City of Love

Pont Alexandre. Paris, City of Love

Do first impressions always last?

My first time in Paris (January 2012) was also my first time in Europe. Everything was so different and yet, similar at the same time. Having flown over 10+ hours from Mexico, I was totally exhausted and just wanted to go to an hotel and rest…however, Paris was not my final destination.

I was part of a exchange program to this God-forsaken town in the center of France called Clermont-Ferrand (or, as I love to call it, Clermont-Faire-Rien).

My short stay in Paris involved getting a shuttle bus from the Airport to the Gare de Lyon, getting lost trying to reach the Gare de Bercy, walking aimlessly along the Seine for more than one hour, eating a sad hamburger at a McDonalds where all the employees had names that didn’t sound French at all, missing the last train to Clermont-Ferrand and having to sleep outside of the train station.

I didn’t even got to see the Eiffel Tower.

The Eiffel Tower at Paris, the City of Love

The Eiffel Tower at Paris, the City of Love

10 Romantic things to do in Paris

Luckily, during the first few weeks after arriving to France, I met a special girl who also possesses what I call the “travel bug” so we made plans to travel somewhere in France together, our first weekend was in beautiful Lyon and our second was in Paris.

The same Paris that I had disliked during my first visit.

My second time in Paris sure changed the way I regarded the French capital. Staying at a hotel with a beautiful night view of the Basilique du Sacré-Cœur was only the beginning of the highlights of this trip.

We did all the classic touristy bit and loved every second of it.

Sacre Coeur in Paris, City of Love

Sacre Coeur in Paris, City of Love

Here’s a small list of the top things to do in Paris.

1) Kiss underneath the Eiffel Tower. If you’re lucky, you might even find the drunk guy who claims to be the captain of the Tower. DO NOT accept his offer to marry you off, as a captain he can still legally do it!

2) Write your names on a padlock, attach it to the Pont Des Arts and throw away the keys…just don’t expect it to still find it there the next week. The town hall constantly removes them in order to make room for new ones. Ha.

3) Get your caricature drawn (in a slightly racist manner, I must add) at Montmartre and get outraged at the price you’ll have to pay. No discounts!

4) Buy a baguette at a touristy street stand run by a (somewhat angry) Chinese man and be ashamed because his French is leagues above yours!

5) Dine at the restaurant at the top of the Eiffel Tower Go to the top of the Eiffel Tower at night and bring the baguette you bought earlier that day. Trust me, it’s better that way.

6) Take a night cruise on the Seine river. Just remember to wear a LOT of perfume to distract yourself from the youngsters smoking weed underneath the bridges and the dirtiness of the river itself.

7) Enter the Louvre Museum to enjoy its magnificent works of art. My favorite exhibit is the human zoo of annoying tour groups trying to take funny photos by “fake touching” the private parts of the Greek sculptures. Classic.

8) Visit Napoleon’s grave and brag to your date that at least you’re not as short as him. Special points if you also take her to the Père Lachaise Cementery and reassure her that Oscar Wilde was way wilder than you.

9) Buy a bottle of wine and organize a romantic dinner at your hotel for you and your special someone. Just avoid my mistake of not buying a wine-opener!!!

10) Get out of Paris. Really, I mean it, if you’re looking for a very romantic time in France, I would recommend you to go to the Loire Region and enjoy its many Fairy-Tale Castles. It is my best place in all of Europe to relax and just enjoy life!

The architecture of Paris, City of Love

The architecture of Paris, City of Love

So…Is Paris THE City of Love?

Did I fall in love with Paris? Maybe not during that second visit but I sure fell in love in Paris and that’s what matters the most to me since that special girl and I lasted together many months after that and ended up traveling together to Italy, Switzerland, Germany, England and Scotland.

To this day, even tough we are only friends now, she remains one of my best memories of Europe and I have to thank Paris for that. Even if you only have one day in Paris, I’m sure you will learn to love your time there!

Having said that, I would like to say there is NO such thing as a “City of Love”. However, there are cities that you fall in love with and there are cities where you fall in love with someone.

The Eiffel Tower at Night

The Eiffel Tower at Night

Which one of those places is Paris to me? Paris is, to me, the one magical place where you can accomplish both. Paris is a place where liberty and freedom are the norm and not the exception. Paris is…everything.

Place de la Concorde. Paris, City of Love

Place de la Concorde. Paris, City of Love

Last but not least, don’t forget to use our Booking.com Affiliate Link of Wonders for making hotel reservations.

Same price for you and a small pocket money commission for this website of yours.

Sweet deal, uh?

What are some of your most romantic experiences in Paris? Have you visited the city while in love? Share your opinion here and let me know what’s on your mind!

Until next time, my friends!

Things to Do and See in Paris France Europe Travel

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30 Responses

  1. SueBee and Kat

    What a great story! I was in Paris in 1978, and lived there for a few months. I wish I’d had the experiences you wrote about – someday I’ll go back again. ~SueBee

  2. Magali

    Great article, great story :) Now that I live in Paris, I can truly say that for me it’s the city of love… Anywhere you go, the architecture, the parks, the little streets, the atmosphere, the soul of the city makes me wanna fall in love ! Some French hates Paris and some love it. I am just definitely part of the second group.

    • Raphael Alexander Zoren

      Indeed, Magali! It’s the daily joie de vivre (did I spell that right?) that really makes it or breaks it for some people, glad you’re loving it over there :)

  3. Marysia (@MyTravelAffairs)

    Ha ha ha, very nicely put, especially the number 10. But I would opt for Normandy, Pays Basque or Burgundy! Those are super nice and much more romantic places than Paris :)

    • Raphael Alexander Zoren

      I didn’t have the time to visit Pays Basque or Burgundy but I definitely agree with Normandy! In fact, one of my best experiences is a romantic day at Monet’s garden at Giverny. As an art-lover, I was absolutely amazed seeing his paintings come to life before my eyes!

  4. malaysianmeanders

    My husband and I went to Paris last summer and loved it. However, our 3 kids were along, too, so there’s only so romantic that we could be. Still, we put a love lock on the bridge and kissed under the Eiffel Tower. No picture of you “fake touching” the private parts of a Greek statue?

    • Raphael Alexander Zoren

      Hahaha no, I was traveling solo during my visit to the Louvre (my girlfriend at the time went shopping :o ) and I was too embarrassed to ask a stranger to take a photo of me and one of those statues haha I tried a selfie but the effect wasn’t the same.

  5. Chasing the Donkey

    Thanks so much for linking up to the #SundayTraveler this week. I love that tip about taking a baguette to the top of the tower. Who needs an overpriced meal when you can have french bread!

    • Raphael Alexander Zoren

      Exactly! Another option is catch your own land snails (or escargot as the posh French like to call them) and have a feast! I still cannot believe that people pay huge loads of money to eat critters that they can easily catch by themselves :o

  6. ahubbard10

    Thanks so much for linking up to #SundayTraveler! I also loved the tip about taking the baguette to the top…much better option. I have been to Paris but not with a significant other–maybe would make it seem more romantic :)

  7. frankaboutcroatia

    Lol, Clermont-Faire-Rien – a good one! Never been there, but after your short but clear description, I don’t think I’ll visit it anytime soon.Thanks for linking up to the “SundayTraveler!

    • Raphael Alexander Zoren

      Hahaha it’s probably for the best! Altough I would definitely suggest Clermont for a one-day trip if you’re coming from Vichy since it is only 30 minutes away.

  8. Jess

    Getting accidentally married at the Eiffel Tower somehow sounds way more exciting then doing it in Vegas!

  9. Tam @ Travelling Book Junkie

    There are many things that I had read about Paris before going and, like yourself, realised were not all that romantic when I got there. However, for me there was one part of Paris that I did fall for – the area around Notre Dame. I could walk the streets around the Cathedral for hours, spend days in Shakespeare & Co amongst the old dusty books and drink copious amounts of coffee in little side cafes watching artists capture moments in chalk and pencil as they linger on the banks of the River Seine. As for the Eiffel Tower – I can say I walked up it, saw the view from the top of it and won’t be returning to it! :)

  10. Claire

    This is a great list: I say that as a real born and raised Parisian.

    I would add a little walk in the Parc des Buttes Chaumont and the Canal Saint Martin.

    And the ultimate romantic thing: exchange or renew your wedding vows in one of these gorgeous locations.

  11. Rose

    I’d like to visit Paris soon. Thanks for the info. Am looking forward to the visit.