Paris is one of the world's most unique cities, known widely for its ability to be a huge cosmopolitan hub, home to world-class fashion houses, the most famous painting in the world and the centre of European business whilst also managing to simulate the rhythms of a small town. Great food, good shopping and incredible sights make this city perfect for couples, and with plenty to do even whilst on a budget there aren't many excuses for not visiting the city of love sooner.
Staying in Paris
All accommodation in Paris tends to observe the high peak and lower off-peak seasons, and adjust their prices accordingly. Peak season is late spring through summer, and a couple of weeks surrounding Christmas, and the off-peak season is anywhere in-between. If you're intending on staying a while, renting a furnished holiday apartment is more likely to save you money.
If you're looking for a romantic hotel to come back to after a long day's sightseeing, try the Hotel Chopin, built in 1846 and still with the original looking façade, the old-fashioned style adds to the romantic vibe this hotel emits. Plus, it's located only ten minutes' walk away from the Opera House and the major department stores and designer boutiques. Double rooms go from a relatively reasonable ‚€82 - ‚€102, and the fact that the hotels top floor overlooks the Parisian rooftops evokes a cosy and romantic feel.
The Good Morning Paris chain of B&B's offers great rates and package deals for tourists visiting the city. A friendly and uniquely French brand, each B&B offers a different perspective on the city, but all sites have cosy and contemporary rooms for couples and singles. Rates start from ‚€84 - ‚€104, and breakfast is included. The hotel offers packages, which includes a room plus tickets or discount cards towards some of the city's best attractions.
The Hotel Regyn's in Montmartre is a friendly budget hotel in the bubbling heart of romantic Paris neighbourhood, Montmartre. The rooms have all been attractively refurbished with pristine white bathrooms, and some overlook a charming little courtyard at the rear of the hotel. The pricier privilege rooms on the fourth and fifth floors have panoramic views over the city. Rooms cost around ‚€80.
How do I get around in Paris?
Walking round Paris is your best bet to see everything that you want to whilst still soaking in the culture and atmosphere that the city gives off. We recommend strapping on a pair of comfortable shoes and grabbing a map either online or from a tourist office kiosk, and finding your way round. Paris is split into numbered districts, or arrondissements. A good place to start is right in the heart of Paris - the 1st arrondissement (1er arrondissement), home to the Louvre, the Palais Royal, the Arc de Triomphe and the Jardin des Tuileres. Then move on to the 7th, which is just across the river, where the Eiffel Tower and its Parc du Champ de Mars is, the Paris megastore Le Bon Marche, and the Musee d'Orsay. After that, navigate your own way round. The Seine is always present and is really romantic for the travelling couple.
Paris' excellent underground railway network runs trains to every station, and trains run every 2-3 minutes during rush hour. Even with a staggering 6.75 million people moving in, out and around Paris on a daily basis using the Metro, people can get on a train and sit in relative comfort and ease. However, make sure you avoid the Metro lines 1, 4, 9, & 13 during rush hour as these get particularly crowded. A one-way ticket to any stop on the Metro line is ‚€1.70- a reasonable price for getting around quickly. If you have a disability, or heavy luggage, find out in advance about the facilities available at each station. Getting to platforms from street level or doing between platforms to change lines can be difficult even at major intersecting stations, and usually involves walking up and down multiple sets of stairs.
Although the Metro will be perfect for everything you intend on seeing, there may be some places you want to visit where the Metro doesn't go, or is inefficient in getting to. In this case, a bus ride might be much more suitable, with the additional bonus of seeing the city. Buses use the same ticket system as the Metro, but it doesn't mean you can go from using the Metro to the bus - you'll need a different ticket.
Don't do it. If you've ever seen footage of Parisian traffic you'll understand why only locals 'fluent' in the chaotic traffic behaviour are likely to drive or ride anywhere on the cities roads. Not only is the city incredibly busy most of the time, streets are too narrow for the huge amounts of traffic and people are a bit crazy with what they think is acceptable.
If you're brave enough to tackle the poor driving mentality, then renting a bike is probably the second fastest way to see Paris, after the Metro. Try navigating your way round using side streets or the roads marked with significantly bigger bike lanes.
Where is the best place to eat?
Paris is the perfect location for a quick bite to eat and the city is spattered with small coffee shops, sandwich bars and places to enjoy lunch among the fast-talking locals. Parisian 'Salad Nicoise' consists of canned tuna, anchovies, green beans, tomato wedges, hard-boiled eggs, sliced potatoes and a classically French dressing. If you don't think it'll be much different from the packaged Waitrose version, try 'escragot'. Yep, snails. Cooked in butter, garlic and parsley, they are quite the delicacy. Not only is dipping the bread into the shell to get the remaining sauce acceptable, it's practically a sin in France to leave any trace of the sauce behind. 'Brandade de Morue' is a traditional Provencal dish found on many menus throughout Paris. Mashed salt cod is blended with olive oil and garlic until it becomes a smooth cream, where it is mixed in with whipped potatoes - especially filling on a colder day.
For cupcakes, cakes and coffee: Bertie's Cupcakery
Located in the heart of Paris, Bertie's Cupcakery does exactly what it says on the tin. Their cupcakes are amazing and have a huge variety of flavours you can taste, including salted caramel, Nutella banana, Oreo or raspberry lemonade and crepes that are a twist on the old reliable banana and Nutella. Cupcake prices start from ‚€3.50 and it's well worth it.
For Italian: Ciacco
Friendly and authentic restaurant Ciacco welcomes you with the smell of cooking dough and with staff that genuinely care about your dining experience. Pizzas are served with rosemary sprinkled bases and fresh ingredients, pasta with a hunk of delicious parmesan and a grater. Prices range from ‚€22 for a three course meal, which is great value for any traveller, and candles are decorated on tables throughout - making it the perfect romantic place to eat.
For a place to stop and snack: Café Pere & Fils
Situated in the very heart of Paris, between Trail and Etienne Marcel in the 2nd arrondissement, Pere and Fils is a contemporary coffee shop refurbished in a Parisian brasserie décor. The kitchen produces traditional Parisian foods with quality products and a focus on presentation. The food is reasonably priced - you can get big lunch here for a good ‚€15.
What can I do in Paris?
Montmartre is a district of Paris famous for its romantic scenery. Head to the top of the hill for a great spot to look over the city with your significant other, and wander through the narrow, cobbled streets lined with cute cafes and shops.
The Ponts des Arts is another beautiful spot in the city. The pedestrian bridge sites elegantly across the Seine River. It offers a picturesque view of the city and street musicians and artist help create a romantic, film-moment kind of vibe.
Paris' 18th arrondissement is home to Le Mur Des Je T'aime (the Wall of 'I Love You's) which was created by artists Frederic Baron and Claire Kito. It has become a meeting place for lovers and those in love for years, and has the words 'I love you' written on it in over 250 different languages.
The Sacre Coeur Basilica literally means the Sacred Heart. Located in the romantic Montmartre neighbourhood, it's a popular spot for most tourists. Climb the stairs for a great view over Paris.
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