Labelled by many as the most romantic city in the world, Paris comes as a natural choice for an ideal Valentine’s Day break. And at just 2 hr 16 mins away from London, it is your chance to whisk away your special one to the capital of love.
Luckily, in 2020, Valentine’s Day is on a Friday, giving you the opportunity to turn this one-day celebration into a whole weekend. Share a romantic dinner on the river Seine while discovering Paris by night and its many majestic lit up monuments. An unmissable landmark, climb hand-in-hand to the top of the Sacré-Coeur basilica, one of the highest points in the city. Afterwards, stroll along the paved street of the Île de la Cité, home of the most visited building of Paris - the breathtaking Notre Dame Cathedral. It's only a few minutes away from the popular flower market of Paris…hint hint.
Oh, and don’t forget to capture a kiss with your Valentine’s date on film with the Eiffel tower as a backdrop. Paris has so much more to offer, it’s almost impossible to know where to start. To help you craft your very own unique experience we have selected a range of activities, hotels and restaurants you can choose from.
Happy Valentine's Day!
With unparalleled historical heritage, Paris has seduced millions of visitors, especially lovers. Renowned for its haute gastronomy, prestigious monuments and fashion, there is something for everyone. If you’re considering taking your other half to the French capital for this special day, here are five sights, you must not miss.
Symbol of Paris, the Eiffel Tower is one of the most iconic sights in the world. A marvel of engineering, it was built in 1889 and has been visited by over 300 million people ever since. If it’s your first trip to Paris, the iron lady is an absolute must-see. Hot tip: try going there at night to see the 20000 bulbs light up this wonder of the world.
A cruise on the Seine is undoubtedly one of the most romantic moments to experience with your loved one while in Paris. Jump in a typical Bateaux-Mouche (an open excursion boat) for just over an hour and navigate across the city and its bridges to admire the many gilded monuments. If you can, do it at night when Paris is all light up, its simply magical. With departures every 30 minutes or so and prices starting from €14, it would be a shame to miss it.
Fancy a little bit of exercise to work up an appetite for your Valentine’s Day meal? Climb up the 284 steps of the Arc de Triomphe, the biggest arch in the world. Once at the top, you can enjoy an amazing view of the Champs Elysees, also known as the most beautiful avenue in the world, which stretches over two kilometres. L’arc de Triomphe is open every day from 10am to 10:30pm between January and March and tickets only cost €12.
If the hustle and bustle of Paris gets to you during your break and you find yourself in need of some quiet time with your valentine, head over to the Luxembourg Gardens. Located in the heart of Paris next to the Latin Quarter and the very fashionable Saint-Germain-des-Pré, this manicured 25 acres of parkland is the perfect spot for a very romantic stroll. This is also where Parisians go jogging or take their children for an impromptu Punch and Judy show.
Quintessentially romantic, Montmartre is one of the most picturesque areas of Paris. Sitting at the top of a 130-meter hill, it is also known as the artist district due to the number of street painters who gather there every day hoping to paint tourist’s portraits in exchange for a few euros. Its steep cobble streets are strewn with French brasserie's terraces, where people sit to watch the world go by - giving Montmartre a captivating bohemian-chic vibe not to be missed.
You’ve kissed in front of the Eiffel tower, smooched on a bridge on the Seine and professed your love at the top of the Arc de Triomphe - but your grand romantic gestures are still missing that certain something. It’s time to put your love locks away: Valentine's Day in Paris is best experienced sans fromage. We’ve lined up five not-so-cliché moments that are just meant for two.
Vélibs are so last season. Hop on a rented Vespa and zip around the city in style, thanks to Paris by Scooter’s shiny fleet. A pulse-raising whizz from Opéra Garnier to the Seine takes in stately Haussmann buildings, the elegant Palais Royal and the Louvre’s remarkable pyramid. Or head to Montmartre for quaint alleyways, ivy-clad houses and va-va-voom views.
Dive à deux into the poetic world of Luigi Ghirri at the Jeu de Paume. The Italian photographer mapped Europe in the 1970s in colour-drenched snaps. Get inspiration for your next adventure off the beaten path, or just admire the windswept, languid landscapes the artist so vividly brought to life. The petit plus? You get 2 for 1 entry with your Eurostar ticket. From 12 February to 2 June 2019.
Why not start your romantic itinerary with "le mur des je t'aime" located in Montmartre. An original art piece from Frédéric Baron with the collaboration of Claire Kito where "je t'aime" is translated in 311 languages and dialects from all over the world displayed on 612 tiles of enamelled lava across a 40-metre square wall.
Play to score at Bliss near Les Halles, which counts babyfoot among its lures. It’s not, we hasten to add, a reference to playing footsie, but rather the French nickname for table football. The sprawling hangout also has a heated patio and a snazzy bar. Come on a Sunday and challenge your date to a game or three: you’ll need to work up an appetite for the all-you-can-eat buffet brunch.
You’ll definitely need two sweet-toothed gourmands to tackle Carette’s glorious platter of petits fours. From glossy choux to a classic Mont Blanc and seasonal fruit tarts, the bite-sized pastries are a delight to share. Order a hot chocolate, snuggle up on the heated terrace and look out over Place des Vosges. It’s arguably one of Paris’s prettiest squares – and the setting for many a tumultuous romance.
The beginning of Valentine’s Day remains uncertain and historians are still debating on its exact origins. Pagan priests, also known as the Luperci, used to scarify goats and get drunk to celebrate the god of fertility, Luperus. The priests would then roam around town, barely dressed, touching passers-by in the process. Young women would approach them hoping to be touched believing it would make them more fertile. This ritual took place each year on the 15th of February. In ancient Greece, love and fertility was celebrated between mid-January to mid-February. In 496 the Catholic Church decided Valentine’s Day would be celebrated on the 14th of February to thwart the Greeks and the Romans.
For some people the origin of Valentine's Day as we know it today, dates back to the 14th century and coincided with, what was believed at the time, the date when birds mated. On this date, it was traditional to exchange love poems and call each other 'valentine' - one's sweetheart.
Valentine’s day in Brazil is dwarfed by their carnival which happens around the same time. A similar celebration of love happens on the 12th of June instead called Saint Anthony's Day. In Japan, it is down to the ladies to offer chocolates to their loved one who will have to reciprocate a month later on the 14th of March. In Denmark, it is traditional for the men to offer a bouquet of white flowers called snowdrops and to write a funny poem called “gaekkebrev”. The Chinese equivalent to Valentine's Day is the “Qixi Festival” which takes place on the seventh night of the seventh lunar month. The legend behind it dates back to an ill-fated love affair between a cowherd and a young goddess during the Han Dynasty (206 BC – 220 AD).
Valentine’s day in French is called “la Saint Valentin”.