If you're lucky enough to be planning Valentine's Day in Paris with someone you love, you're not likely to come away disappointed. That is, on at least one important condition: you have to keep your eyes and mind open to the capital's particular magic, and suspend some of your expectations for things to go a certain way.
The city of light, so long associated with romance of a rather canned and cliche variety, has so much more in store than the movies allow. It's an authentic sort of romantic quality that's likely to wash over you at unexpected moments, perhaps when you're strolling with your sweetheart down a quiet, unassuming alley, or admiring a painting together at a little-known but magnificent museum.
But even if the city seemingly has romantic mojo built into its DNA, planning ahead for your special day is essential, as couples naturally flock here to celebrate together on February 14th. The last thing you want is to be stressed and harried, searching desperately for tables at the restaurants you've dreamed of dining at, or rushing to secure tickets for a dinner cruise of the Seine River. With that in mind, here are some ideas and tips to help you have a truly memorable Valentine's Day in the capital.
Coveted Romantic Attractions and Activities:
Leading up to your Valentine's Day outing in Paris, read up on the most romantic sights and attractions in Paris. The guide leads you directly to couple-centric sights and activities, parks and gardens, restaurants and shows. Whether you choose to take a walk in some of the city's most storied and gorgeous areas, savor a Michelin-star meal at one of the top gourmet restaurants in Paris, duck into a double-feature in a historic old cinema, or book a date in a classic Parisian cabaret for a night of old-world staginess, there's no lack of choice here.
Valentine's Day Special Travel Offers:
Most of you will have to work within a modest or tight budget to afford your romantic getaway-- we get that. How to ensure your trip is unforgettable, but also doesn't break the bank?
I recommend searching for current deals on packages to Paris at TripAdvisor. Otherwise, if you're traveling within continental Europe, why not take the train? It's less stressful, more scenic, and hence more romantic. You can book TGV (high-speed rail) tickets and rail passes with online booking services such as Rail Europe.
Dinner Cruises and Cabarets:
What could beat a romantic dinner cruise on the Seine river, or a dinner and traditional Paris cabaret show for a spicier night out? Check this page for current deals. You should also consider taking a traditional boat tour of Paris. It's always an incredibly soothing, picturesque way to see the city, perhaps snuggled together for warmth on the top deck.
Finding the Perfect Gift For Your Cheri/e:
Paris has more shops and department stores per square foot than nearly anywhere in the world. If you want to offer someone special a unique gift for Valentine's Day, you should have no trouble finding one in Paris. To quickly home in on an original, romantic gift, I first recommend that you consult our guide to avoiding cliche presents in Paris.
More Ideas for Gifts and Romantic Moments
Is your sweetheart a chocoholic? Beeline over to the best chocolate shops in Paris to purchase a few creamy ganaches to make his or her heart melt. Gourmet palates and wine lovers will appreciate gifts from high-end supermarkets and gourmet shops such as these ones.
If s/he's really into unique and bespoke scents, meanwhile, these perfume shops and perfumers in the capital are treasure troves for even the most discerning tastes. Finally, for some divine blooms and bouquets, head over for a stroll through some of the city's iconic market streets, where you're sure to find a good florist.