Oh, Paris! I can't wait! Hold up there. Are you really excited to spend
or are you just faking it? Imagine this for a moment; your significant other has surprised you with tickets to Paris for Valentine's day. Now, you may find yourself responding in one of two ways. Either you’re thrilled, over the moon to spend Valentine’s with your love in the most romantic city in France, or you may be thinking, really, Paris?! Could you have not picked a more original place?
Whether you’re jumping with joy or thinking, how cliche, the fact of the matter is, you’re heading to Paris. If you want to have the most memorable Valentine’s day, erase your expectations, be open to the magic that appears in the most unique of places, and plan ahead (this is where I can help!).
Tips on Places to Avoid in Paris & Where to go Instead!
Get ready for it, this next piece of advice may go against your natural instinct when planning a trip to Paris. Do NOT center your entire trip around the main tourist attractions. With that said this is where the planning bit that I spoke about before, comes it. If you are eager to visit iconic attractions like the Eiffel Tower
or the Louvre Museum
, you want to be sure to buy your tickets ahead!
Paris City Tour, Lunch at the Eiffel Tower and Versailles Skip the Line Audio Guided Tour
The main sites and attractions are worth seeing, but remember, everyone else may be heading to the same place as you on this Paris Valentine’s Day 2019. Plan to visit the main sights on a less busy day of the year.
Steer clear from the crowds, and consider these alternative activities.
Rather than climbing the Eiffel tower - Check out these spots instead!
Head up to the Tour Montparnasse. It’s not only Paris’ tallest building, but it’ll also give you a great view of the Eiffel tower, without the crowds. Enjoy a relaxing (pricey yet delicious) drink up top and admire Paris’ skyline. Another great viewing point of the Eiffel tower, if you can brave the cold, is Park Bellville. You can also enjoy unobstructed views from Galeries Lafayette or the Dome of the Pantheon.
Avoid a Seine open-air river cruise
Sometimes we get lost in the romance of the attraction and forget that it may not be a suitable site for year-round enjoyment. Instead of freezing on an open-air river cruise, enjoy a romantic dinner aboard a small closed top boat. Alternatively, if you’re adamant to dine on an open-air boat and frigid temperatures don’t turn you away, my top pick would be restaurant L'Instant by Le Paris!
Don’t visit the Gardens of Luxembourg
Alright, I know what you may be thinking. How could you not visit one of the most beautiful gardens in the whole city? I’m not telling you to skip it over, but what I will say is choose the time you visit wisely. The cold weather in February and little protection from the wind is sure to leave you freezing your buns off. Visit Buttes-Chaumont park instead! On Valentine's day, they also host a run, 5km (couples) or 10km (individuals). Breaking a sweat with your partner is always good fun!
While in the area, explore the area of Bellville.
It’s not typically on a tourist’s bucket list of Paris
, but I highly recommend wandering this neighborhood. The artistic quarter is a mix of cultures and has a unique vibe. There are plenty of alternative restaurants to enjoy, Ateliers, and interesting street art to observe.
Save the Louvre for another trip
Rather than spending hours upon hours queuing to get into the Louvre (that is if you hadn’t purchased your skip the line or museum pass
ahead of time), choose to explore, off the beaten path museums and hidden gems like the Musee de la Vie Romantique!
Another one of the top museums you must visit is Musee Rodin!
Stay in for Valentine’s day dinner
In my personal opinion, there’s nothing more romantic than cooking dinner with your significant other in a foreign country. My advice, this Valentine’s day in Paris is to rent an Airbnb with a cozy living room and kitchenette and spend the evening staying in on February 14th.
You can still have your romantic dinner out. However, it’s best to save it for the day after or a few days following Valentine’s day. When you do choose to dine out with your special someone, check out the Top Spots for the Best Dining Experience in Paris (keep reading, it’s coming up soon :)
Should You Avoid Paris All Together?
Before I continue along with where you really must go this Valentine’s day in Paris, let’s take a step back, and ask whether you should reconsider and avoid Paris completely. Let me answer this by sharing a thing or two about myself.
I’ve lived in Europe for over six years, and believe it or not, I always leaned more to the side of having little interest in visiting the “romantic capital.” Why did I avoid Paris for so long? Precisely for the same reasons, everyone flocks to the city of light, as it is commonly referred to. It wasn’t until this past August when the right moment presented itself, that I traveled to France to spend four beautiful days with someone for whom I care deeply. Following this trip, I came up with some conclusions about Paris, which may surprise you; that is if you knew the old me. I not only enjoyed my trip to Paris, but I had an incredible time!
Here’s where I have to break your heart though.
The magical romance I felt, had little to do with the city itself. Instead, it had everything to do with the company I was in and how we chose to spend our time together. You must remember, Paris is so much more than what the cliche movies portray.
You should absolutely visit Paris
and definitely not avoid it, as I had done for the past six years, but do remember this. Beyond the main sites and attractions, there is a world of authentic experiences to be had.
With that said, this is where I can offer up options to help you create the most memorable Valentine’s day no matter which side of the coin you fall on regarding Paris.
Celebrate Valentine’s Day in Paris - Best of the Best
If you think that by spending Valentine’s day in Paris, you are guaranteed to experience romance, you may be in for a surprise. Romance cannot be created by a trip up the Eiffel tower nor can it by a dinner cruise along the Seine river. Rather, it is felt and experienced by fully immersing yourself in a particular moment with your partner. This is exactly why I chose to take 5 of the most typical sites and spin them (if you skipped ahead, go back to the beginning to read Tips on Places to Avoid in Paris & Where to go Instead!).
On the contrary, if you think that all the main city sites that make Paris Paris, aren’t worth exploring, you’re mistaken. In order to spend the most memorable Valentine’s day in Paris, take a look below. Enjoy the perfect balance of sites and activities to indulge in this Paris France Valentine’s day or any day of the year for that matter.
Best Places to Stroll in Paris France Valentines Day
- Canal St. Martin - Bundle up, February is a chilly one! This is by far one of my favorite places for a wander. Offbeat shopping, hip cafes, and trendy restaurants adorn the canal.
- La Butte Aux Cailles - Not many people make it out this way but it’s worth a visit. The area has a charming village feel and is without a doubt, one of Paris’ best-kept secrets.
- The Père Lachaise/Gambetta Neighborhood - The village-like streets and cobblestone lanes of this N.E Paris district make it incredibly charming. Check out Rue Saint Blaise to see what I mean. One of the area’s best assets is its dynamic independent music scene, and cozy family-owned cafes and bars.
- La Rue Montorgueil - Don’t pass up a stroll along one of Paris’ oldest streets. The paved pedestrian area is ideal for a romantic walk. If you’re like me and enjoy wandering fine food markets, sampling sweets and pastry shops, cafe hopping, and checking out hip bars, this vibrant street is a gem! Rue des Gravilliers is another charming road I came across on my trip. Don’t pass it up!
Best Gastronomic Experiences: Paris Valentine’s Day 2019
- Dans le noir - What’s more romantic than dinner in the dark? Finish the night with a sensual (I mean, sensory) dining experience. The dark dining concept isn’t exclusive to Paris; it’s also one of the most romantic spots in Barcelona to dine as well.
- Tour d'Argent - If you want to impress your partner, take them to one of the city's finest, yet unpretentious Michelin star restaurants.
- Take a cooking class - Dinner out in Paris is without a doubt magical, but why not switch things up on one of the nights. Book a private cooking class and learn how to create some of the most classical style French recipes.
Romantic Outings (Opera, Theatre, Shows)
If you’re a couple that enjoys the performing arts, The Grands Boulevards Neighborhood
is one to add to your list. There’s no shortage of incredible theatres or places to watch a cabaret! Although this is the place to be to take in the arts, anyone planning to attend the Le Moulin Rouge Cabaret
in Paris should head to the 18th arrondissement (82 boulevard de Clichy). If Moulin Rouge isn't edgy enough for you, or you're looking for a less touristic cabaret, check out Lido
. Based on Avenue des Champs Elysees, Lido is a favorite among Parisian.
Secret Gems You Won’t Want to Miss!
You may only be in Paris for a few days, and I've probably already filled your schedule with plenty of suggestions on what to see and do. Then again, I can't help but throw in a few secret gems for you to finish off your trip. I won't comment on what makes them unique; rather, I'll leave you with a little mystery to go and explore them for yourself.
- Le Comptoir General
- Au Vieux Paris d’Arcole
- Rue Saint Sulpice
Now go ahead, get planning and pack your bags. Your most memorable Valentine's Day in Paris is coming up!
Chablis Wine Tour For One to Three People (Sedan)