With Valentine’s Day just behind us, I’ve been feeling in the mood for a spot of romance… And when I think of romance, I obviously think of Paris; one of the most beautiful and love-filled cities in the world.
You know what’s not particularly romantic though?? Queuing for about 3 hours on a grey, drizzly day waiting to go up the Eiffel Tower for that one selfie moment… Or paying a crazy amount of money for a minuscule plate of foie gras from a rude and dismissive waiter.
Well don’t worry, I’ve got you covered. My 6 months living in Paris led me to discover some of the best ways to spend an afternoon with that special someone. And guess what? They’re all completely free. Oh, and there’s not a cheesy Eiffel Tower selfie in sight.
- Salsa on the Seine
Throughout the warmer summer months, Parisians like to gather along the banks of the Seine to drink wine, gossip and enjoy the sunset. If you’re looking for something seriously special though, I insist you visit Quai Saint Bernard for an evening of salsa dancing with strangers…
People gather there every evening after work from about 8pm till 11pm and dance the night away under the stars and streetlights. Music plays and you can try your hand (or foot) to rock and roll, salsa or tango; whichever you fancy! And if you’re single, you may just be asked for a cheeky dance by a tall, handsome stranger 😉
In all seriousness though, I used to go here on a regular basis when I lived in Paris.
Sometimes I danced, sometimes I didn’t, but sitting watching this amazing spectacle, with a glass of cold pinot grigio and my favourite girlfriends was an unforgettable experience.
2. Reading on the Ile de la Cite
If you fancy something a little more chilled than a night of dancing, I would suggest heading to towards Notre Dame Cathedral and the beautiful Ile de la Cite (Island of the City); one of the two remaining natural islands in the Seine. Just nearby, you will find the stairs down to the Pont Neuf bridge and a lovely small garden area.
Jutting out into the Seine with views of the Louvre and Musee d’Orsay, there couldn’t be a more serene place to picnic with a loved one.
Take a hamper, a few beers and a great book, and just enjoy the moment while relaxing underneath the weeping willows.
I went here with my boyfriend when he visited and we ended up dozing off for an hour – it was just so comfortable and the perfect way to spend an afternoon in Paris!
3. Take a rowing boat to The Temple of Love
If you’re happy to venture a little further and get some fresh air, you might want to pay a visit to Paris’s biggest park; Bois de Vincennes. Yes, it’s a bit of a trek, but this was one of my favourite places for an afternoon of relaxation. Plus, Paris can be very hectic, and sometimes you just need a break from the crowds you know?
While you’re there, you can even rent yourself a little rowing boat and take it out on the lake, admiring the view of the Greek-style ‘Temple of Love’ which stands proudly in the middle of the island.
Stare lovingly into each other’s eyes and read some romantic poetry Bridget Jones style – just maybe don’t fall in, the water’s pretty gross!
Valentine’s Day may be over for another year, but with Paris just across the Channel, true romance is never too far away…
Until next time!