From Heloïse and Abelard to Gertrude Stein and Alice B. Toklas, love-struck couples have long cast their starry-eyed gazes in Paris’s direction, and with good reason: romance is everywhere you look in the City of Light. When plotting your getaway à deux, think beyond the Tour Eiffel and Arc de Triomph, and try trysting in these less-touristed but equally romantic spots.
Last Tango in Paris
It’s a dance floor where you’d least expect it: beneath a moonlit sky, on the banks of the river Seine. When the weather in Gay Paree takes a turn toward warm, dancers young and old come together under the stars. The night begins with a free tango tutorial (or salsa, if it’s Tuesday), followed by a live music fueled fête de la danse where cheek-to-cheek couples reign. You supply the dance partner, Paris provides the heady ambience.
Locks of Love
A quincaillerie (hardware store) isn’t the most obvious spot to start a romantic day in Paris, but where else will you and your amant find a padlock to symbolize your bond? It’s a longstanding lover’s tradition here: inscribe your initials and a few mots doux on your lock with a Sharpie, then affix it to the Pont Des Arts alongside all the others. Next, toss the key into the river below, in a gesture to the universe of your never-ending devotion to one another; French kissing afterward is totally optional.
In the Mood for Lust
Parisians are a passionate lot, and nowhere is this more evident than at the Erotic Museum (Musée de l’Érotisme) in the spicy Pigalle district at the foot of Montmartre. Here, you’ll find seven floors full of paintings, film, sculpture, and plenty of photographic evidence pointing to the lusty leanings of the locals (and others) through the ages. If the permanent collection doesn’t put you in the mood for love, a saucy cabaret show at the Moulin Rouge next door just might.
Life Imitates Art
On a lazy summer day, Lac Daumesnil in the verdant Bois de Vincennes beckons romantic types with its shaded, grassy shoreline, pleasure boats for two, and walking path designed for strolling lovers. This dreamy backdrop is the ideal setting for creating a real life scene cut from an Auguste Renoir painting: Take a picnic lunch on a rented canoe (€11 per hour), and float lazily on the calm waters while you sip Sauvingnon Blanc, the sound of a distant accordion providing the background music.