Sure, just being in Paris is pretty romantic. But you can only sit across from one another on a chic terrasse and stare into each other’s eyes for so long before before the question arises: “Well, what do you want to do?” Whether you’re looking for an adventure, or just a conversation starter, here are a few activities to get you off your feet and into your lover’s arms.
You heard it here. There is a literal “Temple of Love” in Paris. Specifically, in the middle of the Lac Daumesnil in the Bois de Vincennes, far on the eastern edge of Paris. Paris’s largest public park is a sprawling mass of greenery, ideal for any couple with one partner who loves hiking and one partner who “loves hiking” but wants to know exactly how far the nearest metro station is. Rent a rowboat to cross the lake and clamber up to the Temple. Once your Instagram story has uploaded, walk down the rocky path into a cozy grotto for a little more alone time.
Are you that couple that’s constantly trying to one-up each other? Do your heated dinner party debates make your friends anxious, but only make things steamier once you’ve gotten home? Check this out: THATMuse is a company that creates scavenger hunts at museums around Europe, and their Love Hunt at the Louvre might be just the thing to take in some culture, while creating an opportunity to unleash your competitive side. Tickets cost €29, but you’ll also need a Louvre ticket, which can be purchased online for €17. Then book your tour here.
You know what’s RATP strike-proof? A leisurely city tour in a classic Citroën 2CV, or the “deux chevaux.” Cedric’s Paris is a company that arranges customizable tours that will take you around Paris for €170 per car. And talk about cars with personality — these babies literally have their own bios. Add a bottle of champagne, or even a professional photographer to your tour for an added price.
For the couple that reads The Economist together and uses Greta Thunberg’s name as a verb. The Ballon de Paris Generali hot air balloon in the André Citroën Park serves the dual function of being both a romantic way to see Paris from above, and also a one-of-a-kind way to learn about air quality in metropolitan areas. The balloon changes colors to indicate if air quality is good (green), middling (orange), or poor (red). So, essentially, spying the balloon from a distance might be an early indicator of whether or not it’s a good day to go for a 20-minute trip into the clouds. Tickets are €15 per person, and you should check the website to make sure the balloon is flying dependent on weather.
Is your girlfriend always complaining about how you never buy her flowers? Here’s a life hack: get her all the flowers, yes, even in February, if only for an afternoon, by taking her to the Jardin des Serres d’Auteuil, the miraculous botanical garden on the edge of the Bois de Boulogne. Entrance is free (FREE!), and you can email them about guided tours at [email protected]. While outside the trees are lifeless, watch the flowers (and your love) bloom evergreen.
Did you get on board with your boyfriend’s insane New Year’s workout and diet regimen, when all you want in the world is to put away an entire sleeve of Oreos while he’s at hot yoga? Make your binge look like an exercise in good taste with a French pastry class at Le Foodist or La Cuisine Paris. Not only will you have all the macarons, tartes, and eclairs you can eat, but you’ll also have some back pocket recipes for impressing dinner guests. Classes run around three hours, and cost between €69 and €99 per person.
For the couple that’s watched Moulin Rouge! together too many times, but gets hives even thinking about tourist traps, Lido is a great alternative when you want your night to start out with a bang. Lido has been servicing the Parisian cabaret scene since 1946, and their shows have all the bravado of Vegas, with all the style of 1940’s Paris. You can either buy an €85 ticket that comes with champagne, or a €130 ticket that comes with dinner. Either way, you’ll leave satisfied.
A picnic always seems like a great idea until you’ve spent ten minutes staring at a shelf of tapenade in Monoprix, panicked, bought an odd number of incongruous grocery items, and just ended up stopping at the nearest boulangerie for a sandwich anyway. Luckily, the world class chefs at Boco have you covered. This restaurant in the 8th arrondissement serves freshly made meals and sides to-go, for delivery or pickup, so you can skip to the fun part of the picnic: arguing over which gently worn patch of grass looks like it has the fewest rocks and twigs in it. Skip the more touristy parks and try Parc des Buttes Chaumont or Parc de Belleville for some stunning sunset views and a locals-only vibe.
Because you didn’t spend the six weeks and hundreds of dollars learning the tango for the First Dance at your wedding reception only to never use it again. Retro Dancing is a converted cinema that is now one of the more unusual discothèques in Paris, where you can dance the Cha Cha, Rumba, or even the Madison, any night of the week. Entrance is about €6-14, and every Wednesday through Sunday, from 2-8pm, they host Tea Dances, essentially an open floor for ballroom dancing, for everything from the Waltz to the Charleston. Fridays are reserved for Tango, and Saturdays for Salsa.
When you’re back home, it might be good enough to say, “it’s French,” when asked what wine you picked up at the liquor store. But when you’re at that Big Deal dinner reservation with your fiancé, and the waiter comes around with the wine list, you don’t want to be the chump who settles for a G&T because you were too afraid of picking the wrong Cabernet. Ô Chateau is here to help. This wine bar offers dozens of wine tastings held in English that will teach you what to look for and what you like in a good French wine. Sign up for a wine and cheese lunch, an apéro masterclass, a three-course dinner, or even a Champagne cruise, starting at €59 per person.
If, while eating a meat substitute or low-fat variety of something or other, you’ve ever been told, “If you close your eyes, it tastes the same,” then you know how patently untrue this sentiment is. This fallacy is the entire concept behind Dans Le Noir, a one-of-a-kind restaurant in which the senses are divorced in order to hone in on an epicurean dining experience like you’ve never imagined. Diners are served entirely in the dark, creating a sensual atmosphere where taste — and touch — are magnified. A three-course meal package starts at €72 per person.
Featured image: Stock Photos from Song About Summer / Shutterstock