Satisfy all your senses by honeymooning in Paris, the international headquarters of romance, style and joie de vivre
By L.A. Jones and Melissa Varnadoe
Honeymooners, prepare to be swept off your feet. Overflowing with an unrivaled amour-friendly attitude, Paris deserves its reputation for romance. Offering endless attractions and exhibits, tasty cafes and legendary boulevards for romantic strolls, it’s one of the best places to get in the mood. Leave any hesitations you have about PDA behind … c’est l’amour!
BEST TIME TO VISIT:
Nothing beats Paris in the springtime, but this city is fabulous in any weather.
The city of love doesn’t discriminate. Paris is home to one of Europe’s largest and most active gay communities.
For a chic, modern hotel and ensnaring jazz club, stay at Le Meridian Etoile. Just minutes from the Champs-Élysées, the hotel boasts a convenient location for art-lovers and an in-building restaurant, L’Orenoc.
WINE & DINE:
Don’t bother with indoor restaurants here. Outdoor cafes and bistros are the way to go. Don a designer scarf and jeans, and sip a frothy café au lait, while noshing on croissants and jam to live like the locals.
Pause and stare into each other’s eyes over ice cream at the fountain of the Jardin du Palais Royal.
SEE & DO:
Arc de Triomphe. Commissioned by Napoleon in 1806, the world’s largest triumphal arch took 30 years to complete. Intended to honor French veterans, beneath it rests the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. For easiest access, take the tunnel from the north side of the Champs-Élysées to the westernmost end.
Champs-Élysées. The Avenue des Champs-Élysées is arguably the most well-known and definitely the most expensive strip of real estate in the world. Greenery, cinemas, cafés and luxury shopping line the “most beautiful street in the world.” Just over a mile long, sweethearts can experience the chestnut tree-lined avenue in the 8th arrondissement (district) in northwestern Paris.
Sacré-Cœur Basilica. A Catholic basilica that stands on the highest point in the city; the name means “church of the sacred heart of Jesus.” Nationalistic and highly controversial, the basilica’s past is stormy, but it remains an unusual and impressive architectural feat. Gawk at a panoramic view of the city from the viewing room and take a breather from that busy touring schedule in the meditation garden.
Eiffel Tower. Originally intended as a temporary attraction for the Universal Exhibition of 1889, it was spared from destruction only because of its use as a radio tower. Today, it is as much a symbol of France as the fleur-de-lis, sports two restaurants, and delivers a stellar 40-mile view. View website.
The Louvre. The crème de la crème of museums, the Louvre’s art collection needs no introduction. With 400,000 works, its all-time greatest hits include the “Mona Lisa” and the “Venus de Milo.” Art lovers won’t want to miss the world’s largest art museum, but with so much to see and so much ground to cover, prep yourself with an itinerary of what you want to see and be prepared for lines. View website.
Notre Dame Cathedral. Called a “symphony of stone” by Victor Hugo, the monumental building was begun in 1163 and finally completed around 1345, narrowly escaping destruction several times since. This landmark is considered the finest example of French Gothic architecture in the world. For a truly medieval experience, hike the stairs of the south tower and get up close and personal with the gargoyles.
Musee d’ Orsay. Although level five is closed until March 2011, don’t let that stop you from visiting. This veritable museum houses a who’s who of 19th-century artists’ works, with Manets, Monets, van Goghs and Renoirs in abundance. Along with photography and furniture, a veritable treasure trove of impressionist, realist, Fauvist and pointillist paintings created between 1848 and 1914 is on display in this vaulted former railway station. View website.
PERFECT FOR COUPLES LOOKING FOR:
Effortless romance, sightseeing, museums …and more romance!
DAYS TO STAY:
Plan for a minimum of four days, but you could easily stay forever.
OH, AND BY THE WAY…
Be sure to check out the “gayborhood” in Le Marais.
For more on exploring Paris, check you these handy links:
- Monuments: http://www.monuments-nationaux.fr/en/
- Museums: http://www.paris.org/Accueil/
- Green Spaces: http://www.paris.fr/portail/english/Portal.lut?page_id=8210
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