Paris Secrets: Fresh Romantic Outings


There’s a reason this really is the city of lovers. Here you’re simply never short of a romantic adventure. Many cherished Paris secrets revolve around outings à deux. Here are five new favorites, all budget-friendly.

Annabella and Louis Jouvet in Hôtel du Nord, the film by Marcel Carné, 1938.


1. Visit the Hôtel du Nord. Doomed lovers, sentimental stories and shared lives—Marcel Carné’s film Hôtel du Nord is a French classic. It stars Arletty as a sexy fille de joie and, although it was filmed in studios, this is the building it imitated. If you cross the street and walk south to Square Frederic Lemaitre (that’s where the quai meets rue du Faubourg-du-Temple), you’ll be in the pretty spot where Audrey Tatou was filmed tossing stones off the bridge in Amélie.
Find it at: 102, quai de Jemmapes, in the 10th Arrondissement.


The Hôtel du Nord, preserved but now a restaurant. Photo: 

2. Meditate on a mystery together! Romantics from Rilke to George Sand have hailed The Lady and the Unicorn. Six gorgeous tapestries created around 1500, these treasures are on show at Cluny Museum. Just returned from a lengthy restoration, they now look better than ever. (They’ve also got a brand-new exhibition space.) What makes them so romantic? Well, all but one of the tapestries depict the senses such as taste and touch. The sixth is called A mon seul désir or To my only desire. It expresses the preciousness of love.
Find it at: Musée de Cluny, 6, place Paul Painlevé, in the 10th Arrondissement.


The Lady and the Unicorn. Photo: Musée national du Moyen-Age. 

3. Take your picture in front of the Mur des je t’aime (I Love You Wall) in Montmartre. Part of the tiny garden in Square Jehan Rictus, this is the work of two Parisian artists, Frédéric Baron and Claire Kito. It features the phrase “I love you” inscribed a thousand times—in 300 different languages.
Find it at: Square Jehan Rictus, next to Abbesses metro, in the 18th Arrondissement.

Le mur des je t’aime, Montmartre. Photo: 

4. Visit the grave of a French celebrity couple. If it’s a crisp winter day, all you do is choose your lovers. I’d head up to Père Lachaise for a visit to Simone Signoret and Yves Montand, Modigliani and Jeanne Hébuterne—or that legendary couple Abélard and Héloïse.

Find them at: Yves and Simone, Division 44; Modigliani and Jeanne, Division 96; Abélard and Héloïse, Division 7, #1; Cimetière de Pére Lachaise, 16 rue du Repos, in the 20th Arrondissement.  

Grave of Simone Signoret and Yves Montand, Père Lachaise Cemetery.
Photo: Steve Sampson.

5. Make your photo in a vintage French photo booth. At the Palais de Tokyo, directions to its antique Foto-Automat appear on the front wall. That’s because it’s proved so popular with couples. After you’ve puckered and posed—cost: €2—hang out a little here. The Palais has a stunning bookstore, plus a bar and a brand-new tea shop.
Find it at: Palais de Tokyo, 13, avenue du Président Wilson, in the 16th Arrondissement.

Foto-Automat, Palais de Tokyo. Photo: Cynthia Rose. 

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Related Links

Hôtel du Nord
The Lady and the Unicorn
Cluny Medieval Museum/Musée de Cluny
Mur des je t’aime (I Love You Wall)
Montparnasse Cemetery
Père Lachaise Cemetery
Palais de Tokyo Foto-Automat