The Modern Lovers Guide To Paris
Strolling hand-in-hand along the banks of the Seine, sitting in the Place de Vosges, dining in bistros by candlelight. A tried and tested formula for lovers? Yes. But if the idea of staring goggle-eyed at your beloved from the top of the Eiffel tower is enough to send you straight back to the Gare du Nord, read on, for there is far more to this city for lovers than clichés and Camembert.
For starters, swap strolls along the Seine for the effortless charm of St. Germain. Once the famous stomping ground of Samuel Beckett and Sartre, the spirit of cool lives on in this district, with tourists, locals, and students alike queuing out the door of the bustling bistros for a taste of that historic, left bank charm.
Next swap the view from the Eiffel Tower for the rooftop of the Galerie Lafayette on boulevard Haussmann. This historic department store is a Parisian fashion institution, with it’s phenomenal glass dome roof, and ornate Art Nouveau staircase. But the view from the inside is nothing compared to the one from the eighth floor. The roof garden offers panoramic views across the city, looking South across to the Eiffel Tower, and North up to the Sacré-Cœur.
With candlelit cafes and fine-dining bistros on every corner, eating out in Paris is a delectable feast of flavours. And, of course, romance is never far from the menu. But you can swap close-knit corners and whispered sweet-nothings for casual elegance and classic cuisine.
Try Velvet – tucked away on a dimly lit street behind the Champs Élysées, you could easily walk right by it. Food is courtesy of super-chefs Alain Parodi and Armand Crespo, and their work is every bit as beautiful to look at as it is to taste. Dishes are a deliberate fusion of classic and contemporary, all with a Mediterranean twist. Décor is modern, and stylish but the food draws in the crowds – book a table in one of the booths for a more intimate experience.
From the Louvre you can walk through the Tuileries garden to the Place de Concord, onto the Champs Élysées, and up to the Arc de Triomphe. But while you marvel at the perfect symmetry and pick your way through the bustle, this street hides something just as spectacular behind closed doors. The red carpet is a teaser as to what lies behind the arched doorway. It is the newly refurbished Paris Marriott. And it is every bit as luxurious as the designer stores that flank it.
By day, the lounge bar is filled with suits, sampling the afternoon tea. But come 6pm, it becomes a destination of apéritifs. It is a short walk to the restaurant, where the food, courtesy of chef Jeremy Touzelet, is decadent, yet elegant. Expect classic French cuisine; fois gras, lobster ravioli, and steak so mouth-wateringly tender you could only be in France.
A cliché? Perhaps, but if you’re going to indulge in one, let it be this.
Written by Nikki Osman – Compiled by Hala Di-Maio