Birdsong in the Jardin du Luxembourg
Paris’ public parks and gardens are loved by residents and visitors alike. One of the oldest and most popular is the Jardin du Luxembourg on the Left Bank, home to a remarkable palace and lots of different sections to explore. Symmetrical lawns are surrounded by borders filled with bedding plants, gravel paths, clipped hedges and statues including a model of the statue of Liberty. With row upon row of trees in its 23 hectares, the park is a haven for birds and a truly peaceful place to enjoy the sound of their song as you sit or stroll. It’s also a naturally romantic place, appearing regularly in French literature and perhaps most famously in Victor Hugo’s Les Miserables, as the place where Marius and Cosette first meet.
Open 8am-5pm in winter and 7.30am-8pm in summer, with free entry.
A performance at the Palais Garnier
For a special romantic treat, consider booking an opera, ballet or concert at this prestigious and beautiful Parisian palace, founded by Louis XIV in 1669 and home to the Paris Opera Company. Its main façade was completely renovated in 2000, revealing the original rich colours and golden statues. One of the most famous features of the Palais is its grand marble double staircase leading up to the different levels of the auditorium. The Grand Foyer’s magnificent ceiling (painted by Paul Baudry) portrays themes from the history of music. The Lyre, the dominant decorative element, can be found on column capitals, heating grates and doorknobs alike, while a copy of Charles Garnier’s bust by the sculptor Carpeaux stands in the centre. In the auditorium itself, almost 2,000 red velvet seats are lit by an immense crystal chandelier hanging below Marc Chagall’s brightly coloured ceiling.
A cabaret show at the Moulin Rouge
Awaken your senses and take in a show at the most famous cabaret in the world! The Moulin Rouge was immortalised by Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec and has been dazzling visitors since it opened in 1889. Edith Piaf, Liza Minnelli, Frank Sinatra and Elton John are among the numerous French and international personalities who have been associated with it over the years. The main room is magnificently decorated in Belle Époque style and red velvet, with typical burlesque frescoes. Admire a troupe of 60 artists who perform twice each evening in the revue ‘Féerie’, a show made up of four breathtaking acts in a blaze of feathers, rhinestones and sequins, with lively music, acrobats and the famous fast-paced French cancan dance. The Moulin Rouge is also a wonderful place to enjoy gourmet French food by the Maison Dalloyau, served with champagne, the official drink of the cabaret.
Blues jazz is seriously seductive music, and there’s a special place you should make a beeline for if you want maximum romance. Le Caveau des Oubliettes is Paris’ oldest jazz club. The ground floor is a pub open from 5pm, while the 12th-century underground wine cellar (formerly a dungeon) opens later on for live music. Deliberately oriented towards modern jazz tinged with groove, soul, fusion, funk or blues, Le Caveau prides itself on its jam sessions on Sunday, Wednesday and Thursday nights – all you need to do is turn up, order a drink and sit and soak up the music, but be sure to arrive before 9pm as it’s a popular place for its small size!
Make your way through the city to the sound of hooves on cobbles with an ultra-romantic ride in a horse-drawn carriage or an extravagant Cinderella-style coach. In a city of heavy traffic, this is an unusual and relaxing way to see the sights and you can request extra romantic details such as champagne, chocolates or roses on board. Blankets are provided on cold days to keep you warm, while a covered top protects you in case of rain. Recreate the days of elegant carriage-riding and see the city from a new perspective!