It’s often touted as “The Most Romantic City in the World” – so what could be more dreamy than a Paris Honeymoon?
Aka “The City of Lights”, there’s no more beautiful backdrop for a romantic honeymoon than Paris. As this year’s visit wasn’t our first, we took a slower pace here than most of our holidays, especially compared to other city-breaks during our 5 week trip, including Dubai, Copenhagen, Berlin, Amsterdam and the UK.
Rather than hiking the Eiffel tower, visiting the Moulin Rouge or cruising the Seine River, this time we took in the city more like locals: walking the old cobblestone streets, enjoying long lunches people-watching, and rich French feasts, and the occasional glimpse at the storied attractions along the way.
Whether it’s your first visit to Paris or you’re lucky enough to return, this really is a city that has it all.
Where to Stay?
Your first decision when visiting Paris will be accommodation. Abundant with boutique hotels and romantic hideaways, I suggest you choose a place you’ll actually want to spend some time enjoying: for when your muscles are weary from walking and you need a little privacy.
Paris’s diverse arrondissements mean that there’s something to suit everyone – from the chic Left Bank, near the lively Grands Boulevards or in the more residential, romantic Montparnasse.
On our last trip, we spent our whole stay in Le Marais – the Latin Quarter on the right bank to the west, so this time we moved around to just about every other quarter of the city – from the east to the west side of the left bank, and then over to the west of the right bank (confused, us too).
After Le Narcisse Blanc, we moved east to the beautiful and charming Saint-Germain-des-Prés for Relais Christine, a luxury boutique hotel since 1979, in a mansion that dates back to the 13th Century as an Augustinian monastery.
Recently renovated, it retains its history and charisma, feeling almost alike a country homestead than an inner-city hotel. We certainly felt a world away from the bright lights of the city in our private courtyard and garden, which soon felt like home.
Though I can’t see the need to use a gym in a city so ideal for walking, we loved the sauna and spa to rest our legs – impressive for a small hotel of only 48 rooms and suites.
As comfortable as we were at Relais Christine, we wanted to see more of the city, and moved to its sister property, Saint James Paris, the only chateau-hotel in Paris. With a large and grand entrance, huge fountain and lush surrounding lawns, Saint James is a rare find in a city where space is premium – it’s impossible not to be impressed.
The rooms, too, are huge by Paris standards, and we were beyond comfortable in our suite – the only place in Paris where we literally did not leave the hotel all day – sheltered from the world. I like to think I jumped on the bed in the room stayed in by Robert De Niro.
Beyond the suite, which took me about ten snaps to share on insta-story it was so big… the common areas were also incredibly impressive, especially the balloon adorned garden (also home to a Michelin restaurant). The hot-air balloons aren’t random though, the hotel site is also the first Aerodrome (can you tell Blair helped choose?) – where montgolfières came to land! This theme is also present in the wall-paper and other decor details which is pretty cute!
The hotel was perfect walking distance from the Arc de Triomphe, followed by Louis Vuitton on the Champs Elysees, followed by a walk along the Seine, past Tour Eiffel and through Trocadero en route home – working up an appetite for a meal at the hotel’s restaurant which was of course fantastic. If you’re not staying at the hotel, I wouldn’t hesitate to visit for the food, though budget for around $500 NZD for two (including 2-3 glasses of wine each).
Once you’re there: What to see in Paris!
Or rather, what not to see in Paris, because there truly is so much to this incredible city, everything from the luxury shops of the Champs Elysees, the artistic atmosphere of Montmartre, the best Falafel in the world in Le Marais, and the Mona Lisa smile at The Louvre.
The good news is that once you’re there, you can reach it all by foot, with the exception of Disneyland (where I frequented as a child).
I can’t possibly name them all, so here are our faves, in no particular order…
Tour Eiffel – from a distance!
The Eiffel Tower symbolises Paris like no other monument does, and is perhaps more iconic then any other city’s. However, it’s also become overrun with tourists, as well as the tackiest souvenir sellers hawking crap knick-knacks (like plastic models of the famous structure and hats that double as umbrellas).
We walked up it last time (which happened to be five days before a bomb-threat) and chose not to this time, but it is just as beautiful from afar. While the view of Paris from the monument is beautiful, it is of course missing its star, the tour itself.
Instead, admire it from Jardin des Tuileries, the banks of the Seine, or Cafe de l’homme at Place du Trocadero.
Moulin Rouge – wear your Pigalles to Pigalle!
This risqué world-famous cabaret, performed in a 19th-century windmill, is the perfect excuse to kick up your Pigalle heels and head to Pigalle. Performing since 1900, Moulin Rouge is the most popular show in Paris, and is an unforgettable experience. We bought tickets including dinner and drinks, which was a perfect night (no photos allowed!)
The Louvre – but don’t be disappointed by Mona Lisa!
There are so many incredible museums and art-galleries in Paris, but my favourite is still the Louvre, as beautiful outside as it is in, and home to the famed (but very small, and usually crowded) Mona Lisa.
Second place goes to Musee D’Orsay, set in a former train station and now home to all the big names.
L’Arc de Triomphe – on your way to Laduree on Champs Elysees!
The Arc de Triomphe is one of the most famous monuments in Paris, standing at the western end of the Champs-Élysées at the center of Place Charles de Gaulle, honouring those who fought for France in the French Revolution and Napoleonic Wars. It’s an impressive sight to behold, and the perfect spot to begin your wander down Champs-Élysées too.
Versailles – for serious house goals!
If you have enough time in Paris (five-plus days), make this a day trip. Over-the-top is an understatement when it comes to Louis XIV’s palace, and you’ll want to spend time in the magnificent gardens after your tour.
Explore the streets – and allow plenty of time!
Talking, laughing and getting lost along cobblestone streets, or sitting in a cafe people watching – sans phones or cameras. Paris is a city to just ‘be’, which also makes it the perfect honeymoon destination.
Browse the book stalls on the banks of the River Seine and wander between bistros and arrondissements, from Marais to Notre Dame and Montmartre, over to the Eiffel Tower at sunset, and around Père-Lachaise cemetery (home now to Jim Morrison, Isadora Duncan, among others).
A retreat from real life into a place so beautiful and romantic, it’s almost too good to be true! Our time here went too fast, so I’m counting down to our next adventure already, and I’d never miss this city!