If one Parisian district is synonymous with the word “posh,” it would be le 16ème. A new and fashionable district of Paris built predominantly during the second half of the 19th century, this large swath of land used to be on the outskirts of Paris and comprised of aristocratic estates, fields and the villages of Passy and Auteuil. Luckily some of these historic remnants still exist amidst stylish Art Nouveau houses, glamorous mansions and a vast network of streets which outrival the next in their elegance. Let yourself get lost in the 16th, with all its chic residents it’s very safe… and no matter which street you wander down, you’ll inevitable discover beautiful buildings, squares and gardens. Use our list of the top romantic Paris in the 16th to guide you on your way!
Most Romantic Street
As mentioned above, the 16th abounds in beautiful buildings. While the district is particularly known for its Art Nouveau buildings, like the Castel Beranger, few of these are open to the public. There are also some lovely villa streets… but many of the nicest are down in the far, far southwestern corner of the district and those more time consuming to get to. However, you don’t need to go to such depths find some charming streets in the district. There is a whole collection of gorgeous buildings lining rue du Ranelagh between Avenue de Mozart and Boulevard de Beauséjour. On both sides of the street you’ll be met with the most charming and unique castle-like houses. If you’re lucky, someone might be coming out of the private Avenue des Chalets and you can slip in to take take at look at its lovely houses. If this doesn’t happen, fear not, the next stop is accessible to the public. Rue du Ranelagh also leads to the museum on our list.
Most Romantic Secret Street
One of the few, and most enchanting, villa streets of the 16th is the whimsical villa Guibert, open to the public during the day by pushing the round button on the gate code box. Named after its founder, municipal councillor M. Guibert, the street is filled with eclectic townhouses varying in design from neo-gothic to neo-Louis XV and others with a hint of Art Nouveau. Definitely worth the additional time it takes to get here, around 10-15 minutes from the above, from the museum below or Trocadero.
Most Romantic Museum
The 16th arrondissement has a number of museums, yet the romantic award definitely goes to the Marmottan Monet Museum. Located on the former estate of the Château de la Muette, which was divided up into plots after the French Revolution, one which was acquired in 1866 by the duke of Valmy to build this elegant city mansion. In 1882 his family sold it to successful businessman and philanthropist Jules Marmottan who further embellished the home and filled it with art. His son Paul bequeathed the home and its art collections to the Académie des Beaux-Arts in 1932. This collection was then greatly augmented upon the death of Michel Monet, Claude Monet’s youngest son, who donated over a hundred of his father’s paintings. This total ensemble now forms the world’s biggest collection of Monet’s works. The collection coupled with the enchanting building make for a very special romantic outing.
Most Romantic Place to Stroll
The 16th has one of the longest borders with the Seine. Since it’s also across from the Eiffel Tower, the views from its edge are quite exceptional, especially down by the waterside along the Port Debilly. Extending from the Passerelle Debilly footbridge to the Pont de Bir-Hakeim, you can take in these gorgeous vistas… with the surprising added bonus of few people, save a few locals walking their dogs and some couples posing for wedding photos. Down at the river it’s also much quieter than on the busy road that runs above, plus you have the additional charm of the houseboats docked along the Seine. Climbing up at Passy, you’ll be met by the stunning buildings that flank the métro bridge and can take some selfies on the Pont de Bir-Hakeim. Then you aren’t too far from the next sites on our list.
Most Romantic Secret View
Many people flock to Trocadero to take photos of the Eiffel Tower. While the plaza does have great views of the tower, there are almost always hoards of people. Instead, drift down Rue Benjamin Franklin until you come to the short Avenue de Camoens. At the end of this street is a set of stairs and a fabulously enchanting view of la Dame de Fer… which you’ll likely have all to yourself! A much more memorable place to admire the Eiffel Tower and perhaps even steal a kiss!
Most Romantic Hidden Place
One of the narrowest and most hidden streets in the whole city is tucked away above the historic Hotel Lamballe, now home to the Turkish Embassy. Protected by high stone walls, rue Berton used to marked the border between the sprawling estates of the Lords of Auteuil and Passy (the 1731 boundary sign is still standing) and is one of the elements left over from the Passy village. In his 1918 book Le Flâneur des Deux Rives Poet Guillaume Apollinaire described the street as “one of the most scenic corners of Paris.” If you visit it, I think that you will agree!
Most Romantic Artsy Date Night Spot
Did you know that one of the most alluring theatres in Paris is tucked away on a quiet street of the 16th? And it used to be… a private one! As mentioned above, the land of this area used to be owned by various aristocrats. The territory extending from the Maison de Radio France up to l’avenue Mozart once belonged to the Marquis de Boulainvilliers, who built a chateau here in the mid 1700s. A great patron of the arts, he later added on a theatre, which was rebuilt in virtually the same spot in the late 1800s, that being the current incarnation as the Theatre de Ranelagh. Intimate and glamorous, a show at this theatre could be the perfect way to extend your afternoon explorations in the area. Plus, they are currently playing Dom Juan, the famous lady’s man. No worries is you don’t understand French, you can watch the play with English surtitles through Theatre in Paris. More info and ticket reservations here.
Most Romantic Contemporary Art Venue/Bar/Restaurant
The 16th district doesn’t have too many hip places, nevertheless, it’s home to one of the city’s best: Le Palais de Tokyo. The contemporary and experimental art centre’s exhibits range greatly, so I wouldn’t say these are what makes it romantic. It’s a good way to test out the artistic sensibilities of a new romantic interest. The centre’s eating and drinking venues are what have put it on this list, particularly its large, relaxed terrace which happens to boost a great view of the Eiffel Tower, a great place to end your stroll in the neighborhood. You can extend your drinks inside at their stylish restaurant, Les Grands Verres, both of which were created by the Quixotic Projects of Candelaria fame.
Most Romantic Cocktail/Dining Splurge
There’s nothing quite as romantic as a drink with a view of the Parisian skyline and the poshest rooftop terrace in Paris is found atop the luxurious Peninsula Hotel. A short distance from the Arc de Triomphe, this 5-star hotel is also home to the gourmet Oiseau Blanc restaurant, which has further panoramic views of the city. The best views, including of the twinkling Eiffel Tower, are from the hotel’s gorgeous rooftop where you can get a swank cocktail and nibbles (best to reserve), a decadent but worthwhile romantic treat.
Most Romantic Place With It All
You may have been wondering… what, no garden in this edition? But of course there is… and it’s a big one … perfect for our grand finale… le Bois de Boulogne. The second largest park in Paris, a bit smaller than the Bois de Vincennes (included in our guide to the 12th), both sprawling woods were commissioned in the 1850s by Napoleon III in a likeness to London’s Hyde Park. Indeed, the vast green spaces virtually reject the model of la jardin à la française and follow the approach of a more natural English garden. However, these woods are huge and have a number of microcosms, like the park within a park, the Parc de Bagatelle. Refined and magical, it’s probably the most romantic part of the Bois and predates the creation of the bois as all that remains of the Count of Artois leisure castle that was built here in the late 18th century. Bagatelle has over 10,000 rose bushes, hundreds of other flowers, charming meadows and plenty of secret places to steal a kiss.
The southern tip of the bois has another pre-existing space, le Jardin des Serres d’Auteuil, a beautiful botanical garden within greenhouses dating back to the 1760s. It’s not far from the famous Roland-Garros tennis complex which hosts the French Open every May/June.
Boating, biking, or simply strolling, the whole bois is a romantic delight. Your meander through the bois could lead you to the Fondation Louis Vuitton art center designed by Frank Gehry which hosts some of Paris’ best art exhibits (save time by booking advance tickets) or for a romantic lunch, dinner or drink Le Chalet des Iles, situated on l’île du Bois de Boulogne it has a delectable relaxed country feel. However, if you’re celebrating something really special, the bois also contains one of Paris’ three Michelin-starred restaurants, the uber refined, très cher and très romantique Le Pré Catelan. You don’t need to break the bank to enjoy the park—pack a picnic, find a secret corner and you’ll have the perfect romantic moment à deux.
I wouldn’t normally add this in since I’m usually strict to 10 places, however, two of the most romantic places in the district are currently closed. The Musée et Jardin Albert Kahn has a most stunning garden (it is scheduled to reopen in Sept 2019 and the new museum will open only in 2021) and the charming Maison de Balzac, the former whom to one of France’s most beloved writers is closed until summer 2019. So be sure to check their reopening dates before going out to explore the neighborhood!
You can easily find the places in our romantic guide to the 16th via our google map below. And if you would like to do more exploring in the 16th, my friend Véro at French Girl in Seattle Takes France has done two great articles, one on Passy and the other on Auteuil.
You can continue your romantic explorations around Paris in the other articles in the series below or find many more ideas for unique romantic outings in our Paris date ideas section.