Of all the arrondissements of Paris, the 20th district is the most discreetly romantic. Located in the northeast corner of the city, the area is dotted with the most charming village-like pockets, harking back to when it was outside the limits of Paris. The district is thus perfect for exploring with your sweetheart away from the other tourists in the city center or village-like Montmartre. On your amblings you’ll come across some great street art, quirky historic sites, laid back cafés and bars… and one of the best vistas of the whole city! Enjoy the top romantic places in Paris’ 20ème arrondissement below!
Most Romantic Street/s
This was a hard one to choose since there are actually many quiet, picturesque streets in the 20th (so be sure to wander off the main streets!). Some of the district’s other charming streets are incorporated in the different categories here so for this one I’ve selected the Villa and Cité de l’Ermitage. The quaint traffic free villa street dates back to the early 1800s when the area belonged to the village of Belleville, although its two-three storey houses were mainly built in the 1850s. You can enter the peaceful oasis at 313 rue des Pyrénées, take your time to stroll down it gazing at the vine and plant laden cottages and finding curiosities along your path. When the lane reaches rue de l’Ermitage, you can take it left then go up to the left on rue Menilmontant where you can carry on your romantic wander on the villa’s smaller counterpart, the Cité de l’Ermitage. There are wonderful places to steal a kiss on both streets!
Most Romantic Place to Stroll
The above streets are a nice thing to include if you’re going to the “date venue” idea below or doing something else in the area, however, if you’d like more of an strolling “outing,” than I’d definitely recommend venturing a little further east (by foot or métro) to a place called la Campagne à Paris. Similar to cluster of villa streets near the Buttes-Chaumont Parc (described in our guide to the 19th), the edge of the 20ème has a lovely grouping of tiny villa streets. The lanes are lined with 92 modest class houses built for the area’s working class from the 1910s-20s and on the hilly site of an old gypsum quarry.
If you’re arriving by métro line 9, get off Porte de Bagnolet and find the exit for blvd Mortier. Here you’ll have your first glimpse of these cute country-style maisons. Take the staircase on rue Géo-Chavez and you’ll reach a labyrinth of vine and flower bedecked houses around rue Irénée-Blanc and rue Paul-Strauss. It’s the perfect place for a romantic and offbeat stroll with few cars or people!
Most Romantic Secret Historic Site
Not too far from the above area (and to the restaurant below) is one of the most charming secret romantic places in Paris: le Pavillon de l’Ermitage. Set within a lovely garden is an elegant “folie,” a former aristocratic country home. It’s all that’s left of the defunct Château de Bagnolet, a castle complex built for the duchesse d’Orléans in the early 1700s. In 1792 the building was used as a meeting place for a group of royalists plotting to free Louis XVI (their scheme obviously failed…). At the end of the 1800s it was sold to the healthcare department and was used as a retirement home before becoming a social services centre a few decades ago. You can visit the interiors Weds-Sun 2-5:30 pm for a small entrance fee (3 euros in 2019) courtesy of the Friends of the Ermitage Association (more info here), or you can simply enjoy the lovely building and setting by sitting in the romantic park that surrounds it!
Most Romantic Historic Place
I’ve split up the “historic” places into two sections as I think that both of the above and this next place deserves a mention in this roundup. Just like Montmartre or Les Batignolles, there was a village over on the eastern edge of Paris which was also gobbled up by the hungry city in 1860. In this case it was called Charonne and its territory ran roughly from Avenue Gambetta and Pere Lachaise to Nation. The old “main street” of the village, Rue Saint-Blaise, and its parish church, the Eglise Saint-Germain de Charonne, retain this small town spirit. The church itself has parts dating back to the 12th century, although the much of it is from the 15th and 18th centuries. It presides over the village, crowning a small hill, atop which is also its former parish cemetery, only one of two that still exist (the other is next to Saint Peter of Montmartre). A walk down Rue Saint-Blaise, lined with cafes and shops, will make you feel like you’re in a small French village, especially when you reach the quaint Place des Grès…. which leads you to the next spot!
Most Romantic Garden
Taking rue Square des Grès. Formerly the spot where the lords of Charonne tried accused lawbreakers (found guilty they were executed elsewhere), the pretty garden has shed any links to its negative past. Hidden by walls, this secret garden, complete with vine-laden arbors, fruit trees and romantic seating nooks, is the perfect place for a little lovers break during your stroll in the area.
Most Romantic Alternative Place
The Belleville area is one of the best places for street art in Paris and rue Denoyez is one of the area’s prime spots. A walk down this cobbled street from one week to the next will likely be much different depending on which street artists have left their mark. It’s something a little more original to do in the area and connected to its current life. Plus there could be some romantic art, like when I visited it, I found a number of some hearts which would make for a fun romantic selfie. On either end of the street are cafés, Les Folies at Belleville — lively, albeit not particularly romantic — and the below café.
Most Romantic Café
The east end of Paris is known for being the section of the city where you can get the best “serious” coffee. This has led to an upswing in great cafés, however, many of these feature a more minimalistic decor rather than romantic. There are of course some exceptions, like the whimsical Le Barbouquin. You might have trouble spotting where it is at first due to the street art which generally covers part of its walls (and adds to its charm). Once you find your way inside, you’ll discover a supremely cozy atmosphere. Dissecting the name, “bar” and “bouquin,” you might recognize the colloquial French word for book (like the bouquiniste stalls selling books along the Seine). And yes, you will indeed find a lot of books in this café, in addition to nice seating for couples, good coffee, snacks and healthy lunch specials.
Most Romantic Final Resting Place
Although on the surface a cemetery mightn’t seem romantic, Paris’ most famous and largest final resting place is romantic as both a place to stroll and thanks to some of the legendary lovers it contains. Opened in 1804, among the cemeteries illustrious inhabitants is France’s most epic historic lovers: Abelard and Heloise. The remains of this medieval couple were transferred here in 1817, and their attractive tombs bares the tradition that lovers or lovelorn singles should leave letters detailing their wishes at the crypt (division 7). The cemetery also contains the remains of many figures of the 19th-century Romantic movement including Frederic Chopin (division 11), Théodore Géricault (division 12) and Eugène Delacroix (division 49). Within the great twentieth century lovers are Italian artist Amedeo Modigliani, who sadly died at 36 from tuberculosis and is buried with his tragic young mistress Jeanne Hébuterne (division 96). Edith Piaf lies eternally next to her second husband, actor and singer Theophanis Lamboukas (division 97), with whom she sang the duet “À quoi ça sert l’amour?” (What Good Is Love?) — despite this their tomb is engraved with “Love Conquers All.” On the literature front Gertrude Stein is buried with her life partner Alice B. Toklas (division 94) and Oscar Wilde’s tomb (division 89), although now protected by glass, is covered in decades of his admirers’ kisses.
Most Romantic Restaurant
The 20th arrondissement offers a lot on the romantic stroll spectrum, but little on the romantic eatery front. That said, if you’re looking for the right ambiance for a date, than Au Fond du Jardin could be the perfect fit. Entering the restaurant be sure to follow the indication in its name and go to “the end of the garden” as its behind the main dining room where you’ll find a lovely terrace. Less of a “garden” after some renovations, you can choose from sitting in an attractive winter garden/atrium or on the open terrace. The menu includes good pizzas, salads and even some vegan options. The service can be slow, but this will give you more time to savor with your sweetheart (more dining options in the final section as well as below).
Most Romantic Eclectic Date Venue
If you’re looking for something a little different in the 20th district, than you should look at the agenda of La Bellevilloise. Located in a former workers cooperative founded in 1877 the huge space hosts concerts, exhibits, club nights and has a bar-restaurant featuring tapas and creative modern dishes. Not only is it a super cool venue, it also has a romantic back garden. Every Sunday they have brunch with live jazz and most weekends have some form of fair or event. It perfect evokes the hip artsy vibe of the 20th and surprise your chéri/e with something original!
Most Romantic Place with It All
The 20th arrondissement is home to one of the nicest and most underrated parks in the north of Paris, le Parc de Belleville,. It’s romantic for a number of reasons, making it our selected top place that has it all for this district. The park is designed in terraces in reference to the vineyard which once sprawled over this section of the (some vines, planted in the 1900s, can been seen on nearby rue Piat), there are all kinds of cozy nooks for lovers in the park (although do watch out as there can occasionally be some mildly sketchy people in the park – well – like many city parks). However, what makes it so terribly romantic is the view you can admire from the top. If you don’t want to amble in the park, you can reach the “Belvedere” lookout via rue Piat (off rue de Belleville not far from Pyrénées métro). Here you can admire one of the best vistas of Paris… including an amazing view of the Eiffel Tower! It’s a magical place to have a special moment with your sweetheart, especially at sunset! After you’re done savoring the panorama you can grab a drink at one of the bars with terraces just behind the lookout. The Moncœur Belleville is a great option. Some of the tables have the view, but either way here you can enjoy some reasonably priced drinks, inventive small plates and great local ambiance. It’s the perfect place to finish off your explorations of this offbeat area of Paris!
Happy romancing in the 20th district! And that’s a wrap! I hope you’ve enjoyed this series! Stay tuned for a new one to start shortly!
You can track down the places above easily thanks to this google map. You can peruse the other articles in this series below or find many more ideas for unique romantic outings in our Paris date ideas section.
Our Collection of Romantic Paris Guides
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You can also carry on your explorations of romantic paris with our other Romantic Paris top 10 mini-guides!
- 1st Arrondissement
- 2nd Arrondissement
- 3rd Arrondissement
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