Of all the romantic places in Paris, the ones in the 4ème arrondissement are so abundant and magical that it’s really hard to choose which are the most romantic. Covering the territory south of rue Francs-Bourgeois and rue Rambuteau all the way to and inclusive of Ile Saint Louis and half of Ile-de-la-Cité, the district has criss-crossed with the narrow laneways of the Southern Marais, lined with historic private mansions and pretty parks and is also home to some of the city’s big name sites, like the Centre Pompidou, Hotel de Ville and glorious Notre Dame de Paris. Here’s where you can do some seductive romancing in the heart of Old Paris.
Most Romantic Historic Site
I love, love love the enchanting the Hotel de Sens (also pictured from the other side above), so much so that it’s one of my favorite historic sites in all of Paris. Dating back to the end of the 15th century, the late Gothic building served as the city mansion for the Bishops of Sens. It does have a link to romance and passion. The Reine Margot, the divorced first wife of Henri IV, lived here in 1605. It’s said that during her stay she had dumped a 20-year-old lover for a younger 18-year-old. It a fit of jealousy the former murdered the latter, which Margot wasn’t in the least bit happy about and promptly the assassin also executed… in front of the house.
On a completely different note, if you look in the triangular section above the windows on the left of the facade, you’ll see a small round object with the words “28 juillet 1830“, the date of the start of the Trois Glorieuse, a three day revolution that took place that year. Cannonballs were flying through the area and one got lodged into the poor Hotel de Sens. At least it didn’t explore and damage the building! Today the ambiance is much calmer and you can sit under the trees in the little garden across the street, or make your way around to the back where there is a sublime little jardin à la francaise.
Most Romantic Street
Another top personal favorite in the area, the rue des Barres is like a time travel portal. The charming pedestrian street starts with the picturesque Café-Restaurant Louis Philippe with its pretty decor and old school charm, then you’ve got the chicer Chez Julien, formerly a bakery founded in 1780. As you climb the streets gentle steps you pass café terraces, curious antique shops and the medieval Saint Gervais Church. As you pass the building on its right, be sure to turn around and look up at its side and you’ll see one of the rare half-timbered houses left in Paris, now a youth hostel. Down the lane on its right are some benches if you want to stop for a lovers snuggle.
Most Romantic Hidden Spot
I happened by the hidden Jardin des Rosiers-Joseph Migneret by chance one day… probably like most Parisians discover this special park. What appears to be a banal courtyard actually contains some lovely secret gems. As you enter through the gate on rue des Rosiers, you’ll be met with a medieval watchtower, one of the few remaining visible sections of the protective wall King Philippe Auguste built around the city from the 1190s-1220s. Beyond this is a series of little gardens, once the private gardens of the various private mansions which lined the rue Francs-Bourgeois. This is the perfect place to savor a romantic moment together, or a falafel acquired from around the corner on rue des Rosiers.
Most Romantic Quirky Historic Spot
I’d always been curious about the roots of the name of rue du Trésor. Treasure street, huh? So I once went digging to find out. Apparently this more behind this picturesque cul-de-sac off of rue Vielle du Temple. Indeed a treasure was found here in 1882 on the remains of a private mansion. It was in the former of a copper vase containing a total 7 882 livres in historic coins. The treasure was sold off and the Musée Carnavalet, the museum of the history of Paris, managed to buy up the vase and some of its coins. Maybe you can try tracking these down when the museum reopens next year. In the meantime, you can share this story with your sweetheart as you amble down the lane, the ideal spot to steal a kiss then enjoy a drink on one of its café terraces.
Most Romantic View
The bridges of Paris feature some of the city’s most alluring views, and one of nicest and all encompassing is from Le Pont Louis Philippe. Extending from the Ile Saint Louis to the Quai de l’Hotel de Ville, depending on where you are standing on the bridge, you can catch glimpses of some of Paris best monuments, including the towers of Notre Dame, the Conciergerie, Hotel de Ville as well as the Left Bank’s Pantheon and St Etienne du Mont church. The view is especially magical in the late afternoon when it can feature the most gorgeous sunsets. I was tempted to choose the view from the top of Centre Pompidou of almost all of Paris, so I’ll cheat and squeeze it in here at the end. It lost since there’s no place for a nice romantic moment up there, unless you’re splurging on an expensive meal at their restaurant Georges.
Most Romantic Garden
I’m cheating again here. As you can note… I’ve actually included a number of gardens throughout the article, which are linked to other sites. Therefore, I can slip this slightly more famous place into the article. Because how could I discuss the 4th arrondissement without mentioning its most iconic place: Notre Dame. Most people don’t even realize it’s located in this district since the area’s borders are a little strange. The front of Notre Dame is a zoo in the high season, however, there are many fewer people milling through the Square Jean XXIII, the gracious park hugging the south and eastern sides of the Cathedral. Even with other people in it, it’s terribly romantic and quiet, particularly in springtime when the cherry blossoms are at their prime. Cue perfect proposal time and place!
Most Romantic Classic Restaurant
This one is a tough one, as the area has several more classic French bistrots and grand restaurants, like the elegant Bofinger with its stunning stained glass, but its so big that it lacks intimacy. You’ll definitely find that at the tiny Le Temps des Cerises. Well, you’ll also find a lot of locals so it can be a little boisterous, but the charm of Vieux Paris permeates through its walls, which happen to date back to 1830. The quaint interior doesn’t look like it’s changed very much since then and the menu features standard bistro fare like escargots, French onion soup and steak-frites as well as few more modern dishes such as vegetarian lasagnes and magret de canard with spices and dried fruit. Besides being adorable and full of charm, the restaurant’s name and location are key to the district’s history. Named after a well-known 19th- century French song by Jean-Baptiste Clément about the Paris Commune, there is also a connection to its street’s name, rue de la Cerisaie. Meaning Cherry Tree street, the area served as the orchard of the former Saint Pol Castle complex that extended over the area and baptised a number of the neighboring street names.
Most Romantic Stylish Restaurant
If you’re looking for a excellent contemporary cuisine in an attractive and romantic setting, then book a table at Les Foodies. Graduates of Paris’ famous Le Cordon Bleu, the team behind this stylish neo-bistrot tucked away on a quiet side street north of Hotel de Ville, are on their way to a Michelin star with their attention to detail and divine dishes. Chef Davide Galloni designs a monthly changing menu fusing together the flavors of France and his Thai-Italian origins. The results are sensual, inventive creations that leave you craving more. These go perfectly with their delicious cocktails and fine selection of Italian and French wines. They also have an extremely reasonable weekday lunch menu entrée/plat or plat/dessert for only 21 euros and a popular brunch on weekends.
Most Romantic Bar
Situated on the top floor of the BHV department store, this is one of Paris’ rare rooftop bars and is sister to the Perchoir in the 11th arrondissement. Come for when it opens around 8pm, nestle in on one of the boho sofas and you’ll be able to admire to some exceptional views, crisp cocktail in hand. The ambiance is relaxed, yet trendy and picks up on weekends.
Most Romantic Place with it All
Night and day, the spectacular Place des Vosges is one of the city’s most romantic places. Whether your lounging on the grass or cuddling on one of its shady benches, strolling under its arcades or passing through on a starlit evening, the early 17th-century square dazzles. Commissioned by King Henri IV and considered Europe’s first designed public square, it was built on the site of the former Tournelles Castle, razed due to its links to the tragic end of Henri II, who died from being stabbed in the eye during a friendly jousting match held here. A perfect square and featuring 36 attractive townhouses, it is unique in Paris and terribly romantic. Around the square are art galleries, the museum and former home of Victor Hugo and restaurants ranging from the charming Au Bourgougnon du Marais to the chic tea salon Carette and the uber fancy 3-Michelin-star L’Ambroisie.
Explore these spots via the Google Map below.
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