Of all the romantic places in Paris, its seductively charming streets might be the best avenue to some loving. However, they are all far from the same. A market street might be atmospheric, yet it’s hardly the place to be alone with your amoureux. Hidden away, free from traffic or with small private nooks, the following have also been chosen for their intimacy, beauty and magic. A stroll with your lover—or potential love interest—down one of these streets will certainly ignite the passion to steal a kiss… and maybe more!
Rue des Barres, 75004
A personal favorite spot in Paris, the rue des Barres might be one of the most beautiful streets in the whole city. It’s virtually impossible not to fall under its enchanting spell as you walk up its leisurely steps, past the café terraces and under the shadow of the medieval Saint Gervais Church. Just beyond you have one of the rare remaining half-timbered houses of Paris, the 16th-century townhouse of the Abbaye de Maubuisson. You’d hardly guess you were in the 21st century, plus being surrounded only by small side streets, you can barely hear any traffic. The area kindles passion and just the other day as I was passing through, I saw some young lovers locked in a fervent embrace. They’d taken refuge against a building, however, you can also perch yourselves on several sets building steps, in the slightly discreet corner behind the church or on the benches located on the other side of the house on rue Grenier sur l’Eau.
Rue de Bièvre/Impasse Maubert, 75005
The atmosphere of the Latin Quarter without the throngs of people? All you need to do is drift a few streets away. I’ve had a fondness for rue de Bièvre for ages, especially at night when the lighting is low. Named for the Bièvre River which used to flow nearby, the walls of this crooked 11th-century street of the “Saint Vincent” quarter could tell a thousand stories. Its illustrious residents extend from Dante, who resided here during his séjour in the capital, to former President Francois Mitterrand, who lived at #22. Start from the Maubert Mutualité area and passion can culminate at the end of the street when you exit out onto the gorgeous view of Notre Dame, or you might park yourselves for a cuddle in the cozy park named after Mitterrand’s wife, Dominique, found mid-way next to their former apartment. This whole area is full of charming, little-trafficked streets, which is why I had trouble picking just one.
Meander around the corner onto rue Frédéric Sauton and you’ll come to the Impasse Maubert. Another medieval street, it was once called l’impasse d’Amboise for the 14th-century l’Hôtel d’Amboise that was built on the site before being rechristened as Maubert in the 1800s after the larger square of the same name down the street. Some of its former residents were more infamous than famous compared to its neighbor rue de la Bièvre. Apparently it housed a gang of professional potion makers… or more precisely poison makers and even more precisely female alchemists. Lady killers indeed! For our purposes let’s assume they made some love potions as well, this alley is just too romantic.
Rue de Nevers, 75006
A stone’s throw away from the Seine, Notre Dame and the crowds around Saint Michel is this quaint little street. By night you might run into rowdy rugby fans spilling out of the Highlander Pub, but by day you’ll hardly pass a soul on this almost pedestrian laneway. It was built in the 13th century as a servants’ access to the collège de Saint-Denis and the Hotel de Nevers, its namesake. This small castle was attached to the imposing Tour de Nesle, an important watchtower on the former Philippe Auguste wall that stood at the Seine-side of the street. The fearsome tower was eventually torn down in the mid-1600s to make room for the more elegant bibliothèque Mazarine. You’ll pick up this medieval ambience as you cruise down the street, which just so happens to end in an alcove perfect for a passionate kiss… or slip around the corner on rue de Nesle and into in the tiny courtyard of the Theatre de Nesle where you’ll find the cutest lovers’ bench awaiting you.
Passage Dauphine, 75006
This pedestrian passageway was made for stealing a kiss; in fact that’s just what I caught as I was recently walking around the area, confirming that it definitely belonged on this list. Not far from the rue de Nevers, this shortcut is a haven from busy rue Dauphine and Mazarine. Open in 1825, the era of the city’s passageways, however, unlike the “passages” around the Opera, it’s rather wide and isn’t covered. Today you can retreat here for a lovers’ moment amidst gallery-hopping in Saint Germain or take a break at the charming tea salon, L’Heure Gourmande, to soak up more of the passage’s romantic vibes.
Rue Berton, 75016
One of the narrowest streets of Paris, this laneway harks back to the days when Passy was a hamlet on the outskirts of the burgeoning city. Surrounded by high stone walls, it once marked the border between the land of the lords of Auteuil and those of Passy (officialized in 1731 with a boundary marker still posted there today). The tiny street made its way into poet Guillaume Apollinaire’s Le flâneur des deux rives (The Stroller of The Two Riverbanks, 1918), who described it as “one of the most picturesque corners of Paris.” I think you’ll agree with him.
Your amble could be bookended by another writer, the great Honoré de Balzac. He lived in the house at the eastern end of the street between 1840 and 1847, today a small museum in his honor. Alternatively, a few minutes away you’ll reach rue de l’Annonciation, the “downtown” of Passy village, home to many restaurants and shops such as Aux Merveilleux de Fred where you can pick up one of his fabulous meringue “marvels.”
Cité du Midi, 75018
Montmartre is full of romantic streets, be that as it may, you won’t run into masses of tourists on this small cul de sac. Tucked away off of on Blvd de Clichy between metros Pigalle and Blanche, it’s an oasis from the honky horns and sex shop/peep show hawkers of the boulevard. Said to have been once the residence of people from the Midi region in the South of France, it’s since hosted a cabaret, Les Bains Douches de Pigalle (a public wash house), a music studio, an art complex (The Box in Paris) and plenty of curious cats. It’s full of other curious items and your eyes will keep busy wandering over its curiosities… hopefully their journey will end locked into your partner’s… a secret deal signed with a kiss.
Looking to extend your date past these streets? Find many other fun Paris date ideas here.