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Traveling to Paris as a Couple? Here’s How to Have the Best Trip Ever

Annie Gabillet

“Dreamy. Exhilarating. Unforgettable.” That’s how American expat Shiva Backhaus would describe Paris. The charm of the city hasn’t worn off, even though she’s lived there for more than two years. After having a destination wedding in Paris in 2013, Shiva and her husband, Brian, decided to move to Paris for good four years later. 

Before settling in Paris, Shiva and Brian quit their full-time jobs to travel to Africa, Asia, and India for more than a year. Today, the couple work on their travel website Midlife Leap and their trip planning platform PointHackr, which helps you find flights with credit card points. If there’s two things Shiva and Brian know, it’s how to travel as a couple and what to do in Paris. So we tapped into that expertise and asked: what are things every couple must do when they find themselves in Paris on a romantic getaway? Read our interview to find out. 

Courtesy Midlife Leap

What are non-cheesy, but still romantic things to do in Paris as a couple?

On a beautiful warm evening, we love to grab a bottle of wine, pick up some meat and cheese, and of course a fresh baguette from a boulangerie, and have an impromptu picnic on the Seine. The colors in the sky against some of Paris’ most recognizable landmarks is breathtaking, and we are always in awe. 

If you aren’t picnicking, the next best thing to do is roam the streets of Paris and let yourself get lost. You may uncover a new bustling square, a perfect shady spot to read a book, or one of the many breathtaking views. Even after countless trips and two years of living here, we still discover new, charming corners of Paris.

Courtesy Midlife Leap

Are there tourist attractions that are good to explore as a couple? 

Honestly, everything in Paris feels more romantic. Whether it’s buying a pain au chocolate at a boulangerie or walking through the great halls of the Louvre, Paris just has an air of love. I think indulging in some Parisian pastries and sitting in any of the beautiful jardins in Paris is a great tourist activity. One of my favorites is the fountain at Jardin de Luxembourg (Luxembourg Garden) where you can people watch with a view of the Eiffel Tower as well. It may be one of the most romantic, picturesque activities you can do in between museum hopping and sightseeing.

“The most romantic neighborhood in Paris is Montmartre.”

The most romantic neighborhood in Paris, in my opinion, is Montmartre. It truly is a tiny village in a big city, and you can’t help but be transported back into time while walking along the cobblestone streets. Stop into La Mascotte for some oysters before taking a photo in front of the Le mur des je t’aime (translation: The I love you wall) on your way to see Sacre-Coeur. Grab a crepe in Place du Tertre on your way up because why not — you’re in Paris!

Courtesy Midlife Leap

Describe the perfect date night in Paris.

It would definitely start with a drink on the rooftop bar Hôtel National des Arts et Métiers. It’s a little secret spot tucked away in the Marais with incredible views! 

After a refreshing Aperol Spritz or a glass of champagne, we would walk through Palais Royal on our way to dinner at Verjus, which you would have to book well in advance. Since this is my perfect date night, I guess we will indulge in the wine pairing along with the seasonal tasting menu. Trust me, your tastebuds will thank you! And for the quality of food and service, the tasting menu is one of the more affordable ones in town. 

“Start with a drink on the rooftop bar Hôtel National des Arts et Métiers. It’s a little secret spot tucked away in the Marais with incredible views!”

Following dinner, we would take a romantic stroll through the Louvre making sure to walk by the pyramid in the evening. It will be much quieter, and with the glowing lights of the Louvre in the background, it makes for a stunning picture. And last but not least, we will continue to walk off our decadent dinner along the banks of the Seine, crossing over to the left bank at Pont des Arts, for a night cap on Rue de Buci.

Courtesy Midlife Leap

What other spots are good for couples? 

Every Saturday evening, from 4:30pm until 7:00pm, La Fontaine de Belleville in the 10th arrondissement has free jazz. It’s a quintessential neighborhood cafe and it always feels like a great “local” spot to start an evening out on the town. They also have one of the best jambon beurre sandwiches in Paris! 

Le Perchoir in Oberkampf is another great rooftop bar that has a beautiful view of Sacre Coeur. If you are in the mood for onion soup and or foie gras, Le Comptoir de la Gastronomie is a great option, but be prepared to wait in line! Or if it’s hot chocolate you are craving, La Jacobine in the 6th is a quaint little shop in one of Paris’ famous passages. And while this isn’t a restaurant, cafe, or bar, Parc des Buttes-Chaumont is one of our favorite places to have a picnic on a sunny day — and they have a beer garden type bar up on top of the hill called Rosa Bonheur. We had our welcome drinks there for our wedding.

For more insight into their adventures in Paris, follow Shiva and Brian on Instagram @midlifeleap.