Romantic Haunts in Paris: Perfect for Valentine's
26 January 2017
Secret Places for an Intimate Parisian Adventure
Au revoir Eiffel Tower! If you really want to go the extra mile this romantic season, adding a twist to your magical stay, is bound to make it one to remember.
Secret Temple of Love
Bois de Vincennes (Boat Hire: 15th February – 15th November)
It was Napoleon who had the big idea to build on the Ile de Reuilly, the island in Paris’s second largest park. Here he created a beautiful temple for the truly discerning Parisians. For over two hundred years, this well-kept secret has been attracting couples and young lovers to its stunning sanctuary and hidden grotto alongside a tranquil lakeside beach and cultured woodland.
To explore Napoleon’s lake of eternal blue – hidden coves, and secret inlets, exotic peacocks and Brother's Grimm-esque forests – is a very special journey, yet to do so aboard your own traditional boat with a romantic picnic takes escapism to an altogether different level. Lazily unwind with your sweetheart as the boat slowly glides from the shores of Lac Daumesnil to the temple. Walking along the path leading from the jetty through the forest you will be transported to a simple way of life long forgotten in the city, where slopes are dotted with shrubs and trees dissected by fast-flowing brooks. Here the temple can be seen atop a majestic hill that glimmers in the pale light. If you can withstand the cold, end the day with a visit to the temple’s bay and its secluded grotto just below the gazebo. The Temple de l’Amour offers romanticism and escapism in breath-taking proportions whatever time of year.
House of Horror: Valentine’s Day in Total Darkness
Manoir de Paris (Tuesday 14th February)
Beginning a fantastic sixth year of terrifying nights, the Manoir de Paris is plunged into total darkness for its hotly anticipated Dark Valentine’s Night. Couples are lining up for an hour of shock and awe as they make their way through the protected historic manor with just a glow stick and a prayer for company. Here 35 actors will bring 13 Parisian legends to ‘life’ in an impressive, and interactive, feat of storytelling. Covering an area of 1000m2, on two floors, the catacomb-themed set is massive, scary and monumental… and just waiting for you to explore it.
Meeting the afterlife residents is one unexpected encounter after another, with scenes playing out around you and phantom couples lurking in each room, Manoir de Paris has been described as a real-life horror movie. If your other half is a fan of The Shining, Nosferatu or The Haunting then this spine-chilling evening will make an unforgettable night for two… and you’ll even be offered the chance to take home an array of photograph’s detailing just how scared you really were.
Romantic Paris Tour in a Citroen
Opera Garnier or personalised departing point
What better way to spoil that special someone than with a romantic drive in a classic Citroen car. You‘ll be picked up by a friendly guide who will present you with a special edition of Parigramme’s ‘Where to kiss in Paris’ – just in case you need any ideas. As you both climb into the back seat, the driver will pop open a chilled bottled of champagne and pour a glass each. It can be chilly in late winter so roof is optional… but the road trip is extra romantic with the roof off as you cuddle under woolly blankets in the back. Why not take a drive to Montmarte to see the Sacré-Cœur basilica soaring high above Paris. While those looking to abandon the tourist track can leave it to the driver to choose an extra special spot frequented only by the locals. Take photos of the passing landmarks as you are whisked away to your next fantastic stop. Your guide will be happy to share anecdotes of the city and its famous monuments, before dropping you off at the oldest café in Paris, Le Procope for a romantic dinner for two. Your driver will plan the Romantic Paris Private 2CV itinerary on where you want to take your partner, and exploring the city at night will give couples a unique experience of the City of Light.
Soulful Blues in Wine Cellar
La Guillotine pub (Every Sunday)
When it comes to romance nothing expresses passion more eloquently than music. On a Sunday evening, take your beloved to Jam Sunday evening in the La Guillotine pub tucked away on a narrow street in Paris’s Latin Quarter. The bar looks like a typical Parisian hangout but below the dimly lit bar lies a splendid little room called Le Caveau des Oubielletes, ‘cave of the forgotten’. Phil “Big Dez” Fernandez welcomes and directs the evening regularly, accompanied by Stéphane Miñana-Ripoll on drums and Cyrille Catois on bass. See Phil share the stage with local blues musicians as well as international artistes visiting Paris, including major Blues names such as Joe Louis Walker and Carlos Johnson. Every guest who gets to listen to the live set will be seriously roused by the music of a soulful harmonica or an electric guitar. After all, the raw, soulful voice of a man whose ‘woman and guitar’ is all he’s really got guarantees a lesson in the trials and tribulations of true love.
Hotel Balzac’s Guide to Christmas Markets in Paris
This winter, immerse yourself in magic with a visit to Paris’ famous Christmas Markets - with three of the best arriving at Champs-Elysées, La Défense, and the Alsacien marché at Gare de l'Est. Enjoy all of this and more as you delight in a five-star festive stay at Hotel Balzac.Click here for more
The Photographs of Irving Penn and Princely Portraits by Rubens
See the photographs of Irving Penn at the Grand Palais in an all-encompassing retrospective this September. In October, Peter Paul Rubens is the focus of the Musée du Luxembourg’s exploration of his Princely Portraits.Click here for more