L'Amour de Paris || Romantic Parisian Portraits in the City of Love » The #1 resource for lovers in Paris! Featuring travel tips, hotel and restaurant recommendations, suggested tours and activities, as well as romantic portraits of couples in the City of Love.

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Love Locks on the Pont Des Arts

 

A couple locking their padlocks onto the Pont Des Arts bridge in Paris in a romantic tradition to celebrate their love.

It seems that every major city in Europe has a “lock bridge” where lovers flock from all over the world to secure a padlock engraved with their initials.  After the lock is secured onto the bridge, tradition states that the lovers throw their keys into the river, symbolizing that their love is forever and they can never be “unlocked” from each other.  Although the tradition is fairly recent, it is believed to have started with the Ponte Vecchio bridge in Florence, Italy where it then spread all over the world.  Each city has its own special location and tradition.  My favorite is in Taiwan, where locks are attached to train stations in pairs and are accompanied by a special wish.  The legend states that when the trains pass near the locks, the magnetic field generated by the trains causes energy to accumulate in the locks and fulfill the wishes.

A couple locking their padlocks onto the Pont Des Arts bridge in Paris in a romantic tradition to celebrate their love.

In Paris, there are three “love lock” bridges, but the most popular choice is the Pont Des Arts.  This bridge, which stretches along the Seine and connects the Louvre and the Institut de France, is home to hundreds of locks dating back all the way to the early 90’s (despite regular “pruning” by the Paris city government).  Couples come from all over the world to leave their locks (many of which are specially engraved with their names and wedding date) and then toss their keys into the Seine.

A couple locking their padlocks onto the Pont Des Arts bridge in Paris in a romantic tradition to celebrate their love.
A couple locking their padlocks onto the Pont Des Arts bridge in Paris in a romantic tradition to celebrate their love.
Despite the popularity of the tradition, locks can be difficult to come by in the city, so I recommend specially ordering a lock before your trip, especially if you want one engraved.  If you must pick one up in the city, try the bottom floor of BHV, which houses a hardware section.  If you want something extra special, try visiting the world famous Marché aux Puces St-Ouen antique fair on the weekend, where you may be able to find an antique or especially ornate lock.  Even if you decide not to take part in the tradition, it’s worth the time to stop by the Pont Des Arts, take in the beautiful view of the city, and allow yourself to soak in the physical representation of lovers from across the globe.
A couple locking their padlocks onto the Pont Des Arts bridge in Paris in a romantic tradition to celebrate their love.

A couple locking their padlocks onto the Pont Des Arts bridge in Paris in a romantic tradition to celebrate their love.

Stephanie - Ummmm, these are so incredibly gorgeous! I want some. 🙂

Sneak Peek: Ashley & Sebastian

Black and white photo of Ashley Smith and Sebastian Chain during their Day After honeymoon portrait session with Paris wedding photographer Stacy Reeves for L

Sebastian’s family is from France, so it only seemed natural for he and Ashley to spend their long-awaited honeymoon in the City of Love.  They also came to Paris harboring a big secret that they revealed to me during their romantic portrait session.  Unfortunately I can’t share it just yet, so you’ll just have to let this lovely sneak peek from their session tease you until then!

Valentine’s Day in Paris

(Updated July 2019)

There’s no better place to celebrate the Day of Love than in the City of Love!  Simply spending this romantic holiday in Paris is enough to send most people swooning, but if you want to go the extra mile and really blow your lover out of the water, there are a number of options to choose from.

Seine Dinner Cruise
The Seine is the heart of the city, and many of the most beautiful and meaningful sites are situated along the river, so a cruise along the Seine is a great way to see many of Paris’ most lovely attractions.  Although there are many options for tours along the Seine, my favorite choice is to do a dinner cruise.  Floating along the Seine in a glass-walled boat at sunset sipping champagne and dining on delicious food while live musicians play classic love songs is just about as romantic as you can get.  Though it might not be the best meal you have in town, it’s the ambiance and the backdrop that will really make the night memorable.  Be sure to splurge on the premium tables at the front or sides of the boat to get the most view for your money.  The two largest and most well-known options are Bateaux-Mouches and Bateaux Parisiens.

Romantic Tour + Dinner Combination
Although most couples celebrate Valentine’s Day by doing a special dinner out, when you’re in Paris, dining fabulously can quickly become commonplace, so you have to go the extra mile on those special days.  Many tour companies offer special deals just for couples that combine romantic tours of the city, shows or attraction visits, and meals in unusual atmospheres.  Viator offers a great combination that gives you a tour of the Eiffel Tower, a Seine cruise, AND a show at the Moulin Rouge (with dinner at your choice of those three locations) which will keep your afternoon and evening full of romantic Parisian experiences at a price that is reasonable for everything you get.  For wine lovers, Fat Tire Bike Tours has paired up with the winner of the “Best Wine Bar in Paris” to create a romantic Eiffel Tower Valentine’s excursion with dinner and wine tasting, as well.

His & Hers
There are some sites in Paris that are undoubtedly attractive to solely one gender, and unfortunately for most couples, these sites often get skipped in favor of other attractions that are equally appealing to both mates. However, on a day specifically reserved for making the one you love happy, why not consider a “His & Hers” day that allows you both to indulge in your feminine and masculine sides?  For the gentlemen, I recommend a trip to the army museum Musée de l’Armée (which features weapons and armory from the Middle Ages throughout WWII) or the science museum Musée des Arts et Métiers.  Other guy-friendly options include the Catacombs, a Behind-the-Scenes tour of the Eiffel Tower that goes through the underground WWI bunker and hydraulic engine room, or a trip to micro-brewery O’Neil.  For the ladies, there are a wealth of options, such as Fragonard’s Musée du Parfum, the Baccarat crystal museum and restaurant, or the Musée des Arts Décoratifs In the past they’ve had a breathtakingly beautiful Van Cleef and Arpels jewelry exhibit, as well as a gallery on fashion throughout the ages (and, conveniently enough, a Star Wars exhibit, which can keep the men entertained while you drool over diamonds – not sure the Star Wars exhibit is still there, double check).  The ladies might also enjoy a spa day at the women-only Oriental spa/hammams O’Kari or La Sultane de Saba or a shopping spree at the Galeries Lafayette.  Of course, every couple is different, so talk to your significant other and ask each other “What Parisian activity do you secretly want to do but didn’t think I would be up for?”


Stay-cation

Okay, I know what you’re thinking.  “We’re already on vacation in Paris, how can we take a vacation from our vacation?”  If you’re in Paris for a week or more, you may find that you need to take a break from the bustle of the city and get away for a couple of days.  Thankfully there are a lot of fantastic options that are quick and easy trips from the city and will allow you to see the other side of France.  I especially recommend the Loire Valley, famous for its huge chateaux and wonderful wine.  Oliver’s Travels allows you to rent out entire chateaux and mansions for your own private use, or you can choose from a number of beautiful castles-turned-hotels in the Loire Valley (I recommend searching near Tours or Angers, which are both easily accessible from Paris by train).  Wine lovers may enjoy an overnight trip to the Loire, Burgundy, or Champagne regions as well, or for those hoping to add another stamp to the passport, Belgium, Luxembourg, and Switzerland are close by train and have many lovely border cities to explore.

The downside to making special plans for Valentine’s Day is that you must be prepared to pay for the experience.  Most restaurants and activities exclusively offer pricey “Valentine’s deals” on February 14 that are double what you would pay on any other day.

If you’d rather avoid the holiday surcharge, consider renting bicycles or scooters and taking your own tour around the city.  Stop by Rue Cadet and pick up some cheeses and Bordier butter at Tabert, some bread at Maison Dupuy, and a bottle of wine at Nicolas, then head to the steps of the Sacre Coeur and watch the sun set over the city while you enjoy your own personal picnic.  When darkness sets in, find some nice jazz music to finish your night.

Versailles Costume Ball

Photo courtesy of the Grand Masked Ball of Versailles

Fans of renaissance fairs and period pieces have the opportunity of a lifetime to combine their love of ages past with the stunning backdrop of Versailles.  For one evening each year Versailles opens its doors to masked revelers for the party of the year, The Grand Masked Ball at Versailles.  Attendees from all over the world come to eat, drink, and celebrate in the style of Louis and Marie.  The tickets are pricey but include private access to the gardens before the ball so you can enjoy the musical fountain show, as well as food and music all night long and breakfast in the gardens as the sun rises.  Masks and costumes are required, so be sure to stop by Theatr’Hall or Au Bal Masqué for a fitting in advance.  The ball takes place on Saturday, June 14, but tickets have sold out in past years so get your ticket early!