Paris

It’s easy to see why Paris is often referred to as the world’s most romantic city. Complete with charming streets, iconic landmarks, historic palaces, picturesque parks, and world-class restaurants, Paris is the ultimate multisensorial destination in which to spend your first few days as a married couple.

It’s also the kind of city where you can feel more like a local than a tourist without having to even try. Paris is all about discovery: Just wander the streets, without a map or an agenda, and you could stumble upon vibrant markets, casual cafés, and centuries-old sites.

The capital of France, Paris is divided into 20 arrondissements, or districts, which are arranged in a clockwise spiral starting in the middle of the city. Each arrondissement is home to a number of historic sites (museums, manicured parks, restored palaces), plus countless hotels, shops, and restaurants. In the middle of the city lies the Seine River, a storied waterway that’s lined with pedestrian promenades and filled with touristic boat cruises.

With so many “must-sees,” crafting the perfect Parisian itinerary can seem an impossible feat. In fact, couples could traverse the city for more than a month and never take in all that Paris has to offer. Narrowing the list comes down to preferences: history and culture couples will want to focus on hitting the major museums, gardens, and palaces, while those who prefer a more local experience can get lost wandering neighborhoods like the Marais, St-Germain-des-Pres, or Montmartre.

Whether you opt to stroll hand-in-hand along the Seine, eat breakfast in a casual café, window-shop on Avenue Montaigne, or have a picnic lunch in Parc des Buttes-Chaumont, Paris has something for everyone. Read on for our ultimate guide to the perfect honeymoon in Paris.

When to Go

Paris has a similar climate and tourist pattern as that of other major world capitals—summers can be hot, humid, and crowded; winters are often cold and dreary; while spring and fall offer comfortable temperatures and fewer crowds, ideal conditions for honeymooning in the City of Light.

Getting There and Around

Travelers to Paris can choose to fly into two different airports, Paris-Charles de Gaulle (CDG) and Paris Orly Airport (ORY). There are direct flights into both from a number of major U.S. cities, including New York, Boston, Miami, Washington D.C., Atlanta, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, and more. When it comes to navigating the city, couples can easily ride the metro, hop in an Uber or taxi, or get around the most scenic way: afoot.

What to Do

Paris historic museum

  • Visit Museums - From the Louvre Museum to the Musee d’Orsay, the Musee Rodin to the Musee Picasso, you could spend a week in Paris and do nothing except visit the city’s world-class museums. But for strictly the “must-sees," start with the Louvre, considered by many culture aficionados to house the world’s greatest art collection; then, check out the d'Orsay, which has masterpieces by French Impressionists on display; afterward, head to the Picasso, whose permanent collection has thousands of paintings, sculptures, and sketches that span the artist’s lifetime.

  • Tour Landmarks - The Arc de Triomphe, the Eiffel Tower, Notre-Dame Cathedral, the Palais Royal—you’ve seen them in movies, you’ve read about them in books. A honeymoon in Paris wouldn’t be complete without touring at least a few of its historic landmarks. Pro tip: Save the Eiffel Tower until end of day, when crowds are thinner and you can glimpse at the "City of Light" in all its sparkling splendor.

  • Explore Montmartre - Located on a steep hill, this outlying neighborhood in the 18th arrondissement is as picturesque as it gets. Filled with street painters, parks, museums, and terraced courtyards, Montmartre is the perfect place to get a feel for prewar Paris. Spend a day working your way up the quaint streets, passing historic theaters, art galleries, and charming public squares. There are a variety of cafés and iconic windmills along Rue Lepic. Stop for a photo with spectacular city vistas on Rue Ravignan before checking out Paris’s oldest movie theatre on Boulevard de Rochechouart.

  • Visit Palaces and Parks - Some of the greatest discoveries in Paris come from a visit to the city’s numerous palaces and parks. First, head east to Parc des Buttes-Chaumont, a lesser-known but still spectacular landscape. (You’ll cross over suspension bridges and spot waterfalls inside caves before taking in sweeping views of the city at the park’s lovely hilltop.) Cap the day with a lap through Jardin du Luxembourg, in the Latin Quarter, and Jardin des Tuileries, known for its terraced gardens and historic bronze sculptures.

  • Shop the Markets - There are dozens of colorful markets spread across the city. Visit the oldest covered market in Paris, Marché Enfant Rouges, along Rue de Bretagne, early in the day when the lines are the shortest and the food is the freshest. If your tastes are more sartorial, head to the Marché aux Puces de Saint-Ouen, a vintage clothing and antiques Mecca in the 17th arrondissement.

  • Experience Cafe Culture - No matter what time of year you visit Paris, dining at the cafés that line the streets is one of the more relaxing and enjoyable experiences in the city. Some of the world’s greatest writers and intellects have, for centuries, been inspired by the street life of Paris. Take seat at les Philosophes, in the Marais, or Café Charbon, on Rue Oberkampf, and you’ll find some romantic inspiration of your own just by people-watching.

  • Walk Along the Seine - Strolling hand-in-hand along the Seine is a must-do activity for newlyweds. The picturesque river cuts through the heart of the city, giving way to some of Paris’ most splendid vistas. Around sunset, walk over one of the many of the bridges that traverse the river—the pedestrian-only Esplanade David Ben Gurion offers an especially perfect Eiffel Tower backdrop for your #honeymoon Instagram.

Where to Stay

Paris luxury hotel

  • Hotel Plaza Athénée Paris - If you’re looking for a honeymoon-worthy splurge, there’s none better than this five-star hotel situated in the heart of Paris. Though it opened in 1913, the sparkling dining rooms, plush accommodations, and elegant entrance look brand new (in fact, the hotel saw a tip-to-toe renovation just a few years back). From the moment you catch sight of the signature red awnings facing the stately avenue Montaigne to the second you fall asleep with the Eiffel Tower shimmering in the distance, the Plaza Athénée will wow you with its polished elegance.

  • L'Hotel - Countless famous names have stayed at the smallest five-star hotel in Paris: Oscar Wilde, Elizabeth Taylor, Jim Morrison, Frank Sinatra. Now, thanks to a sleek redesign by interiors guru Jacques Garcia, honeymooning couples can hole up in the 19th-century building’s refreshed digs. The dim lighting, velvet couches, and jewel-toned decor guarantee intimate, Old World vibes.

  • Le Pavillon de la Reine - The iconic Place de Vosges, in the Marais neighborhood, is often called one of the most beautiful squares in the world. It’s lined with multimillion-dollar apartments—to live here is one of the ultimate luxuries in Paris. That’s why couples who check into this family-owned hotel—with its ivy-covered, 17th-century façade—can expect a uniquely local way to experience the City of Light.

  • Hotel Grands Boulevards - Owned by the group behind the Experimental Cocktail Club, this four-star hotel in the 2nd arrondissement is one of the city’s coolest stays. Housed in a pre-French Revolution building, the hotel has a distinctly classic vibe, seamlessly melded with upscale, modern amenities like dreamy canopy beds and in-room espresso makers.

Where to Eat

Paris restaurant

  • Bar Hemingway - This tiny bar at the Ritz Paris has garnered as much lore for its famous clientele (celebrities, diplomats, etc.) as for its longtime head barman, Colin Field. Arrive just as it opens at 6 p.m., so you can score the perfect table before the place fills up with well-heeled tourists and regulars.

  • Frenchie - This tiny bistro in the 2nd arrondissement continues to be one of the city's great value restaurants. With just 26 seats and two covers a night, nabbing a reservation can be quite difficult, so be sure to plan ahead. Luckily, there’s a lovely wine bar across the street to wait it out until your table is ready.

  • Pierre Sang - When you need a break from French food, seek out the diverse flavors of this Korean-fusion restaurant on Rue Oberkampf. Chef Pierre Sang Boyer turns out hearty yet light plates, like sautéed pork with white beans in a tomato sauce topped with anchovies and radishes.

  • Experimental Cocktail Club - Oft considered Paris’ coolest bar, Experimental Cocktail Club (ECC, for short) continues to draw nightly crowds since opening in 2007. It has steadily built a reputation as a pioneer in crafting drinks with never-before-seen ingredients, such as cordial de fleurs de sureau (elderberry liquor) and oeuf entier (a whole egg). Order one of the 12 suggested ingredients, or tell a server what flavors and spirits you prefer and—voila—a delicious cocktail appears. 

  • Bistrot Paul Bert - Even after 20 years, this traditional bistro continues to serve up French food at its finest. Chef Bertrand Auboyneau focuses on seasonal ingredients (plump white asparagus, anyone?) and classic dishes such as Côte de Boeuf (with a side of the most perfectly crispy French fries).

  • Septime - The menu at this top-rated plant- and vegetable-focused restaurant may change every two weeks, but the warm, Scandinavian-inspired decor remains a constant. As does the fine-dining atmosphere—but without any of the pomp and circumstance for which French service has become known.