Thursday, September 1, 2011

Parisian Date Ideas

Lindsey Tramuta is a Philadelphia native who fell in love with a Frenchman and then moved to Paris. "Cliché, right?" she quips. Perhaps, but romantic nonetheless. Her blog Lost in Cheeseland chronicles her adventures in her new home and is a wonderful source for reviews, things to do, where to go and even how to fit in with the locals when you're the tourist. She was so sweet when I tweeted that I needed some date ideas for my time in Paris that I asked if she'd like to share a few more for day and night time rendezvous. (And P.S. she's written for Travel + Leisure, too!)

Something happens to people when they come to Paris. Expectations soar, hearts flutter wildly and vocabularies dwindle to two simple yet powerful words – love and food. When you visit the city of love and light with a loved one, or someone you are fervently trying to make your loved one, these feelings are understandable. At every turn there is beauty, magic and the sweet aroma of fresh pastries and chocolate – if you don’t fall in love with a human during your time in Paris you’ll certainly become an erudite hedonist in no time.

To fully take advantage of the landscape during your romantic excursion, here are a few ideas for daytime and nighttime outings à deux (think simple!):

Stroll aimlessly.

There are few American cities where you can honestly say it is safe to stroll without at least a rough idea of a destination point – one block can make all the difference. In Paris, the streets are yours to roam. In fact, my first date with my husband consisted of eight hours of on and off strolling that began at Odéon, took us through Luxembourg Gardens, wound us around Saint-Germain, led us to rue Montorgueil for a cheese plate and rounded out in the Oberkampf neighborhood of the 11th arrondissement for an evening drink. With countless cafés and restaurants along the way, you will have ample choice when you’re ready to rest your feet.

Suggested starting points: Metro exits Abbesses or Lamarck Caulaincourt for a tour of Montmartre. There are enough hidden passageways, charming boutiques and hills to climb for one date!

Head to the water for a Seine-side picnic.

What’s cheap, relaxing and offers one of the best views in the city? A picnic right along the Seine in the Square du Vert Galant, the island underneath the Pont Neuf. Grab a blanket, some sandwiches and sweets from any of the million bakeries the city has to offer, some wine and lounge to the sound of the water. Go for a midday food break or make it an intimate tête à tête at dusk with a bottle of champagne.

Suggested picnic spots: Parc Monceau, Place des Vosges, Jardin du Luxembourg, Jardin du Louvre

Get close in the kitchen.

The mecca of sweet and savory is the best place to learn how to make macarons like Ladurée (minus the factory), croissants like the corner bakery or a traditional French meal in a few hours time. Paris boasts a guidebook’s worth of cooking schools that offer classes to satisfy all tastes in both English and French. My husband and I took a macaron class over Valentine’s Day weekend at La Cuisine Paris and had a ball together - a sure fire way to get close.

Suggested schools: La Cuisine Paris, Cook’n with Class, Lenôtre, Le Cordon Bleu

Be charmed over breakfast.

One of my favorite spots for breakfast in Paris is a charming salon de thé in the 7th called Pain et Chocolat. Run by a sweet, older couple, the restaurant offers a complete breakfast, à la carte options and an ambiance that is quintessentially Paris-perfect. The street is calm, the welcome is warm and the food is delightful. Go first thing in the morning and then walk up Avenue La Motte Picquet toward the Eiffel Tower to beat the crowds.

16 avenue la motte picquet, 75007 (Métro: Ecole Militaire)

Whatever you do together in Paris, there is no need for frills or elaborate plans. Just enjoy each other and let the city do the work.

Image: courtesy of Lindsey Tramuta


  1. We actually popped into Pain et Chocolat aujourd'hui for what else? Bread and chocolate and I reeaally had to stop myself from stocking up on more of those goodies for the metro ride back to the apartment. And the owners were so stinkin' sweet. Bless their hearts for understanding my broken French. Picnicking under Pont Neuf is also on our to-do list.

  2. Great list Lindsey!

    Enjoy the romance of Paris Dorkys!!

  3. Sounds wonderful...

    And now I'm hungry!

  4. Could totally go for another pain et chocolat right now...

    Too bad I'm in a whole 'nother country now!

  5. How fun! I love all of these ideas. So truuuuuuue!

  6. Paris is so great. These really are the best "affodable" dates ever. Good picks!


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