Paris Honeymoon Guide
Few cities can match the magical atmosphere of Paris: its ability to awe, charm and enchant lovers is endless.
For centuries, ‘The City of Light’ has claimed the hearts of lovers with its bountiful cosy, intimate and romantically renowned locations, which is probably why Paris is so favoured by newlywed couples as the perfect honeymoon destination.
Cuddle up over a glass of beaujolais in an aromatic bistro or enjoy a cafe au lait in a tiny street-side café on the left-bank. Stroll hand-in-hand along grand tree-lined avenues or on the cobblestone riverside quay beside the Seine.
Along the way, enjoy a passionate moment on the Pont Neuf, the oldest bridge in Paris, and admire the stunningly beautiful cathedral of Notre Dame.
Climb to the top of the Eiffel Tower to watch the sun set over the city, then head to a gourmet restaurant for a romantic candlelit dinner, then later swing with the beat in one of Paris’ famous jazz clubs (try Le Caveau de la Huchette).
Don’t forget to window shop along the ritzy Champs Elysees, view the classic masterpieces at the Louvre, cruise the Seine and spend a romantic evening people-watching and drinking French champagne in Montmartre’s Place du Terte – the perfect spot for honeymoon couples.
Let Paris entrall and enchant you with its array of must-see attractions, including a choice of romantic monuments, museums, avenues and parks. Must-see sights include…
Stroll the banks of this famous river, which divides Paris into the left and right banks, or indulge on a romantic evening cruise complete with dinner.
Probably the most famous of all cathedrals, Notre Dame’s setting on the Ile de la Cité, a small island in the heart of Paris, is simply stunning (photo).
Visit at sunset when the dying sun shines through the rose windows in the transept, warming the austere cathedral with a warm romantic glow.
Take the elevator or climb the 500 winding stairs to reach the top of Napoleon's tribute to the French army and be rewarded with a fantastic view over the city.
The Arc de Triomphe is also a great place to begin a romantic stroll through central Paris, with the Voie Triomphale and the Champs Elysées descending elegantly to the Louvre and Place de la Concorde.
Climb one of the world’s most renowned monuments. At 300m in height, the Tower’s iconic shape dominates the city and, from the third landing, offers unparalleled views over Paris.
To get the full effect of the tower, take a romantic stroll from the Trocadéro metro stop along the Palais de Chaillot to the Seine, then cross the Pont d'Iéna.
Climb the steep and crooked little streets that envelop the historic district: from the Place Pigalle, (where Edith Piaf, once sang in the alleyways), stroll up to Place du Calvaire for a panoramic view of Paris, then continue on uphill to the historic Place du Terte, home to scores of artists and sidewalk cafes.
Enjoy a break over a glass of champagne on the terrace of the gorgeous La Crémaillère 1900, an original Belle Epoque restaurant. Don’t miss the stunning Byzantine domes and bell tower of the beautiful Sacre Coeur church or a visit to the Au Lapin Agile (Cabaret des Assasins) to hear unique French folk tunes.
Step into one of the world’s most talked-about nightclubs, immortalised in Toulouse-Lautrec's famous posters.
Soak up the atmosphere over a bottle (or two) of very expensive champagne and experience high-kicking girls clothed (barely) in fantastic costumes, high heels and moving seductively to an exciting choreographed routine.
Be entertained with elaborate musicals in this legendary club where the celebrated dancer and singer Joséphine Baker, wearing only stilettos and a skirt made from bananas, once bewitched audience members that included the likes of Ernest Hemingway.
Explore the world’s largest palace and arguably the world’s most famous art museum, a must-see experience. Stroll the galleries to admire the museum’s most admired ladies – Leonardo da Vinci’s enigmatic La Gioconda (Mona Lisa) and the armless Venus de Milo – then continue on amid the 30,000 masterpieces on display.
Wander around ‘the most avant-garde building in the world,’ a centre for 20th and 21st century art, located in the Beaubourg neighbourhood and designed with a bold exoskeletal architecture complete with brightly painted pipes and ducts crisscrossing its transparent façade.
Have fun watching entertainers perform free in the museum's forecourt: look out for mimes, fire-eaters, circus performers and musicians.
As well as the Louvre, check out the Musee d'Orsay, home to an excellent Impressionist collection, Art Nouveau furniture and a Belle Epoque restaurant.
Also see the Picasso Museum and the Rodin Museum, located in a picturesque landscaping of green lawns, rows of linden trees, beds of roses and an ornamental pool – a decidedly romantic spot.
Paris offers numerous gardens laid-out in a range of styles, including Parc de Monceau, one of the first landscape parks to be created in Paris and pre-dates the start of the French Revolution in 1789 by 20 years, and Jardin de Bagatelle, a 28-hectare garden with a rich tapestry of colour, texture and form in the traditional French parterres.
And don't miss the famous Jardin des Tuileries, one of the most elegant promenades of Paris. More about Paris gardens…
Worshipped as the Holy Grail of high fashion by designers and fashionistas the world over, Paris is crowded with fabulous stores to shop – just perfect for that romantic getaway or honeymoon.
For the ultimate haute couture trip, lèche-vitrines (window-shop) the Triangle d'Or stores such as Dior, Chanel, Hermes, Louis Vuitton, Lancome, Givenchy, Cartier and Yves Saint Laurent.
If you do plan to pop inside (even just to look), remember to dress the part – the sales staff will be much more attentive if you look as though you belong there.
For jewellery, head toward Place Vendome; for specialty boutiques browse St-Germain-des-Prés and Les Halles for trendy clothes; for exotic handicrafts imported from Africa, head to the Marais, on Rue Elzévir. Don’t miss the prestigious grands magasins (department stores) including Galerie Lafayette and Au Printemps.
The best of Paris’s shopping arrondissements, include…
Browse the Triangle d'Or, located in the 1st and 8th arrondissements, the heart of the chic, ultra-expensive Parisian luxury fashion scene. Around the Champs Elysées lie the impeccably manicured streets of avenue Montaigne (arguably, Paris's most glamorous shopping street) and rue François-1er.
Take the long but pleasant stroll from avenue Montaigne to the home of haute couture at rue du Faubourg St-Honoré, known locally as ‘the Faubourg’. Along the way, window-shop at Dior, Chanel, Hermes, Louis Vuitton, Lancome, Givenchy, Cartier, Yves Saint Laurent, Jaeger, Rykiel and Porthault (maker of the poshest sheets in the world).
Don’t miss the arcade of eclectic boutiques along the Palais Royal or the Passage de Grand Cerf, a glass-enclosed shopping street lying a few blocks from the Beaubourg, in the 2nd arrondissement, which is lined with retro-chic boutiques and Asian-themed shops.
Located in the 9th arrondissement and home to the city's grands magasins (big department stores). Check out the Belle Epoque grandeur of Au Printemps and Galeries Lafayette department stores. Within each, explore chic designer collections, stunning jewellery, gourmet food and an array of home design options.
Explore the medieval warren of twisting streets in Renaissance-era Paris, one of city’s oldest and most impressive quarters. Head to Place des Vosges for antiques or fine arts and rue des Francs-Bourgeois for unique jewellery or explore the quirky and eclectic fashion boutiques featuring trendy new designers on Rue des Rosiers.
For a taste of Senegal, stroll down rue Elzévir to find hand-woven and hand-dyed bolts of cloth, all perfect to fashion into curtains, cushion covers or quilts. Be sure to look out also for multi-coloured carpets, basketwork and paintings. Located in the 3rd arrondissement.
Once the haunt of famous intellectuals, Saint-Germain-des-Près now hosts shoppers hunting for bargains at Sonia Rykiel, Paco Rabanne and the famous department store, Le Bon Marché.
And when you need a rejuvenating and inspiring break from the shopping, relax over coffee at Café de Flore, where poets Apollinaire and André Breton cooked up Dadaism and where Simone de Beauvoir and Jean-Paul Sartre philosophised.
Later, follow in the footsteps of de Beauvoir and Sartre and de-camp to nearby Les Deux Magots. Once the haunt of literary greats such as Verlaine and Rimbaud, François Mauriac and André Gide, Albert Camus and Ernest Hemingway, Les Deux Magots is a great spot for people-watching and soaking up those literary vibes. Located in the 6th arrondissement.
(Saint-Ouen Flea Market) – Check out les puces (the fleas) for antiques, vintage clothes, shoes, cute trinkets and various oddball items.
The Saint-Ouen is the city's largest and oldest flea market, located at the northern tip of Paris in the 18th arrondissement. Open seven days a week and perhaps best visited on weekdays due to the crowds on weekends.
A great place to visit on a Sunday, between 10am and 7.30pm. Situated at the foot of Montparnasse Tower, this market is an open-air gallery with more 100 artists including painters, sculptors, photographers, jewellers and hat makers. The mall along boulevard Edgar Quinet offers some of the best work.
Global chain stores reign supreme here: look out for Gap and Marks & Spencer, as well as local discount stores.
On nearby rue Montorgueil, one of Paris' oldest streets, find quirky contemporary boutiques with trendy fashions including Barbara Bui, as well as some of the city's finest food markets, pastry shops and a good mix of ultra-hip bars, cafes and restaurants.
To get the most from your shopping trip here are some tips to shopping in Paris…
Paris Sales – January and August are the best months for soldes (sales), tout doit disparaitre (everything must go) and coin des affaires (bargain areas). Typically, sales last for six weeks and discounts get better as the sale period nears the end.
Head to Boulevard Haussmann, where the big department stores such as Galeries Lafayette or Le Bon Marché are found for some great affaires d'achats (bargains).
Shopping hours Opening hours generally extend from 10am to 7pm Monday to Saturday, with late night shopping on Thursday continuing until 9pm or 10pm. Small shops often take a two-hour lunch break. With the exception of flea markets and those catering to tourists, most shops are closed on Sundays.
Taxes – In France, value-added tax (TVA) amounts to 19.6 per cent, but most of that is refundable if you spend EUR182 or more in any store that participates in the VAT refund program. Most stores participate, however some charge a processing fee of between 1 and 6 per cent.
Getting a tax refund – For an on-the-spot cash refund in euros, ask the shop assistant for the special ‘global refund form’ at the time of purchase. On leaving France, have it stamped by Customs, then present it to the Global Refund counter at one of more than 700 airport and border crossings in France.
Otherwise, present the purchased goods and the usual form to the Customs desk at the airport. Once the documents are processed elsewhere (but not immediately), the refund is credited to your credit card.
Duty free airport shopping – Duty-free shops are numerous in Paris and are always less expensive than the airport shops. Expect discounts from 20 per cent to 30 per cent. If you qualify for a VAT refund, you can save up to 45 per cent off the Paris retail price.
The big advantage of duty free shops in Paris is that you don't have to pay the VAT, avoiding all the red tape of applying for a refund later. Both Charles de Gaulle and Orly airports offer a huge range of duty free shopping, with everything from crystal glass and lingerie to chocolates and jewellery.
Best buys – In Paris Haute couture and prêt-à-porter (ready-to-wear) fashion, top quality shoes, bags, leather goods, jewellery and quality cosmetics.
Paris offers a huge range of accommodation options to suit all budgets, including the following 5-star hotels…
Four Seasons Hotel George V Paris
Location: 31, Avenue George V, 8th arr., Paris
Ave nightly price: AUD2038 per room
Description: Just steps from the Champs-Elysées, including private terraces with commanding Paris city views, signature lavish flower displays, top-of-the-line spa treatments and Michelin-awarded dining, the Four Seasons Hotel George V, Paris redefines luxury in the City of Light. The palatial rooms and suites, many with private terraces overlooking the city of Paris, are fitted with an interactive TV, a CD/DVD player, a library and Wi-Fi access. An espresso coffee machine with complimentary coffee pods, a safe, a minibar, and an in-room bread toasting service are standard. Classic French cuisine and lighter menus have earned Le Cinq restaurant two Michelin stars. The chic La Galerie is a favorite spot among fashionable Parisians for a drink or light bite. Le Bar offers cocktails and light meals and its large windows open on to the famous Avenue George V. The hotel’s spa offers saunas, whirlpools, an indoor pool and a menu of body treatments. Just just over 1.6 km from the Eiffel Tower and 3.2 km from Musée d'Orsay, the Four Seasons Hotel George V Paris has an ideal location in the Golden Triangle, famous for high-fashion boutiques. It is also 3.2 km from the trendy shops and cafes of the St. Germain-des-Prés.
Hotel Plaza Athenee Paris
Location: 25 Avenue Montaigne, 8th arr., Paris
Ave nightly price: AUD1980 per room
Description: On the prestigious Avenue Montaigne, this luxury 5-star hotel features a Dior Institute spa, 5 restaurants and a cocktail bar. It offers elegant rooms with marble bathrooms, a 5-minute walk from Avenue Champs Elysées. A plasma TV with over 200 on-demand movies is featured in all rooms and suites at Hôtel Plaza Athénée Paris. Guests can choose from 80 drinks for the personalized minibar and 5 pillow types for a good night’s sleep. Dining options at Hôtel Plaza include breakfast, gourmet French dishes, Japanese specialties and a summer menu. The hotel's restaurant's are supervised by the Michelin Star chef Alain Ducasse. Wi-Fi, a shoe shine service and twice-a-day housekeeping are just some of the facilities offered at Athénée Paris. Alma Marceau Metro Station is 305 m away and the Eiffel Tower is a 15-minute walk from the hotel.
Mandarin Oriental, Paris
Location: 251 rue Saint-Honoré, 1st arr., Paris
Ave nightly price: AUD1870 per room
Description: Located in Paris city centre, Mandarin Oriental, Paris is a 1930s palace hotel located in a historic building from the 30s. It offers an indoor landscaped garden, a 900 m² spa area and a gourmet restaurant awarded with 2 Michelin stars. It boasts a minimalist décor inspired by haute couture and renowned fashion houses. Parisian elegance joins Oriental refinement in the rooms and suites, which each have a unique décor. Tea and coffee making facilities, hair straighteners and a spacious bathroom feature in each accommodation and some of the suites also have a terrace and a panoramic view over Paris. The hotel offers a bar with a terrace and 2 restaurants, firstly the Camélia, where you can sample simple dishes prepared with fresh produce all day long and secondly the Sur Mésure Restaurant by Thierry Marx serving 5 to 9-course gourmet meals in a design atmosphere. A counter selling patisserie cakes is available on site. Several types of breakfast are available each morning including Chinese and Japanese options. Set on 2 levels, the spa and wellness centre is complete with an indoor pool, a steam room and spa suites with private steam shower and changing room. In this peaceful setting, a wide range of Mandarin Oriental Signature Guerlain® facial and body treatments can also be enjoyed. Other facilities include a fitness centre, valet and concierge service. Mandarin Oriental, Paris is ideally located 150 m from the elegant Place Vendome, 250 m from the Tuileries Garden and just a 10-minute walk from the famous Champs Elysées.
Hôtel Le Royal Monceau Raffles Paris
Location: 37 Avenue Hoche, 8th arr., Paris
Ave nightly price: AUD1642 per room
Description: Hôtel Raffles Royal Monceau Paris is in Paris’s 8th district, just over a quarter mile from the Champs Elysees and the Arc de Triomphe and is only a 40-minute drive from the airport. This luxury hotel spa in Paris features a cinema room, an indoor swimming pool and a library of contemporary art books. Featuring hand-crafted furniture designed by Philippe Starck, the spacious, air-conditioned rooms and suites come equipped with a desk, flat-screen TV and a refrigerated private bar with a choice of French products. A walk-in shower, bathrobes and Clarins toiletries are featured in the bathroom. A living area with executive work desk is included in all rooms. In a 16,200 ft² space, the Spa My Blend by Clarins includes 23 m infinity pool, the largest ever built in a Paris luxury hotel. Exclusive treatments, a fitness center, relaxation rooms including a hammam and sauna, and dedicated fitness coaches are available. The spa can be accessed directly from every floor. There are 2 restaurants at the hotel, which serve both French and Italian gourmet-style cuisine. Royal brunch is served on Sunday afternoons at La Cuisine, and at Il Carpaccio, the only Michelin-star Italian restaurant in Paris, you can sample Italian pastries prepared by superstar pastry chef Pierre Hermé. The Charles de Gaulle – Étoile Metro (lines 1, 2 and 6) is a 3-minute walk from the hotel, making it easy to explore Paris.
Saint James Paris
Location: 43 Avenue Bugeaud, 16th arr., Paris
Ave nightly price: AUD620 per room
Description: Located a 20-minute walk from the Champs Elysées, the Saint-James Paris is an elegant 19th-century building with its own private garden. Spa facilities, in partnership with Guerlain, are available on site. All the air-conditioned rooms and suites have a refined decor and provide free Wi-Fi internet access. A flat-screen TV and minibar are available in each. Breakfast can be enjoyed in guests' rooms every morning. Guests are invited to relax in the hotel's library bar or enjoy a meal in the gourmet restaurant with a terrace. Guests can relax in the hotel's spa with a massage or hammam treatment. Additional services available include luggage storage and an airport shuttle, for a fee.
Location: 33, Rue Dauphine, 6th arr., Paris
Ave nightly price: AUD543 per room
Description: This 17th-century private mansion is in the Latin Quarter, just under a quarter of a kilometer from Odéon Metro Station. The luxurious hotel provides a jazz bar and an interior courtyard with a fountain. Guest rooms feature original beams, antique furniture and a monumental fireplace made of Burgundy stone. Some suites feature a four-poster bed and a view of the courtyard with its marble statues. Each room at Hotel D'Aubusson has a marble bathroom and free Wi-Fi access. A full English breakfast is served every morning in the elegant breakfast room. The jazz bar, Café Laurent, is in the same building as the Hotel D'Aubusson. With a 24-hour front desk, additional facilities include an airport shuttle and a ticket service. Massages are available upon request. The hotel also provides private parking on site. The Louvre Museum and Notre Dame Cathedral are both a 10-minute walk away.
Location: 10 rue de Bruxelles, 9th arr., Paris
Ave nightly price: AUD499 per room
Description: In the Montmartre district, Hôtel Maison Souquet is in an exclusive Parisian townhouse and is decorated in a Belle Époque theme. Guests can have cocktails in the lounge, walk around the atrium or enjoy the indoor swimming pool and hammam, which is available upon prior reservation. With a unique décor, each room and suite has a flat-screen TV, air conditioning and a minibar. Bathrooms are fitted with a bathtub or shower and a hairdryer. The suites also come with a sitting area. Breakfast is served each morning in the communal lounge or in the comfort of your room, with an additional fee. The property’s central staircase and study has intricate paneling and cordova leather furnishings based on a 19th-century Oriental style. The hotel provides free private access to the pool and the spa for 1 hour. Additional features include massages treatments, available for an additional fee. The hotel is located 119 m from Blanche Metro Station (Line 2), which gives you direct access to the Champs Elysées and the Pigalle area.
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Anytime. Summer (July and August) has an average temperature of 20°C with a high of 25°C. Winter’s average is 3°C. Rain can fall at any time.
Spring and early summer (May and June) and autumn (September and October) provide the best weather, while prices are best between November to February.
For more climate info: Paris Weather Guide…
Paris – capital and largest city in France and the most visited city in the world – is located on the River Seine at the heart of the Ile-de-France region of northern France.
From overseas, the most convenient is by air. However, Paris is also well serviced by train from every capital city in Europe.
For more information: how to get to Paris…
Latest update Paris honeymoon destination: 26 June, 2017