By Izzy Green Fourth year, French and Spanish
Visiting the city of love but not sure where to sample the finest Parisian delicacies? Izzy Green reveals her favourite spots for romancing your loved one this Valentine's day.
Looking for somewhere romantic to take your loved one this Valentine’s? Paris is, quite obviously, a great choice. I spent six months of my year abroad in Paris, so managed to suss out a pretty great range of restaurants and date venues. So... let’s talk food and wine in the city of love!
If you’re looking for a cute spot to take your date for authentic French food, in a traditional Parisian restaurant, you must go to Le Vieux Bistrot on Rue Mouffetard. The food is absolutely incredible, and such a reasonable price. You could both have a three-course meal and a bottle of wine here for around 70 euros - an almost impossible find in Paris! I recommend the Côte du Rhône to drink, the moules marinieres or escargot to start, boeuf bourguignon or duck confit as a main, and you absolutely have to try the crème brûlée for dessert. It’s also in the middle of the gorgeous Latin Quarter, just around the corner from the Pantheon and the Luxembourg gardens, so it’s well worth taking a little extra time to have a stroll before or after your meal to walk off all the rich and delicious food and wine.
Epigram / Izzy Green
If you’re looking for a more up-market dining experience, you should head to Chez Julien on Rue du Pont Louis-Philippe. It’s a beautiful candlelit ‘chic bistro’ a stone's throw away from the Seine. For starters I recommend the kadaïf gambas (definitely add the truffle), the chateaubriand as a main, and the cheeseboard to finish. Its location and exceptional food make this an incredibly indulgent - but extremely worthwhile - treat this Valentine’s. It is incredibly popular, however, and the restaurant itself is very small, so be sure to book in advance.
If you are on a low budget - do not fret! I don’t think there is anything more romantic than packing up a picnic and taking it to the Parc du Champ de Mars at the base of the Eiffel Tower (weather permitting). Wrap up warm (February is super chilly!), and fill a bag with some blankets, a fresh baguette from a boulangerie, some incredible French cheeses and olives (even just from a supermarket - Monoprix has a great selection), add a bottle of red wine or prosecco, and head down to the Eiffel Tower. I recommend getting there just before sunset to find a good spot (this area is very busy all times of the year, for obvious reasons!). Each hour the tower lights up with sparkling lights - it really is a romantic setting.
With any of the above suggestions, you’re set to have a wonderful evening in Paris. To keep the trip as smooth and romantic as possible, I’ve put together a few tips of mine to help you travel to and around Paris. I’m also working as a Student Brand Ambassador for the Foreign and Commonwealth Office’s Travel Aware Campaign, who have some really helpful pointers that I have included:
If you’re staying for a weekend, I really recommend buying a ‘book’ of metro tickets - it’s a much easier and cheaper way of travelling!
Be really wary of pickpockets in the city - especially around metro stations. Travel insurance is, of course, super important anyway, but I’d recommend making sure you have a comprehensive package that covers all of your belongings - just in case!
If you are thinking of driving to Paris, make sure you look up road laws, as France is very different to drive in (trust me!). In Paris and other big cities, for example, you have to display a ‘pollution sticker’ whilst driving in the city.
You’ve probably seen it all over the news, but protests linked to the ‘yellow vest’ (gilets jaunes) movement are still continuing across France, particularly at weekends. Keep up to date with this on The Foreign and Commonwealth Office website and sign up for email alerts. From my experience, protests can disrupt public transport and travelling around the city, but if you stay in the know it shouldn’t affect your trip!
Finally, Uber in Paris is really reasonable, and a great mode of transport for late journeys across the city, as opposed to walking or taking the metro. I’d definitely recommend downloading it (if you haven’t already) before your holiday!
Featured Image: Anthony DELANOIX / Unsplash
Do you have a favourite Parisian spot? Let us know!