WeSwap might be in the business of saving you money when you’re abroad, but a budget doesn’t have to be a barrier to love… So with Valentine’s approaching, we asked Meliane, our French community manager, to share some ideas on how to have un séjour trés romantique in Paris without breaking the bank.
On Valentine’s Day you’re always under pressure to do something special. But before you start seeking out champagne bars and Michelin-starred restaurants, just bear this in mind: in Paris, some of the most truly romantic things to do are also some of the cheapest. Here are some of my favourite ways to experience Paris with a minimum spend, but maximum emotion…
1. Share a boat on the Lac Inferieur and picnic in Shakespeare’s garden at the Bois de Boulogne
If the weather is good, then sharing a boat to dreamily drift past the Victorian grottos and waterfalls of the Lac Inferieur in the beautiful, forested Bois de Boulogne is really about as romantic as you can get. You feel a bit like you’re in a Jane Austin novel, transported along by the waves of love… but maybe I’m just getting carried away.
Anyway, handily close to Lac Inferieur is also the Jardin Shakespeare. In this corner of the Bois de Boulogne you can find themed gardens based on The Bard’s favourite plays, dotted with quotations and flowers, herbs and trees featured in his work.
Bois de Boulogne
Metro: Porte Dauphine or Porte d’Auteuil
Boat hire at the Lac Inferieur: €10 per hour. Available from 15th Feb to late Oct, 12:00 to 17:00
Jardin Shakespeare: Free. Open daily from 14:00 to 16:00. Also provides theatrical performances in the spring.
2. Feast your senses at the Marché aux Fleurs
Some things, like flowers, seem almost compulsory at Valentine’s, but there’s no need to just stick with roses. This picturesque little market on the L’île de la Cité offers an abundance of choice, colour and fragrance and also feels like something of an oasis in the heart of the city, protected as it is from the traffic and tourists visiting nearby Notre Dame. Before picking out a bouquet, perhaps study the language of flowers if you want to send a particular message. Also, on Sundays when the market turns into le Marché aux Oiseaux, there are even birds to add to the splendour.
Marché aux Fleurs
Place Louis Lépine
Quai de la Corse
Metro : Cité – Line 4
Open : every day from 08:00 to 19:30.
3. Plan the perfect romantic stroll through Le Louvre
You might not think that this popular tourist spot would complement romanticism, but you would be surprised. The monument itself is truly beautiful and “La Grande Galerie” is particularly exquisite, with its vitrified roof giving the impression of walking under a gleaming blue sky. But more importantly, what better way to show your sweetheart your artistic side than by spending an hour or two amongst some of the most iconic pieces of romantic art?
It’s impossible to see everything the Louvre has to offer in one afternoon (take it from me, if you try you’ll turn this dreamy afternoon into a nightmare), so instead consider putting together a personalised route to maximise the romantic impact. The Louvre’s website includes an interactive floor plan to help. Here are some stops you might include: the famous Mona Lisa (of course), Canova’s Psyche Revived by Cupid’s Kiss, the beautiful Venus de Milo and also make your way down to the dark and mysterious alley of the Egyptian department, which offers a perfect opportunity to steal a kiss.
Top tip: to avoid the queue outside the Pyramid try the entrance by the Carousel du Louvre below the Richelieu Wing instead, as it’s generally less busy. Or, if you plan on doing more sightseeing, the Paris Museum Pass lets you bypass those waiting in line and go straight in.
Musée du Louvre
Adult Tickets €11
Open: every day except Tuesday, 09:00 – 18:00
Métro: Palais-Royal Musée du Louvre Station
4. Watch the sun set in Le Vieux Montmartre
This spot is one of my personal favourites in Paris. If you have the time and feel in need of fresh air I highly recommend walking through the Old Montmartre. It’s like walking through a little village, with its cobbled paths and colourful houses. Famous artists such as Matisse or Picasso have been inspired by its narrow streets and bohemian atmosphere.
Situated at a top of hill in the north of the city, also take this opportunity to sit and contemplate all of Paris at sunset with free music from street artists and perhaps a bottle of vin rouge.
But remember, in the end it really doesn’t matter how much you spend. Or in the words of George Sand:
“Il n’y a qu’un bonheur dans la vie, c’est d’aimer et d’être aimé.”
There is only one happiness in life, to love and be loved
Les Pont des Arts: demiante
Bois de Boulogne: Destination Europe
Marché aux Fleurs: olgite
Psyche Revived by Cupid’s Kiss: kimberlykv
Montmartre at Sunset: dhaun