Romantic Paris : A Photographic Guide
The fifteen most romantic places in Paris
1. Le Quai d’Orléans / Quai d’Orléans embankment
With an impregnable vue on Notre Dame cathedral, the quai d’Orléans embankment follows the Seine river, on the south side of the Saint-Louis island. It was built between 1614 and 1646 in the honour of King Louis XIII’s young brother, Gaston Baptist of France, duc of Orléans. From the embankment one sees the eastern end of the Cité island, the separation in two of the Seine and the back of Notre-Dame cathedral. To go there : Metro Station ” Pont Marie ” line 7.
2. Le Pont de l’Archevêché / Archevéché bridge
Built in 1828, under the reign of Charles X, this is the narrowest Paris bridge (11 meters only), and the lowest also (8 meters over the water). It is situated behind Notre-Dame and gives an exceptional view of the cathedral. Since 2012, lovers secure love-padlocks on the bridge. To go there : Metro Station ” Cité ” line 4.
3. Le Square du Vert Galant / Vert-Galant square
The square is situated at the western end of the Cité island. It’s name comes from King Henry IV called Green-Gallant because of his number of mistresses and gallant affaires, the King’s showing himself still as capable of « green » ardour ! Photographed by well-known artists (Doisneau, Brassaï), the square offers the shade of its trees to lovers who may need it. The embankment at the end of the square offers a great view of the river. To go there : Metro Station ” Pont Neuf ” line 7.
4. Le Pont Marie / Pont Marie Bridge
This is Paris’s oldest bridge, built between 1614 and 1635 by engineer-entrepreneur Chistophe Marie. At the origin, there were fifty houses on the bridge, but they were swept away by the floods of 1658. Named the « lover’s bridge », tradition has it that couples should kiss under its arches, making a vow ! To go there : Metro « Pont Marie » line 7.
5. Le Pont des Arts
Built by Napoleon, this was Paris’ first metallic bridge. Since 2008, the wire netting along the bridges sides is covered with padlocks left by couples coming from the whole world. The weight of the « love-locks » risking the parapets to collapse, the mayor of Paris decided in 2014 that the « love-locks » should be covered with glass and none more added. The Pont des Arts gives an exceptional view on the Cité island, where the Seine rivers separates in two. To go there : Metro « Pont Neuf » line 7 or « Louvre-Rivoli » line 1.
6. Pont Alexandre III / Alexander III Bridge
Inaugurated for the universal exhibition of 1900, the bridge was meant to symbolise Russian and French friendship. It’s metallic, with a width of 40 meters, with one sole arch, 107 meters long, along the Invalides and Grand Palais axes. Numerous lamp posts and cast-iron statues form a rich ornementation. For many young, to-be married couples, this is Paris’ most romantic bridge.To go there : Metro Station « Invalides » line 8 ou 13.
7. Passerelle Debilly / Debilly footbridge
The Debilly footbridge enables pedestrians to cross the river. It was built for the universal exhibition of 1900 for the circulation of the visitors. Condemned to be destroyed at the end of the exhibition, like the Eiffel tower, (which did not happen !) the footbridge is a witness of its time. During the cold war, the footbridge was a rendez-vous for Soviet secret agents. Photographers can get a great view of the Eiffel tower, the absence of cars permitting one to make ones shots in total security. To go there : Metro Station : “Alma-Marceau” line 9.
8. La Pyramide du Louvre / The Louvre Pyramid
The Louvre Pyramid, in metal and glass, covers the entrance of the Louvre museum and was opened to the public in 1998. It’s in the middle of the Napoleon courtyard. The Pyramid is surrounded by seven triangular basins in granite, filled with mirror-like water. I did this photo of a couple at the end of the day, in backlight, to accentuate the magic aspect of the moment. To go there : Metro Station « Palais Royal-Musée du Louvre » line 1 ou 7.
9. Le Kiosque des Noctambules / The Nocambules kiosk
The kiosk creates a strange, eyecatching entrance to the Palais Royal métro station, designed by the artist Jean-Michel Othoniel. Formed by two hollowed-out cupolas, whose structure is covered by coloured globes in Murano blown glass. Shining like a fairground roundabout, the kiosk makes a great mark on the urban universe. It enables one to give one’s photos a baroque touch. To go there : Metro Station « Palais Royal-Musée du Louvre » line 1 ou 7.
10. La Galerie Vivienne / The galerie Vivienne arcade
This arcade can be found 6 rue Vivienne, behind the palais de la Bourse. With a length of 176 meters, it houses a number of shops. The arcade was built in 1823 and keeps the charm of nineteenth century Paris. On rainy days, it gives photographers a safe place for prestigious views. Because of its glass walls and roof, light is abundant. To go there : Metro Station « Bourse » line 3.
11. Le Champs de Mars / the Champ de Mars park
Open to the public since 1780, the Champ de Mars park is between the Ecole Militaire (the Military school building) and the Eiffel tower. Parisians and tourists come here to pick-nick on the lawns and, when night falls, to look at the sparkling lights coming from the Eiffel tower. The place Jacques Rueff, in the middle of the Champ de Mars, is less crowded by tourists than the Trocadéro esplanade and will give you a easier place to make your photos of the Eiffel Tower. To go there : Metro Station « École Militaire » line 8.
12. Le Palais Galliera
This palace, inspired by the Renaissance, was built at the end of the nineteenth century and houses today the Fashion museum (Musée de la mode). Two porticos reach out from each side of the building, overlooking stairs going down into a park. To gain the left-side portico, one must enter through the square Brignole Galliera. This portico is convenient for photographers on rainy days. To go there : Metro Station « Alma-Marceau » ou « Iéna » line 9.
13. Les Escaliers de Montmartre / The Butte Montmartre steps
Near the Sacré Cœur basilica, dominating the hill (I30 meters high), the Butte (« hill ») Montmartre embodies the true Parisian romanticism. Its sinuous streets create the illusion of a small village of yesterday and maintain lovers in an nineteenth century atmosphere. The stone stairways, with their street lamps, offer an inescapable decor. They offer spectacular bird eye and counter bird eye views for the photographer. To go there : Metro Station « Abbesses » line 12.
14. Le Mur des « je t’aime » / The « I love you » wall
The « I love you » wall is to be found square Jehan Rictus, place des Abbesses. It’s a lovers rendez-vous. Its surface is 40m2, with 612 panes on which love declarations, written in hand, have been inscribed in more than 300 languages.To go there : Metro Station « Abbesses » line 12.
15. La Fontaine Medicis / The Médecis fountain
The baroque Médicis fountain is situated in the Luxembourg gardens. Henri IV’s widow, Marie de Médicis, had it built in 1630. She wanted to recreate the atmosphere of the Italian gardens of her youth, with their nymphea and fountains. The Médecis fountain, draped with ivy, is amongst the most romantic places in Paris. Its water basin, 50 meters long, surrounded by plane trees, has a magic allure. To go there : Metro Station « Cluny-La Sorbonne » line 10 ou Odéon, line 4.