This story is part of our 'Romantic Travel Stories' series, featuring tales from luxury hotel guests which were sent in for our travel writing competition.
Photo by Michal Osmenda.
Is Paris really the most romantic city in the world? And if so, pourquoi (why)?
Before I visited Paris I believed its 'City of Love' title to be one dreamed up by tourism agencies, the grainy black and white photos of the streets and lamp posts to be a conniving PR campaign and the Tour Eiffel to be a very high metal scaffolding.
After visiting the city (three times) I still believe the statement above to be fairly accurate but for a variety of reasons my heart yearns to be in Paris, my mind dreams of night-time walks along the Seine and my body tingles at the touch, sight and sound of the City of Lights.
Of course there are essential things you need for a romantic retreat in Paris - a few French phrases, a love of bread and French pastries, a catalogue of old movies in your mind, plenty of time and a loved one! (An interest in art, history, architecture and culture would also be quite helpful!)
I first went to Paris for my 21st birthday. The flight tickets and hotel room were my present, I only found out the destination on the morning of the trip and when I heard where I was going my heart skipped a beat.
I am not a romantic, neither was my boyfriend, but following an awkward miscommunication at the hotel, our break away became the most romantic trip ever. We nearly missed our flight at the airport, on the plane our seats were separated and the metro to the hotel from the airport broke down. So when we finally did arrive at the quaint hotel, we were in pretty awful moods. We checked into our room only to see two twin beds. My boyfriend took one look at the anger on my face and quickly went to sort out the problem.
He had no French whatsoever and the man on reception had no English. Ronan, my boyfriend, said the exchange between them was similar to charades with the end result being that we were upgraded to a double bed, with a balcony and two en-suites, and rose petals and champagne ... it was the honeymoon suite.
The man on reception had interpreted that we were newlyweds. It was a funny mistake, but it set the atmosphere for the trip, all of our excursions, meals, shows and activities were booked through the hotel who informed the hosts that we were a honeymoon couple which meant VIP treatment and made us step up our show of affection in an effort to ‘act’ like newlyweds.
The Champs Elysees, the Seine, Notre Dame, the Bastile, the Tour Eiffel, the Louvre, Basilique du Sacre Coeur, Moulin Rouge and even Disneyland came to life before our eyes as a ‘married couple.’ It was amazing, it was beautiful and it was romantic. We will have to return for our real honeymoon when we do get married!