“There is only one happiness in life: to love and be loved”. —George Sand, French novelist (1804-1876)
“Kissing in Paris is an art requiring planning and just the right setting,” says Thierry Soufflard, an author, scriptwriter and photographer. “With my just published handbook, The Best Places to Kiss in Paris, you’ll be able to spin your own version of cinema back row smooching, hold hands in the city’s romantic restaurants and brasseries, cuddle in a cozy café on a chilly night, or French kiss in front of a classic location like the Pont des Arts.”
This exciting little jewel of a pocket bible for romantics means that when planning your key kissing in Paris, it’s the iconic “Kiss by the Hôtel de Ville” (1950) that comes to mind. But, where did Robert Doisneau actually set up his Leica to snap the best known pair of lovers in the world? He was sitting at the terrace of the Hôtel de Ville café (sadly, no longer there). Souffland suggests you pose against the railings of the metro station, at 70 Rue de Rivoli, then ask a passer-by to take a picture of you, immortalizing your love forever! Or, today, it could be a selfie!
Woody Allen’s film Midnight in Paris showcases kissing. If you want to recreate the scene, head to Rue Royale, outside Maxim’s. In this Paris of the Belle Époque, the beautiful woman receives a timeless kiss from the modern-day writer before stepping inside the iconic restaurant. Then, in a flash, the couple, played by Marion Cotillard and Owen Wilson, head off to the Moulin Rouge where Adriana and Gil sit down with Toulouse-Lautrec, Gauguin and Degas while viewing the French Cancan. Some kisses are so intoxicating they can blow you away, sometimes even to another century!
On the Left Bank, the Rodin Museum (7th arrondissement) is a must for your perfect, art-history setting smooch. Visiting this temple of love begins with Rodin’s exquisite The Kiss: two white marble hearts melt into the cold mass animated by a passionate kiss. Kiss here then repeat in front of other sculptures, Adam and Eve, Paolo and Francesca, The Eternal Spring, Daphnis and Lecynion, Ovid’s Metamorphoses. Then head across the rue to L’Arpege, where passionate art, music lover and *** Michelin chef Alain Passard will cook you the best meal ever. Give him a kiss – he’ll love it!
“How would you like to be down by the Seine with me? Under the bridges of Paris with you, I’ll make your dreams come true”.
At Lapérouse (circa 1776), the red velvet banquette in the private salon is large enough to have a snog before and/or after lunch/dinner. The private rooms are plush and sumptuous, following a recent refurb by owner Benjamin Patou. Nobody will bother you: the maître d’hôtel only enters your salon if summoned by the bell at the end of a sexy cordon. Lapérouse chef Jean-Pierre Vigato suggests foie gras and potato charlotte with Lapérouse caviar to begin, followed by Ris de Veau and then pastry chef Christophe Michalak’s sublime Profiterole dessert.
Now, turn up the 24th minute (episode 4, season 1) of Emily in Paris. “Did you forget something?” asks Chef Gabriel to Emily Cooper who walks back to him. “Yes,” answers the young woman. She places her hands around Gabriel’s neck and kisses him fervently for 11.5 seconds. “Good night,” she concludes. (This is the Terra Nera Restaurant in the 5th.)
How about hilltop kisses in Montmartre? Above the artificial waterfall in the Square Marcel Bleustein-Blanchet (formerly Parc de la Turlure), head for the two magnificent stone corner seats – an intimate spot. Despite the crowds of tourists huddled around Sacré-Coeur, this spot is never very crowded, and on a clear day city views are superb.
Or, along the steep streets of the Saint-Georges district (9th arrondissement) at the dawn of the Second Empire, a microcosm of poets, writers, actors and musicians gravitated to the warm residence of Ary Scheffer (1795-1858), a painter of the Romantic period. Under the veranda, Chopin’s nimble piano playing entertained George Sand. And, most Friday evenings, Delacroix, Ingres, Liszt, and Lamartine were part of the gathering. Today, a statue representing Chopin at the piano plunges us into the atmosphere of this artistic yesteryear. Campanulas, foxgloves, clematis and old roses perfume the paved courtyard of the beautiful, 19th-century garden. You’ll be taking a step back more than 150 years, at the very heart of the Romantic era. Kissing never felt better!
And, should you find yourself alone on Valentine’s Day, or any other day, head for the Parc des Buttes-Chaumont and hug one of the handsome Oriental Plane, Byzantium Hazelnut, Ginkgo Biloba, Siberian Elm or Cedar of Lebanon trees, dotted along the beautiful sand-colored pathways, enjoy the Pavillon du Lac restaurant and bar with its impressive terrace, and, Rosa Bonheur, the much loved bar-café guinguette.
Lead photo credit : "The Best Places to Kiss in Paris" by Thierry Soufflard
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