How to Start Planning Your Paris Honeymoon

How to Make the Most out of the City of Love

Couple eating breakfast in hotel looking through open patio doors at the Eiffel Tower

 Photo by Through The Glass Paris

The City of Lights—or of Love, depending on who you ask—is hands down the most classic of all honeymoon destinations. Paris, France, has a reputation for being where countless love stories started, and it’s one of the most romantic cities in the world to propose. So it’s only natural that it should be where couples retreat after saying “I do.” If a destination wedding in Paris isn't in the cards, a French honeymoon in the city is just as romantic and never goes out of style.

You've had your Parisian-inspired wedding and now you're ready to get jet-set with your honey for the real deal. But where do you even begin? We spoke with travel editor Susan Moynihan of The Honeymoonist to get the scoop on how to plan your honeymoon like a true pair of Parisians. "Get out and explore," she says. "Paris is a city of neighborhoods (called arrondissements), each one distinct from the next." She suggests couples book walking tours to get the most out of the unique city, "You’ll see a neighborhood with new eyes when being shown around by a local."

Even after you've mastered the climb up the Eiffel Tower, spotted the Mona Lisa at the Louvre, and footed every mile of the Golden Triangle, Moynihan suggests taking the quick 45-minute train ride just outside of the city to the Champagne region. Or, set out to another neighboring city, Rheims, for "a day of tasting tours at historic producers like Taittinger, Pommery, and Ruinart; most tours include transportation from Paris." To slow down the pace, "combine a city stay with nights in a country hotel like the Napa-meets-France-style Royal Champagne resort and Spa."

Meet the Expert

Susan Moynihan of The Honeymoonist is a longtime travel editor and writer who started her Virtuoso-affiliated travel planning company seven years ago. She's visited 60 countries and sent clients to six continents.

When to Visit

As anyone who’s been to Paris knows, there’s really no bad time to go.

Winter

Sure, it’s cold in the winter, but that only gives you more excuse to cuddle up with your honey while you sit beside the Seine with a baguette and a bottle of wine and more reason to hold hands as you stroll under the Arc de Triomphe, to Notre Dame, or around the Latin Quarter or Le Marais.

Summer

The summer is perfect for picnics and taking advantage of the sunshine, like at the pool of the iconic Hotel Molitor. Of course, there’s also the shopping so good it could actually make you drop—and you should probably find an opportunity to play petanque, too.

Sale Season

If you're really into shopping, Moynihan says to visit during "sale season," which is held for a few weeks every January and June. "It’s when everyone from department stores like Printemps and Galeries Lafayette to small boutiques clears out inventory. You’ll find crowds but you can get some great deals."

Ask your hotel about air conditioning if you're visiting in the summer as it's not a given and it can get very hot.

Where to Stay

First-time visitors often look for places in an area called the Golden Triangle, which is near the Arc de Triomph and Champs-Élysées. "But the city becomes so much more intimate if you stay in a smaller neighborhood," says Moynihan. "I love the Marais, for its beautiful historic squares, Saint-Germain-des-Prés for its cool boutiques and great food, and Montmartre, a peaceful, artsy enclave with amazing views looking down on Paris." Paris is home to some of the most luxuriously clad boutique hotels you can dream up.

J.K. Place Paris

Hotel lounge with purple velvet sofa behind glass coffee table of books, in front of curtained window
Courtesy of J.K. Place Paris

"J.K. Place Paris is the hottest spot in Paris," says Moynihan. "The first J.K. hotel outside of Italy, it has a chic cult following and lowkey celeb clientele." The Florentine architect, Michele Bönan, who designed all four J.K. Place hotels furnished the elaborate space with Parisian flea market finds.

Grand Powers

Hotel bed on a blue headboard across from a large gilded mirror on vanity, in front of patio doors on back wall
 Courtesy of Grand Powers Paris

"Grand Powers is a beautifully redone 1920s hotel set in a Haussmann building right off the Golden Triangle, but with much better rates than its larger, fancier neighbors," says Moynihan. The Grand Powers offers a mix of the 1920s heritage with modern luxury, boasting preserved moldings and antique fireplaces with a timeless, cozy, and bright atmosphere.

The Four Seasons Hotel George V

View from hotel of Eiffel Tower and surrounding cityscape
 Courtesy of Four Seasons Hotel George V, Paris

The Four Seasons Hotel George V's ornate but tasteful, bursting with the most sublime floral arrangements that seem to perfume your entire stay. (Their newer L’Orangerie eatery is now Michelin-starred, too.)

Cour des Vosges

Outside of Cour des Vosges building with fountain on the left and leaves hanging from above the frame
 Courtesy of Cour des Vosges

A five-star luxury château, "Cour des Vosges is an eclectic romantic hotel set on the exclusive Place du Vosges, in Marais; it feels like a secret," says Moynihan. As per the hotel's website, "Cour des Vosges instantly invites you to immerse yourself into the life of a noble French family dating back to the 16th century."

Les Bains

Boutique hotel lobby with vintage furniture and decor and a tile floor
 Courtesy of Les Bains

Arguably less grand but no less gorgeous is Les Bains design boutique hotel, which attracted the likes of Andy Warhol and Mick Jagger decades ago and now seems the perfect solution for couples drawn to intimate hotels (it has just 39 rooms) with an outsized taste—think private terraces, vintage crystal, and a hammam.

The Peninsula Paris

Dinner table with blue and pink glassware in front of window with view of Eiffel Tower at sunset
 Courtesy of The Peninsula Hotels

No conversation about jaw-dropping hotels is complete without The Peninsula Paris, a dreamy option with some of Paris’ most spacious rooms and best views, steps from the Champs-Élysées. It’s appealing enough to just stay on the property—especially if you’ve booked the Garden Suite duplex with its own rooftop garden terrace—but their concierge can also book memorable experiences such as a picnic on the grounds of Versailles, 1934 Rolls-Royce Phantom II ride to dinner, or a helicopter trip to Champagne (remember, it’s a place, not just in your dreams!).

Hôtel de Crillon, A Rosewood Hotel

Rooftop of Rosewood Hotel Paris with lounge chairs, shrubbery and white flowers and a view of the city
 Courtesy of Hôtel de Crillon, A Rosewood Hotel

The legendary Hôtel de Crillon, A Rosewood Hotel, underwent a four-year renovation that updated the building commissioned by King Louis XV in 1758 to pristine historical state-of-the-art status. Honeymooning in a glorified palace would be enough, but just imagine swimming in a pool lined with thousands of gold scales, or sleeping in a suite designed by Karl Lagerfeld. After all, you’re in Paris, but you may not want to leave the room—and that’s completely acceptable, too.

What to Do

While it might be hard for some to let go and just see where your stay takes you, the best things in Paris just seem to pop out of nowhere, and for that reason, it’s a place where no itinerary is sometimes the best itinerary. It’s the kind of place you want to get lost, especially when exploring farther-flung arrondissements.

Moynihan says that walking tours are a must. "I Love Paris is led by an American expat chef and longtime Paris resident, with great food tours." She also recommends the scholarly, intensive small-group tours from Context Tours. They offer experiences centered on particular subjects, from art to World War II Nazi occupation.

Musée du Louvre

Sunset view of the Louvre and pyramid
Photo by kwanchai_k photograph / Getty Images 

Certain things might be worth taking a look at beforehand, like museum opening hours if you are dying to find Mona Lisa inside the Louvre or check out the Musée de l’Orangerie’s expansive Monet water lilies. Both of which make an ultra-romantic and memorable French honeymoon date.

Les Caves du Louvre

Underground wine tasting room with wine bottles surrounding the center table
 Courtesy of Les Caves du Louvre

For wine lovers, Les Caves du Louvre is a tasting experience in the wine cave under the Louvre. The cozy setting is even more romantic when sipping on Parisian wine with your partner.

The Eiffel Tower

Sky view of the Eiffel Tower and the Seine at sunet
 Photo by Orbon Alija / Getty Images

Of course, climbing the Eiffel Tower is likely on every Paris-bound couple's itinerary. But for an incredible view of the Eiffel Tower, add the Montparnasse Tower to the list.

For popular, must-see sights, like the Louvre or Musée d'Orsay, Moynihan suggests booking a tour with fast-pass tickets to avoid the long lines.

Where to Eat

It’s also worth making a plan when it comes to dining, especially if your eyes—or stomachs—are set on forefathers of romantic French dining like Epicure, Le Cinq, and Le Jules Verne.

Viola

Dimly lit restaurant with tables on either side and a wall made from rock on the right
 Courtesy of Viola

An outsized budget isn’t necessary for having a candlelit dinner to remember. Cléo turns out gorgeous, refined food at less-than-outrageous prices and the charming and dimly lit Viola is another with beautiful food at reasonable prices.

Café des Musees

Street view of Café des Musees
 Courtesy of Café des Musees

"You have to do a classic French bistro, like Josephine Chez Dumonet or Café des Musées," says Moynihan, "both with Belle Epoque roots and classic dishes like beef bourguignon and sole meuniere (the dish that made Julia Child fall in love with French cooking)."

Le Bustronome

Inside of restaurant bus with all glass roof and ceiling with view of the Arc de Triomphe
 Courtesy of Bustronome

If you want dinner to take you on a little ride—literally—hop on board Le Bustronome, an actual bus with a restaurant inside that allows you to see Paris all lit up as you dine. And of course, there are multitudes of options on the river as well as beside it. Bottom line: It’s almost impossible not to feel seduced by the after-dark scene in the historic city.

Related Stories