Why is Paris the ‘City of Love’?

by olivia hoffman
Photo by © Jeremy Kergourlay Pritchard

There’s just something about it… a feeling of je ne sais quoi. The way the light hits the Seine when the sun rises in the morning; the way the streets glisten when it rains; the way the sky turns candy pink just before dusk; the way the buildings illuminate in the glow of the Eiffel Tower at night.


Paris has a long history of romantic representation in numerous movies, books, shows, and art. Those associations, of course, contribute to its notoriety as the City of Love. But where did that all start? What is it about Paris that makes it so romantique?

Come along on a stroll through Paris with us to find out just a few of the reasons…

Alluring art and music all around

In addition to impressive museums like the Louvre and Musée d’Orsay exhibiting jaw-dropping masterpieces, there is also an abundance of small studios, galleries, and street art that line the winding cobblestone roads. Everywhere you look, there is a chance an artist left their swoon-worthy mark in one way or another.

The same goes for music. Particularly on a fair-weather day, the bridges over the river are filled with musicians playing various instruments or singing their song. If their talent doesn’t make you dance, it will at least make you stop and smile. On top of that, sumptuous tunes fill the rooms of bars and restaurants at night – often with live performers for ultimate intrigue and sense of intimacy.

Charming architecture

Surrounded by architecture from the “Belle Époque” (translated literally to the beautiful era, France’s “golden age”), it’s impossible not to get sucked into the charm of this ritzy and playful setting. Like something out of a love story, elegant buildings with large stone façades accented with ornate wrought iron balconies now represent the quintessential Parisian backdrop. Today, many of these buildings house both large and boutique hotels, making the romantic experience of Parisian nostalgia intimately accessible to visitors.

Check out our guide to the most romantic hotels in Paris here.

Beyond the 19th century architecture, there are also charming remnants and references from Paris’ earlier history waiting to be discovered. From centuries-old cathedrals that are still in service today to wood-paneled houses and medieval caves now home to bars and restaurants, the passionate spirit of generations of patrons lives on in the timeworn walls.

Enchanting gardens

It may not be the first thing that comes to mind when thinking of a city, but Paris has an abundance of public parks and gardens that simply enchant. Stunning fountains and gorgeous statues dot Jardin du Luxembourg; thousands of plant varieties paint the lawns of Jardin des Plantes; iconic green lawn chairs populate Jardin des Tuileries, inviting visitors to pause and absorb their glorious surroundings.

The beauty of the plentiful green spaces throughout Paris is a delightful surprise – one of the most unexpected romantic features of the city.

Check out our top 10 secret gardens in Paris here as well as 8 parks and gardens to visit in Paris here.

Sweet smells from specialty shops

Beyond the gardens, you will also be dazzled by the overflowing flowers from the multitudes of florists present in each neighborhood. Fresh bouquets are thankfully not hard to come by, and the same goes for fresh bread from the abundance of boulangeries. The intoxicating smells that permeate the air outside these specialty shops is one of the most unique things about this city.

These simple pleasures are a treat for the passerby and serve as a sweet surprise for the receiver.   

Café culture

Terraces packed with chairs and tables inches apart is a common sight throughout the streets of Paris at any time of year. The intimate seating encourages patrons to get close and share in the experience of enjoying the food as well as the ever-changing view. And the best part is that there is no rush – servers typically won’t come until they are called, allowing you ample time to connect with your table company.

Moments spent at a café are meant to be savored, absorbing the deliciousness of the meal and the beauty of the day. Is there anything more romantic than that?

Passionate people

Paris would not be the City of Love without Parisians. Though they sometimes get a bad rap, it’s impossible to deny the unwavering passion of the French people. Unafraid of expressing affection and proud of their culture, they wear their hearts on their sleeves, contributing to the persistence of Paris as a romantic place.

Even if you don’t understand what they are saying, just the language alone can make you swoon. With poetic-sounding words that flow into one another, the French language is as tender as it is exotic.

Indulgent food and wine

There is no greater love than the love France has for good food and great wine. In Paris, cuisine could be considered a love language in and of itself. Decadent meals like boeuf bourguiginon and coq au vin make for an indulgent French dinner paired back to a silky and full-bodied glass of Bordeaux. Even lighter options set the mood, such as oysters and Champagne – a purportedly aphrodisiac combination…

The affection that goes into creating the food and wine served in Paris is clear the moment it hits your lips. It’s a true labor of love, encouraging diners to appreciate every sip and bite.  

In a place that truly ignites all the senses – from the sound of the musicians and the smells of the boulangerie to the mesmerizing views and divine cuisine – and it’s easy to see why so many people have fallen in love with the City of Love.

Written by Olivia Hoffman

Read Next: Discover the Most Enchanting Region in the South of France: Provence

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