The most romantic places to visit in France

Posted by Josh on 13th Feb 2023 in the blog in the category

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Here's a fun fact you might not have known. The tradition of writing Valentine's Day cards actually started with a Frenchman, a man called Charles, Duke of Orleans, who wrote a letter to his wife while imprisoned in the Tower of London after the Battle of Agincourt. The letter contained the following passage:

Je suis desja d'amour tanné
Ma tres doulce Valentinée

('I am already sick of love, My very gentle Valentine').

Unfortunately, the Duke's Valentine perished before she received the letter.

Today, however, Valentine's Day is a happier occasion, during which couples celebrate their love for one another. If you're looking for a more upbeat alternative to the above, we've curated a list of the perfect French chat-up lines.

But if you're past that point in your relationship, you may want to think about where to go for the perfect Valentine's Day getaway. Whatever your desires, France has it in bundles, from scenic countryside and charming old towns to lively cities and stunning lakes.

France can be a little cold in February, depending on where you are. But the winter bestows its own romantic charms, turning much of the country into a frosty winter wonderland. With spring approaching, however, you can be sure of enough sunlight and warmth to make for pleasant walks along the boulevards and coastal paths while avoiding the most expensive and busiest months. Whether you want to spend your holiday surrounded by other couples, or enjoy some peace and solitude, France has something for you!

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Annecy

This city in the southeast of France, near the border with Switzerland, is home to the cleanest lake in Europe, and the crystal-blue water runs into the town through its picturesque canals, giving it the nickname the 'Savoyard Venice'. The town itself is gorgeous, with quaint cobbled streets and mediaeval buildings: you'll find history is everywhere you look. The philosopher Jean-Jacques Rousseau, a fond admirer of beautiful places, stayed here for a time with his mentor-cum-paramour — testament to the fact that this is the perfect place for a couple's retreat.

The beauty isn't just confined to the city itself. Venture out onto the lake and there are countless boats waiting to take you out into the water while you sit back and enjoy the sun. Perched on a mountain overlooking the lake is the Chateau d’Annecy, at one time an army barracks, but which now hosts the Museum of Alpine Popular Art. Down the beautiful river Thiou you'll also come upon an island with a castle that dates back to the 1100s known as the Palais de I’Isle, which also now hosts a museum of local history. Annecy is just as suited to explorers as those who want to sunbathe and chill out.

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Collioure

If you're a fan of cute gallery dates, then Collioure is the place to be. At the beginning of the 20th century this town in Occitania was a hive of artistic activity, and the host to several Fauve artists. The royal castle — said to have inspired a number of artists including Picasso and Matisse — is unmissable, as well as the countless art galleries.

You can see why artists were so attracted to this place. The coastline is simply stunning, and as you walk along it you'll come across gorgeous old buildings including churches, forts and lookout towers. You're also only a short walk away from the mountains, as famously painted by André Derain.

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Paris

It wouldn’t be a complete list of the most romantic places in France — or even the world — if we didn't feature Paris. Arguably the world's most romantic city, Paris celebrates Valentine’s Day like no where else.

You'll be sure to see restaurants bedecked in decorative hearts and roses, as well as plenty of love-themed events going on. From lunch cruises to a cabaret at the Moulin Rouge, there are all kinds of romantic activities to indulge in. And if you fancy something a little more low-key, why not take a trip to the Palace of Versailles, or take your partner on a shopping spree at some of Paris' world-renowned department stores, such as Galeries Lafayette and Le Bon Marché?

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Cassis

The motto of this stunning commune in the south of France is 'Qu a vist Paris, se noun a vist Cassis, n'a rèn vist'.

If you're struggling to translate that, don't worry. It's in the Provençal dialect, which is still spoken here by some locals, and it means 'Who has seen Paris, and not Cassis, has not seen anything'.

The truth is that Cassis is just as achingly romantic as Paris' capital. Except instead of bustling streets and bistros along the canals, think azure marinas and colourful waterfront houses.

That doesn't mean Cassis isn't a vibrant place in its own way. The town is host to a number of festivals throughout the year, including festival of the fishermen and the sea and the Cassis wine festival. The Christmas festivities have their own unique Cassis spin, such as ‘La Pastorale Maurel’, a play in Provençal which charts the 'star's progress' and which has been put on every year in Cassis since the nineteen thirties, and the celebration of Sainte-Barbe, whereupon families plant wheat in preparation for decorating the Christmas table with it.

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Bonifacio

You can't talk about the most romantic spots in France without taking Corsica into consideration. Bonifacio is the most popular tourist destination on the island, and with good reason.

The town, and Corsica more widely, has traded hands between many different powers (Rome, Pisa, Genoa and France, just to name a few...) so to walk through these streets is to walk through centuries of incredible history, reflected in the eclectic architecture, particularly the 9th century citadel and the numerous fortresses, which you are now free to look around. Of course the town is a lot more peaceful now, making it the ideal romantic vacation spot.

Corsica is small enough that you're never far away from anywhere on the island, so it's also worth visiting Ajaccio and Calvi while you're there.

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