|World travelers have always had a love affair with France, and Americans—from Ben Franklin and Thomas Jefferson to Audrey Hepburn and Julia Child—are no exception. And when romance calls us to France—as it so often does to the country-|
“France has welcomed lovers for centuries,” says New York-based Marion Fourestier, communications director USA for Atout France, the France Tourism Development Agency, “and the romantic set seems totally focused on Paris, at least as a first stop, and often the only stop. We love being a top pick for honeymooners, who have the most special time of their lives and then often become repeat travelers for the rest of their lives.”
And Paris doesn’t disappoint. Romantics continue to enjoy the iconic pleasures of this city, strolling hand-in-hand on the Champs-Elysees and climbing the steps of Montmartre, picnicking in the Luxembourg Gardens, seeing Paris by night atop the Eiffel Tower or aboard a bateau-mouche on the Seine. Actually, the must-do list for today’s romantic souls has gotten much longer, including serious wine-bar touring, shopping for worldly goods at Fauchon or for home-grown fashions in the Marais quarter, zipping from monument to monument on three-speed velos (bikes—some 20,000 of them available at some 1,000 self-service docking stations). Eco-conscious romantics enjoy exploring not only Paris’ legendary green spaces (now gone organic)—from the formal Jardin des Tuileries to a walk on the wild side in the Bois de Boulogne, a great daytime place for strolling, biking, boating—but also joining Parisian ecolos (ecology boosters) at bio-marches (organic markets), eco-cafes and green wine shops now open citywide.
In Paris, agents will find no shortage of enchanting accommodations, be it in a modern luxury hotel or an Old World charmer adorned with antiques and a four-poster bed. Hotel romance packages usually include champagne breakfast in bed, matching bathrobes, complimentary bouquets of flowers, petit fours, and a couple’s spa treatment. For clients who dream of honeymooning in Paris as a-once-in-a-lifetime luxury splurge, you can offer the option of one of the capital’s five newly anointed “Palace” hotels, a new classification creating a rank exceeding the pinnacle of luxury. The designated palaces are Hotel Le Bristol Paris, Hotel Le Meurice, Hotel Plaza Athenee, Park Hyatt Paris Vendome and the Four Seasons Hotel George V Paris.
Certainly, France’s historic and modern, romantic and sexy capital got a big, beautiful boost from the award-winning film, “Midnight in Paris.”
“It will be hard to measure, but I have a feeling that Woody Allen’s gorgeously filmed ‘Midnight in Paris,’ a sweet and zany valentine to the French capital, is certain to spur even more romance-seeking travelers to say mais oui to the City of Light,” says Fourestier.