Paris is usually high on any well-traveled (or worldly-curious) couple’s honeymoon destination wish list and that’s because this romantic city has it all: Nouvelle cuisine, posh hotels, avant-garde museums and galleries, dimly-lit bars, top-notch spas, and excellent shopping. The task of narrowing down a never-ending list of options into one winning itinerary is no easy feat. But luckily for you, we’ve taken it on, so all you have to do is book the flight and pack your bags. Below, our hand-picked favorites for where to stay, where to dine, and what to do while honeymooning in the City of Light. Bon voyage!
HOW TO ARRIVE
If you want to start off your trip to Paris in style, La Compagnie is the way to go. The all-business-class French boutique airline charters two flights daily from New York to Paris and their thoughtful extras include lie-flat seats (with a built-in massage feature), Wi-Fi (to peruse all those newly captured wedding shots), and a Samsung Galaxy Pro tablet (for in-flight entertainment). You can also enjoy premium airport lounges on both legs of the trip, amenity kits by French beauty brand Caudalie, and an epic list of French wines and Piper-Heidsieck champagne. And just when you think things couldn’t get better, before landing you’ll be treated to artisanal croissants courtesy of Maison Kayser.
WHERE TO STAY
Hôtel Lutetia is for lovers. As the only luxury property situated in Paris’s swoon-worthy Left Bank, the recently renovated Art Deco beacon dates back to 1910, yet features a sexy-meets-modern redesign that’s well-equipped to serve as honeymoon HQ. At the heart of their Akasha Holistic Wellbeing Centre is a 17-meter long subterranean swimming pool that calls for a refreshing dip (post fromage and rosé) and upstairs you’ll find the Insta-worthy Bar Joséphine for jazz and canapés, along with the three Michelin-starred Chef Gérald Passedat’s Lutetia Brasserie and The Bar Aristide, which comes with their very own cigar sommelier.
Let’s face it: For a vacation that could involve spending a significant amount of time in your room, you’ll want a spacious suite. The Mandarin Oriental’s new suites—which include a presidential that rivals a typical Parisian apartment—are the optimal place if you’re looking to never leave your quarters. And beyond the bedroom, they specialize in unbeatable VIP packages (forget about lines) to take in the city’s sights, like the much buzzed about Basquiat & Schiele, Art at Fondation Louis Vuitton exhibition.
Lovebirds lost in Paris can seek shelter (and experience the art de vivre) at the first palace hotel in Paris, Le Meurice. Book the Belle Etoile Suite for the expansive private terrace and 360° views of the Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame, and Sacré Coeur, and for that marble bathroom that even would make Marie Antoinette and King Louis XVI jealous.
WHERE TO SPA
Trying to keep that newlywed glow going? Head to Paris’s premiere face place, L’institut Darphin. Tucked away in a resplendent courtyard off the Place Vendôme, this dreamy haven praised for all things skincare is not to be missed, thanks to their team of dexterous estheticians who excel in the art of the French facial. After luxurious botanical oils are applied through their signature Darphin “kinesio massage technique,” you’ll emerge fresh-faced and ready for cocktails in the ever-chic 1st arrondissement.
When in Paris, head to the superyacht of spas, La Prairie, for their pièce de résistance treatment: the heavenly, three-hour, caviar-heavy “Swiss Bliss.” Performed in their most intimate couples spa suite, highlights include heated beds you’ll sink into, a private whirlpool and steam room to detox and destress, and a sun-drenched outdoor terrace that overlooks a blooming manicured garden. This scalp-to-toes experience not only lifts and firms, but relaxes the entire body, which is really what you need most after your wedding day.
WHERE TO QUENCH YOUR THIRST
Make no mistake, the Hemingway Bar is a must for toasting your future together, on night one in Paris. Although the space is on the cozy side (read: intimate and small-scale), and you may have to wait to get in (reservations are not accepted), there’s nowhere more magical you’ll want to be in the City of Love. Order their famed Clean Dirty Martini (that includes an ice cube made of olive juice and a single rose paper clipped to the edge of your frozen glass), then sit back and revel in the sights, sounds, and sips that you’ll remember long after returning home.
If you’re planning on one-upping anyone who’s been to Paris these days with your cocktail bar suggestions once you’re home, you’ll want to try the tipples at the speakeasy-style Little Red Door in Marais. With an ever-changing menu concept (one month it centers around architecture-themed libations, the next around universal values), this dimly-candle-lit enclave is everything you were looking for without knowing it.
Everyone has their go-to haunt for a well-curated wine list in a charmingly rustic setting, but ours would have to be La Cave à Michel. At this former wine cellar-turned-natural wine bar located in the 10th, you’ll find yourself devouring plates of cured meats and plump mussels with spot-on pairings and exchanging viticultural talk about the region’s beloved varietals with their proprietor Fabrice.
WHERE TO SHOP
Fragrance aficionados will be in awe at Buly 1803 on Rue Bonaparte, and might even find themselves returning more than once during their Parisian getaway for their intoxicating scents. Beautiful bottles and vials dot the shelves at this old-world apothecary, but the most impressive offering would have to be their selection of scented matches.
Part gastronomic wonderland, part designer department store, Le Bon Marché is where you go when you have time to spare because it’s the kind of place you won’t want to leave. Begin your journey in the contemporary section, stocking up on silk slips and stylish jewels and heels, before moving over to home for one-of-a-kind gifts to bring back home. Finally, hit the food aisles for Frenchy moutardes, cornichons, confit spreads, and crusty loaves for the next day’s déjeuner.
WHERE TO DINE
Just imagine sharing light bites and bubbly in front of this vantage point. Situated in the 16th arrondissement near the Trocadero, you can take advantage of prime views of the Eiffel Tower on the rooftop, or venture downstairs to Brach Restaurant. Located on the ground floor, Chef Adam Betalha’s innovative Mediterranean-influenced menu even incorporates fresh eggs from the on-site hen house.
Since Arpège is considered one of the World’s 50 Best Restaurants the waitlist is a bit of a to-do here. But their stellar vegetable-centric haute cuisine menu is actually worth enduring the hassle, and Chef Alain Passard’s patented “bouquet de roses” apple tart might just be one of the most delicious desserts you’ll feast on as a twosome on your trip—or ever. Yes, it’s also a bit of a splurge, but isn’t this the time to do just that?
When in the mood for classic French staples like like steak frites, escargot, sweetbreads in creamy sauces, pigeon, and profiteroles, the simple (yet satisfying) Chez George is a sure bet.
Consuming veal brains and duck and foie gras pie in a quirky setting surrounded by clowns staring down at you might give some pause when planning the ideal date night, but rest assured Clown Bar is worthy of the hype—and the walk around the block for a few hours for aperitifs since it takes that long to get in. Luckily the neighborhood boosts plenty of gems for canoodling in dark corners.
This low-frills Provençal-style bistro keeps crowd-pleasers like duck, ratatouille, and brandade de morue (salt cod purée with potatoes) on their locals-loved menu at all times, along with a variety of wines and absinthe to wash them down. But the real draw here is their chocolate mousse. Most reviews credit is as being “life-changing” and we can’t argue with that.
Languid lunches spent reminiscing about your wedding are done in style at three–star Guy Savoy, where you can enjoy iced poached oysters, artichoke soup with black truffle, and roast lobster with bouillabaisse flavors. Expect to dip into the honeyfund for this one—seven courses will cost you 250 euros, or 320 with champagne and wine pairings—though the glamorous dining rooms and tasting menus meant for indulging the senses together are well worth it.