Ah, Paris. The City of Light. The Most Romantic City in the World – or so the moniker goes. It’s hard to disagree. There is romance merely in wandering its ancient, grand boulevards, built on strata of complex history but nevertheless ticking to the rhythm of a cosmopolitan metropolis. Everything about Paris simply oozes elegance and sophistication, from its rich art history and world-famous landmarks to its luxury fashion and fine dining. Discover iconic artefacts at the Musée du Louvre; enjoy a picnic lunch in the Luxembourg Gardens; fall in love looking out over the moonlit skyline from the Eiffel Tower.
Very much sticking with francophone city breaks, Montreal is perfect for couples – and not just because you’ll be incongruously surrounded by French, the quintessential language of love. The city is a diverse landscape of historical sites, beautiful parks and cosy side-street eateries, bursting with sumptuous Gallic cuisine. Cycle the mountain for which the city is named, or hire a caleche, a traditional horse-drawn carriage, and meander through the Parisian-influenced cobblestone streets. The city exudes the je ne sais quoi of love itself.
Venice would dazzle you even if you did nothing but wander its labyrinthine alleyways, in which silence is broken only by the occasional echoing footstep, which crisscross turquoise canals of pastel reflections. Listen as the orchestral sounds emanating from the Piazza San Marco join the plashing of the serenading gondoliers’ oars, as the rich tapestry of the city’s soundscape enraptures you. Listed as a World Heritage Site, Venice’s contributions to art, music and architecture are evident around every corner. Any courting couple on a retreat here will feel wooed tenfold – the city’s romance seeps into the air itself.
4. Quebec City
Quebec City is not a name ordinarily associated with classic destinations of getaway romance, but its European influence and elegant charm make it a majestic alternative to the norm. Spend your mornings lingering over rich lattes, pastries and jams at boulangeries, before languidly perusing boutiques, galleries, antique shops. Take an evening stroll by starlight along 18th-century ramparts; take a sunset cruise along the St. Lawrence River; dine in candlelit inns. For the sweethearts set on a cultured getaway, Quebec City is an exquisite choice.
Copenhagen is a modern city of manageable size, comfortably navigated in a weekend but nevertheless jam-packed with culture and deeply imbued with l’amour. Wander the glorious winter garden inside the Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek, an art museum housing both Danish and international collections. Sit back at the planetarium and lose yourself in the perpetual motion of the universe. Check out Thorvaldsen’s Museum and the iconic Cupid and Psyche, sculpted by Thorvaldsen himself. Walk across the city’s iconic Bryggebroen, a bridge where lovers write their names on padlocks to signify their eternal love. Perhaps you could add your own, should Cupid’s arrow find you.
Niagara (for short) was once called the Honeymoon Capital of the world – and it’s easy to see why. Its colonial-style buildings serve as a quaint precursor to the main event – and that main event simply never gets tiresome. The falls are, quite simply, extraordinary. Luxury hotels offer views so astounding you’ll struggle to leave your room – the entire weekend could be spent just cosying up in front of the window, sipping champagne and sleeping late. Walk hand-in-hand beside the raging waters, taking in the magnificent soundscape, and stop off at one of many characterful spots for breakfast or lunch. The tranquillity of the town’s botanical gardens offers a reprieve from the chaos of the falls, and Niagara, as one of Canada’s premier wine regions, offer numerous world-class vineyards, perfect for couples’ wine-tasting.
Steeped in ancient history and characterised by the wonderful accent of the friendly locals, Edinburgh can compete with many cities for its sense of romance. There are myriad aesthetic parks to explore and rivers to cruise if the notoriously unpredictable British weather holds out, but, if not, immerse yourself in the culture of any number of intimate pubs and cafés, each with its own unique history and stories. The city is host to numerous festivals throughout the year, including the popular Edinburgh Fringe Festival in August. For a vibrant sense of romance in the Great Outdoors, leave the city behind for the day and explore the cinematic, untouched highlands of Scotland, imagining the millennia of lovers who have done so before the two of you.