Written by Aurore Rominger and Fred Alden
“Aimer, ce n’est pas se regarder l’un l’autre, c’est regarder ensemble dans la même direction.” ~ Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
(“To love is not to look at each other, it is to look together in the same direction.” ~ Antoine de Saint-Exupéry)
No doubt Paris is for lovers: lovers of light, lovers of food, culture, life, and lovers of each other. Whether you are in a couple, going out with friends or flying solo and you are your own Valentine, Paris offers a kaleidoscope of opportunities to make your Valentine celebration super special in 2020. While recognizing the traditional symbols such as chocolate, roses and intimate dining, we wanted to consider these special Valentine-themed happenings with a Parisian twist. Here we highlight culture and cocktails.
The Rodin Museum located in central Paris is hosting a special Valentines themed “Love” soiree at the residence and studio of the creator of the iconic sculpture The Kiss. The event will focus on Rodin’s sensual works and his enduring love story with Camille Claudel. The event includes music and poetry as well as some pleasant surprises. The event takes place on February 14th from 19 to 22:30, and the cost is 27€ per person.
‘Musée de la vie Romantique’, dedicated to the Romantic movement in art, literature, and music, is hosting an opening for their new exhibition “Hearts” from 10:00 to 22:00. The exposition on the heart as the enduring symbol of love features 40 works by 30 contemporary artists and it is free for Valentine’s Day. The museum is located in the Pigalle near Montmartre so you can continue your enchanted day in this art-centred ‘quartier’. Should you miss the Valentine soirée, you can visit later as the exposition continues until 12 July.
For love below the surface, The Paris Aquarium near Trocadéro, home to 500 species with 3,500 square meters in 43 fish tanks, (including 30 sharks) is hosting a special Valentine’s opening with a nighttime tour including a glass of champagne. Presentations on “love” in the aquatic world continue from 19:00 to 22:00 – choose your arrival at either 19:00 or 20:00. After the event, you can walk a few steps to Trocadéro and admire the Eiffel Tower across the Seine. Cost is 30€ per person. Or, the aquarium restaurant Paris-Cinéaqua offers a stupendous view of the 600,000-liter basin of water in Zen décor, where dining faces an 8-meter pool home to tropical species of Reunion and Mayotte. Enjoy traditional French cuisine for a unique and memorable Valentine Celebration.
If you are more interested in the “science” of love (sort of anyway) head over to the ‘Palais de la Decouverte’ (the Palace of Discovery, next to the Grand Palais) for a special exhibit on Love until August 30th 2020. Two separate galleries – the gallery of attachments and the gallery of science – explore the ever-changing worlds of love, technology and passion. Must be 15 or over, Cost 9€ per person, Avenue Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Tuesday to Saturday 09:30 to 18:00, Sunday 10 to 19:00.
While France is not known as the ‘land of cocktails’, the cocktail Soixante Quinze 75 is a French cocktail made with gin, champagne, lemon juice and sugar. This World War I era drink was created in an early form in 1915 at the New York Bar in Paris—later Harry’s New York Bar —by barman Harry Mac Elhone. The kick of the drink was said to have the effect of being shelled with the powerful French 75 field gun. Well, all violence aside – and moderation encouraged – the specialities we found include:
The Botanist Bar, Shangri-La Hotel is a few minutes from the Aquarium. It is a nod to what was formerly the private residence of Prince Roland Bonaparte. He was a passionate botanist who successfully created one of the world’s’ largest collections with over 2,500,000 plant specimens. The 15 signature cocktails reflect the know-how, creativity and botanical history with rare spirits combined in a highly original way. The address is Le Botaniste Bar, Shangri-La Hotel, 75116 Paris.
The Ice Kube Bar at the Nordic-inspired Hotel Kube Paris is the only ice bar in Paris. Each visit is about 25 minutes — time enough for 2 cocktails and a shooter. Each session has a maximum of 25 people. The Bar provides down jackets and gloves to keep you warm in the -20-ice world. Cost is 25€ per person for 2 cocktails and 1 shooter. The address is 1 Passage Ruelle, 75018 Paris.
Champagne for Valentine’s day is a natural and L’Extra Brut Champagne Bar offers a tasting that overlooks the usual suspects and focuses instead on guided tastings from smaller, more artisanal owners or producers. The guided tasting by experts includes either 1, 2 or 3 glasses per person. Selections spotlight different Champagne regions to help you develop a palate for identifying different varieties, qualities and characteristics of champagne. Tastings of 2 glasses are 14 € per person, 3 glasses 23€. You also can opt for a single glass or purchase by the bottle. Accompany your tasting with available snacks or salads.
And of course there always exists the possibility of a romantic or even dramatic sunset on the Seine.
All in all, the important opportunity on Saint Valentine’s Day is to feel the love and to celebrate it. If you can’t make it to Paris this time, plan for next year. No matter where you are, create and enjoy your special 2020 Valentine celebration!