Paris, Je t'aime: How to Spend Valentine's Day in the French Capital
This piece originally appeared on Travel + Leisure.
Paris is romantic just by being Paris: the crooked cobblestone streets, the moon over the Seine, the accordion players on the metro. There's even a wall dedicated to love—"Le Mur des Je t'aime" at Place des Abbesses in Montmartre. For some, it's enough just to exist in the City of Light on February 14 without having to succumb to buying any long-stemmed roses, dark chocolate ganaches, or lily-scented perfumes for youramour. And for lovebirds on the hunt for something more, there are alternative ways to aim your bow and arrow this Cupid's Day.
Run for Your Love
The duo that runs together can literally stay together in the five-mile Love Run, where participants are bound at the wrist from start to finish. With couple activities and kooky challenges along the way, the V-Day event at the Bois de Boulogne, a large park just outside the périphérique of Paris, is sure to test a duo's physical—and emotional—stamina. Following the run, there will be a "Love Festival" complete with prizes, a photo booth, DJ, and cocktails.
Pucker Up for the Camera
Who says sexy bedhead and lingerie is just for centerfold models? American photographer Krystal Kenney is offering half-price boudoir photo sessions this Valentine's Day. For $218, ladies can wear their laciest pieces while lounging on a bed and having their poutiest face captured on camera. The in-home photo session lasts one hour and can include multiple outfit changes.
Pour Some Sugar On It
Rather than just show up with a box of truffles from Maison du Chocolat or a salted caramel choux from Popelini, why not make some sweet treats yourself? On Saturday, February 13, La Cuisine Paris is holding a Saint Valentine's Chocolate and Macarons workshop for $108. During the three-hour class, participants will make and mold their own sugar-filled delicacies, such as milk chocolate marshmallows and dark chocolate and candied cherry macarons.
Sensual Bedtime Stories
True lovers keep the flame burning far beyond the 14th, and those who like to whisper sweet nothings in each other's ears might like to try their hand at a little Anaïs Nin, the French author of Delta of Venus, which is the subject of the next Sex & Booze: Erotic Book Club for Couples. Hosted by social club The Chamber, this two-hour moderated event on February 18 will focus on stories six through 10 from the short story collection. Cocktails and small bites will be on hand to enhance the mood. Tickets are $87 per couple.
Catch a High-Kicking Cabaret
Skip the kitschy Moulin Rouge in Montmartre for something sexier just off the Champs Elysées. Crazy Horse, which debuted in 1951, is a similarly styled, multi-act show starring long-legged women in fishnets and tassels that shimmy with their every shake. But the performances here are far more sultry and contemporary—in fact, this is where renown burlesque dancer Dita Von Teese will return for the first time in 10 years this March for 33 titillating performances. For Valentine's Day (and the two days prior), Le Crazy, as its known, will offer a combo show and Champagne package for $169 per person that comes with reserved seating and a souvenir photo.
Sleep Somewhere Sexy
Thanks to some of Paris' hottest hotels, staying behind closed doors all day has never seemed so alluring. Starting at $217, the "XXX" package at Mama Shelter will offer guests who stay on February 13 and 14 a late checkout, a bottle of Champagne, and avery friendly welcome basket that includes a caressing feather duster, erotic dices, and other feisty accoutrements. Maison Souquet, a self-proclaimed "pleasure palace" in South Pigalle with elegant, dark-hued rooms named after famous courtesans, will provide guests who book from February 1 through 29 with rose petals, chocolates, Champagne, and a one-hour private hamman experience. Rates vary depending on the length of stay.