Why does France rhyme with Romance?
When you think of France, you think “Paris”. Even though Paris is a delightful, exciting city besides being the perfect destination for romantic evenings, there is much more to France than just Paris.
If you happen to be in France any time from mid-June to mid-September, the ideas for a fabulous, romantic evening will be countless.
Each village, each town, each city in France is proud of its heritage and driven to promote it through popular festivals and colorful venues.
Year after year, June 21, the day of the summer solstice, kicks off the season. Whether you are on a small bistro patio enjoying a glass of Bordeaux and a “steak frites” or in a famous, elegant restaurant savoring poached salmon with a sorrel reduction, whether you are walking in the street or changing stations in the subway, you hear live music of all genres, and it is delightful. Your romantic evening will not require too much planning on your part – It will come to you wherever you are.
Music festivals really put you in the mood. They are always fantastic. They usually take place either in a historical, beautiful abbey, or outside in a monumental Roman amphitheater, or else in the fragrant gardens of a majestic chateau. Should they be held in a five-hundred-year old cathedral, expect a shiver to run up your spine as soon as you hear the first notes of the colossal pipe organ.
Whether you are a music lover or not makes no difference. You will be touched by the vibes of these concert festivals. It is not just the music. It is the background, the ambiance, the décor, the scenery. It is the celebration of all senses, the appreciation for all musical genres, and a tribute to the monuments and their history.
Besides music festivals, make sure you go to various food festivals. Each hamlet, village, town has its own specialty – the kouign amann in Brittany, the calisson candy in Provence, the tartiflette in the French Alps, the espelette (red pepper) in the Basque country. Those venues usually run for two or three days every year, mostly over the weekend, from morning to late evening. Coming from America, the uniqueness of most of these festivals will surprise you, and most likely you will have a good, memorable time with your date, your fiancé, partner, or spouse.
Most cities in France have a small or large medieval downtown. A stroll in the narrow, cobblestoned streets lined with half-timbered houses before and after dinner is always a treat – Before dinner to open your appetite… and after dinner to be oh so French. We call it “promenade digestive” (digestive stroll).
The medieval downtown is a true step back in time, especially after 7:00 pm when all the shops are closed, and you are left with the vintage streetlights and the few voices and dinner plate clatter coming from the windows above you. It is quite realistic. Some cities even offer the “light and sound” shows after 9:30 pm in the summer. As you walk the narrow streets, you hear music and you watch the projection of hieroglyphs on the main monuments which thus come alive. You stop every few minutes to admire the beauty of the show. And you finish the evening in a late-night café in front of dessert and a decaf espresso. Talk about a beautiful, romantic evening – No special planning required… No stress. No traffic jams. And it is free! In my opinion, it does not get any better! So, what will it be for you?
France is a beautiful place that naturally lends itself to romance. If you are going to France, make the time for romance. There is a reason why France and romance rhyme with each other!
Do not be in a hurry and cover as much ground as possible. If you do, you will miss a lot! Take the time to enjoy what France inherently has to offer: its charm, its soul, its romance.