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Parisian Valentine's Breaks With a Difference...

Parisian Valentine’s Breaks With a Difference…


It’s February, which means it’s the time to start thinking about how you’re going to treat your better half. Flowers and chocolates are always a safe bet, but you might want to go that little bit further and treat your gal or guy to something a bit more special. It’s timely then, that Blue Islands have recently opened up a route between Jersey and Charles De Gaulle airports. With fares starting at just £89, you can bypass Gatwick and whisk your loved one straight to the City of Love. You could spend a romantic weekend checking out the Louvre, Champs Elysee, the Eiffel Tower or Disneyland, or you could get a bit creative and make it a right ruddy Valentines getaway to remember.
Taking place annually since the 16th Century, the Paris Carnival is one of the oldest celebrations of its kind in the world and allegedly inspired the famous Rio Carnival. After taking a 50-year break, it returned to the city in 1997 and has been going strong in its modern incarnation ever since, attracting up to 40,000 spectators and employing 15,000 participants. With street performers, musicians, dancers, circus acts and actors taking to the streets of Paris on February 10th, this year’s theme is ‘the world of toys’ and men and women are encouraged ‘to dress as queens.’ The highlight of the carnival is the Promenade de Bouef Gras (Fat Cow Parade), which involves an actual REAL LIVE COW being paraded through the streets and followed by a procession of floats, performers and puppets. Nothing says ‘I love you’ like pointing at a cow.

Located in the artists’ mecca that is Montmartre is the Wall of Love. Created by artists Frederic Baron and Claire Kito, the wall measures 40 square metres and is made up of blocks of enamelled lava with 311 enscriptions of the words “I love you” in 250 different languages. Nothing says  ‘I love you’ like ‘jag alskar dig.’

Located in the Pigalle district, home to the Moulin Rouge and many a sex shop, is the Musee de l’Erotisme, a veritable Aladdin’s cave of ancient phallic statues,  paintings depicting absolute rudeness throughout the ages, religious artefacts from various cultures, and films and photography exhibitions dedicated to pornography – all for cultural and educational purposes of course. There’s even a floor devoted to the legal brothels of the 19th and 20th Century. So why not connect with your sensual inner self and learn a thing or two about the birds and the bees that you might not have already known?

Built in 1896 as a gift from Monsieur Morin, the owner of La Bon Marche, to his wife, La Pagode is a Japanese pagoda which was in the year 2000 converted to a tiny art house cinema. Retaining its beautiful antique exterior and interior, including stained glass windows, chandeliers and paintings, La Pagode also boasts a tea house and serene oriental garden and is nestled in the quiet Rue de Babylone. Frequently showing independent English and European cinemas, it’s the ideal place to take a date to cosy up with on the back row.

Not many places outside of China celebrate New Year quite like the Parisians. With a large Chinese community, the city will be pulling out all the stops to ring in the Year of the Water Serpent, with a huge opening procession on February 10th (coinciding with the Paris Carnival, so take your pick: cow or snake), and an even bigger parade on the 17th, with dragons, drummers, dancers, actors and musicians decorating the streets. There’ll also be countless street vendors with Chinese food aplenty to choose from, lanterns lighting up the skies, firecrackers going off left, right and centre, and general commotion, in the best way possible, for the whole week. With special film and music events planned for the celebrations as well, there’s an awful lot to sink your teeth into.

Valentine’s Day isn’t all about treating the ladies y’know, and indeed, many women like a bit of footy, so please don’t think us unromantic for including a Paris Saint Germain match. The Parisian club are sitting pretty at the top of Ligue One and have a whole host of A-list football superstars in their team after being bought by absolute billionaires from Qatar; their opponents Bastia sitting closer to the bottom of the table. Thus, this could be an opportunity to see the likes of Ibrahimovic and Javier Pastore bang in goals aplenty. Nothing says ‘I love you’ like watching a 40-yard screamer fly into the top corner.

Every Friday, up to 35,000 roller skaters and bladers unite for the world’s largest regular gathering of skaters. What better way to check out the city than to join 35,000 people who know the streets like the backs of their hands? Skaters travel a 30km route (although you’re not expected to complete the entire circuit, rather you can pick wherever you get on or off) through the streets of Paris and along the Seine, and skaters are accompanied by a team of police escorts both on scooters and on skates (not at the same time), a medical team and a number of stewards. The Pari Roller is intended for people that have had some experience on skates before – you don’t have to know how to Misty Flip through a flaming hoop, but they do ask that you at least know how to brake, and don’t mind going down the odd hill or two. Falling flat on your face and chipping a tooth, or skinning your knees, isn’t so romantic – you’ve been warned.






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