Top 5 Romantic Places to Visit in France
Thanks so much for having me on Romancing the Book! I’m thrilled to be here and to share my top 5 romantic places to visit in France.
1 – Annecy
Annecy is one of the most beautiful, charming towns I’ve ever visited. It boasts a crystal-blue lake, stunning views of the snow-capped French Alps, and unbelievably delicious fondue restaurants. Strolling along the cobblestone streets of Annecy is like walking through a fairytale. In my second novel, Kissed in Paris, Chloe and Julien make a stop in Annecy and that’s where things really start to heat up!
Lyon is a gorgeous city about two hours south of Paris by train. I was lucky enough to study abroad in Lyon in college, and my heart has remained there ever since. Lyon is known as the gastronomical capital of France, and I am not exaggerating when I say that the food is to die for. The fondant au chocolat dessert from the amazing Lyonnais restaurant Le Nord makes a special appearance in my December release, Honeymoon in Paris. My mouth still waters just thinking about it.
Giverny is the home of the impressionist painter, Claude Monet, and it’s perfect for a day trip from Paris. A stroll around the famous water lily pond is the ideal place to share a kiss with your honey on your romantic getaway. Julien and Chloe from Kissed in Paris are running from the police when they dash through Giverny, so please enjoy it more than they did.
Paris gets two spots on my list because there are so many romantic places to go in the City of Light, I couldn’t choose just one. The Latin Quarter is located on the left bank of Paris, and it is packed with quaint restaurants, winding cobblestone streets, and bustling sidewalk cafés. In Dancing with Paris, Ruby and Antoine meet at one of the most famous cafés in the Latin Quarter: Café de Flore. Definitely a must-see on your next romantic stroll through Paris!
The Pont des Arts is one of the most romantic pedestrian bridge in Paris. Couples engrave their names on padlocks and attach them to the side of the bridge, then toss the key into the river. My main character in Dancing with Paris takes a scary late-night stroll on the Pont des Arts back in 1950s Paris, and Charlotte from Sleeping with Paris has a more leisurely time on the bridge after munching on a delicious chocolate croissant!
In Paris, a past life promises a second chance at love.
Straitlaced marriage therapist Claudia Davis had a plan—and it definitely did not involve getting pregnant from a one-night stand or falling for a gorgeous French actor. She thinks her life can’t possibly get more complicated. But when Claudia takes a tumble in her grandmother’s San Diego dance studio, she awakens in 1950s Paris in the body of Ruby Kerrigan, the glamorous star of a risqué cabaret—and the number-one suspect in the gruesome murder of a fellow dancer. As past lives go, it’s a doozy…especially when an encounter with a handsome and mysterious French doctor ignites a fire in Claudia’s sinfully beautiful new body.
But time, for all its twists and turns, is not on her side: Claudia has just five days to unmask the true killer, clear Ruby’s name, and return to the twenty-first century. To do so, she must make an impossible choice, one that will change the course of both of her lives forever.
Dancing with Paris Excerpt:
Dressed in a skintight red leotard, black tights, and my sparkly red heels, I stood at the edge of an empty stage, my newfound cleavage overflowing and my confidence waning.
What in the hell was I doing here? I was a fraud. And the minute I stepped out onto that stage, everyone would know it. I stared down at the three-inch glittering red heels on my feet and wished I could click them together three times and be magically transported back to San Diego—to the life I was comfortable in, to the life where my grandma was actually my grandma and not my best friend.
But again, that only worked in fairy tales, didn’t it? And sending me onstage to do a solo song-and-dance routine, that was a nightmare.
I peeked out from behind the curtain and spotted Jean-Pierre leaning over the piano, talking with the accompanist. I probably only had a few more seconds until he’d summon me.
What am I going to do?
Closing my eyes, I forced myself to inhale, but my breath caught in my throat when a warm hand landed on my arm.
I opened my eyes to see whose hand was resting on my skin, whose deep voice had whispered in my ear. But by the lack of arrogance in his tone, I knew even before I saw his face that it wasn’t Jean-Pierre.
Before me stood a tall, distinguished man, his black top hat, crisp black suit jacket, and red tie giving off an air of professionalism I hadn’t yet encountered in this dank, smoky nightclub. His dark-brown hair shone in the low light of the wings, and the tiny lines surrounding his smoky-gray eyes crinkled as he gazed at me in anticipation.
Before a simple Yes, I’m Ruby could escape my lips, I realized that I knew those tiny lines, those smoky eyes, those classic, yet unbelievably handsome features.
My heart raced as his name shot into my brain.
Was this the Antoine Richard? The renowned surgeon I’d read about in the newspaper article? Gisèle’s brother?
And possibly the A. from the note who I was not supposed to speak to?
“Suivez-moi,” he whispered, as he gestured toward the darkest area of the wings, where we wouldn’t be seen by any of the dancers milling around or by Jean-Pierre.
My hand effortlessly slipped into his as I followed him into the shadows. We squeezed behind the last curtain, and as I breathed in the scent of cold air and cologne on his clothes and felt his hot breath grazing my cheeks, I felt as if my legs might give way underneath me.
What was it about this man that was making me feel so…off-balance?
“Where were you this morning?” he whispered in my ear. “I waited for you at the café, and you never arrived. I need to know what you were about to tell me yesterday…what you saw before you found Gisèle.” He glanced over his shoulder, and as the sounds of the dancers’ heels and Jean-Pierre’s voice shot past us, he squeezed even closer to me, his lips barely brushing my ear. “There is something else…something important that has come up today, after my meeting with the police. But now is not the time to discuss this. I know what Jean-Pierre will do if he finds me here with you, so we will talk later. Meet me at Café de Flore at five o’clock. And remember, don’t tell anyone you’re talking to me, especially the police.”
Our eyes locked in one final, intense gaze, and it was then that I noticed the pain in his regard, the pain that permeated his entire being. He’d lost his only sister, Gisèle, and I’d found her dead in these very wings. Of course he wanted answers. I would too.
And even though I knew I wasn’t supposed to talk to him—that doing so could endanger me further—I felt an instinctual pull toward this man. I wanted to hear his deep voice echo through my ears again, feel his hand brush against my skin once more, breathe in his cool, masculine scent. But most of all, I didn’t want to lose the strange sense of comfort and familiarity I felt from these few brief seconds in his presence.
Of course, I had no idea what information I could give him, seeing as how I wasn’t actually Ruby anymore and her memories were only coming to me in short, jagged pieces, but even so, I knew I couldn’t refuse his request. I had to help him.
“I’ll be there,” I said, recognizing that the sensation coursing through my veins at that instant was a feeling I’d only experienced one other time in my life—when Édouard had taken me in his arms and danced with me.
And since nothing had ever made me feel so complete, so whole, I knew I wouldn’t be able to stay away from this man if I tried.
With only a nod and a whisper of a good-bye, Antoine disappeared as quickly as he’d come, leaving me alone in the wings trying to catch my breath.
I stepped out of the shadows and set my gaze on the stage as the spotlight flickered on. In the front row, Jean-Pierre glanced down at his watch and took a puff of the cigarette dangling from his thin lips. As I watched his building impatience cause his nose to twitch, I dreaded ever having to speak to him again. Instead, I found myself wishing it was five o’clock so that I could find out more about Antoine—the mystery man who’d appeared like a lightning bolt straight out of the sky.
“There you are. I’ve been looking all over for you.” Titine slid up beside me and placed a microphone in my hands. “It’s time.”
I wrapped my sweaty palms around the microphone, holding on to it for dear life, and wondered how I would fill up the stage with a song I didn’t have the words for and a dance I’d never done.
But as my long legs carried me toward center stage, I figured I was about to find out.
Excerpted from DANCING WITH PARIS by Juliette Sobanet (July 2013). Reprinted with permission from Montlake Romance.
Juliette Sobanet earned a B.A. from Georgetown University and an M.A. from New York University in France, living and studying in both Lyon and Paris. She worked as a French professor before turning a new page in her career, penning romantic women’s fiction with a French twist. She is the author of Sleeping with Paris, Kissed in Paris, Midnight Train to Paris, Dancing with Paris, and the upcoming novel Honeymoon in Paris. Today she lives with her husband and two cats in San Diego, where she devotes her time to writing and dreaming about her next trip to France. You can find her on her website, Twitter, or Facebook.