The Eternal City or the City of Light? You say tomato and I say…. Deciding between these two cities for her special treat can be like picking your favourite child as a parent. Each city has their own unique flavour and flares. Each destination is completely different.
When it comes to choosing the right destination for Valentine’s Day, Rome and Paris duke it out for affections from couples around the world. Which city you decide can merely boil down your own personality and taste. Romantic moments come in both cities. As Rome and Paris battle in the Valentine’s Day showdown, we’ll let you be the judge as to which city is the true winner.
Rome’s Trevi Fountain at Night vs. The Eiffel Tower at Night
At night, you can find most couples canoodling at the Fontana di Trevi in Rome, hoping their wishes of returning to Rome will come to fruition. Completed in 1762, the fountain presents one of Rome’s most romantic scenes in the evening hours. A bright white fountain lights up, highlighting the focal point of Neptune as he rides his shell chariot. The waters from the Acqua Vergine aqueduct take on a shimmering blue hue under the bright lights of the night. All are here to toss a coin in the fountain to ensure a return ticket to Rome, as legend would have it. Grab a special someone in one hand and gelato in the other and see just what Roman romance is all about.
On the opposing council, off in Paris, is the glittering Eiffel Tower at night. Built in 1889 for the Universal Exhibition by Gustave Alexandre Eiffel, Parisians either love or hate the iconic monument. Measuring a height of 317 meters high, the steel construction makes for Paris’ big romantic moment. In the evening hours, the Eiffel Tower lights up with golden lights, sparkling for 5 minutes every hour on the hour. Watching 20,000 light bulbs do their magic lends a romance incomparable to other city landmarks. Paris could be in the winner of this round for you can dine at two restaurants right on the Tower. Throw back a glass of bubbly and see why Paris is the city of love and light.
Roman Holiday vs. Funny Face
Men might not have a clue about these two films, but both pull on iconic Roman and Parisian experiences, all with Audrey Hepburn behind the wheel. Women will swoon in Rome when taken to the Bocca della Veritá, otherwise known as the Mouth of Truth. The gaping round piece of marble is best known for its scene in the Gregory Peck and Audrey Hepburn match up of Roman Holiday. Supposedly, if you tell a lie and stick your hand in the mouth, you will lose your hand. Peck tricked Hepburn in this classic romantic scene, pretending to lose his hand. Just outside the Chiesa di Santa Maria in Cosmedin, couples can play Peck and Hepburn here, much to the delight of women around the world.
Paris also contends as a setting for old romantic Hepburn films. While not shot in Paris, the Fred Astaire and Audrey Hepburn pairing in Funny Face hit up one of the city’s underground jazz clubs. Couples can still do the same by visiting a jazz cellar in Paris. While Hepburn and Astaire smoked, danced and talked philosophy in Paris’ basement, couples can mimic the scene. As most Parisians socialize at cafes and bars, visiting an underground jazz club is a good way to get to know what lurks below the city in the evening hours.
Moonlit Ruins vs. Marvelous Museums
No one can compete with Rome in terms of ruins. You practically have to watch where you step in Rome to avoid tripping over the ancients. Under the moonlight, there is no more a romantic scene than the Roman Forum, what was once the center of ancient Rome. Ruins, fragments, arches and over turned boulders invite the imagination to do a bit of work to see what life was life, way back in Rome’s beginnings. The best view at night comes from Capitoline Hill. Of course, just up the hill is the Coliseum, ancient Rome’s great architectural legacy. With a construction ordered in 72 A.D., the Coliseum could seat 50,000 in its prime. Rome’s ruins are out, exposed to the elements and perfect for viewing on a moonlit stroll.
Rome may have all of the ruins but Paris has most of the art. The city is decked out in museums, beginning with the big fromage, Musée du Louvre. The Louvre boasts one of the greatest collections of art, home to over 300,000 paintings, one of which being the Mona Lisa. French Impressionist fans won’t want to pass up the Musée d’Orsay while in Paris. The museum is a mecca for French Impressionist pieces and paintings from the 19th century. More modern art aficionados will appreciate the Centre Pompidou, home to over 40,000 modern art works. They are all housed in one of the most avant-garde buildings in the world. Wandering museum exhibits, surrounded by art depicting great love and passion is a sure fire way to spend Valentine’s Day.
And the winner is….
Rome or Paris for a romantic Valentine’s Day boils down to preference. While some say Paris is perfectly manicured, others find the chaos and “let your hair down” attitude of Rome more appealing. Regardless, both cities have their moments, ones where passion and romance will be easy to come by, especially on the day dedicated solely to love.
Written by Suzy Guese