Fall brings with it colorful foliage, crisp weather, and the urge to cozy up by the fire (preferably with a special someone). After all, the season is ideal for spending some picturesque time with your significant other, and some cities are a bit more romance-inducing than others. Cobblestone streets, stunning architecture, and culture-filled attractions are just a few of the things that landed the following seven cities on our list of the perfect cities to fall in love in this fall.
We'll start with the most romantic city any time of year: Paris. Both the capital of France and the most visited city in the world, Paris is renowned for its romantic vibe. Stunning architecture, exquisite museums, and très bien cuisine are just a few of the staples. Window shop along the Champs Elysee, drink wine under the Eiffel Tower, or dance (or at least watch others dance) at the Moulin Rouge for a true Parisian vacation. The City of Light can get pretty chilly, but that makes it perfect for cozying up next to a special someone.
Stay: Hotel Sezz
Hotel Sezz is a small but perfectly designed luxury boutique with snazzy interiors and a slightly saucy side. The iconic Eiffel Tower is within walking distance, making the property ideal for couples wanting to turn up the romance. Sultry rooms and playful amenities encouraging amorous activity, as well. The champagne breakfast is certainly a treat, though it’s not cheap, and there's a small spa. If you're willing to spend a significant amount of cash on a romantic trip to Paris, this place could help inject a punch of passion into the proceedings.
Carmel, officially called Carmel-by-the-Sea, is a charming town along the California coast. It's immensely quaint, nestled in between rocky coastal cliffs and tall pine trees. The artsy city is a hub for galleries and creative residents; Clint Eastwood even served as mayor for a time. The city is very walkable, with unique boutiques, restaurants, and bars lining the streets. Fall weather is wonderfully crisp and gorgeous sunsets are a daily occurrence at Carmel Beach.
Stay: L'Auberge Carmel
Echoing the charm of Carmel is the luxurious L'Auberge Carmel -- housed in a white stucco building dating back to 1929. Its 20 rooms have warm colors, high-quality bedding, and beautiful modern bathrooms with heated floors (some have deep soaking tubs). The inn is built around an adorable brick courtyard, which helps create a homey European vibe, as do the green French shuttered windows with window planters. It has a popular in-house restaurant and guests each get a free glass of sparkling white wine at check in.
A city on water, Venice comprises 118 small islands separated by canals. The beautiful city has centuries-old churches, historic cafes and colorful buildings. It's extremely expensive, but going during fall means it's off-season and travelers can get a better deal. Strolling though Piazza San Marco or taking a gondola ride through the city are super simple, but romantic, activities.
Stay: Hotel Locanda Vivaldi
The 27-room Hotel Locanda Vivaldi has a prime location, overlooking the Grand Canal and a short walk from Piazza San Marco, the lively square where many of Venice's top tourist attractions are located. While the hotel lacks the conveniences of larger hotels (such as a fitness center and spa), it has been updated with free Wi-Fi throughout the property and modern marble bathrooms. Room decor is classic, with antique-style furniture, crystal chandeliers, and rich patterns. But some may find the effect stuffy, especially in rooms with varying patterns all in the same color; bedspreads are low-quality. Guests receive free breakfast, either in the dining room or delivered to their door, and the hotel features an on-site bar.
Quebec is rich with history and perfect for francophiles, having been founded in 1608 by Samuel de Champlain. It's a walled, highly walkable city and the old town is comprised of gorgeous cobblestone streets and boutiques. Perched atop a cliff, the views over Saint Lawrence River are stunning. Not only does fall bring beautiful foliage, but also reduced prices and fewer tourists.
Stay: Auberge Saint-Antoine
This 95-room boutique hotel is housed in a historic building facing the St. Lawrence River in the Old City. Decor varies across the sophisticated, spacious rooms, but all have upscale touches such as Nespresso machines, evening turndown service, and luxurious bathrooms featuring heated floors and flat-screen TVs. The restaurant, Panache, serves seasonal, local cuisine in a former maritime warehouse (think: thick wood beams, stone walls), and the more casual Bar Artefact serves cocktails and gourmet fare in a bright, contemporary lounge. Amenities include a modern, 24-hour fitness center, a screening room, spa treatment rooms, and a free business center. The hotel is situated on an archaeological site, and historical artifacts are displayed throughout the property.
Barcelona is Spain's most modern and vibrant city -- bringing in loads of tourists. Its stunning gothic architecture (best seen in the Basilica de la Sagrada Familia), world-class museums, and delicious cuisine are all points of interest. The mix of old world and modern design throughout the city contribute to its cool factor. If you're looking for a mellow and romantic city by day, and a lively party scene by night, Barcelona will surely deliver.
Stay: Barcelo Raval
A sexy, modern hotel, the Barcelo Raval has a chic black-and-white lobby (dotted with splashes of color) with funky lighting, modern seating, and a ceiling fixture that lends a space-age feel to the hotel. The same vibe continues in the modern rooms, equipped with flat-screen TVs, iPod docks, and open bathrooms. But the real highlight of the rooms is the view of the city that is revealed upon drawing back the remote-controlled curtains; this view can also be enjoyed from the rooftop bar and patio where binoculars and telescopes are set up.
Declared a creative city by UNESCO, Santa Fe has a rich mix of Native American, Latino, and Southwestern influences. A prominent arts, music, and design scene, the city often plays host to festivals and markets. It's also famous for hand-crafted jewelry and clothing. As the oldest capital in the U.S. (founded in 1607), it has a rich history, particularly in its adobe architecture. In addition to Santa Fe's art scene, outdoor activities abound and the scenic Sangre de Cristo Mountains are just 15 miles outside the city center.
Stay: La Posada de Santa Fe Resort & Spa
The four-pearl La Posada de Santa Fe is over a hundred years old, making it one of the the city’s longest-standing inns. It has an excellent location near Santa Fe Plaza, and features attractive Southwestern decor throughout. Its 157 rooms have beamed ceilings, coral throws, regional art, and modern tech features; some have patios or kiva-style fireplaces. The upscale Fuego Restaurant earns high marks, and a curator on staff oversees the hotel's $1 million in local art. The property features are impressive: There's a day spa, an outdoor pool and whirlpool, afternoon tea and cookies, and an outdoor fire where evening s'mores are served.
This historic little city in South Carolina exudes old world romance with its breezy beach and horse-drawn carriages. For Civil War buffs, there's numerous attractions in the city, including Fort Sumter, the site of the first battle. Charleston is filled with porch-front homes, beautiful gardens, and cobblestone streets that are ideal for strolling. Fall is a perfect time to visit this gorgeous city as the weather is mild and there's way fewer tourists than in the summer (when the temperatures can be pretty sticky).
Stay: The Jasmine House Inn
Housed in a beautifully renovated mansion dating back to 1843, The Jasmine House Inn has all the charm of a B&B and the comfort of an upscale hotel, plus a central location in downtown Charleston. It has 12 large rooms with hardwood floors, 15-foot ceilings, flat-screen TVs, and unique decor -- that might be a bit too much for some (think matching bedspreads and drapes, patterned rugs, and floral wallpaper). There are a bunch of great freebies, including a continental breakfast, Wi-Fi, and evening hors d’oeuvres.