“Everything seems sexier in Paris—the grand buildings, the beautiful Parisians, the language, the food,” muses Alison Drew, a New York-based lawyer who lived in the City of Light and recently returned with her husband for an unforgettable romantic escape. “Just walking around makes you want to be in love.”
Paris has proved itself irresistible to T+L readers as well, who again rated it No. 1 for romance in the latest World’s Best Awards survey. For some cities, setting the stage for love seems second nature. (We challenge anyone to dispute Venice's swoony siren call.)
Related: 50 Best Romantic Getaways 2010
Cities less synonymous with romance also ranked high in the 18th-annual awards. Take fairy-tale Prague (No. 16), which basks in picture-perfect Old Europe charm right down to its hilltop castle. Farther south on Croatia’s rocky coast, historic Dubrovnik (No. 20) features a captivating old town and sublime views of the Adriatic.
But with Valentine’s Day just around the bend, you don’t have to travel beyond North America to find that perfect romantic getaway. California’s quaint seaside village of Carmel (No. 3) might be your ideal setting, with storybook cottages, sheep meadows, and rugged coastal views. Or if you prefer cozying up by the fire at a sumptuous B&B, look no further than Quebec City, Canada (No. 6), or Savannah, GA (No. 12), two cities where historic ambience makes for memorable sense of place.
Be it a gorgeous cityscape, an overflow of culture, or pastries that make your heart sing, the world’s most romantic cities offer plenty to love, whether you’ve found a match or are merely looking to let some sparks fly.