Last year you took your lover to dinner and a movie for Valentine's Day, so maybe this year it's time to up the ante a bit and let them know how much you really appreciate them by having dinner in a movie, or at least in a location themed around one of the most romantic films of all time. World Reviewer has done the work for you, finding not just the world's most romantic destinations but also matching them up with the perfect quote for the card, now all you have to do is buy the DVD and book the trip.
The girls in the office recommend making your own voucher and putting it inside the DVD case, saying something like: 'We'll always have Paris' – this is particularly effective if you know she's never been to Paris... Oh our hearts are all a flutter just thinking about it.
Copy Cat Kissers: Harness the Romance of Cinema this Valentines
We'll always have Paris.
Bogart to Bergman in Casablanca (1942)
Casablanca's French background - the layout of this port city is based on that of Marseille - and commercial importance means it's less of a frenetic maze than Marrakech or Fez, and it's on the coast...
But Paris is THE city of love, its boulevards and paths along the Seine draw strolling lovers by the hundreds and thousands, its cafes, with their tiny tables welcome intimate tête-à-têtes and thousands of lucky young women have been proposed to atop the Eiffel Tower or beneath the romantic shaped dome of Sacre Coeur. Bergman apparently had the pleasure of both...
Happiness. Simple as a glass of chocolate or tortuous as the heart. Bitter. Sweet. Alive.
This film poster for Chocolat warns it's 'Sinfully Delicious', and while you might think the tag line is reserved specifically for Johnny Depp – you know you're bromancing on him – this film brims with many of the ingredients for a perfect Valentine's Day: several different love stories charmingly intertwined, lots of chocolate and cooking, a happy ending for all and scenery that drips more invitingly from the screen than chocolate off the main character Vianne's spoon.
Shot in some of the prettiest bits of Burgundy and the Dordogne: Flavigny-sur-Ozerain and Beynac-et-Cazenac, these are definitely the kind of towns ripe for whispering sweet nothings in – they're both classified Les plus beaux villages de France – meaning one of the most beautiful villages in France. Flavigny-sur-Ozerain has cosy restaurants, medieval streets and churches, but only one hotel, the Le Relais de Flavigny, and three B&Bs. Flavigny-sur-Ozerain is about an hours drive from Dijon.
One of the memorable locations used from Beynac-et-Cazenac is Château de Beynac one of the best preserved castles in this part of France: built in the middle ages it looks like a castle that may have kept a prisoner in the attic, sandstone, and austere, but with lovely crenelated towers that give it a romantic feel as well – maybe this is where Rapunzel was kept by the witch? It's also the castle belonging to Cinderella's prince, at least in the film Ever After – another gold mine for romantic quotes: You cannot leave everything to Fate, boy. She's got a lot to do. Sometimes you must give her a hand.
I cannot fix on the hour, or the look, or the words, which laid the foundation. It is too long ago. I was in the middle before I knew that I had begun.
Pride and Prejudice (2005) nee Jane Austen
Bath, where stroll the ghosts of Jane Austen's heroines, has also been the kind of pretty city of boutique hotels and cosy restaurants that lovers flee towards for some alone time. The crescents, churches and abbey, and of course the warmly bubbling Roman Baths with the old fashioned Pump Room Restaurant where you can drink of the green tepid pools... - hardly a love potion, but the rest of this city of old pale stone is more than intoxicating enough to make up for it - comes highly recommended by Jane Austen, she set both 'Persuasion' and 'Northanger Abbey' here.
I came here tonight because when you realize you want to spend the rest of your life with somebody, you want the rest of your life to start as soon as possible.
When Harry Met Sally (1989)
New York: Woody Allen wrote a love letter to it in the form of Manhattan, it's The City in Sex and the City and it's where modern day Romeo and Juliet, Harry Burns and Sally Albright play out their will-they-won't-they love story. This is the kid of city that people fall in love with, but it's also the kind of city that people fall in love in... Which is why it can be the perfect destination for a Valentines city break. Spend the week leading up to your trip watching all the great New York films and picking out the places you want to visit most: Lady Liberty the Empire State Building, Broadway and Times Square are staples of any trip to New York; but if you're following the romantic lead of your favourite New York films you'll eat in Katz Diner of 'I'll have what she's having' fame, take a buggy ride in always-ready-for-love Central Park, followed by breakfasting at Tiffanys.
For the perfect park view, and something similar to Harry and Sally's New Years Eve moment, take your lover to the Iris & B. Gerald Cantor Roof Garden, a huge terrace covered with wisteria and yew – it will be crisp in Feb., but it will still be beautiful and it's an excuse to rug up in each other's arms.
No, I don't think I will kiss you, although you need kissing, badly. That's what's wrong with you. You should be kissed and often, and by someone who knows how.
Clarke Gable to Vivienne Lee in Gone With the Wind (1939)
There's something intoxicating about the cities of America's Deep South with their unhurried southern manners, languid pace of life and humidity. Is it the spicy food or strong drinks, that can't help but remind you of the regions link to voodoo and love potions, or the penchant for jazz played loud enough to be heard on the streets? Or is it just the remnants of the French and African blood that's brought to the boil more easily? It's possibly even that these graceful old southern cities are some of America's most fair: green, moist Savannah of the charming and colourful locals, New Orleans for the music, Mardi Gras and gorgeous old vine draped mansions, and Baton Rouge on the mighty Mississippi.
New lovers are nervous and tender, but smash everything. For the heart is an organ of fire.
The English Patient (1996)
Recuperate your romance in Umbria like The English Patient. If you fell in love with the film you can visit some of the locations used in its filming: the villa used is just outside Pienza and the church scenes were filmed in the Church of San Francesco in Arezzo. And if you fell in love with the book you can imagine every villa you see along the road to be the one Count Almásy arrives at covered in bandages, and ever orchard to be the one Hana bathes and walks in.
If strolling – or cycling - amongst orchards and vineyards isn't healing enough, remember there's also the healing power of all that fresh produce, cooked in the hearty traditional Italian style, and a healthy dash of locally made vino. Ideal for lovers of good food and wine and beautiful architecture and scenery and their lovers.
Mark Darcy: I like you, very much.
Bridget: Ah, apart from the smoking and the drinking, the vulgar mother and... ah, the verbal diarrhea.
Mark Darcy: No, I like you very much. Just as you are.
Colin Firth to Renée Zellweger in Bridget Jones Diary (2001)
There were mini breaks before Bridget Jones, but she's the one responsible for making them seem so desirable. What could be better, knights in open topped chargers, than arriving at your beloved's door, in said car, and whisking her away for a weekend of picnics in the countryside, fine dining in cosy but Michelin starred pubs, sleeping in under canopied beds in stately homes and maybe a bit of punting thrown in for variety...
Bridget Jones, can literally eat her heart out on some of these mini break options that tick all the above boxes for romance.
It's all a mystery. Love - the idea that there is someone already there in the world who might hold the key to your whole existence.
Dr Zhivago (1965)
The overriding visual of the epic David Lean film, against the background of the very beautiful score, is snow. And while cold weather isn't necessarily romantic, there's nothing quite like being snowed in somewhere with the person you most adore. Of course you'll need to huddle up to keep warm... A most scenic and romantic place to sit by the fireside with your beloved is Austria's Tyrol, for as well as still having plenty of snow in February it's also spectacularly beautiful and the food and chocolate are excellent. If you're an active pair it makes even more sense, you won't really be snowed in, you can get plenty of skiing done right out of your log cabin. It's even better if you can get one of the ones where you can only reach it via cable car – then you really start to feel like you're in a snow globe for two: The falling snow could be seen only beyond the far end of the roofs; seen so far away, it looked almost still, sinking to the ground as slowly as bread crumbs thrown to fishes sink through water.
When you fall in love, it is a temporary madness. It erupts like an earthquake, and then it subsides. And when it subsides, you have to make a decision. You have to work out whether your roots are become so entwined together that it is inconceivable that you should ever part.
Captain Corelli's Mandolin (2001)
The book Captain Corelli's Mandolin, by Louis de Bernieres, was so popular that smart producers thought there would be too many purists offended if it wasn't filmed on location in the palpitation inducing loveliness of the Greek Islands. Most of the filming was done on Kefalonia around the fishing villiage of Sami and the near perfect Ionian beaches at Antisamos Bay and Myrtos. There's no reason you can't utter your words of February love on another Greek Island, but despite the promise of sunny skies, it is out of season so larger, more populated islands are better at this time of year.
When he shall die, take him and cut him out in little stars and he will make the face of heaven so fine that all the world will be in love with night and pay no worship to the garish sun.
Romeo and Juliet (1996)
For the kind of tear-to-the-eye beauty that only nature, perfect beaches and your lover can provide, bring the one you adore to Vieques where you'll then have all three in the same place. It's a little out of the way for most of the globe, but the magic off the coast of this daydream island is the kind of thing perfect proposals are made of: after the sun goes down the waters of Bioluminescent Bay glow with a myriad of tiny lights – it's like swimming in stars – as the micro-organisms in these waters illuminate themselves to protect from predators.
On land expect 28 degree weather, yes, in February, and miles of almost empty white sand, an unspoiled interior and old world rural charm – the US Navy owned the island for sixty years and the tourist industry is only just budding, and with an eco-tourism bent.
Let us know where you'd like to go with your lover or where you've spent a perfect Valentine's Day in the past...
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