London may not bring to mind the kind of reckless, unapologetic romance of a Paris or a Rome. With its stiff upper lips and its inhabitants' pathological apologizing, London can seem like a city of brusque encounters and muted chic. And with its love stories more Dickensian then Madame Bovary, it's easy to think that The Big Smoke could be skipped on your romantic European vacation. But think again: Scratch the surface and the city is, unexpectedly, eager to tuck you away into a cozy fireside seat or swaddle you and your loved one in stylish luxury. In addition to that imposing Charlie D., London is also the home of lovelorn Keats and Plath, and its food scene has absorbed its understated history of tumultuous passions. London's restaurants can wrangle an oyster and decant a Bordeaux as artfully as it can whack together a fish pie or boil a potato, and we're here to help you get your romance-bearings. As long as you do your research and find which areas make your heart sing, you can plan the perfect date for Valentine's day, an anniversary, or no occasion at all. Just bring your flowers, your smile, and – oh yes – your credit card.
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