Paris: Send a Philistine to Paris, and what do you get? A well-fed Philistine. Couldn't get out of the stuffy and overcrowded Louvre fast enough. But couldn't get enough of sitting in those sidewalk cafes, where young women in cotton dresses pedal by on bikes, like puffy little clouds. The worst of it: I didn't even know I was being seduced by Paris, till about the third day when I admitted that this place put the "lust" in "wanderlust." Is there a more romantic stroll in all the world than in the Musée d'Orsay, where the Impressionists live? I don't just want to work there; I want to live there, taking tickets from tourists from Cleveland, happily, all day, the rest of my life. Favorite street? Rue St.-Louis-en-l'Ile, as narrow as your living room and brimming with quaint restaurants, pastry shops and perhaps the best ice cream ever, at Berthillon (pronounced bear-tee-yone). Fave hotel? Victoria Palace Hotel on the Left Bank, where James Joyce once lived.
Where to set the mood: In Paris, shopping is considered "first base."
What to wear: Each other
— Chris Erskine
Sydney, Australia: This city knows how to do romance. Not only do its sparkling harbor and miles of smooth beaches make it one of the most beautiful cities on Earth, but the Aussie lifestyle seduces with fun. Start by lounging in bed and gazing out over the iconic harbor from your room at the Darling, a boutique waterfront hotel where the likes of Clooney and DiCaprio have hidden with their honeys. Wander downstairs to dissolve in their spa with a hamam and a couples' Kodo massage inspired by indigenous Aboriginal healing. Later, order up an artful organic picnic from Sydney Picnic Co. and have it delivered to the bountiful Botanic Gardens, where you can eat king prawns and drink Champagne under giant trees overlooking the Sydney Opera House. To fully appreciate the nation's wines, sip Sauvignon with the sommelier at Time to Vino, a bar in Kings Cross Road, the former red light district turned hip foodie strip. Down the road, dine at Mrs G's, possibly Sydney's coolest restaurant with funky design, palate-smacking Asian-fusion food and crazy creative cocktails.
Most romantic time to go: November-April
Where to set the mood: Hors d'oeuvres at Icebergs Dining Room & Bar, perched over the waves of Bondi Beach, home to billionaires, hippies, surfers and Sydney's beautiful bodies alike.
What to wear: Something very short. This advice applies to men too.
— Amanda Jones
Rio de Janeiro: Rio enjoys a reputation as a dreamy, steamy city, but there's far more to the place than bronzed beauties in thongs. Start with breakfast on the terrace of the elegant Mama Ruisa, an airy 19th century villa turned guesthouse in Santa Teresa, Rio's trendy boho village. Then take a stroll around Lagoa Rodrigo de Freitas, the iconic saltwater lagoon on the city's beach strip, ending at Fasano al Mare restaurant in the Fasano Hotel for lunch with a prime view of Ipanema Beach (and the aforementioned bodies). Head to Arpoador Beach for a swim with the surfers, then catch the tram back to Santa Teresa, stopping for a quick pop at Bar do Gomez, a colorful local watering hole spilling onto the cobbled streets. If you're still hungry after trying the empanadas, spend the evening eating artisanal Brazilian food on the jungley patio of Aprazivel, also in Santa Teresa.
Most romantic time to go: May-September
Where to set the mood: Drinking a caipirinha on the deck at 00 (pronounced "zero-zero"), a body-beautiful nightclub that goes until the thumping wee hours.
What to wear: As little as possible. With piles of large jewelry.
— Amanda Jones
New Orleans: In this poor man's Paris, cabs and covers are cheap, and sensual little courtyards plentiful; there's even the occasional dungeon or two. If you can't have fun in New Orleans, you can't have fun. Start the day with beignets at Café du Monde. At lunch, wander Decatur Street for a muffaletta sandwich. Or canoodle all day, then come out at night. Hop a streetcar for a drink at the Columns Hotel, where scenes from "Pretty Baby" were shot. Then on to nearby Tipitina's, or "Tips," for live music and dancing. Time doesn't just stand still in New Orleans; it disappears. And so can you.
Most romantic season: March-April
Where to set the mood: Lafitte's Blacksmith Shop in the Quarter (circa 1772), where Tennessee Williams hung out while writing "A Streetcar Named Desire."
What to wear: Seersucker and perfume.