Is it the way the waves crash on the sand? The quiet serenity of a lonely fountain? Or is it the way couples stick together on the small sidewalks?
A new Travel and Leisure survey ranks Carmel the third most romantic city in the world behind Paris and Venice, which makes it the most romantic city in the U.S.
"It's like they say about Paris there's two kinds of people in the world: people who have been to Carmel and those who haven't," said Marc Allaman, who has been coming to Carmel with his wife, Kathryn, for 25 years. The two have been married for 20.
"I saw her walk into that class and it was love at first sight," Marc remembers.
And with that comes similar favorite spots like having lunch at Rocky Point, the two said in unison.
"I love the beach, the beach is my favorite," Marc said. "That's why we bring the chairs."
The word of the day is quaint, which is exactly what Stephanie Orma said about Carmel when she wrote the article. She said that there's one place you can't miss when you come: Aubergine Restaurant at L'Auberge Hotel.
"It's really a great spot for people to stop and make a point to dine and really capture a little romance," said restaurant director Nathaniel Munoz.
A little romance is right. The restaurant only has nine tables and the hotel accommodates just 20 guests. The hotel had been booked solid 10 days in advance and the restaurant about two weeks, Munoz said.
Valentine's Day weekend bleeding into President's Day had the sidewalks in Carmel filled to capacity.