Courtly love, when practiced traditionally, was a relationship that followed quite a stringent set of guidelines. First of all, it was a secret and forbidden affair, which was, by definition, always extramarital. It was, in fact, seen as the proper and correct way to commit adultery. Unlike today when it seems that its publication all over the media is "de rigor"..... President Francois Hollande is a good example of what not to do.
Every rendezvous was clandestine, and while one or two confidantes may have had knowledge of the affair, for the most part, it was kept between the two lovers, which, of course, heightened the excitement considerably. Andreas Capellanus, known for his writing in the late 12th century on the rules of courtly love, wrote that "marriage is no real excuse for not loving," and that "when made public, love rarely endures." ... I'm sorry but how many mistresses is the French president up to... you see failure was due to the publication of his affairs and not his personality .... as some would lead us to believe.
Another part of the courtly love formula is that it was practiced by the aristocratic set, and generally carried on in the royal palace or court. Also, it was ritualistic, in that the man would offer his love gifts such as songs, poems, flowers, favors and acts of heroic valor, as seen in countless stories of knights and their damsels. In exchange for this, the lady was only expected to show the slightest amount of affection to her lover, as her place was as the domina, the mistress of the affair, and he was her servus, a lowly servant. The man accepted the lady's independence and continued to attempt to ardently prove his love to her. This did not include going out a day break in an armored convoy to buy Croissants ... you know who I'm talking about.
The Musée de Cluny is the museum of the Middle Ages in Paris, and holds many treasures from the time of courtly love that may be of interest if you're finding the practice appealing and would like to see art and artifacts from that time. This passionate and secret sort of romance of another time still holds appeal today.
Paris is the perfect place to imagine that you're caught up in your own amour courtois!