Few pairings are more tried and true than France and romance. With its exquisite food and wine, world-class beaches, bustling city centres and sleepy, pastoral towns, the country has been attracting love-birds since time immemorial, which makes it the perfect setting for an adventurous yet relaxing honeymoon escape.
Flickr/Lyon TourismeFrance’s third largest city is known as the gastronomic capital of the world for good reason–it boasts some of France’s most acclaimed restaurants and chefs as residents and is surrounded by four distinct wine regions. The best way to experience Lyonaisse culture is through the city’s food and to do so there is one undisputed place to start: Les Halles de Lyon–Paul Bocuse. Lyon’s famous indoor food market offers everything from oysters to macaroons and is the perfect place to stock up on French staples. Whether you wander through the market’s endless stalls looking for picnic ingredients or pull up a chair to enjoy a sampling of local cheese and wine, Les Halles is the ideal place to adapt to Lyon’s relaxed pace.
2. Lyon wine tours
Flicre/Net CirclionWith wineries found just outside of the city limits, Lyon’s countryside offers the perfect opportunity to escape the hustle and bustle of the city and partake in some local libations. Renting a car is always an option, but to keep stress to a minimum book one of the city’s many local winery tours. Kanapai Tours runs half or full day trips to nearby producers both big and small. A trip to the Beaujolais region will take you through picturesque villages and vineyards, passing more wineries than one could attempt to visit. Try the area’s famously fruity red wine and be sure to bring some back to enjoy in the comfort of your temporary home.
Nice TourismeNice’s cultural influences are vast: wander through the quaint, cobblestone streets of Old Town, stopping to smell the African spices that come through Nice’s port, before dropping into one of the city’s high-roller casinos and you’ll begin to get the idea. Nice offers the opportunity to sneak a bit of Italy into your French vacation, after all the Italian border is only 30 kilometres away, so take full advantage by stopping at one of the many pizzerias you’ll surely stumble upon to try the on-so-Nice pairing of pizza and rosé wine. Afterwards, take a romantic stroll down the sea-front esplanade. If your idea of fun involves working up a sweat (the innocent kind!), head for the Colline de Chateau, a not-too-difficult hilltop that provides a spectacular view of the city. Be sure to make it to the very top, as you’ll be rewarded with a shady, green park filled with local families picnicking–the perfect spot to unwind.
4. Nice’s beaches
Flickr/Dennis JarvisThere’s no better way to spend a relaxing and romantic day in Nice than by booking a spot at one of the city’s many private beaches located along the esplanade. While free public beaches provide access to the same impossibly-blue water, the amenities provided at the private, paid beaches make them well worth a splurge. Lay back on your own personal lounger and sip on a refreshing glass of rosé and you’ll quickly appreciate Nice’s charms; in case that doesn’t do the trick, a dip in the perfectly cool water certainly will.
PexelsNo honeymoon to France is complete without a stop in the city of love. Stroll down the shores of the Sienne River, enjoy coffee and a croissant at a corner bistro, step into one of the world-class art galleries and museums–whatever you choose, Paris will surely earn its reputation as a city for lovers. If you’re looking for the perfect way to cap off a romantic Parisian getaway, put your funds towards a truly decadent meal. There is, of course, no shortage of options, but if you’re looking for something peaceful and show-stopping make a reservation at the L’Orangerie. One of three restaurants at the Four Seasons Hotel George V, L’Orangerie offers an intimate setting (with seating for only 20 guests) overlooking the hotel’s stunning interior courtyard. You truly cannot go wrong with any choice on this menu of French classics with a modern spin. However, if you are looking for a once-in-a-lifetime dining experience, opt for the tasting menu. Begin with a champagne toast (of course!), then move on to the menu’s six amazing courses, before finishing the meal with a stunning selection of cheeses that would make Benton Brothers jealous. After dinner, head to the Eiffel Tower to catch the sparkling, hourly light show–a perfect last stop in the city of lights.