Discover France - Honeymoon Edition

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Advisor - Reid Crain
Curated By

Reid Crain

  • Paris

  • Normandy

  • Bordeaux

  • Nice

  • France

  • Couples Travel

  • Nature Escapes

  • Beaches

  • Relaxation

  • Romantic

  • Hotel Guide

Discover France - Honeymoon Edition
Curator’s statement

Everyone knows that Paris is the city of love! It draws thousands of visitors every year to indulge on its romantic charm, exquisite cuisine, and rich history. But did you know that there is more to France than just Paris? While Paris is fantastic and I recommend it to anyone for dreamy getaway, there are more locations in France that love birds my want to flock to.

For those seeking to decompress in luxury during a getaway in the countryside, the Loire Valley is the ideal place to be. This is home to chateaus a plenty, rolling vineyard hills, and plenty of small towns boasting authentic French culture. There is no better place to unwind after the stress of a wedding and focus solely on quality time with your person. Couples that want more of a city feel but maybe not quite as hustle and bustle as Paris, look no further than Bordeaux. Bordeaux is one of the most bicycle friendly cities in France, making navigating extremely easy.

It also offers several options for entertainment including museums, art galleries, wineries, nightlife and plenty of incredible restaurants to choose from. Bordeaux can also proudly claim the largest water mirror in the world! A must see when visiting! If city lights or dark, starry skies aren't enough, there is always the escape to sun and sea in the French Riviera - Nice to be exact! Miles of private and public beaches just off the boardwalk create the ultimate picturesque beach town. After a day on the beach, indulge in a variety of different cuisines such as fresh seafood or authentic Italian dishes (due to Nice's close proximity to Italy)! There is never a shortage of activities in Nice - Boating excursions, shopping in the marketplace, nightlife, and day trips to the medieval cities of Eze, Antibes, Cannes and St. Paul de Vence as well as the rich country of Monaco!

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Where to stay

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Millesime Hotel

When my husband and I first arrived in Paris, I didn't realize how packed the city was. This meant that real estate was gold and so many hotels have to build up rather than out. Such was the case at Millesime Hotel in the St. Germain arrondissment but due to their close attention to detail, no part of their hotel felt small or cramped! Walking in, guests are greeted at the front desk and to the left, a bistro serving cocktails, mocktails, and small bites were situated along with several tables and chairs. We had just a few steps up to our room which included queen sized bed, large desk, bench, and closet as well as a large soaking tube in the bathroom, plus a view to the inner courtyard from the window. It was everything we needed. I discovered my favorite part of the hotel the next morning when we went down to breakfast. The breakfast spread was spectacular consisting of eggs cooked several ways, cheeses, meats, fruits, breads and pastries galore. We were well prepared for a day of exploring the Parisian streets! In addition to the spread being phenomenal, breakfast was served below the first floor in a bright, cave like setting that really added to the ambiance of being somewhere special!

Chateau Saint Gilles

After our time in Paris, we traveled west to the Normandy region. My husband is a huge WWII history buff and was so excited to visit the beaches and drive through the hedge rows. To this day, my favorite hotel is where we stayed during our time here - Chateau Saint Gilles. After being in a bustling city, driving to the chateau in Gueron, a small commune just outside of Bayeux, was other worldly. It was as if we had stepped back in time when we drove through the stone gates and saw the sprawling lawn and chateau in front of us. The historical elements that make the chateau unique were all left in place but modern luxury was also installed. Our room looked out to the back with windows that opened up to overlook the courtyard and walking trails. It was very spacious complete with a king sized bed, table and chairs, fireplace and renovated bathroom with large glass walk in shower. Now, I mentioned walking trails but what I didn't mention is that the chateau is partially self sustaining. Along the walking trail, you'll find a large vegetable garden and green house, animal pastures housing goats, sheep, chickens, plus a donkey and cow, a tree house like structure used for massages and spa treatments, a pool with fountain, hot tub, and sauna. We were surprised to learn that the chateau was hosting a French style Barbecue for its guests the evening we arrived and O.M.G. If we felt authenticity when we arrived, then this meal made us feel so immersed in French culture I wouldn't have been surprised if I'd woken up speaking the language! My husband and I still drool while reminiscing over the grilled oysters, prawns, vegetables, potatoes, sausages, beef, soup and caprese salad. This property seemed to have everything we could want as well as things we didn't even know we wanted. In addition to the BBQ they also have a full restaurant and bar on site and the breakfast is just as elaborate as the BBQ spread was.

Domaine de le Tortiniere

When you google "fairytale castle in the Loire Valley" this should be the first result that pops up on your browser. Situated just outside of Tours, Domaine de le Tortiniere sits at the end of a private drive overlooking the Indre valley. Guests are greeted in a lobby connected to a parlor that serves cocktails upon arrival. There is a balcony through the backdoors that offer views of a large pool and the entire valley! Our room was incredibly large with a king sized bed, desk and chair, lounge chair, closet, and luggage storage space as well as a large vanity and soaking tub in the bathroom. There was even a complimentary welcome drink - a local aperitif called Epine! Just a few doors down from our room was the spa where my husband and I had the best massages! Just perfect after a day exploring the wineries in the Loire Valley. Outside, in addition to the pool was also a private jacuzzi available for guests to rent by the hour. I'll say it again, the BEST way to unwind after a day wandering the Valley. Domaine de la Tortiniere is also home to a gourmet restaurant whose chef creates not only delicious but beautiful dishes using the products that come from the region. Breakfast of course was served in the same fanciful manner as dinner in the restaurant. A spread of farm fresh eggs, lox salmon, yogurt, granola, fruit, and numerous breads, cakes and croissants was a feast not only for the stomach but also the eyes!

Hotel Le Palais Gallien

This hotel in Bordeaux was the perfect place to make our hub to explore the city. The walkability and bikability is fantastic which makes navigating the city a breeze! Named for its location, Hotel Le Palais Gallien is a stones throw from the ruins of the Roman "Palais Gallien" amphitheater, which for history buffs like ourselves, was a really cool way to begin exploring Bordeaux! The boutique hotel oozes elegance as soon as you walk into the foyer. Marble floors, elegant sconces and a spiral staircase combine to create an atmosphere of plush luxury. Each of the rooms have names rather than numbers - a trend that again just adds to the personality of the hotel. The room itself was a very large space with a beautiful view of the courtyard. Inside was a king sized bed, full sized soaking tub and a rain head glass walk in shower, not to mention the huge vanity and sitting area. The hotel also gifted us a bottle of local wine as well as fruit and the local delicacy, Cannele, a pastry known for its caramelized crust and soft center! After just five minutes in this beautiful hotel, we felt like we had a literal taste of the local culture and history! Breakfast at this hotel too was a feast! The highlight I must say was freshly squeezed juices in every fruit variety you can imagine! Between indulging in that, the French coffee, as well as the elaborate breakfast spread, my husband and I were fueled to explore Bordeaux's many local and designer shops, historical sites, and wineries for the next several hours! When the day was ending and we returned to the hotel, we were so excited to discover a rooftop bar with views overlooking the city! This was the perfect place to watch the sunset with a cocktail in hand and relax after a long day of exploring.

Hotel Suisse Nice

The last hotel we stayed at during our honeymoon was Hotel Suisse in Nice. It was very important to us to end our honeymoon that was full of traveling, exploring, and touring in a place where the main focus was to relax. Of course there is plenty of walking and exploring to be done in Nice as well, but our eyes were set on the beach and lounge chairs from the moment we arrived. And that was very easy to do since our hotel room at Hotel Suisse included a balcony overlooking the Promenade des Anglais! I have never seen more beautiful sunsets than from that balcony. The room itself was fantastic too, with a light and airy feel that matched the beachy vibes. Crisp white sheets on a queen sized bed along with a desk, couch, and stocked mini bar completed the room. My favorite place though of course was on that patio. There's no better way to start your time at the beach than sipping a cool, crisp glass of rosé while watching the waves roll from your own private balcony! Breakfast seemed to match the geographical location as well, featuring a lighter fare of fruits, yogurt and granola, cheeses, and yes bread but a more humble selection to choose from. One of the nicest features was the hotel's partnership with a neighboring private beach club that allowed guests access to the "Opera Plage" which had not only lounge chairs ready, but also a full restaurant and drink service on the beach! Nice, like Paris, is the perfect place to begin or conclude your time in France because of its close proximity to the international airport - only a quick 20 minute drive away!

Need to Know

All of these hotels offer a different way to experience France as a newlywed couple. You have the options of the city and entertainment, the quiet historical countryside, the wine country full of heritage and tradition, as well as the most beautiful beach town with more to offer than just the water. Paris may be the city of love and I would never begin to argue that, but love extends far beyond one city and embraces the entire country because of all it can offer! The hotels I have described above do an incredible job of reflecting the uniqueness of their cities or towns while also staying true to all the qualities that makes France France - the beauty, elegance in simplicity, and designer comfort. For more information and to book your trip to explore this amazing country, contact me! You know I love talking all things France and romance!

This trip report is part of our ongoing series on travel to France. In need of further inspiration? Check out Whitney Fessler’s guide, Wine, Castles & Holidays in Alsace, France.

Advisor - Reid Crain

Travel Advisor

Reid Crain

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