There are few things not to love about Paris. From the history, to the architecture, to the language and the food, it’s always at the top of honeymooners’ wish lists. But Paris is hardly the only honeymoon spot in France, and if you’re the kind of couple who like to do things a bit differently, we encourage you to set your sights beyond the City of Lights. Getting outside the big city will illuminate all sorts of charming aspects of French culture, from the joys of a cozy aprés-ski in the mountains, to eating fresh oysters in the seaside villages of Brittany. So when it comes to planning your honeymoon in France, there are plenty of places to love—and be in love.
Dramatic landscapes, outdoor adventure, charming villages—if these sound appealing to you, perhaps you should consider a trip to the French Alps. Flying in and out of Geneva is probably the easiest way to get there from the States, and from there you are in prime position to explore Mont Blanc, Chamonix, Verbier, and Megève. The L’Hermitage Paccard is a decadent experience with unparalleled views of the Alps, and the W Verbier has a bit more of a scene going on in case you want to have more options by way of restaurants and nightlife. The Cheval Blanc in Courchevel is the region’s grande dame of hotels, and the fifty-five room Four Seasons Megève has all the walnut-paneled walls and fireplaces you’d expect from a luxury property in this neck of the woods. Obviously winter sports are the region’s main draw (“apré-ski” is a French term, after all), but these little towns also have a dedicated community of hikers and mountaineers in the warmer months. Wherever you end up staying, your concierge will be able to arrange all sorts of beautiful hikes and such so you can make the most of your stay.
This is the seaside France you’ve been dreaming of, with swaths of beach, magical castles, abundant seafood and limited tourists. The waterfront town of Mont-St-Michel is probably one of the most-photographed places in Europe, but there are also plenty of other places to explore as well. Markets stock a variety of artisan products such as cider, honey, cheese, lemons and pastries which lend themselves well to picnicking. Drive up through St-Malo and go ten miles east to the village of Cancale, world-famous for centuries for cultivating oysters. There are plenty of spectacular waterfront hotels here, like the Hotel Castelbrac, on the edge of a cliff with just twenty-five rooms with sublime sea views. Whether it’s boat tours or even surfing lessons you’re after, Brittany Tourism is a wonderful resource for activities. If you long to be by the sea, but away from the crowds, this is the place to do it.
Julian Elliott / robertharding
Some experts estimate that humans have lived along this stretch of the Loire River for over thirty thousand years, so there is definitely no shortage of history here. As an important agricultural hub for the country, there are also some extraordinary traditional French restaurants to explore – you’ll never find as thick, as fresh and as fragrant asparagus as you will here. Plus, the regions abundance of castles make it a must-visit for any history buff. The recently-renovated Relais de Chambord is a boutique property located on the grounds of the iconic Chateau de Chambord, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the world’s best-preserved castles. Staying on-site gives you the unique advantage of experiencing the grounds before and after opening hours, so you the two of you can ditch the crowds and have the entire castle grounds to yourself.
A feast for the senses, with perfume factories, lavender fields, wineries, farms, and all sorts of fabulous thing to eat and drink. If it’s wine and especially mouthwatering rosé you’re after, consider staying at Château de Berne, a Relais & Chateaux property with an award-winning restaurant, enviable wine cellar, Cinq Mondes spa, infinity pool, and 500 hectares of property ripe for hiking and biking. It’s a Provençale paradise you won’t want to leave.
It’s the winemaking capital of France and one of the most critically-acclaimed wine regions in the world, but the chateaux and wineries of Bordeaux are also the most romantic setting for an epic honeymoon. Consider bouncing around between a few properties here, feeling your way around the province. The InterContinental Le Grand Hôtel Bordeaux, the Château Grand Barrail and the Château de Mirambeau are all delightful and romantic places to stay. The concierges at any of those hotels will be more than able to help put together a fabulous itinerary of winery tours and restaurant reservations together for you.
Travel insiders can’t stop talking about the Languedoc-Rousillon region, which stretches from the Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur region all the way to the Spanish border. There are plenty of Roman-era ruins to explore, such as the ancient walled city of Carcassonne and the iconic Pont de Garde aqueduct. And the closer to Spain you get, the more Catalan influence you’ll find in the cuisine, making for a truly unique part-French, part-Spanish experience you won’t find anywhere else. While the region has similar warm weather to the neighboring Côte d’Azur (where you’ll find St-Tropez, Antibes, Cannes, so forth), it is markedly less touristic. It’s the ideal place to wander around ancient Roman ruins and get lost exploring small villages. Château les Carrasses is a fabulous hotel and vineyard located in a 19th-century castle, and L’Hôtel Particulier Béziers is an adorable 9-room property set in a classical French “hôtel particulier.”