Hello. I’m getting married on August 1st, then heading to France (Paris for starters) for my honeymoon. Does anyone have any advice for someone who would prefer not to drive, and would therefore take the train to get from place to place withing France. Wed like to check out Reims, Bordeaux, Beaune, Dijon, Lyon, Avignon, and perhaps more. The plan is to basically book a hotel for the first few nights in Paris then play it by ear.
Does anyone have any advice for us? Any areas of particular interest for honeymooners? Does anyone know of a good but inexpensive hotel in Paris that is romantic?
I appreciate any advice anyone may be willing to offer.
21 Comments On Honeymooning in France
One Last thing: We both love good food and good wine.
i think that can be a great idea. How long will you stay in France ?? and is it you first trip there ?
well, i’m sorry i won’t be able to answer you in details but what i can tell you:
– the french railway service is really good and you won’t have any pb going to the places you mention.
You can easily book for these travels once in Paris, but be carrefull, with the summer some days are really full (i mean trains etc …)
There are so many different regions in France it’s difficult to advice you …they all have something romantic, then it depends on what you are looking for and how long you stay.
I’m from Burgundy (Dijon excatly) (well i’m currently working in Hong Kong) and i can tell you that’s really a great region, especially for food and WINE !! spending a few days in Dijon and doing the "wine road " ("la route de vins" can be very intersting. That’s a "trip" crossing all Burgundy. You visit caves, very nice villages, old places etc …
Going to Britany for example will be totally different but also really interesting (did you mention Britany ? i don’t have your email before me as i writte). More celtic culture, sea etc .
Bordeaux is also very nice (i not it less) but be carefull, there are not many trains crossing france from east to west (if any) which means that if you go to Bordeaux and then Dijon etc ..you will have to first go back to paris or traveil by south of France, which can be exausting.
Obviously, south of France during the summer is a must see… sea, fiesta etc ….but also really a lot of people, maybe not the best place if you want to enjoy your honeymoon. But i would definitly recommand you to go to Provence !!
and well, a really nice place to go to is COrsica !! it’s quite easy and inexpensive during the summer if you book it in advance. Just take a boat from Marseille or Nice to Ajaccio, Bastia etc …
that’s just a general advice. I would need to know how long you will stay, what you already know about france, and what you are looking for (more quiet, old, nature, or the contrary,)
anyway, i hope i helped you a it and if you have any other question, would be glad to answer you
have a good trip
for food, definitly Burgundy, Alsace …
for a "cheap" and romantic hotel in Paris…you have thousands of romantic hotels in Paris ..but cheap ..during the winter, well that won’t be easy !!
i would recommand you to look for an hotel in Saint Germain des PrÃ©s, may be a bit expensive, but by far the more pleasant and romantic place in Paris ..and, waouh, it’s not honeymoon everyday
just read your mail again.
Beaune and Dijon . they just go together, very close, and particularly good for food and wine (many caves in Beaune). There is a very nice road between Beaune and Dijon, not too long, but really nice, in the middle of grappes fields( don’t know the exact name).
Lyon, of course, i forgot !!! i lived 2 years there. Also really nice, romantic etc. And for food, you have to try restaurants called "les bouchons" that’s the name of typical Lyon restaurant. (lyon if France capital of food). You will find them mainly in the center (but not only). Just ask "bouchon".
If staying in Lyon, i would recommand you to stay in the "presqu’ile" (isle of Lyon) which is really the nicest place, and you can wald and enjoy the RHone by night.
Then Avignon. DOn’t know it really well but went there too, also a fantastic place.
During the summer you will have many many "musical" festivals in france and the Festival D’avignon is really famous ..if you can go to some of these festivals (many of them in south of France).
You have to realise that it takes only 3hours by TGV(fast train) to go from Paris to Marseille so doing something like Paris – Dijon/ Beaune – Avignon – Marseille – Corsica is easily done in 2 weeks.
(i forgot, Corsica food is also very typical and really good !!)
Thank you for the great information. There really seems to be a whole bunch of options, all great.
You mention doing la route des vins, is this something that we can do on foot / by bus? Or do I need to rent a car for this?
la route des vins is the old Roman wine road through Alsace. You need a car or bicycle for this. I’ve done it by car and it’s more convenient. Stop in Turckheim for a look at a beautiful old Alsacian town (my family lives there) and go to the wine shop Louis Gruener (spelling?). They make wonderful wines there and you can drink them on the premises. I always get 6 bottles and bring them back to the USA.
The Jura is a wonderful region of France. Very peaceful. It’s on the Swiss border. You can get reasonable hotel rooms there and walk through the forests and swim n the lakes. Malbuisson is one Jura town.
If you’re in Paris, the best restaurants that are reasonable in price are in the student section. La broueeet (www.labrouette.fr) is a lovely resto, with lots of atmosphere and the price is right. I usually go for the pierrade trust me, it’s worth it. If you have any other questions, please feel free to ask me, I’ll do my best to answer
Actually there are "routes des vins" in most of the regions. I think the one that paris-paris was referring to is in Burgundy between Macon and Dijon. The "Grande Route des Vins. Absolutely gorgeous along the road N74. The towns of Beaunne, Gevrey Chambertain, Meurseault(sic), Nuit St. George are fabulous. Very old and very scenic. You really need a car for this and it would take about two days to take it all in. There are services that give catered tours but these are fairly expensive – but can get you to places that you would not ordinarily get into. Donerail
Sounds wonderful. One tiny suggestion: You say you are going in August. That is the French vacation month. Everyone in France heads off for their vacation so you might have trouble finding hotel rooms in major tourist sites.
It might be a good idea to make an itinerary and reserve rooms ahead of time. It’s not that difficult and might make your honeymoon a little more romantic and a little less stressful. You don’t want to spend endless afternoons searching for a room and then ending up in a hotel you might not like very well because it’s the only thing available.
Just a suggestion. Whatever you do, have a wonderful honeymoon and best wishes to you both.
Donerail … reading your post makes me thirsty … what great names are there ! Thanks – CRC
Thank you for the advice, but we’d like to take the risk so that we can leave things open and stay longer in one place if we want to and leave another if it’s not for us. I plan to try and call ahead when I know I’m leaving a city. We are booking our hotel in Paris though.
Any thoughts on the train passes? I’ve been told that it’s much much cheaper if I pick up a two person pass in advance of leaving for France. What do you think?
If you have a vague idea of your itinerary, you can go to the SNCF web site and check cost of point-to-point tickets. Then compare them to the cost of the rail pass to see which is cheaper. Their web site is http://www.sncf.com
If the prices are comparable or the rail pass is cheaper, yes, you should get it before you leave.
I understand wanting to leave your itinerary flexible and this is a good time to do it . . . before you have children! Calling ahead is an excellent idea and should solve your problem nicely. You can also go to the tourist information bureau in nearly every city in France and they will help you book accomodations. Nice to know in an emergency.
msmith: Buying a railpass over here is the way to go. If you take only two trips (like out to Lyon and back) a 4 day rail pass will be cheaper. And it is ANY 4 days within 6 months. There are many other plans available. It will undoubtedly beat "point-to-point." Remember also you are talking the busy season. If you want a neat (but 300 euros as night) hotel, try the Hotel d’Colbert in the 5th Arrondisement. A gorgeous little hotel in the Latin Quarter just a couple of hundred yards from Notre Dame and tons of other stuff near by. Assuming you are only going to get married once, splurge. Even if that is not the case, splurge anyway. Donerail
That’s a great fall back idea. We picked up a copy of the latest "Lonely Planet" travel guide for France and in it I’m able to find out where all of the tourist offices are in the various cities/ regions. You’ve just calmed any anxiety I had about the possibilities of getting stuck without a room. I assume as well that by going through the tourist offices that I’ll be able to get a decent rate for the room.
Now, since everyone has been so helpful and I am talking about my honeymoon (once in a lifetime) I’m going to be greedy and ask for even more advice:
I was thinking of surprising my soon-to-be wife on our honeymoon with a night or two stay in a chateau. I’ve looked at some options online, but perhaps you would know of something really special (and not too hard to get to)
Thanks again… MS
msmith: My wife of 370 years and I stayed at the Chatteau de Messey in a small village near Tournus. This is about an hour north of Lyon. It is not that expensive and they have their own (very good) wine. The innkeepers (chatteaux keepers?) Marie-Laurence Fauchon and her husband are fantastic. She is a gourmet cook and he is the vintner. The chatteau overlooks pastures of charolais livestock. You can stay in cottages or the chateau that was built in 14th century. The door to the room we stayed in was 4 inch thick beams and the key was about a foot long (not that you needed a key.) It wasn’t too expensive and they have a website. It is rated two or three "helmets" (as opposed to stars.) I think we found it on Relais et Chatteaux.com. Check that out as there is a big selection. We just loved the Chatteau de Messey. Mostly for the innkeepers and the folks we dined with on site. It is very quiet if that is a factor for your selection. Donerail
smith: I don’t know if it was "freudian" but my wife and I have been married only 37 years. Donerail
I bet everyone on this site has a favorite chateau. If you are going to the Bordeaux area, we stayed in a nice small chateau set in the vineyards with an excellent restaurant (and a very friendly kitty), the Chateau de Roques in Puisseguin near St. Emilion. It has its own web site at http://www.chateau-de-roques.com/index.htm or you can book through the Logis de France which is what we did. That web site is http://www.logis-de-france.fr/uk/ and is in English.
Just north of Paris in Normandy (a few miles from Giverny) is the Moulin de Connelles which is not technically a chateau but is a lovely country house on a small branch of the Seine. The rooms are lovely and the setting is charming. They even have a tiny private island for guests. They have row boats for guest use if you want to drift down the Seine holding hands. (Just remember you have to row back!) Their restaurant is also excellent. Their web site is http://giverny.org/hotels/connelle/index.htm
Near Avignon but out in the country and delightfully secluded is the Moulin de VernÃ¨gues, again not a chateau but very very French with lovely rooms and an excellent restaurant. The history goes back to the 1500s which is old enough for us. It’s our favorite hotel in France. It’s a bit more expensive than the other two but still quite affordable, especially for a honeymoon. You can check pictures and prices on their web site at http://www.aix-en-provence.com/moulinvernegues/index2.htm
Finally, I hope you’ve checked the blue and red France.com at the top of this page and done a hotel search. You can search by hotel name or region. You will get pictures and reviews by people who have really stayed there and are very honest. Obviously we all see things differently, but if you read several hotel comments, you begin to get an idea of how you feel about the place. We’ve used the France.com reservation service extensively over a number of years and they are very reliable.
You could also search the Relais & Chateaux web site. We haven’t used them ourselves, but they have a very good reputation. Their web site is http://www.relaischateaux.fr/site/us/portail_us.html
That should get you started. Have fun looking and good luck.
Hi. I tried to find donerail’s chateau on Relais & Chateaux and couldn’t find it so I tried a Google. Perhaps you’ve already done this, but if not, the English language web site for Chateau de Messy is http://www.demessey.com/en/gites.html
They price cottages by the week and the prices (for two) range from 200 euros in low season to 450 euros in high season. If you are going in August, it would be high season. That is very reasonable.
If you don’t want a cottage, the B&B starts at 99 euros / night in the chateau down to 77 euros / night in the cottages. This, of course, includes breakfast.
It looks nice so you have quite a few places to look now.
SalB: Thank you for the extensive suggestions. It seems as though it will be very hard for us to go wrong. Clearly, I’ve got some reading to do (thank you for the website info).
I’ve been looking into the http://www.sncf.com and tgv.com sites to see what the options are for train travel. While their sites have a lot of information, I wish they offered an all inclusive train schedule for France that I could print up then highlight so key trips before leaving. Is there something like that that I could pick up once in Paris? (You know, so we could look at the options for trains over breakfast and make some choices, without having to find and internet cafe or phuysically go to the train station).
As of Thursday, I’m a month away from the big day…
Mark, We don’t use the trains because we always lease a car so I’m not the person to ask about this. Hopefully France.com will pick up on your question and give you an answer.
If not, you might post the same question on Fodor’s Travel site at http://www.fodors.com/forums/threadselect.jsp?fid=2
They have a lot of people on that site who use the trains and are very knowledgable about schedules and train information.
Just a suggestion. Hope your month goes by quickly.
msmith: Try to do what I did. Use the "point-to-point" feature on sncf.com and take notes. Donerail
Mark, It is officially now less than a month!!
We will also be going on our honeymoon to France in December, my Fiance has never even been out of our country. I would appreciate it, if you could give us a few pointers, when returning, so that we could also plan.
I would really appreciate it!!
Hi Jannie. You are asking for a reply to a post that is four years old. I haven't seen Mark on the forum for a few years. If you have any specific questions, I'd be happy to try to help you with them or give you sources for information. We visit France pretty regularly and I have a list of useful web sites.
Let me know if there is anything specific you want to know. Is it safe to assume you both have your passports? That would be step number one if your finace has not been out of the USA.