Every couple has, at one time or other, dreamed about a vacation in Paris, which is often ranked as the most romantic destination in the entire world. If you only have a day or two in France, the City of Lights is the best place for creating some romantic memories. But other places around the country are also worthwhile destinations for you and your loved one. Quaint, small towns, naturally-beautiful rural landscapes, sunny beaches, and lush vineyards give honeymooners and other traveling couples plenty of chances to make memories together.
The Loire Valley is one of the most scenic regions of France. Sure, wineries and small restaurants can help spice up any couple’s itinerary, but Loire is also home to historic chateaus and castles. Some of them have been converted into hotels that can turn a standard vacation in the French countryside to a fairy-tale-like getaway with your lover.
Any guidebook or travel website about France will have a list of hundreds, if not thousands, of places to visit while you are in the Paris. How do you pick out the ideal attractions for you and yours? You can start on the bridges over the Seine River. A quiet stroll along the river is enticing whether you are traveling solo or with your lover. There are things going on and plenty of places to duck into for a drink, but the real star is the view of Paris from the bridges.
Old Marseille (Vieux Marseille) is as atmospheric as any neighborhood in France. Charmingly unpolished, this area boasts classic cafes and restaurants. In the earlier hours of the day, a huge flower market takes place, with tourists mostly absent if you are able to get up early enough (we’re talking sunrise). Or, you could simply enjoy a stroll along the waterfront, looking the perfect place to steal a kiss amidst the sailboat masts.
The back streets of Paris are often ignored by tourists, except those who are plugged in enough to know the true attractions of the city. You won’t find museums and postcard-worthy sights in these classic lane-ways, but you will find small wine bars, welcoming cafes and restaurants, and maybe even some out-of-the-way art galleries. Every couple has an Eiffel Tower picture, but not everyone has memories of experiences in the “real” Paris.
Corsica has beaches and rugged inland landscapes. This is not a typical tourist destination, but it has been protected from overdevelopment, so it retains a natural charm that is all-but-gone along most parts of Europe’s tourist trail. Whether you want to lounge on the beach or on the deck of a sailboat or hit the trails to find some solitude in the austere interior mountains, Corsica is an ideal place for a non-touristy getaway, especially for people who think nature provides the most romantic settings of all.
Some people want to get straight to their destination, not wander through the back-streets of Paris in search of romantic atmosphere. The Latin Quarter of Paris, an area that straddles the 5th and 6th arrondissements, is a good place to find those small cafes and bistros that so many couples associate with a perfectly authentic Parisian experience. This area is popular with students and has a slightly bohemian vibe, so ducking into a cafe or eatery won’t ruin your honeymoon budget.
Nice is France’s city of sun. This hub of the French Riviera is crowded with both domestic and international tourists. And for good reason: its seaside boardwalks, accessible restaurants and art, and warm weather are quite attractive. Visiting during the low season, in spring, fall or even winter, will bring lighter crowds, while giving you the same great atmosphere and attractions.
Burgundy is one of France’s most famous wine-growing regions. Its sharply-green fields and atmospheric wineries, with their strong sense of history, make this an ideal place to go for scenery as well as to enjoy a glass (or a few bottles) of world-class wine at its source.
Brittany, in north-western France, is a unique region. It is quite scenic, with rugged shoreline and lush landscapes. It is a haven for seafood-lovers as well, with the fresh catch available at local restaurants at villages all along the coast. Brittany also has a unique culture, with people tracing their roots to Celtic peoples who originally came from England.
Couples who like adventure might find romance on the slopes of Val d’Isere, one of France’s great alpine destinations. Summer or winter, this is a very beautiful place, with trails and off-piste skiing making it easy to get close to the mountain landscapes.
France has a reputation as a place for lovers. However, if you really want to turn up the romance, it is best to forego the top guidebook attractions and seek out the authentic destinations of France, which are exponentially more romantic than the country’s tourist headliners.