Nothing says romance like a South of France honeymoon.
This truly unique part of the world makes the perfect backdrop for lingering over leisurely dinners in extraordinary restaurants, exploring picture-perfect villages and vibrant cities with surprises at every turn, and basking in the finest flavors and scents offered by the country that practically invented romance.South of France Photo Tour >
The most remarkable aspect of a South of France honeymoon is that it provides a romantic getaway with two very different feelings:1) The inland region of Provence delights the eye with the pastoral views that inspired great artists like Paul Gauguin, Paul Cezanne, and Vincent van Gogh.
Vineyards covered with even rows of plump grapes form a patchwork with endless fields of radiant sunflowers or fragrant lavender. Nestled throughout are picturesque medieval towns that spill over the region's hillsides, their cobblestone roads twisting and turning between imposing stone buildings that still serve as homes and shops today.
2) By contrast, the surrounding coast - the legendary Cote d'Azur, or French Riviera - is a luxurious resort area. This world-renowned playground has lured visitors for decades, inviting them to splash in the clear turquoise waters of the Mediterranean Sea, loll on its pebbly white beaches, and savor local wines or café au lait in its offbeat bistros while admiring views of yacht-filled ports.Tips for Planning a South of France Honeymoon
Thanks to major international airports in Nice and Marseilles, as well as convenient train service from Paris, a South of France honeymoon is easy to plan. Trains also travel throughout the region, although some out of the way villages can only be reached by car.
While the region's Mediterranean climate makes it fairly temperate year-round, the best time to plan a South of France honeymoon is between May and October. Provence's famed lavender fields are in bloom from late June through July, while sunflowers turn the landscape golden in August. September is harvest season at the vineyards.
Although visitors may find that English is not spoken as widely as in Paris, most waiters and other service people know enough of the language to communicate with visitors, making a South of France honeymoon relatively stress-free even for those who don't speak French.
Nearly every town has its own Tourist Information office that offers maps, brochures, and personalized advice.
While many American hotel chains have branches in larger towns, both Provence and the Cote d'Azur are filled with charming inns and small hotels, some hundreds of years old yet updated with modern bathrooms. Their friendly staff and cozy feeling make them the perfect hideaway during a South of France honeymoon.