Vive la France Honeymoons

Thanks to literature, film and the arts over the centuries, France has become universally emblematic of romance – a symbol of “amour” – and the country’s wonderfully sensual and appealing city of Paris, the undisputed global capital of romance.

But a honeymoon is supposed to be more than just romantic—which is not to say that it shouldn’t be romantic—but it’s also supposed to be an interlude between the engagement stage and the reality of two people committing to spending the rest of their lives together, not to mention a respite from all the pressures a wedding creates.

It’s important then that these elements are addressed in the honeymoon planning—romance and intimacy, absolutely, but it should also be a destination that provides an unforgettable experience and at the same time, gives the couple a chance to bond because of that shared experience. And finally, meltdown time—an opportunity to relax and laugh about all the frustrations of wedding arrangements. And for all that, there’s no better place than France.

Of course, the best way to accomplish all that is with a customized honeymoon program that incorporates the romantic aspects, the very special travel experience and the laid-back relaxation all in one package and Kensington Tours has done just that. “I think the biggest thing about France is that there are so many things to do; it can be a bit confusing because so many travelers try to do too much,” offers Kathleen Doheny, Kensington Tours’ director of marketing. “And when you’re on a honeymoon, you want some time to just relax and enjoy each other and really savor the things that you do see and do. That’s why our recommendation for honeymooners—especially when it’s their first visit—is an itinerary that focuses on irresistible Paris, of course, as well as the Riviera and Monaco—a big splash.”

A big splash, indeed, made all the more so with private car and driver and first class train travel to the French Mediterranean coast. “We put some really unique romantic activities in there for the couple to do and it all comes along with private tours and private transfers,” Doheny explains. “There are so many travelers today, the one thing they’re looking for is trying to get off that tour bus, but particularly for honeymooners—I think that’s really key for them at this time of their life.”

The first three days are spent in Paris at the four-star Hotel Ambrose where the couple will start off on a tour of the city in a vintage car. Next, a walking tour of the City of Lights, followed by plenty of alone time and maybe a chance to find a quiet, little romantic French bistro for dinner. Next day, what could be more special than a private tour of Versailles with transport by a private car and driver, followed by lunch at the Paris Wine Museum. That night, it’s dinner at the Eiffel Tower Restaurant, followed by a cruise on the Seine.

“It’s an 8-day itinerary and priced out at really top-notch four-star hotels—I should mention that France has taken away the five-star category. It’s a new rating system they do, so these are really top-notch properties. Any itinerary,” Doheny reminds us, “can be switched up and down based on the properties because everything is customizable so for any honeymooners’ budget, we can find a property that will make it work, which is a very nice perk of going with a customized program because you’re not locked into a price range or star value like the pre-set tours.”

Kensington’s France expert Eimear Duggan, who put together this sample itinerary, says, “We try to ensure people get at least two nights in one place and that way, people get the sense they’ve actually seen the place—not coming away with that feeling of which town or place was that? Doing it at a pace and in a way that’s actually relaxing.”

On the fourth morning of this itinerary, there’ll be plenty of relaxation in a first class train seat en-route to Nice, where they’ll be picked up by their driver and private car for a transfer to Saint Maxime and a stay at the Amarante Golf Plaza, with plenty of time for whatever activities strike their fancy. The next day, their driver will pick them up for a full day tour of St. Tropez, with time to squeeze in an afternoon cruise. The following morning, they’re off to Nice for a panoramic tour of the city, followed by a transfer to Monte Carlo and a 2-night stay at the Hermitage Hotel. On day 7, a guide and driver will show them the sights of Monte Carlo, Monaco and Eze, bringing them back to the hotel in time for an optional session at the Les Thermes Marins Spa. The entire itinerary is priced at $9,376 for the couple, land only.