Real Honeymoon: France & Monaco

Valley Girl Jesse Draper and her husband Brian recently jetted off to Europe for a fabulous honeymoon in southern France and Monaco.  Read all about their luxurious trip and check out their cute photos below:

When and where did you honeymoon?

We honeymooned in June in the South of France. We actually started in Monaco and made our way through Provence and ended up in Nice. More specifically, we rented a car at the airport, went to Monte Carlo, Monaco, then to Aix-en-Provence, followed by Arles from where we did a day trip to Avignon and Les Beaux and we ended in Nice with a day trip in Cannes.

monaco honeymoon

How long was your trip?

A luxurious two whole weeks!

How did you decide on your honeymoon destination(s)?

I speak French and he had never been to France. He actually chose the destination. Since I was planning most of the wedding, his job was to plan the honeymoon, so I actually didn’t know much other than where we were headed when we took off to Europe which was very relaxing for me, everything was a bit of a surprise.

Honeymoon in France

The best part about our honeymoon was…

I would have to say the luxury of time. It isn’t often you get time alone, in a foreign country nonetheless, to spend with your significant other (without technology or social interruptions). Typically when I have the opportunity to travel internationally I am trying to fit in as much as possible in a little amount of time. For example, I have 10 monuments marked in my travel book that I need to see in one day so I am running around. We spent quite a few days in each city, so we were really able to take everything in with a more natural feel. We wandered around the streets of Aix-en-Provence aimlessly and drove around the countryside looking for wineries, not sure where we were going to end up. It was so much fun! It was the perfect balance of relaxation and exploration. So the best part was the free time we had to spend together, that, and the chocolate, cheese, and wine that we consumed along the way, of course.

Honeymoon in France

If I knew then what I know now, I’d change…

I really had such a great time, there’s not much to change. We decided we could do without Arles, the hotel options aren’t great there and it’s more of a historical town that you could hit on a day trip. Also, I wouldn’t change this because I had a lot of fun, he may say differently, but we went on a hike in Arles and got lost in the middle of the forest by this Van Gogh bridge and  probably walked 5 more miles than we planned, so that might have been nice to know ahead of time, but had we known, then it wouldn’t have been such a fun adventure!

Hiking in Arles

How much planning did you do in advance?

He did a lot of research and had general ideas of where we were headed, but all he booked in advance were the hotels and flights. We had a few days in each city which was plenty of time to relax and get to know the places easily and TripAdvisor is a lifesaver and we really based most of our meals off of what was recommended on their app.

Honeymoon in France

What was your biggest honeymoon splurge?

We got massages practically upon arrival, but believe it or not, our biggest splurge was lunch one day. Someone had recommended this restaurant called La Mirande in Avignon. We went for lunch while we were in the old city for the day and it was the MOST expensive meal we’d ever had in our lives, more expensive than our massages. It was 5 courses, very fancy, and possibly the most disgusting meal we’ve ever had, complete with foie gras which my husband had been very adventurous and was continuously eating throughout the trip, however, after this particular foie gras experience, he stopped ordering it on the rest of the honeymoon. He said it literally looked like it had just left the duck.

Where do you want to go on your next big trip?

There are so many places. Neither of us have really explored South America. We actually made a list of all the places we want to go before we got married and that includes: Australia, India, Argentina, Colombia, and numerous other places. I am also partial to hot spots and have never been to the Bahamas, so that may be first on our list.

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Below are some additional notes from Jesse on the hotels that she and Brian stayed in through their honeymoon:

  • Monte Carlo, Monaco: Fairmont Monte Carlo.  Gorgeous hotel.  Loved everything about it.
  • Aix-en-Provence, France: Grand Hôtel Roi René.  I LOVED this place. It is kind of disguised from the outside and you wouldn’t expect such a nice place inside. It has been recently remodeled, has a modern feel but is also very cozy.
  • Arles, France: Hôtel Jules Cesar.  Didn’t love this place. Could use a remodel and they lost our reservation because they don’t have any technology at the front desk. No computer.  I also think it was haunted.
  • Nice, France: Hyatt Regency Nice Palais de la Méditerranée.  Wonderful, great food, central location on the water.  Don’t get a ‘partial sea view’ because there is no sea view from any of the rooms regardless of what they say.
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