France (Provence)

Though Paris is oft-considered the world capital of romance, the pristine beauty and dazzling glamour of France extend well beyond the City of Light. Few regions are as overtly romantic and postcard-perfect as Provence and the Côte d’Azur (a.k.a. the French Riviera). The geographical region and historical province is bounded by the Mediterranean Sea to the south, the lower Rhône to the west, and the Italian border to the east.

After a few days exploring the capital, soak in the quintessentially French vibes of Provence. Expect to fall in love as soon as you lay eyes on its rolling hillsides, verdant valleys, and fields of purple lavender. Provence is the kind of place that harkens back to yesteryear—when sun-soaked days were spent chatting with neighbors in your hilltop village or sipping wine in a quaint courtyard beside a medieval cathedral.

In the town of Arles you’ll find dozens of Roman ruins, such as the Rond-Point des Arènes amphitheater and famed Alyscamps necropolis. Aix-en-Provence, meanwhile, is a bustling town in the heart of the province. Decorating the city are 15th- to 17th-century townhouses, quaint squares, and beautiful churches. Wherever you go, remember: Provence is all about discovery. So make leisurely drives and strolls a priority; you never know what cute shop or quaint café lies around the corner.

After a few days (or a week) of inland indulgences, the magic continues on the Côte d’Azur. To say that Riviera towns like Cannes, St. Tropez, and Antibes “glisten” wouldn’t do this postcard stretch of coastline justice. Whether it’s the romance of the Mediterranean, the glamour of the grande dame hotels, or the general splendor of the shop- and market-lined towns, there’s something quintessentially laid-back yet fantastically luxurious about the French Riviera. While beaches may be the main draw, history abounds when you head slightly inland to towns like Eze, Grasse, and Vence—an ideal day trip for short-attention-span couples who prefer not to lounge on the sand 24/7.


No matter which destinations you choose to add to your itinerary, it pays to time it right. Summer is high season in Provence and the Cote d’Azur; the combination of hot temperatures and tourist crowds can make your trip less than ideal (and cost more than your wallet can bear). Winters are mild, but often rainy and windy, and many hotels and restaurants shut down for the season. Plan your honeymoon during spring and fall to enjoy warm temperatures, fewer crowds, and lower room rates.


Couples can reach Provence and the French Riviera via Paris, which sees daily nonstop flights from major U.S. hubs into both Charles de Gaulle Airport (CDG) and Orly Airport (ORY). From there, it’s a short connection to Marseilles on low-cost airlines such as Ryanair and Easyjet.

La Compagnie recently launched a seasonal route between New York’s Newark International Airport (EWR) and Nice Côte d'Azur Airport (NCE), ideal for couples who prefer to begin their honeymoon on the French Riviera.

From there, arrange a driver or rent a car to wind your way through Provençal and Riviera towns.


Visit Lavender Fields - Provence is world-famous for its miles and miles of lavender fields, located on the Luberon, Sault, and Valensole plateaus. The flowers start to bloom in June; by early to mid-July, the entire region is covered in a spectacular blanket of purple. Couples can take their pick of popular starting points. Valensole, for example, is only an hour north of Aix-en-Provence by car. Drive along the Route de Manosque, lined with fields where you can pull over and snap pics. Then stop for a tour at Lavandes Angelvin, a working lavender farm that also sells deliciously scented soaps, essential oils, and more.

Tour Museums - Paris isn’t the only place to take in world-class culture. Master painter Cézanne's former studio is located in Aix-en-Provence; the museum is laid out much as the artist left it upon his death in 1906. Don’t miss the Musée Picasso, in Antibes; the modern art of Fondation Maeght, in Saint-Paul-de-Vence; or the Renoir museum, in Cagnes-sur-Mer.

Hang at a Beach Club - The South of France is home to some of the Mediterranean’s finest stretches of sand. There’s no more dazzling beach town than St. Tropez. Do like the international Jetset and head to La Réserve à La Plage, the newest beach club on St. Tropez’s famed Pampelonne Beach. Designed by French “starchitect” Philippe Starck, the bohemian-chic club is a study in wood and rattan. After a mouthwatering lunch (the kitchen is overseen by Michelin-starred chef Eric Canino), lounge on one of the cushy sunbeds as you sip rosé.

Go Wine Tasting - Speaking of rosé… Do yourselves a favor and indulge in all the viticultural flavors of France. Whether your tastes skew bold Burgundy, smooth Bordeaux, brut Champagne, crisp Sancerre, or fruity Rosé, there’s something for every palate. Just one day in Provence and the Côte d’Azur will have you wanting to rosé all day at renowned wineries like Château Miraval, owned by Brad and Angelina.

Shop Local Markets - The Provençal market isn’t just a place to shop for herbs, cheeses, breads, and vegetables—it’s a way of life. Each morning, regional purveyors set out their abundant stalls, which offer an infinite diversity of fresh regional produce, and the locals come running. Don’t miss the Cours Masséna, a Provençal market in Antibes where you’ll find everything from speciality cheeses to dried flowers and hand-spun clothing.


Hôtel Particulier, Arles - In the heart of Arles lies this enchanting 19th-century townhouse. Despite its meticulously maintained garden, Hôtel Particulier remains relaxed and informal; expect Madame Pagès and her staff to immediately make you feel at home. After a morning exploring the city sites (the hotel is conveniently located just a short walk from the Place du Forum), retreat to the spa for a blissed-out afternoon.

Hotel Crillon Le Brave, Crillon Le Brave - This tiny hilltop hideout is located less than 90 minutes from Arles and Aix-en-Provence, making it the perfect segue between explorations of each town. The hotel itself actually occupies seven stone houses that once formed part of a hillside settlement that was abandoned after World War II.

Villa Gallici, Aix-en-Provence - This lavish 18th-century villa, set on the edge of Aix-en-Provence, is the perfect place to kick back before heading to the coast. Each of the 17 rooms and six suites is decorated in a Baroque style and outfitted with soaking tubs, garden views, and private balcony or terrace.

Hotel du Cap-Eden-Roc, Cap d’Antibes - There’s no more grand dame resort on the French Riviera than Hotel du Cap, situated at the tip of Antibes. The whitewashed stunner has hosted everyone from Elizabeth Taylor to Winston Churchill, the Duke and Duchess of Windsor to Gigi and Bella Hadid. Despite its impressive guest list, grand stature, and extensive grounds, Hotel du Cap still feels like an intimate retreat—especially when you while away the day at one of 33 private beach cabanas, rosé in hand.

Hôtel Belles Rives, Juan-les-Pins - The former Art Deco mansion of F. Scott Fitzgerald and Zelda Fitzgerald has been masterfully transformed into this Mediterranean-chic hideout. Sunbathe on the private beach and take a spin on the water by kayak before lunch at La Plage, the hotel’s casual all-day eatery, serving. salads, grilled fish, shrimp skewers and, of course, endless rosé.

Château Saint-Martin & Spa, Vence - Surrounded by olive groves, rolling hillsides, and fields of wild lavender, Château Saint-Martin & Spa is the epitome of Provençal beauté. Couples can take their pick of suites within the original 12th-century castle or hole up in one of six classically decorated villas. In between rounds of golf, bike rides through the hills, and visits to local markets, you’ll find plenty of time for R&R at the La Prairie spa.


La Chassagnette, Arles - Michelin-starred chef Armand Arnal, an Alain Ducasse disciple, champions home-grown, organic French cuisine. Flavorful produce from the restaurant’s own garden are used for innovative dishes like sweetcorn velouté and Saint-Gilles lamb served with vrai jus and curcuma-ginger-dressed carrots.

La Table du Ventoux, Crillon Le Brave - As a Relais & Chateux-designated retreat, Hôtel Crillon Le Brave offers epicurean delights of every kind, especially at its flagship restaurant. Opt for a three-course lunch, paired with a bottle of local wine, or a cheese tasting, hand-selected by cheesemaker Josiane Déal, Meilleur Ouvrier de France (the highest gastronomic designation in France).

Boulangerie Veziano, Antibes - Referred to as “one of the world’s most inspired bakers,” Jean-Paul Veziano is a third-generation master breadmaker. For centuries, the Vezianos have used the same techniques and organic flours to produce the finest pissaladière (a traditional Provençal onion-topped bread) in the South of France. Stop by his boulangerie to buy a fresh slice—or loaf (no judgement here)—to see for yourself.

La Colombe d’Or, Saint-Paul-de-Vence - The pretty, medieval village of Saint-Paul-de-Vence is just a short drive inland from Cannes and Antibes. Here is where you’ll find this charming family-run hotel/restaurant. Don’t be distracted by the Picasso, Matisse, and Miró paintings hanging on the frescoed walls—you’re here for the world-class food. Don’t miss the famous basket of crudités to start, followed by a plate of rich duck terrine.

Château Eza, Eze - At this centuries-old hotel/restaurant, tucked into the tiny hilltop town of Eze, the flavors are as bold as the views. Nowhere will you experience such breathtaking panoramas of the Mediterranean Sea. Opt for more casual fare on the outdoor patio or ball out in the fine-dining restaurant, where even the desserts are Michelin-worthy. (Don’t miss the Grapefruit Hot Soufflé, made with grapefruit tartar and Timut pepper, served with hibiscus flower sorbet.)