My husband Edgar and I were so grateful to have a honeymoon registry with Traveler’s Joy. The honeymoon gifts that we received from our friends and family were quite generous. Edgar and I decided to go to Paris for our honeymoon from July 22-30, 2011. After all, Paris was the most romantic city in the world. Ever since my childhood, I always dreamt of visiting famous, historical landmarks in France. The sights, sounds, and tastes of France couldn’t compare to any other honeymoon destination. In addition to Paris, we also visited places that were further out from Paris, such as Normandy and the Loire River Valley. Our honeymoon in France was a fairytale dream come true!
On Friday, July 22, 2011, Edgar and I departed from Los Angeles, California, and arrived the next day in Paris, France. We stayed at the Evergreen Laurel Hotel, which felt like a four-star hotel and had a spacious hotel room. We spent our first evening in Paris together by visiting the Notre Dame Cathedral followed by the Latin Quarter. We absolutely fell in love with the Latin Quarter because they had delicious restaurants everywhere. The restaurants served all kinds of food, from Greek to Indian to Thai, and, of course, French cuisine. We ordered sandwiches at a French sandwich shop. The bread was so fresh and crispy that I savored every single bite. We also ordered a Nutella crepe from a hole-in-the-wall spot and the crepe melted in my mouth.
Next, we took a cruise down the Seine River by riding on the Bateaux Mouches and watched a romantic sunset. The scenery looked like it came from an Impressionist painting. The Eiffel Tower sparkled for five minutes at the top of the hour. We had excellent views of the Notre Dame Cathedral as well as other buildings that were illuminated at night.
The next morning we visited the Sacre Coeur Basilica in Montmarte, which was the highest point in Paris. This amazing site provided a breathtaking view of the city. The Sacre Coeur Basilica also displayed beautiful architecture from a century ago. We also strolled around the shops of Montmarte and gazed at the paintings that were propped up by street artists. We purchased sweet, delicious macaroons at the Biscuiterie de Montmarte.
In the afternoon, we journeyed west from Paris and headed towards the region of Normandy. This was our first time seeing the green pastures and rolling hills of the French countryside. We made a quick stop at the seaside town of Honfleur, famous for their seafood restaurants. We continued heading west and visited Juno Beach, which was one of the beaches where the D-Day invasion took place. We spent the night at Bayeux in the Novotel Hotel, which was a lovely spot.
We visited the Normandy American Cemetery and Memorial the next day. The cemetery was built to honor the thousands of American soldiers who gave their lives when they stormed the beaches of Normandy on D-Day in World War II. The cemetery had a museum, an infinity pond, a large statue, a chapel, a memorial inscribed with names, and rows of crosses and stars made of out marble.
Afterwards, we returned to Bayeux to view the tapestry, which depicted the Battle of Hastings in 1066. The Bayeux Tapestry was the longest, most continuous tapestry we had ever seen. The tapestry told the story of how William of Conqueror sailed to England from Normandy and defeated his cousin Harold for the British throne. When we finished viewing the tapestry, we ate lunch at a nearby café. I ordered Normandie Pizza, which was the best pizza I ever ate in my entire life because the cheese was very rich in flavor. We spent the night at Le Relais du Roy Hotel in Mont St. Michel.
When I woke up the next morning, I was extremely excited to visit the Benedictine Abbey of Mont St. Michel, which was one of the most famous landmarks in the world. The monastery was first built in the 8th century and featured Romanesque and Gothic architecture of the later centuries. The gigantic abbey stood so tall and magnificent from the outside and appeared almost unreal. The cloisters on the inside of the monastery were beautiful. The view from the top of the abbey was amazing. The entire monastery was built on a granite island surrounded by quicksand.
We headed southeast towards the Loire River Valley during the afternoon. We stopped at Veuve Amiot at Saumur for some champagne tasting. In the evening, we took a quick tour of Tours. We ate dinner at La Cave Restaurant and tried some escargots. Here we stayed at the Novotel Hotel in Amboise for the next two nights.
We began our next morning by visiting Chateau du Clos Luce where Leonardo Da Vinci spent the last three years of his life. The castle was amazing! King Francis I hired Leonardo da Vinci to be his painter, architect, and engineer, and provided a cozy castle for him. My favorite part of the visit was when we saw da Vinci’s concept designs for inventions such as a helicopter, hang glider, parachute, machine gun, army tank, bicycle, paddle boat, and so many more!
Chateau Chenonceau was arguably the loveliest chateau in all of the Loire River Valley. The Chenonceau was so beautiful in real life and looked like it came straight out of a fairytale. The chateau was built over the river and featured gothic Renaissance architecture. A pathway consisting of trees on both sides of the road led to the entrance of the chateau. The chateau was surrounded entirely by moat. Edgar and I toured all the rooms of the chateau as well as the gardens. My favorite room was the long gallery with black and white floor tiles. It’s no wonder why Catherine de Medici made the Chenonceau her home.
The next day we visited Chateau de Chambord which was a gigantic hunting lodge for the French king. The chateau was beautiful on the outside and quite enormous. The double-helix staircase made out of marble was the key feature inside the castle. Two spiral staircases formed the double helix from the center of the chateau. As we ascended the staircase, the two staircases continued to intertwine around each other till they reached the very top of the chateau. The two staircases also never met each other. The Chambord stood three stories tall and had balconies that gave magnificent views of the countryside.
We also visited the Chartres Cathedral, an incredibly tall structure that featured stained glass windows. The craftsmen put a lot of detail into the interior of the cathedral. The pipe organ played a lovely, haunting melody. In the afternoon, we journeyed north to Paris and took a quick tour of the Louvre Museum. The museum contained thousands of beautiful paintings and sculptures. To name a few, we saw the Mona Lisa, Venus de Milo, and Winged Victory. We stayed at the Renaissance La Defense Hotel for our last two nights in Paris. The hotel room was very nice, but the location was far from all the landmarks in Paris.
We packed our last day in Paris with a full trip to the Palace of Versailles, the Eiffel Tower, and an unforgettable dinner at Chez Clement. First, we began our day by visiting the Palace of Versailles where King Louis XVI and his wife Marie Antoinette lived. We toured the palace rooms of the king and queen. Every room was decorated from floor to ceiling. The paintings on the ceilings portrayed Greek gods and goddesses. The Hall of Mirrors was a long, magnificent gallery decked out with chandeliers and mirrors. By strolling through their rooms and gazing at their furniture, we could tell that the kings and queens of France lived the most extravagant lifestyle.
When we finished visiting the palace rooms, we visited the gardens. The gardens were so huge that we weren’t able to explore them all. Instead, we took pictures of ourselves in front of the fountains. By the time we reached the Grand Canal, my legs were already sore. We the visited the Grand Trianon, which was my favorite structure in Versailles, probably because the exterior was made out of pink marble. The ceiling was even taller than the ones in the palace, and the rooms were just as ornate. The Grand Trianon even had its own garden. We also visited the Petit Trianon. This is where Marie Antoinette spent most of her time. She even had a theater and her little village of cottages.
In the early evening, we visited the Eiffel Tower, the most iconic landmark in Paris. We ascended to the second observation deck. We admired the views of Paris from the tower and even recognized some familiar places such as Sacre Coeur. We finished our last night in Paris with dinner at Chez Clement on Avenue de Champs-Elysees. Edgar and I had the most delicious French onion soup. I had salmon, mash potatoes, and vegetables for my main dish. I finished my dinner with my most favorite dessert of all, crème brulee. Edgar and I fell in love with France as we fell in love with each other.
The total cost of the nine-day honeymoon in France was approximately $8,000, including airfare. The trip was worth every single penny! Words could not describe the beauty of France. If you want to savor the best cuisines in the world and if you want to dazzle your eyes by the beauty of a sparkling city, Paris would be the most perfect honeymoon!