Every couple is meant to have their France story. Traveling there could be a new frontier, or a photo reel of memories for you, but nothing is quite like getting off of the plane at Charles De Gaulle. As you arrive at the baggage claim, you may be daydreaming about a long stroll down a sandy promenade in the South, or a smoldering Bordeaux with blackcurrant accents, the possibilities are tantalizing and endless. They are enough to get you itching to bounce from one city to the next. But pace yourself. You’re in France. Just let the day unfold—it’s incredible what the hours bring along with them.
1. Sunny weekend in la Ville Rose
Toulouse, a city in the South of France, known as la Ville Rose is named for the way the brick buildings glow pink in the sun. This city is lovely. Progressive, vegetarian friendly, and renowned for its vibrant nightlife, it boasts quite a lot of things to do.
On sunny days, the Garonne river glistens, and there’s no better way to spend a lazy morning and afternoon then at Place de la Daurade, the plaza next to Basilique de la Daurade. Joggers pass by, painters and other artists display their works, and you get a vibe quite unlike the rest of France. It’s refreshing and unpretentious, with folks laughing on cell phones, and joking with each other at brasseries. You get a feeling that you’re with the locals.
To get away from the friendly babble, grab a sandwich from a bakery and bistro, Artisan Boulangerie, on Rue Léon Gambetta, and head to the river bank. The sun and subtle breeze remind you to take deep breaths, relax and chat for awhile.
2. Morning jog in Nimes
The romans knew beauty, and the city of Nîmes is no exception.
Near the city center lay the remains of roman architecture—Jardins de la Fontaine. A sprawl of columns, sculptures and flowers cover the hilly terrain. It’s perfect for a morning jog together, or a couple of hours to wander in during the late afternoon. The pathways are shaded by trees and bushes as you make your way up the hill.
One of the main attractions is the Roman tower at the top. A guard tower, turned gardening tower, turned panoramic view of the city. Only about two thirds of it still stands today. The history is fascinating, and reveals quite a bit of the genesis of Nimes.
When you exit this serene place, you enter back into the busy part of town. Go on and get a nice dinner or a drink in Place d’Assas, or Place de la Maison Carree. The first is a lively, illuminated plaza by night with fountains and cafes, and the second holds the view of la Maison Carree, a pristine Roman temple.
3. A weekend of shopping in Aix
The city of a thousand fountains, where Paul Cezanne captivated the art world, and baroque architecture lurks around every corner–Aix-En-Provence is a center of art, cuisine, and most of all, shopping. It feels as if France took all of the shops and boutiques in Paris and condensed them into an area of one-tenth the size. The good news, this means it’s a walking town. The better news, it’s truly a beautiful place to walk through.
After a morning of shopping and walking, settle in one of the various places by a fountain. Cours Mirabeau is a central location, and a great place for lunch. People watch, and pick up ideas on what the latest fashion trends are in France. You’d be surprised at the inspiration that walks past your filled tables.
Don’t forget to buy some Mimosas, the regional flower not the drink. They have a zesty smell and shine in the daylight with their bright yellow colors.
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4. Fairytale weekend in Saint-Émilion
The medieval village, Saint-Émilion is infamous for its rainy days and world class red wines. Near Bordeaux, in the western region of France Aquitaine, a weekend getaway to this fairytale town is all you need for some alone time.
Hear the echo of footsteps on the stone floors, as you pace through underground barrel chambers, cathedrals and other rooms. Wine, fireplaces and a small amount of people make this an ideal excursion for getting away from the big city. In town, there are nice restaurants, and cute shops to visit.
Vineyard tours from Saint-Émilion are walking distance. They are the social aspect of this town, because you can meet others who are staying in town, and also the owners of the chateaus.
You can book tours to Saint-Émilion from Bordeaux’s office of tourism, or from the site listed below.
5. Sunset by a UNESCO Site
On the opposite side of France, in the Rhone-Alps region, is the beautiful city of Lyon.
There are loads of things to do in Lyon, as it is a big city, (3rd largest in France) so you should stay more than a weekend. However, if one is restricted by time, Lyon hosts a great diversity of sights for couples, so your two days will be well spent.
The view from the Fourviere outlook is unreal. The sky floods with pinks and yellows, and the entire city lights up as the sun sets. Grab yourselves a seat at a nearby cafe or tabac to reserve your spot. After you finish watching the sun emblazon the horizon, head down the steps to Lyon’s famous road, Rue de boeuf for a tasty dinner.
The subway stop is named Vieux de Lyon on line D.
And many more romantic weekends...
There are loads of things to do as a couple, but this article hopefully gives you a foundation of ideas when traveling to France. The lifestyle for travelers should be languid, and relaxed. Indulge and spend that extra five Euro on the wine, or a tempting pastry.
Train travel is alive and well in France with their TGV system. Depart at the local Gare and see couples saying their farewells to each other–it’s a bittersweet sight. Train is by far the most romantic way to travel, as the French landscape sweeps past you, and the sun fades on another day. Put your feet up, gaze out the window and focus on the days to come.
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