Honeymoon France/Switzerland May 2013

Hi - I am going to spend some time going through the forums (since it has been awhile!) but I wanted to see if anyone had any ideas for me. This will be my 7th trip to Europe (yeah!) and we are getting married this May (after 11 years!) and are planning our honeymoon. We want to have a much slower trip than we normally do and really have some "downtime". With that said, we plan to spend our last 5 days in the Swiss Alps (in Murren - our 3rd time back). We were going to elope there but decided to just visit as part of our honeymoon. We have from May 22 (arrival day) - June 7-8 (around 17-18 days). We know we want to visit France (not Paris) and I have been to Provence (2x) and the French Riviera (he has no interest). We have spent time in Beaune (Burgundy) and I have visited Colmar (Alsace)but could return to either. I was thinking we could fly into Paris and visit the Loire region (Amboise) for many days but I get stuck after that. We would also like to explore more of Switzerland (we have done Luzern during Christmas Market season and Montreux/Lusanne in May). Knowing we need to get over to Switzerland for the end of the trip is challenging. Happy to hear any ideas of where we could go in France or neighboring countries where we could enjoy the outdoors (hiking, biking etc), museums or just the general ambiance of the area. I need to get fresh copies of all my France and at least Switzerland guidebook but am still thinking through ideas for now. Thanks in advance! This forum has always been such a wonderful resource!

Posted by Jim
Dallas, Texas, USA
499 posts

How about considering Annecy/Chamonix/Mt.Blanc. If you enjoy Murren, you've found Murren's second cousin, Chamonix. Going up to Mount Blanc will make you ask yourself....which of these did I like best....Mt.Pilatus(Luzern), Schilthorn above Murren, top of Jungfrau,......or Mount Blanc? Now, as far as a romantic setting( considering this is a honeymoon), I'll let other board members chime in on the "right spot" to stay while there. Although I've never been to Lyon or Martigny, Switzerland these might be considered while you are in the area. Of course you might be able to slip into Italy, near Milan; Varenna, would be a choice for a Honeymoon trip.

Posted by Adam
2923 posts

Congratulations, Ali! Well, it would be a great time to visit Normandy, which is a lovely part of France and would fit in pretty well with the Loire. You could spend a few days in the Loire, with a car, and drive to Bayeux area. If you are interested in Mont St. Michel, spend a night there. Otherwise D-day sights, small villages, cider, and the non - D-Day coast (Deauville to Honfleur). Ditch the car in Rouen, perhaps spending the night. Paris is about an hour away by rail. You could spend 6 or 7 days doing that and still have plenty of time for Switzerland, with or without a few days in Paris or Burgundy or Alsace first.

Posted by Judy
Adelaide, SA, Australia
838 posts

Have you thought of spending a few days in Lake Lugano? We loved our time in Lake Lugano. Splash out on accommodation for a lakeside hotel with a room overlooking the lake and surrounding mountains. Took the Bernina Express train from Chur then Bernina Express bus from Tirano to Lake Lugano. Reasonably short hop over the border to places of interest in Northern Italy.

Posted by Jeff
Holland, MI
24 posts

In case you're willing to expand into northern Italy... I'd go to the Cinque Terra on my honeymoon. Murren would be my next choice, so good job there!

Posted by Ali
Newton, MA, USA
278 posts

Thanks so far for all the lovely ideas! This is why I love this forum! (and thanks for the well wishes Adam! We are so excited!) Annecy/Chamonix are on my short list for options given it is convenient..however, I question the time of year and whether a good time to go. We do really really want to take the cable cars across - I know we would enjoy that very much. Lyon, not sure if I want to go there or not - would need to read up.
Martigny, Switzerland - never heard of this area but will look into that one. Varenna - Love that place so much. We took my fiance's parents there back in 2009 and we enjoyed every second - definitely a great honeymoon option but we are trying to limit visiting places we have already spent a lot of time in. Normandy/Bayeux - Will look into that, given I am not sold on renting a card at least for more than a day or so I was staying away from that side of France, so to speak...but should really read up on getting around more. Have to see Mont St. Michel soon. Lake Lugano is a great option but a challenge if I want to end in Murren but also see the Loire region of France. I think I would spend more time on a train than I would like, unfortunately...but need to dig into the train schedules a bit. Same with Cinque Terre - haven't been there yet but similar challenges with seeing some of France and ending in Murren. Perhaps a night train or something out there between Milan and Paris...?

Posted by Kathy
Germany, Germany
813 posts

Congratulations come first, of course. I'm going to go out on a limb here and suggest two non-France or Switzerland areas. Since you've already been through those countries and given what you want to do, here's my advice...... 1. Southeastern Italy. Sort of near where Jessica Biel and Justin Timberlake got married. Around the area of Brindisi is beautiful with a slower pace, but still things to see and nice towns to visit.
2. Olu Deniz, Turkey. Beautiful beaches (still a bit cool to swim in the sea, but still warm enough to sit on the beach). There's a local gorge that's fascinating, local markets, hikes, and of course, just relaxing at the many resorts in the area. Our favorite is Lykia World-water sport, night time entertainment, adults-only pools, etc..

Posted by Ali
Newton, MA, USA
278 posts

We have come up with the following draft itinerary after some more research. We are trying to balance a bit of new places, some night trains (we love them and find it always a bit of adventure) and some places we love where we know we can relax or find something new to do (since we have been before). I would love some thoughts on whether too much time in one place, etc. especially since we have never visited Barcelona or the Loire region of France. We are assuming no car rentals but are open to it while staying in Amboise for a day or so. - May 21-22 Fly Boston to Barcelona - May 22 - May 25 Barcelona (4 nights, just exploring the city, no side trips) - May 26-27 Night train (deluxe) Barcelona to Paris/Amboise arriving 9am - May 27-30 Amboise, France 4 nights (hot air balloon, biking, chateau visits, wine tastings) Note: This would really be almost 5 days given an early night train in and 5:30pm train out to catch a night train. - May 31-June 1 Night train (not as deluxe but sink) Paris to Milan, early arrival but we are okay with that - June 1-3 Varenna 3 nights - June 4 Train to Murren (long, we know) - June 4- 8 Murren 4 nights
- June 8 fly Zurich to Boston

Posted by Ali
Newton, MA, USA
278 posts

I had a thought and would love a point of view from someone who has visited. What about if we cut our Amboise time short by one day and went to Versaille for one night? We have to catch the night train to Milan out of Paris' Gare de Lyon anyway and would have to take the train north anyway. This way we could catch a relatively early train to Versaille, drop our bags, spend the afternoon exploring but split our time in half and go back in the morning. We would not need to leave Versaille until around 6pm to catch the night train.