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Loved up in the Loire
30.05.2012 Bethan

I’m back… from two wonderful weeks holidaying in France. 12 croissants, 10 macarons, eight pain au chocolats, five baguettes, three slices of quiche, one whole wheel of Camembert (to myself!) and several bottles of wine later. And while I love being around the Cosmo Bride team, I must say I’m missing the romance of the Gallic nation I fell in love with eight years ago while on a whirlwind Contiki tour. I’ve since been back to France three times, and one of those was to work for the best part of a wonderful year. So it only seemed natural to return yet again, this time for a second honeymoon with my hubby Paul. I’d definitely recommend it for a first honeymoon, too!

While the lights, cafes and history make Paris a seductive destination for newlyweds (and I would say stay there for at least a week with your new hubby if heading that way), look south of the capital for a truly peaceful, memorable getaway – the Loire Valley. A one-hour, 15-minute TGV train ride from Paris, the Loire boasts multiple historic chateaux, a rich wine region specialising in reds and rosés, lush scenery and charming cobble-stoned villages.

We spent three days there and I wish we’d had more time! We stayed at the Domaine de la Tortinère, a little chateau just outside of the city of Tours that’s been converted to a four-star hotel with a lovely restaurant, sunbathed pool, beautiful valley views and friendly service. Hiring a car was a great idea as we could wander through the countryside and explore charming villages at our will, such as Azay-le-Rideau with its medieval castle and the famous royal Chambord Chateau. There were plenty of idyllic spots to stop for picnics of fresh bread, cheese and wine along the way and the wild red poppies growing in the roadside fields made the driving all the more picturesque. So why not check out the Loire Valley region if you’re flying to Europe for your honeymoon? I guarantee it’s worth a look.

Photography by François Guillaume.

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