Minimoon part one – a few days at the Côte d’Azur for the newlyweds!
Over the past two years of wedding planning, we’ve been traveling down to the South of France as frequently as possible. We decided to get married in the more quiet, inland parts of the area (in the Var region), to give people a mini-vacation far away from everything. Ever since first coming there, we’ve loved it for its raw nature, pretty villages, good food and – of course – the rosé. Still, each time we drive down, it’s amazing how happiness crawls up at us the minute we see the hills of olive trees, fields of lavender and small stone houses graced with french blue window shutters. And every single time, we leave a little piece of our hearts behind.
For our honeymoon, we wanted to finally get to do a full three-week vacation to a far-away, more exotic place, since we figured we rarely have that opportunity. For various reasons, we decided to plan the honeymoon for January instead of rushing off straight after the wedding. But going back to work immediately? Nope. We knew we’d need at least another week to spend just the two of us, reminiscing about the wedding and digesting all the impressions and emotions that come with it. So we extended our stay and booked three nights in St. Tropez and another four nights in the Luberon region near Gordes. It was a week of relax, explore, wine and dine – perfect for a minimoon or any romantic vacation.
Scroll all the way down for a short list of my favorite places at the Côte d’Azur (also drawn from previous visits) or continue reading for a glimpse into our minimoon! I’ll be publishing part 2 on our days in the Luberon shortly.
After saying goodbye to our families and wedding location, we drove to Saint-Tropez and checked into our hotel for the next couple of days. Situated just outside of all the hustle and bustle, it’s the perfect spot to relax and feel pampered, all the while being able to hop into town for dinner or some shopping. We must say (and this is not sponsored in any way) we genuinely found the service to be extraordinary and very personal, so we enjoyed every minute of our stay. Starting with a cold glass of rosé as our welcome drink, who could say no to that?
Our amazing wedding guests gave us a joint gift that was a book with loads of travel recommendations from everyone. One couple (we love you, N&V!) wrote about St. Tropez, which is where they met. So of course we had to try all of their must-do’s! Even better, their favorite restaurant in town is a Thai restaurant – a nice change of cuisine after a full week of French food.
The next morning, the food frenzy continued with the perfect breakfast on our balcony. Another really really cool wedding gift we received was this Leica Polaroid camera – so naturally we started shooting some snaps right away!
I believe an absolute must-do when in St. Tropez is a trip to Club 55 for lunch and rosé on the beach. It’s a little further out and the perfect place to hang out for an afternoon. The food and service is good, their house rosé is great and the vibe is just right – elegant but easy-going, definitely not as snobby as you might expect from such a famous place.
On Tuesday, we drove into town to visit the weekly market on the “Place des Lices” – a paradise for foodies and souvenir shoppers alike. It made me want to buy a house in the area and fill it with lavender soaps, a fridge full of cheese and french baskets immediately.
Afterwards, we explored the narrow shopping streets and had ice cream at Barbarac at the harbor. My favorite was the rosé-grapefruit sorbet! June is actually the perfect time to go to the South of France if you ask me – it’s warm and sunny, but still a whole lot quieter than in July and August. It was amazing how we were able drive into town without any traffic jams, find a central parking spot, make reservations at popular restaurants on the same day. That said, it’s definitely not empty in a boring, deserted way.
While you can sure as hell make your credit card burn within 30 minutes of shopping in Saint-Tropez, we skipped the big brand names that we can buy at home or online and decided to focus on some local boutiques – such as L’Espadrille Tropezienne. You can pick any linen or suede espadrille and they will customize it with any design you’d like – by hand! They also ship globally.
For sunset drinks, two really nice spots were our hotel, naturally, and also TIGrr Indochine restaurant & bar in the hotel L’Ermitage with a beautiful view overlooking town. Since restaurants don’t open their kitchen before 7.30pm and it only starts filling up around 8-8.30pm during summer, you usually have plenty of time for a sundowner.
Another restaurant we dined at and enjoyed sunset drinks was La Réserve at Ramatuelle. It’s on the fancier side, but beautifully situated with a view over the (more quiet) Mediterranean sea and a really great kitchen. My revelation: the chicken with lobster and ravioli. A new take on surf & turf – and sooo yum.
Our absolute favorite restaurant, however, was “The Strand”, right in the middle of town with a lush secret garden. Anything with truffle is amazing, and their cocktails are to die for – the one pictured above was delivered under a glass bell jar to keep the lavender smoke inside until served. I love creative details like that!
Bikini: Beach Riot
After taking one last early-morning swim in the pool, we packed up and hit the road. Going directly to Gordes would have only taken us maybe three hours, but we decided to take the scenic route through the Luberon national park and make a day trip out of it.
I’ll be publishing our 4-day itinerary in the Luberon region soon, but first, here’s a short list of some of our favorite places along the Côte d’Azur:
Hotel: Villa Belrose
Shopping: Rue Georges Clemenceau, Rue Francois Sibilli, Rue Gambetta. Definitely try GAS Bijoux and Espadrille Tropezienne
Ice Cream: Barbarac in the harbor
Breakfast: Tarte Tropezienne (try the one at Place des Lices before the weekly market)
Lunch & Beach: Club 55
Coffee & People (Yacht) Watching: Café Sénéquier
Dinner: The Strand, Banh Hoi, La Reserve, Le TIGrr Indochine
Restaurant: Baôli (turns into a bar / club later in the evening, amazing DJ and surprisingly good food)
Lunch & Rosé by the Pool: Hôtel du Cap Eden Roc
Nice / Monaco:
Shopping: Allées des Boulingrins
Sightseeing: Villa Rothschild
Gourmet Lunch / Dinner (with a view): Chateau Eza at Eze Village
Dinner with a view: La Rascasse
I have a feeling we’ll be back soon, so I’ll be keeping this list updated. Enjoy the South of France and try to plan your trip for June or September! It’s back to work now for me, next vacation is in October! <3