Last weekend, my husband and I celebrated our first wedding anniversary and it made me start reminiscing about our honeymoon (especially as I looked through all the photos from our relationship to make a photobook for him). I thought it would be nice to share with you an overview of our honeymoon; what we did, where we went and how much French I spoke!
The day that I am writing this actually marks one year since we jetted off on honeymoon! How time flies and how the world has changed in that short space of time!
We decided to take a road trip around the South of France for our honeymoon. Both my husband and I love France and it was an area that neither of us had visited before, plus my husband had read Kate Mosse’s novels set in Carcassonne and had always fancied going. With Carcassonne as a semi base, we headed out around the surrounding area before travelling back to the U.K.
Day 1-2: Orléans
Our first day involved waking up early, getting in the car and driving to France using the ferry. Unfortunately the crossing was pretty rough, but we got to our first destination safely: Orléans! We had chosen Orléans, because it was about 3/4 of the way to Carcassonne and we were interested in Jeanne d’Arc. On the morning of the second day, we looked at lots of buildings relating to Jeanne d’Arc including the Maison de Jeanne d’Arc, where she is supposed to have lived.
Day 2-6: Carcassonne
The majoity of our honeymoon was spent in Carcassonne, with a couple of day trips out to other cities nearby. We did the Labyrinth walking tour that Kate Mosse suggested at the back of the book, I actually read Labyrinth by Kate Mosse and had an interesting discussion in French with a local café owner who told me that Mosse actually lives in Carcassonne for part of the year, we went to an amazing light show at the castle and ate a lot of cassolet, a dish that is very much local to the region. It was a lovely mix of relaxing, enjoying the local cuisine and views and learning about the culture and history of the region.
In terms of French, I did speak a lot of French. It’s odd, because I read French practically every day for work, but I don’t often speak French, so the first couple of days, I felt a little rusty! It has made me really want to look up local French conversation groups, once the COVID-19 situation allows, to help keep my spoken French ticking over. My husband, who admits himself that he is the world’s most enthusiastic, but least talented linguistic, gave it the ol’ college try and got stuck in speaking French too!
Day 4: Day trip to Foix
One of the day trips we took was to a little town called Foix an hour away. The castle on the hill was absolutely stunning and we also visited the Eglise de Saint-Volupiens. We also discovered this charming nursery rhyme, which I have to admit I would struggle to translate in a similar way in English:
Il était une fois
Une marchande de foie
Qui vendait du foie
Dans la ville de Foix
Elle se dit : ma foi,
C’est la dernière fois
Que je vends du foie
Dans la ville de Foix
On the way back to Carcassonne from Foix, we stumbled upon this cave, which was a lot of fun to explore!
Day 6: Perpignan
Our final day trip was to Perpignan, where we took a petit train tour around the city (and my husband fell asleep), ate some amazing charcuterie and visited the castillet (a small castle) and le palais des rois de Majorque. Stunning.
Day 7: Toulouse
Our penultimate destination on our whirlwind tour of the South of France was Toulouse! We visited the beautiful couvent des jacobins, had a picnic in the jardins japonais and generally took it a bit easier, with lots of time for reading.
Day 8-9: Chateauroux
Our final destination was Chateauroux for the night before the long journey back to Britain. En route, we stopped off a George Sand’s house, which was not hugely successful, as I hadn’t realised that the tour was only held in French. My husband was very obliging and waited outside, reading in the shade, while I enjoyed the tour and then filled him in on the details when I got back.
So that was our honeymoon! I hope you enjoyed this overview and perhaps it’s given you some inspiration for when we can travel more openly again.
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