Help us have a great honeymoon in France
September 7, 2011 6:57 PM   Subscribe

I'm traveling to France on my honeymoon (huzzah!) soon, and I'm looking for advice on how to travel well and be comfortable abroad. We'll be visiting Ajaccio (Corsica), various towns in Provence as part of a bike tour, and Paris.

Some specific questions:

1. Will renting a car be necessary in Ajaccio? If we want to go out to dinner in town, will we be able to get a cab off the street back to the hotel? (We'll be staying here.) Neither of us knows how to drive stick, so if we rent a car, will we be able to find an automatic?

2. What are the best places to eat a nice dinner (or lunch) in Paris and Ajaccio for a "wow!" honeymoon experience?

3. Any tricks or tips for internet access? We are renting a non-smart cell phone and have an iPhone but are very wary of a huge bill when we return. Should we just hunt around for free or cheap wifi?

4. Is there anything special we should be sure to bring with us for our bike trip that we wouldn't bring if we were in the U.S.? It will be 4 days long, about 20-25 miles per day.

5. Any special things to know about transporting and using gadgets, like a laptop, Kindle, etc?

6. Any general advice for newlyweds on a fun honeymoon in a foreign land or other specific advice about France and the cities we're visiting?

Thank you!
posted by scottso17 to Travel & Transportation around France (5 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I probably can't talk newlyweds out of a stop in Paris, but if you could arrange to park your bikes a few nights in Provence on some professionally run canal boats on routes such as Canal du Midi, both you and your journey, and possibly your marriage, will be better for it.
posted by paulsc at 7:13 PM on September 7, 2011 [1 favorite]

Will renting a car be necessary in Ajaccio?

It's not really necessary for traveling within Ajaccio, and I had no problem walking from downtown to the Chapelle des Grecs, which is about twice the distance from downtown as your hotel is (disclaimer: I like taking long walks), but if you want to see anyplace else in Corsica, you're going to have to rent a car. IIRC, the buses ran rather infrequently and not on a schedule that was convenient, so if you want to get beyond Ajaccio, Corte, and Bastia, which are all on the main train line, a car is going to be a distinct advantage.

Any tricks or tips for internet access?

If you can't find WiFi, internet cafes are all over the place.
posted by deanc at 9:19 PM on September 7, 2011

4. Is there anything special we should be sure to bring with us for our bike trip that we wouldn't bring if we were in the U.S.?

Even if your trip is fully guided, its worthwhile to have your own detailed maps and 'field guide', so you can vary or extend your cycling if you desire. and always bring your swimsuit, weather permitting.

using gadgets, like a laptop, Kindle, etc?

Though I was in Italy, & all my devices had 110/220 power supplies, I found that my laptop & speakers ran better when connected through an inverter back to 110 volts, rather than just using local power w/ a plug adapter. FWIW
posted by TDIpod at 11:38 PM on September 7, 2011

I can really only answer 6 -- when in France, greet people as you enter their shop, section of store, restaurant, etc. I don't know how much French you speak, but a simple "Bonjour, Madame/Monsieur" as you enter will be enough to make you polite. (In Paris, in particular, if you aren't polite enough to do this, people will be a bit miffed.) I pretty much only know the polite words (bonjour, merci, si vous plait) and can get by in Paris, because I can be courteous. Have a great honeymoon!
posted by Margalo Epps at 9:15 AM on September 8, 2011

Watch out for the brutally strong mistral winds in Provence. Bring a windbreaker and scarf!

Angelina is a posh cafe in Paris with the best hot chocolate I had in my life...pretty good foie gras salad too.

Remember your electrical converter!

Try to get adjusted to the time difference right away and set an alarm so you don't sleep through dinner like my husband and I did...many restaurants close relatively early.
posted by lirael2008 at 5:04 PM on September 21, 2011

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