The French Riviera has been famous among the famous for more than a century. Celebrities and statesmen were initially attracted by its beautiful light, mild weather and access to both beaches and mountains; and over the years the area has been built up into a fantasia of luxury beaches, casinos, perfumeries, yachts and mansions. The French call this lavish coastline the Côte d'Azur, and here you'll find a range of terrain, with unequaled vistas of the both Mediterranean shoreline and French Alps.
When To Go: The French Riviera at its best
Best weather: June through August are the warmest and driest (and most crowded) months, with average highs in the low 80s. Spring and autumn see highs around 70 degrees Fahrenheit and fewer tourists.
What To Do:
Cannes: The population of this high-profile city swells each May, as hoards of celebrities and paparazzi stream in for the Cannes Film Festival. If you're into star-gazing, book ahead and join the throngs; otherwise, show up a bit later in the year for more low-key (but still ritzy) days in the sun. Be sure to take a stroll along La Croisette, the fashionable promenade that runs along the seashore -- you'll find designer boutiques by day and artsy entertainment by night.
St. Tropez: The nightlife is extravagant and the coasts are lined with swanky yachts in this Riviera town. The blue waters and flamboyant company make the area popular with stars like Oprah and Jack Nicholson. Hang out on the beach or in one of the chic outdoor cafes a while, and you're bound to spot a celebrity or two.
Monaco: This incredible strip of Riviera coast is actually a separate country, currently ruled by Prince Albert II, a son of the late actress Grace Kelly. Monaco is the second smallest country in the world, and has become known for its Monte-Carlo casinos and rock-and-roll lifestyle. Also recognized in certain circles as a popular tax haven, this extravagant Mediterranean port was famously described by novelist Somerset Maugham as a "sunny place for shady people." Monaco's long stretch of sand and steep cliffs will make you feel like royalty as you are engulfed in the height of glamour.Paris Honeymoons
For those who love art, have a refined taste for food and wine, and a penchant for high fashion, few destinations are more alluring than Paris. It is among the most stimulating cities in the world.The City of Light is a sensory wonderland: world-renowned boutiques, cozy street-side cafes, aromatic bistros, grand avenues, jazz clubs, galleries and museums collectively cast a spell on this enchanting city. A must-visit destination for romantics and artists alike, Paris is full of urban parks and gardens, and the beautiful Seine River runs right through its heart.
When To Go: Paris at its best
Best weather: May, June, September, October
When To Go:
Paris it lures travelers for the same reasons it always has. You'll still find grand old sights like the Tour Eiffel, Notre-Dame, the Arc de Triomphe, Sacre-Coeur, and all those atmospheric cafes. If you enjoy trendy new projects check out the Grand Arche de La Defense, the Cite des Sciences et de l'Industrie, the Cite de la Musique, and the Bibliotheque Franois-Mitterrand. Don't forget the parks, gardens, and squares; the Champs-Elysees and other grand boulevards; and the river Seine and its quays. Paris' beauty is still overwhelming, especially in the illumination of night, when it certainly is the City of Light.
Shopping: Top designer shops dot avenue Montaigne, rue du Faubourg-St-Honore, and Place des Victoires. Head toward Place Vendome for jewelry, the area around St-Germain-des-Prés for specialty boutiques, and Les Halles for trendy threads. Grands magasins (department stores) near the opera house include Galerie Lafayette and Au Printemps. Memorize these words: soldes("sale" -- January and August are the best months), tout doit disparaitre ("everything must go"), and coin des affaires ("bargain area").
Works of art: Must-see museums include the Louvre (once a fortress, now a sprawling museum), the Orsay Museum (which includes an excellent Impressionist collection, Art Nouveau furniture, and a Belle Epoque restaurant), the whimsical Pompidou Center (home to the Modern Art Museum), the Picasso Museum, and the Rodin Museum. Gain entree to 70 museums and sites -- and go to the front of the line! -- with a Carte Musees et Monument (museum pass) available at museums, the tourist office, and major Metro stations.