Honeymoon in France
French people usually celebrate love in a very romantic place. In 1963, my parents decided to start their married life in St Tropez. They wanted to give expression to their mutual affection and enjoy some intimacy in a secluded place. Sure, they considered their honeymoon (lune de miel) in a luxury hotel on the French Riviera as a unique event in their life. Today, most people spend their wedding-night (nuit de noces) and honeymoon in more exotic places like Egypt, Mauritius or the Seychelles. I know Fabien, my future husband, would rather go to the Seychelles. On the contrary, I dream of celebrating our married life in a typical French location that symbolizes love - the most beautiful emotion to me.
Last week, I was glancing through a luxury travel magazine when I saw one of the most romantic accommodations on the Côte d’Azur, South France, in Château Eza medieval castle. « Just imagine our wedding night in this charming private room that has an old-fashioned fireplace. How romantic! » My enthusiastic tone did not convince Fabien at all. « How expensive! 2,500 euros a week.
No way! I’d rather stay in Burgundy and enjoy your cousin’s culinary delights for six months! » I was quite disappointed, but we could not afford a private balcony over the Mediterranean Sea in an enchanted castle. Why not going to Croatia instead? We could have sea, sex and sun far from our daily life and stressful activities. Just the two of us, enjoying sexual intimacy in an unforgettable country. « O.k. no trip on the Orient Express or the Riviera Express, but at least we can afford spending ten days having fun time. Don’t forget, only the Bourgeois could pay for a romantic trip in the 19th century ». Fabien even suggested we could skip the traditional rôtie or the chamber pot ceremony in Croatia: « We don’t need to celebrate our sexual union by drinking up the chamber pot containing Champaign and chocolate. Remember, the newly-married persons (les nouveaux mariés) had to drink the rôtie: some alcohol mixed with strange mixtures! How disgusting! » Of course, I was not ready to respect all the traditions. So, I decided to do some research on the old wedding rituals in France on the Internet.
In the Middle Ages, the newly-married couple spent their wedding night praying and refraining from having sex. Until the 12th century, marriage could be cancelled if the groom (le futur marié) was an impotent man or the bride (la future mariée) had weak sexual organs. Some people could even spy on the couple having sex in the wedding room (la chambre des mariés) to prove the bride had been a virgin before her marriage. When Charles VIII married Anne of Brittany, he had to defend his wife who had been accused of not being a virgin before her wedding night. Until the 19th century, the couple had no sexual intimacy. The bridesmaids (les demoiselles d’honneur) used to dress the bride and escort her to the wedding bed. Then, they encouraged her before she had sex. Unfortunately, the groom was usually drunk when he could come at last. In the 19th century, many doctors thought the wedding trip (le voyage de noces) and the honey moon could endanger the future bride’s pregnancy since woman’s sexual pleasure was a taboo.
Today, French people do not consider honeymoon as a cynical tradition any more. And I am still very impressed by its beautiful origin since the expression comes from an Arabic love proverb. I can understand why people usually associate French landscapes with romantic love. French painters Cézanne, Van Gogh, Matisse and Renoir expressed love feelings in their paintings of lavender meadows in the Provence region, wild bulls and pink flamingoes in Camargue and charming scenes in Alpilles area. Some people prefer to spend their honeymoon in an authentic mast in Camargue National Reserve. They visit typical villages on the seaside and love watching the birds in the park around the Vaccarès Lagoon. They can also ride beautiful horses before having dinner in the village of Les Saintes Marie de la Mer in the evening in the summer. Others enjoy spending a few days in Saint Rémy de Provence and taste French culinary delights. Maybe, we could shorten our stay instead of going to Croatia.
Finally, Fabien and I have decided to go to Arles, the Roman city in the Camargue region, where Van Gogh used to wander. We have a dream that one day we will watch the starry night on Place du Forum and have a drink in Café de Nuit, the café painted by Van Gogh. We are certain it will be an unforgettable honeymoon in France.
Surf to: French Romance