I’m Jeannette, boston-based graphic designer and owner of WispBridal. My new husband, Mark, and I went on an epic honeymoon this June and I’m so excited to share the highlights with you while Jaime is enjoying some well-deserved time with her new hubby.
We saved up a ton of money last year, and with some help from our loving family and friends, went on this awesome adventure as husband and wife.
Days 1 — 2:
We touched down at 7am. Luckily our hotel was very accommodating and had our room ready and some free celebratory champagne (so early!) so we went in and slept until about noon. I’m so grateful that Mark and I are the same type of easy-going traveler. We had very laid back plans and expectations for Barcelona. When we got out and about we just eased our way into the vacation and enjoyed the freedom of being alone together with no responsibilities or wedding guests to greet.
Mark wanted to see the football stadium, which was a nice tour, but for me was mostly just an excuse to try out my new lens and take cute pictures of his joy.
We walked up and down La Rambla and went into La Boqueria and enjoyed some tasty fresh juice, cookies, and chocolates. Neither of us will eat marzipan, but it sure is beautiful.
One of my best friends (and bridesmaid) had spent a semester abroad in Barcelona and recommended Ocaña Bar and Lounge. It’s conveniently right off La Rambla in a cute square. Super eclectic vibe with vintage shoes, pipe art, and actual candles flickering in the chandeliers. Also delicious drinks. There is a club downstairs, but we were there in the afternoon.
That evening we walked around the side streets in search of tapas. They aren’t hard to find, but we didn’t want a touristy experience, especially since both of us speak and read passable spanish. We ended up walking by a church and through a sort of courtyard. Tucked in the courtyard was a restaurant called El Jardin. At first I wasn’t sure if we should stop yet, but after walking another 100 feet I told Mark we HAD to turn around. We started our delicious tapas adventure there, with amazing sangria, and hopped around to a couple other places after. I later looked it up and found El Jardin on a list of best tapas in Barcelona — in case you need another reason to go.
Our hotel was well located, had a rooftop pool (which seems to be a huge thing there) and a private deck with a whirlpool tub. Each night we came back and filled it up — so relaxing after hours of walking!
The hotel had such great table books. I couldn’t help leafing through this one as we waited for drinks to bring to our deck.
The next morning we had tickets for the La Sagrada Familia, but we (and by we I mean Mark) didn’t change the timezone on our phone and so slept through it. LOL. Fortunately, we got the tickets switched pretty easily and were able to go in the afternoon. We needed the sleep, so said, “oh well”, but still — lesson learned.
In the meantime, we went to Parque Guell and it was gorgeous, perfect weather while we walked around.
And I found this cool shop on the way down the hill.
Another must-have is of course, the paella. We both had it for lunch at a sketchy-looking place near La Sagrada Familia. Mark had it for dinner though that same night at a respectable place and we agreed that it was more delicious at the less-likely looking restaurant (I mean, it also served “American hot dogs”).
We took the cable car up to the top of the hill (Montjuïc) and found a fort decorated in graphic flowers with stunning views.
This day we traveled from Barcelona to Annecy via train, which took an extra 3 hours due to strikes and a “breakdown”, but we were able to pick up our rental car still and make it into downtown in time for raclette at Le Freti (a recommendation from another friend). OMG. So cool and delicious.
That night we splurged on an amazing hotel right on the lake, Le Palace de Menthon.
We actually stayed in their separate cottage with windows and a private deck that opened up right to the water. So secluded and amazing views. We rented a kayak, but it sprinkled in the morning so we decided to just enjoy the view. If we went again I’d try staying in the hotel proper, since it was elaborately decorated and had great views from higher up the hill. The breakfast there was also pretty awesome, with local yogurt in glass jars and delicious cappuccino in an elegant restaurant.
The car ride to this ski-town was jaw-dropping. Mountains, clouds, waterfalls coming out of cliffs…
We stopped a couple of times for photos and snacks. In the rural areas our lack of french was a bit of an issue, but everyone I interacted with was patient and friendly.
In Chamonix we stayed at another gorgeous hotel, got massages, and explored the some-what sleepy ski village. Delicious meals and views aplenty. Also we found a strip of indoor/outdoor bars with music.
We took the cable cars all the way up, over to Italy, and back. Mark has a bit of trouble with heights and kept murmuring “It’s beautiful and I’ll only do this once in my life so I have to look”. Adorable. But we will be back ;) I think I took about 300 photos, but also took time to just enjoy the beauty and vastness of it all.
Vailly — Moulin De Léré
If I could go back, right now, to one place from our honeymoon it would be this inn. I love being in the middle of seemingly no-where; places where there are more locals than tourists, and you feel like you’re really part of the landscape. Also, I love delicious food. I got everything I could ask for in this secluded converted mill. The husband and wife owners and the building were so charming. It was the largest room we had the whole vacation and had a little deck overlooking the mountain. THE FOOD was the best we had. It is locally sourced, fine french dining, with, of course, delicious french wine and cheese. The wife was host, waitress, sommelier, and for us, patient translator. I won’t describe the whole menu, but it started with asparagus cappuccino and ended with us taking an extra bottle of wine back to Boston.
Oh and in the morning I had the best butter (on warm, freshly baked bread) of my life — “from those cows you see right on the hill there”.
Days 6 — 7:
Burgundy wine region — Pommard
We stayed in this adorable Airbnb in a couple’s lush garden house. The town is small, walkable, and very near Beaune, which we also explored. We drank a lot of wine, ate a lot of cheese, and walked through the village, countryside, and vineyards.
Hôtel-Dieu, a historic hospital and church in Beaune
On our way to Paris, we stopped at the Château de Vaux le Vicomte
The man who built it was King Louis XIV’s financial officer. The king, in his jealousy, claimed that he must’ve stolen the money from the royal treasury in order to build it and imprisoned him, executed him, and stole his architect, landscaper, and painter to work on the Palace of Versailles.
Days 8 — 12:
We thoroughly enjoyed our Parisian experience. We took in the museums, Versailles, and ate out at different, amazing restaurants every night.
Our hotel was on the Rue Saint Severin, in the 5th arr., which is full of great food and nightlife. Unfortunately, at this point we were both very sick with the kind of green messy gunk that makes dancing into the wee hours impossible. But, with help from the pharmacies and by propping each other up (great practice for times to come), we managed to get in and enjoy everything we wanted to do. We can dance at home, but we can’t get late-night crepes every night.
We enjoyed the sunset at Montmartre with cheese and wine and walked down past the Moulin Rouge.
We devoured, politely, a wonderful tasting menu on our last night. It was close to the eiffel tower, but not super touristy, so was perfect to enjoy right before we went up to the top.
During the trip I occasionally took a ten seconds or so of video. There is something so magical about looking back at moving memories and it was an easy enough thing to do. I cobbled together a second or so of each to make a video of the whole trip. It was one of the best decisions I made and although I can’t help but to feel like I’m bragging to share it, I’m so glad I took just enough footage to enjoy it after and still be present while we were there. You can tell he really loves me in the clip where he’s carrying around my purse.
We had a layover in beautiful Iceland on the way home. While it was super sad to go, by that time I was glad to get back to America, with fresh air and new work challenges. Now we are nicely settled into our married life. Though not much has really changed, besides my last name and our shared bank accounts, it is just glorious to be officially committed and have had our family and friends witness our promises to each other. Now I’m back to work, designing websites, branding, and now wedding dresses, and dreaming about where we will go next.
Photo credit: marthaswann.com
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