If you're going to make the trip for the wedding - you should absolutely take a day or two to explore what France has to offer. Central France is a completely different experience than Paris and totally worth a visit. Find out more tourist information about the Loire Valley here
For those of you who have never been to Paris - try spending a few days there to explore our favorite city. We've included a couple of our "off-the-beaten-path" recommendations below.
The Loire Valley
Castles, castles castles
The Loire Valley is most known for it's historic castles. French Kings had their summer homes built all along the Loire river so today you can easily spend a week visiting all of them. Must see nearby the venue include: Chenoncau, Chambord and Cheverny.
Central France is home to some of pretty awesome (and world world renowned) wines - Sancerre, Muscadet and Chinon. Although you'll need to go a bit west of where the venue is - it's a short day trip and worth it. If not, head the a grocery pick up a bottle or two and have your own tasting with a picnic on the river or at park.
hot BALlOON RIDE
Bucket list alert! Every day in the summer at sunrise and sunset you'll see dozens of hot air balloons along the loire. It's not cheap - about $200 / per person but certainly a once in a life time opportunity. There are dozens of companies doing it but if you're not able to find something on the internet, contact the hotel who can help organize something for you.
BEST VIEW OF PARIS
Most people suggest the top of the Eiffel Tower is the best view of Paris. But then you can't see the Eiffel Tower! Head to Tour Montparnasse, the tallest building Paris, for a 360 view of the city. Go at sunset then head to nearby Creperie for a Crepe and Cidre.
A lot of people don't know that the Jazz scene in Paris was booming in the 1940s. To this date some of the best players started their careers in the city because they could play for a broader audience while the US had segregation laws. You have to go to a Jazz club in Paris. Our favorite is Le Caveau de la Huchette (Abigail's grandmother used to go there in her 20s- that's how old the club is).
APERITIF ON THE RIVER
In the summer the river bank of the Seine turns into a total social scene. People throughout the day go to hang their feet and enjoy a sandwhiches on the river but in the evening it turns into quite the party around Notre de Dame. Groups of young people gather and enjoy Aperetif which quickly turns into a midnight affair. Grab some cheese, meats, snacks + lots of wine and head to the river bank to enjoy the scenery and meet some new friends.