France: Instead of the Cote d'Azur, go to Collioure
So your better half request to be whisked away someplace romantic in France, beyond Paris. The Cote d'Azur — with its tourist trap towns of St. Tropez, Cannes, Monaco and Nice — come to mind first, but are a cliché that rarely lives up to the hype. You'll pay through the nose for meals hardly guaranteed to be good and the scene can be tres snobby. We much prefer to head west toward the Spanish border and the spectacular port town of Collioure, where 15th century forts hug the craggedy coastline and vineyards carpet the foothills of the Pyrenees Mountains to your back. Schooling barracuda thrill divers in the marine park just offshore. Locals sip pastis and talk rugby at canalside bars. And fresh seafood cooked Spanish style — a la plancha — is on nearly every menu, including at the excellent restaurant El Capillo.