Destination weddings are on the rise, with over 20% of couples now looking to get married in exotic locales. And who can blame them, really? It can be incredibly romantic and exciting to say “I do,” in a place like Paris, with your first photos as a married couple taken in front of the Eiffel Tower. Sounds like a fairy-tale, dream come true for many brides!
And France, not just Paris, is a the perfect backdrop for a destination wedding. With beautiful architecture and scenery, it really sets a romantic tone for your nuptials. While Paris seems like the most obvious choice, and yes, you can find beautiful cathedrals and gardens there, don’t feel like you must limit yourself simply to the City of Lights. The options are limitless. Whether you want a small, outdoor wedding in a garden or have a guest list 200+ and don’t mind spending big bucks for a gorgeous chateau, there’s no reason you can’t find exactly what you want in France.
And this list is here to help you narrow your choices down to a few options.
Even if you’re not engaged yet though, it still couldn’t hurt to daydream a bit, right?
1. A Fairy-Tale Wedding at the Chateau de Challain
Many little girls dream of being a princess, and if you choose to get married at the Chateau de Challain, well, you’re going to feel just like a queen. After all, what little princess doesn’t dream of getting married in a castle one day? The Chateau de Challain is a gorgeous castle in the Loire Valley. The castle was built in the 19th century in the neogothic style by the famous architect Louis Visconit, who’s famous for designing the Lourve expansion. Once belonging to the Count and Countee of La Rochefoucauld-Bayers, today it stands as a Bed and Breakfast, and a wedding venue for those seeking to get married in class and style.
If you’re looking for something a little different, the Chateau has done night weddings which are absolutely stunning. With candles lighting the way for the bride who greets her groom at the beautifully decorated gazebo where they exchange their vows under the moonlight. For an extra cost, you can even add fireworks to announce your union. And if you’re into a true fairy-tale wedding, they’ve even done a Beauty and the Beast themed wedding. So anything really is possible.
2. A Beach Wedding in Saint Tropez
When one thinks of a wedding in France, it’s unlikely that a beach wedding comes to mind. But there’s no reason it shouldn’t. In fact, a beach wedding in Saint Tropez has the best of both worlds. Saint Tropez is an old fishing village turned resort town located in the French Riveria. There are so many beaches and venues to choose from, your options are virtually endless. But the weather is nice, the beaches are breathtaking, and the venues are all very high end. Still, if you’re looking for a beach wedding to remember, whether it’s an intimate elopement for just the two of you, or your entire family and his are there, you are sure to find a venue that works for you in Saint Tropez.
And of course, if you’d prefer a wedding not directly on the beach itself, that can be arranged in some places. Both indoor and outdoor options exist as well, you would just need to ask around a bit. That way you can have the wedding of your dreams and be steps away from the magnificent of Saint Tropez beach too!
3. A Natural, Outdoorsy Wedding in the French Alps
If you’re not the beachy type, and Saint Tropez doesn’t work for you, perhaps a winter wedding with snow-covered mountains as your backdrop is more your style. For the couple who likes skiing, snowboarding or just nature in general, there’s no better place to consider getting married than the French Alps. With gorgeous, mountain views of the Mount-Blanc range, the Alps make for a perfect destination wedding venue. Not only will you have a gorgeous wedding, but the couple – and their guests – can experience world-class skiing and snowboarding both before and after the event. Talk about a wedding to remember. This one seems like a no-brainer for the active, outdoorsy, adventurous couple.
You and your guests can stay in a beautiful mountain chalet while enjoying luxuries such as spa treatments and massage after a long day hitting the slopes. Not only would this make for a wonderful wedding, there’s no need to travel elsewhere for the honeymoon. It’s all right there, in one convenient spot.
4. An Artistic Wedding in Nice
Nice has attracted artists, writers and lovers alike for centuries, and with good reason too. The beach city sees an average of 300 days of sunshine every year, and this cozy town has some picturesque views that will make a lovely backdrop for your wedding. In fact, we can’t think of a better backdrop than what’s offered at the Mont Boron cliff which overlooks the sea.
There’s also the Promenade des Anglais, a walkaway along the beach that was built by beggars in the 1820s. Yes, beggars. The winter of 1820 was exceptionally harsh, causing an influx of beggars and others to move to the quaint town of Nice, and the city decided to put them to work. The result was the Promenade, which is still enjoyed by people to this very day.
5. A Garden Wedding at the Chateau du Rivau
No wedding would be complete without flowers, and at the Chateau du Rivau, you don’t have to worry about that. They have you covered. There are 14 fairytale gardens with 450 different kinds of fragrant roses. There’s even a Secret Garden, named as such because it was once kept secret by the ladies of le Rivau. Today, it’s open to the public for all to see and enjoy the English roses that inhabit it. Other gardens here include The Enchanted Forest, the Delightful Border, The Lovers Wood, and The Orchard of Paradise. Now tell me, who wouldn’t want t get married at a place like that?
Not only are there gardens available for a wedding, but there’s a castle as well. I mean, of course there’s a castle. This is a fairy tale wedding in France we’re talking about here, right? There are halls and rooms for weddings and receptions inside the castle, and with your event comes private and personal use of the illuminated gardens after 7 pm.
6. A Villa Wedding Nestled Amongst Vineyards
Many couples have a hard time deciding between a Chateau wedding or a vineyard wedding, and we can’t blame them for their conundrum. After all, both have their own, unique appeal. But honestly, you can’t go wrong with either option. Both will give you a wedding you’ll remember for the rest of your lives, and one that guests are sure to keep talking about for ages.
The Vineyard Villa overlooks the Dordogne river, and it’s not too far from the historic site of St. Emilion. One interesting feature is that the site was renovated several years back, so it included a mix of ancient and modern design. In addition to classic architecture, you and your guests have the benefit of tennis courts, a heated pool and updated guest rooms to make sure the stay leading up to the wedding is a comfortable one.
And there are plenty of other vineyards to choose from too – as the Bordeaux region of France is very well known for them. Indoor or outdoor wedding, you really can’t go wrong with a luxurious French vineyard as the backdrop to your wedding.
7. A Countryside Wedding at the Provencale Hideaway
When you just want to get away from it all and celebrate your love in an intimate ceremony, you can’t do any better that in a countryside venue in Provence. The Provencale Hideaway is both charming and classic, built in the 15th century, and is the perfect place for a romantic wedding ceremony. Couples have several options, including having the ceremony in one of the rear gardens or in the on-site chapel built in 1691. The reception can be held in a glass room overlooking a flower garden, swimming pool and a former orange grove. That is, after a cocktail reception next to a river and under the shade of trees.
This venue allows you to truly experience the French countryside like you’ve never imagined, all in a space that can accommodate close to 200 of your closest friends and family.
8. A Historic Wedding at the Chapelle Expiatoire
France is stuffed full of history, there’s no doubt about that. And for the history lover, what better place to get married than in a chapel dedicated to Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette? In fact, the doomed former king and queen are even buried on the land the chapel sits on. That, in and of itself, makes any history geek’s ears perk up, I’m sure. Even if you’re not into French history (for shame!), the chapel is breathtaking – even being described as “the most remarkable edifice in Paris” which says a lot since the city is stunning and is filled with truly remarkable edifices.
The chapel’s neoclassical architecture is perfect for a romantic, intimate wedding.
9. A Classic French Wedding In Front of The Eiffel Tower
When you think of Paris landmarks, chances are The Eiffel Tower is one of the first things you think of. And for those Francophones in love with the city of Paris, what better place to say “I do,” than in front of this magnificent structure? And yes, it’s not only possible, it can be affordable. As far as destination weddings go, anyway.
The wedding itself would take place in the Eiffel Tower Park (Champ du Mars). The location is meant for smaller weddings, but on the plus side, it is far more affordable than many of the other options on this list. And even though it may not cost as much as a castle, you better bet that your wedding photos would be the envy of all your friends for years to come.
One thing we would suggest when you’re looking at the best places to get married in France is to talk to a wedding planner located in the area you’re interested in. It can be hard to plan a wedding from afar, and unless you can afford near constant trips to check out venues, it’s great to have someone working for you locally to make things easier leading up to your big day.
Not only that, but you should check into the laws surrounding getting married in France, as it’s not as easy as one might think. It’s not impossible, and honestly, you may simply want a symbolic ceremony anyway – followed by a legal, binding marriage back home in your local area. That can be done pretty easily, but it never hurts to do your research, contact people, and think about these things long before you book your venue.
After all is said and done, however, you really can’t go wrong with getting married in France. There’s a reason it’s often associated with romance, and what couple wouldn’t dream of starting their lives together in a country as beautiful as France?
Did any of these venues tickle your fancy? Are you now daydreaming of getting married in France? We can’t blame you, if you are. Even if your wedding day is far off (and you don’t have a partner in mind), it doesn’t hurt to dream a little bit. If anything, save this link or share it with your friends who are getting married. You never know what might happen!