Where to elope in France - a comprehensive list of the most beautiful places
Deciding to elope might not have been an easy decision, so congratulations for being an awesome human being who knows what she wants!
Maybe you have been drawn to France as your destination because of Paris, the city of romanticism. Of maybe it is because of the delicious food, or the wines. Either way, you’ll be in for a treat. France has A LOT of beautiful and amazing places to choose from for your elopement, and has way more to offer than the beautiful city of Paris.
What’s the best thing about France? It’s a country whose landscape changes every 10 kilometers. You can plan a road-trip in France and be amazed by how much difference you will find in just an hour of driving on small roads. It has everything you can dream of for your elopement: quaint villages, old stone chateaux, beautiful coasts, amazing mountains, deep countrysides, and cities boasting with life and ancient architecture.
So whatever your style is, I created this little list to help you see further from Paris, and take an open decision regarding the place you would like to elope to.
1) France at a glance
France is amazingly diverse, and can really surprise you when it comes to landscapes. Sometimes, you can truly feel like you’re in another country entirely! The biggest particularity about France is that it has a very long coast. The Mediterranean sea, the Altlantic Ocean and the English Channel all surround the country, offering amazing opportunities for a coastal wedding.
But France also has deep, high and amazing mountains. After all, the Mont Blanc, the highest mountain in Europe, is right in the Alps, at the border of France and Italy. It can be seen from very far away and has become an iconic landmark.
As you can see, France has some beautiful mountains all over its country, and is surrounded by waterlands. In the middle, you will find some little plains, the bigger one being the Plaine de Beauce (south of Paris), and some varied rural landscapes. This is important to know as some places to elope in France can seem secret as they are beautiful but not very well known. After all, it’s easier to spend a week visiting the boasting city of Paris, than renting a car and adventure in the country if you don’t know where the most beautiful parts are!
It’s pretty hard to talk about seasons in the whole France, as the landscape is so varied, it’s very different from one coast to another. But here are some informations gathered with the eloping couple in mind.
In general, winter is a cold season all over France. Snow is not present everywhere, but if you’re looking for a snowy winter elopement, then it will be the best season to venture into the mountains and exchange your vows. Be careful because in some places, avalanches are pretty common, so don’t forget to ask for advices from mountain guides in order to walk in appropriate places. The Alps and Pyrénnées are the coldest mountain ranges, and they can gather as high as 2 meters of snow. The Alps are also known for their cosy chalets, that will add a beautiful finishing touch to your elopement.
If snow is not what you’re looking for, winter might not be the best moment to elope as it will be cold and dull, the trees shaving during this season.
Spring is great from mid-April to the middle of June. Before that, the trees still don’t have any leaves and the landscapes are a little sad, with brown colors all over. Once the trees start budding, the whole country transforms into a greenery paradise. The nicest regions to elope to during this season are the Loire Valley and the whole South-West France region, as they have tons of quaint villages and a beautiful countryside.
In France, summers are hot. But the hottest parts of France (and dryest) are the south-east and the west. Provence, the French Riviera and the Landes are very hot and sunny during this season, and might be too hot for your guests (and yourself). If you’re planning an elopement in summer, you might want to pick a fresher hour for your ceremony, and plan your day accordingly.
Beautiful, wild and colorful, fall is my favorite season. The trees are amazingly beautiful and you will be in for an eye treat for sure. The temperatures can be colder but it’s very common to have hot fall days, totally perfect for a nice elopement outside with a view. During this season, you might prefer going to Auvergne or the Alps and Pyrénnées as they will show you the best color shows in France.
2) Where to elope in France
It’s difficult to start a list of the most beautiful places to elope in France and not include Paris. I wanted to get it out of my system, as I believe there are WAY more beautiful places to elope than the city of Paris, but it also has great advantages. Its airport is easily reachable with an international flight, it has the Eiffel Tower (iconic), you can find the best food there, and its streets are beautiful to photograph in. Also, some of its hotels are part of the most luxurious and elegant ones you will find in the world. So if you’re looking for a chic escapade filled with architecture, ancient buildings and a great city life, Paris will be the perfect place for your elopement.
It is starting to pique the interest of more and more travellers, with its perched villages, quaint streets, beautiful lavender fields and old stone mansions scattered all over a dried and sunny landscape. Provence is a dream come true when it comes to eloping in a place where there is tons of things to see and hikes to blow your mind. Luberon is the most beautiful part of Provence, with the arrière-pays of Forcalquier and the Montagne de Lure. Trust me when I say that you will love the peace and quiet of this little part of south-east France. It also has some beautiful luxury hotels and mansions ready to welcome you for your elopement in Provence.
This region is definitely not very well known, and it breaks my heart as it is, in my opinion, definitely one of the most beautiful ones in France. Auvergne has a beautiful series of old volcanoes, with magnificent panoramic views on the range, and some amazing peaks that will have you drool with amazement as you discover an untouched and secluded landscape. The only down side of Auvergne is its lack of beautiful venues to celebrate near its most beautiful places (being the Sancy and the UNESCO-indexed volcano chain) but it is a small problem to have when you can hike and enjoy such a magnificent view.
This mountain range has a lot to offer, and it starts with its magnificent landscapes. It has been in the shadow of the very-well-known Alps for a very long time (and it still is) but it boasts with places you can only dream of when it comes to quaint villages in the middle of snowy and untouched landscapes. The Pyrénnées are absolutely amazing if you like mountain ranges that don’t have the whole touristic approach to it. You can organize an amazing hike to a beautiful peak overlooking the range and exchange your vows at sunset or sunrise, with only the nature surrounding you.
5) The Alps
Covering a very wide part of Europe, including France, Switzerland, Italy and Austria, the Alps are a beautiful mountain range perfect for adventure lovers and hikers at heart. What is great with the Alps is that you can be a beginner hiker or wanting a 4-days trekking elopement, it won’t matter as you will always find an epic place to exchange your vows. It also has some of the most luxurious hotels and resorts you will find in Europe. The Alps are deep and quiet, and can really move your heart when you walk onto its slopes. Discover the magic of its forest and don’t forget to visit during winter to see what it can truly offer.
It is not very common to elope in Normandy, and it is a shame because this little piece of France has a lot to offer. From beautiful cliffs overlooking the ocean, to quaint little villages in the middle of nowhere, this land is filled with wonders and excitement. You will find adorable B&Bs and will be able to hike to beautiful rocky cliffs and secluded beaches to exchange your vows during a windy and epic sunset, then go bakc and ejoy delicious food and wines. Normandy is filled with beautiful little houses, castles and churches that will make your adventurer’s heart sing.
In France, Ardeche is well known for its nature and little organic farms. People go to Ardeche to find themselves and live a simple life, filled with beautiful landscapes and delicious food. And Ardeche is not only an ecologist heaven, it as also a place filled with beautiful corners of little mountains that are perfect for an adventure elopement in France. The great thing about Ardeche is its variety of landscapes, ranging from little peaks overlooking the valley, to little winding roads heading to beautiful gorges and rivers.
Corsica is not really considered as part of the Metropolitan France, but it really deserves its place in this list, because it is an beautiful, untouched land filled with panoramic views and incredibly beautiful villages. To be honest, Corsica might be my favorite destination when it comes to eloping in France, because it is absolutely wild and you can so easily find an incredible place to elope in peace (which is hard in France in general as it is very touristic). Just avoid the big cities and the beaches as they are the places where most tourists go. The mountains are generally overlooked, but they offer unmatched views.
These destinations are general and are intended to help you see the tip of the iceberg when it comes to eloping in France. There are thousands of destinations, secluded hotels, hikes and such to do in all those places…and it is my job to share them with you when you book me to be your elopement photographer and guide!
3) Marriage laws and legalities
Let’s cut to the chase very quick: there is no legal way to make your elopement a legal marriage in France if you’re not a resident in France. The best option if you want to elope in France and still have it legal, is to get legally married in your country of origin and have a more emotional, beautiful ceremony in France afterwards.
However, if one of you (or both of you) already live in France, or if one of your parents has a home in a French town, you then can legally get married at the council office (mairie). In France, you can’t get legally married outside of the council office. The mayor or one of its representants has to be present to make the wedding legal.
But you know that a lot of couples getting married in France (even French themselves) generally have a legal ceremony beforehands, and consider their secular, awesome ceremony to be their wedding day anyhow. So don’t let the legalities complicate your day and simply get married a day, a week or a month before you elope!
Let's find the perfect spot for YOUR elopement!
Need more inspiration for your elopement?
Check out this brand new article about the best places to elope IN THE WORLD