Where to elope in France – a comprehensive list of the most beautiful places
Deciding to elope is not 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. It may also be because of the delicious food, or the wines. Either way, you’ll be in for a treat. France has MANY beautiful and amazing places to choose from for your elopement. There is much 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 chateaus, beautiful coasts, amazing mountains, deep countryside, and cities that are full of life and ancient architecture.
Whatever your style is, I created this little list to help you see more than just Paris and make an informed decision regarding the place you would like to elope to.
1) France at a glance
France is amazingly diverse. It can really surprise you when it comes to landscapes. Sometimes, you can truly feel like you’re in another country entirely. One of the most interesting things about France is that it has a very long coast. The Mediterranean Sea, Atlantic Ocean and English Channel all surround the country. They offer amazing opportunities for a coastal wedding.
However, France also has many high and amazing mountains. The Mont Blanc, the highest mountain of the Alps, is 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 many beautiful mountains throughout the country and is surrounded by water. In the middle of the county, you will find some plains, with the biggest one being the Plaine de Beauce (south of Paris), and some varied rural landscapes. This is important to know, since some places to elope in France can seem secret because they are beautiful but not very well-known. After all, it is easier to spend a week visiting the bustling city of Paris, than to rent a car and adventure in the country, if you don’t know where to go.
It’s pretty hard to talk about seasons for the entire country of France, since the landscape is so varied. It is very different from one coast to another. However, here are some information that was gathered with the eloping couple in mind.
In general, winter is a cold season throughout France. Snow is not present everywhere. However, 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. Don’t forget to ask for advice from mountain guides in order to take the best trails. The Alps and Pyrénnées are the coldest mountain ranges. As much as two meters of snow can accumulate in some areas. The Alps are also known for their cozy 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. It will be cold and dreary. The trees will also be bare during this time of the year.
Spring is great from mid-April to the middle of June. Prior to that, the trees still don’t have any leaves and the landscapes are dull, shaded in brown colors. Once the trees start budding, the whole country transforms into a green paradise. The nicest regions to elope to during this season are the Loire Valley and the whole Southwest France region. They have many quaint villages and a beautiful countryside.
In France, the summers are hot. However, the hottest parts of France (and driest) are the southeast and the west. Provence, the French Riviera and the Landes are very hot and sunny during at this time of year. It might be too hot for your guests (and yourself). If you’re planning an elopement in summer, you might want to pick a cooler time of day for your ceremony and plan your day accordingly.
Beautiful, wild and colorful, fall is my favorite season. The trees are very beautiful, and there will be a treat for your eyes. The temperatures can be colder. However, it is very common to have hot fall days. They are perfect for a nice outside elopement with a view. During this season, you might prefer going to Auvergne or the Alps and Pyrenees, since they will have the best color shows in France.
2) Where to elope in France
It’s difficult to develop a list of the most beautiful places to elope in France and not include Paris. I wanted to get it out of my system, since I believe there are many more beautiful places to elope than the City of Paris. However, it also has its advantages. Its airport is easily reachable with an international flight. It also has the Eiffel Tower (iconic), you can find the best food there, and its streets are beautiful to photograph. Its hotels are also some of the most luxurious and elegant you will find in the world. 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 capture the interest of more travelers, with its perched villages, quaint streets, beautiful lavender fields and old stone mansions scattered over a dry and sunny landscape. Provence is a dream come true, when it comes to eloping in a place where there are many things to see and wonderful hikes. Luberon is the most beautiful part of Provence, with the arrière-pays of Forcalquier and the Montagne de Lure. You will love the peace and quiet of this little part of southeast France. It also has some beautiful luxury hotels and mansions ready to welcome you for your elopement in Provence.
This region is not very well known. This is a shame because it is definitely one of the most beautiful areas in France. Auvergne has many beautiful, old volcanoes, with magnificent panoramic views on the range. There are also some amazing peaks that will make you drool with amazement as you discover an untouched and secluded landscape. The only disadvantage of Auvergne is its lack of beautiful venues to celebrate near its most beautiful places (including the Sancy and the UNESCO-indexed volcano chain). However, this is a minor problem to have, when you can hike and enjoy such a magnificent view.
This mountain range has a lot to offer. 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). However, it has places you can only dream of, when it comes to quaint villages in the middle of snowy and untouched landscapes. The Pyrenees are truly amazing if you like mountain ranges that are not tourist oriented. 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 large part of Europe, including France, Switzerland, Italy and Austria, the Alps are a beautiful mountain range perfect for adventure lovers and hikers. What is great with the Alps is that you can have a beginner hiker or a four-day trekking elopement. It won’t matter, since you will always find a great 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. They can really move your heart when you walk onto their slopes. Discover the magic of its forests and don’t forget to visit during winter to see what it can truly offer.
It is not very common to elope in Normandy. This 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 wonder 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. You can then return and enjoy delicious food and wines. Normandy is filled with beautiful little houses, castles and churches that will make your adventurer’s heart sing.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.
Ardeche is well-known in France for its nature and small organic farms. People go to Ardeche to find themselves and live a simple life, filled with beautiful landscapes and delicious food. Ardeche is not only an ecologist’s heaven. It is also a place that is 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 small peaks overlooking the valley, to little winding roads heading to beautiful gorges and rivers.
Corsica is not really considered to be a part of mainland France. However, it 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. This is because it is very wild, and you can easily find an incredible place to elope in peace (which is usually hard in France since there are so many tourists). You should avoid the big cities and the beaches, since they are the places where most tourists go. The mountains are generally overlooked, but they offer unmatched views.
A Caribbean island, Guadeloupe is a bonus. It is a French island but not what you would imagine, when you think about France. The language is a bit different, the climate is tropical, the customs are definitely unique and you won’t find the same food and wines you will find in France. However, it might be one of the most beautiful places that I have ever visited on earth. Its forests are magical, you will find waterfalls and foggy mountains, as well as tropical beaches and exclusive resorts. Bonus point: there are no big spiders on the island.
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 much to do in all those places. 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
There is no legal way to make your elopement a legal marriage in France, if you’re not a French resident. 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 their representatives has to be present to make the wedding legal.
Many couples getting married in France (even the French themselves) generally have a legal ceremony first, and consider their secular, awesome ceremony to be their wedding day. Don’t let the legalities complicate your day and simply get married a day, a week or a month before you elope!
Need more inspiration for your elopement?
Check out this brand new article about the best places to elope IN THE WORLD