When the Frenchman and I got engaged, there was no question of where we would get married — France.
We chose France because it’s the Frenchman’s home country with a majority of his friends and family still living there and I also knew our friends and family in the States would jump at the chance to travel to Europe. Plus, France has an amazing gastronomic scene and weddings last until the wee hours of the morning… need I say more??
So we knew which country, but the question was, “where in France?”
We knew we wanted to get out of Paris. Most of the Frenchman’s friends & family live in Paris and we wanted to provide them with a weekend getaway for the wedding. We also knew that anyone visiting from the States would already have to stop in Paris so why not give them a reason to enjoy the other beautiful regions France has to offer.
As we started our search, our top contenders were:
- Provence (Southern France)
- Loire Valley (Western France)
- Brittany (Western France)
- Lake Annecy (Eastern France)
After attending a wedding in Provence last year, the South of France was high on my list. The Frenchman’s first option was Western France (Brittany or the Loire Valley) since he has great memories growing up in Brittany and attending business school in the Loire. Lake Annecy was another option that was proposed to us and seemed like a great area to visit for both French and American guests.
Factors to consider
We had about 30 guests who were flying in from the States to attend our French wedding. Once they arrived in Paris, we had to consider their travel options to get to the wedding venue.
- Provence – 3-5 hour by train or 1 hour flight
- Loire Valley – 2-3 hour by train or 2-3 hours by car
- Brittany – 3-5 hour by train or 4-5 hours by car
- Lake Annecy – 2-5 hour by train or 5-6 hours by car
With all four options, guests would still need a car in order to get around. Since the majority of our guests were coming from Paris (because they lived there or because they would be flying into Charles de Gaulle airport internationally) the distance was our most important factor to consider.
The South of France (especially Provence) has an established wedding industry and is the priciest area to have a wedding in France. The region has a lot to offer – great weather (especially compared to the rest of the country), charm and romance, and there are so many great venues that cater to weddings and events.
The other three locations were comparable in costs with Brittany coming in as the least expensive option.
We live in Los Angeles where we can pretty much have a wedding all year round. But because of the weather, the main wedding season in France is from June – September. Even in the summer, though, rain is still a possibility.
Recap: Pros and Cons of each region
South of France / Provence
How can you not love the south of France? Lavender fields, rosé wine, the sea, gorgeous venues to choose from and plenty of vendor options in the region. If we married from July-September, we were pretty much guaranteed gorgeous weather. Cons were that it was the furthest away from Paris and the most expensive region. I also found out that venues in this area booked fast! Venues were booked 1.5-2 years in advance for a weekend wedding.
The Loire is known for its beautiful chateaus and its wine. It was also where the Frenchman spent his formative business school years. Weddings are on the rise in this region, but definitely nothing compared to Provence. There are a few wedding venue options in this area, many of which are chateaus (and who wouldn’t want to get married in a chateau?!). Weather in this region could be unpredictable as well but August is usually the sunniest time of year.
We considered Brittany because the Frenchman has family ties to the area and he spent his summers here. There is a rustic maritime charm to Brittany; however, we weren’t able to find many wedding venues that fit our parameters and it was still quite far from Paris. Also, the weather in this area is unpredictable year round.
We have yet to visit, but this is a beautiful area, especially if you want a lakeside/mountain wedding. There were a couple wedding venues in this area but I found that weekend dates also booked quickly because of limited venue options.
All four regions offered their individual charms with the scenery and atmosphere in each area being so different from the other. It was really difficult to make a decision.
In the end, we decided on the Loire Valley because the Frenchman’s ties to the region, the venue options, and especially its proximity to Paris.
Have you visited any of these regions? Which would you choose for a wedding?
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