If you’d like to pop the question on St Valentine’s Day, we’ve come up with five beautiful destinations in France that would be the perfect setting for a truly romantic marriage proposal. Many wannabe husbands, including Tom Cruise, have proposed at the top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris, but here are a few alternative venues in France that we think are just as romantic. Of course, if you can’t make it to France on 14th February, you can always pop the question at any other time of the year…
On top of the Pont du Gard in Nimes
Ancient roman architecture, a beautiful river valley, protected woodland, rare species of birds - it’s a recipe for a romantic rendezvous.The Pont du Gard aqueduct is one of the most stunning Roman constructions in France and spans the gorgeous Gardon river valley. Along the river, swallows, kingfishers and eagles can all be seen, whilst on the banks, centuries old plane trees and holly oaks spread their branches. Where better for a history or nature lover to propose than standing on the aqueduct itself overlooking this heavenly Mediterranean landscape?
The cliffs at Etretat, Normandy
The stretch of coast between Etretat and Dieppe in Normandy is known as the Cote d’Albatre and was a favourite haunt of the Impressionist painters who loved its ever-changing light. The world-renowned rock arches and needle at Etretat are one of the most stunning points of this coastline and the clifftop walks where you can view these beautiful works of nature are easily accessed from the beach at Etretat. We think this unique seascape is a breathtaking place for a marriage proposal and don’t worry if you haven’t got a head for heights - you could always plump for one of the boat trips that take visitors around the coastline instead. In the heart of the Forest of Compiegne, PicardyCompiegne’s ancient oak and beech trees make it one of the most beautiful forests in France. In springtime the ground beneath the trees is dotted with beautiful wild flowers and lucky visitors may get a glimpse of some of the deer and other wildlife that inhabit the forest. Last time we visited, we spotted a huge stag at dusk just near the roadside. Little streams, lakes and springs abound through the woodland, and gorgeous chocolate box villages and ancient hunting lodges are dotted here and there. There are 600km of trails crisscrossing the 35,000 acre forest, so plenty of space for that private marriage proposal.
The Hanging Gardens of Marqueyssac, Vézac
Nestled around an 18th Century château built on a rocky outcrop overlooking the picturesque Dordogne valley, the Hanging Gardens of Marqueyssac have a totally unique atmosphere. The three framed overhanging gardens feature a sea of soft green bubble-shaped topiary that create an otherwordly feel. Maybe you would be better off holding back your proposal until July or August when the paths around the gardens are lit up by hundreds of candles.
The Gorges du Verdon
Last but not least, we wanted to include this location in the south of France - the beautiful Gorges du Verdon in Provence was the setting for a very special day in our colleague Julie’s life - her boyfriend Florent proposed to her high up on the edge of the hillside overlooking the gorge. The gorge du Verdon is a 25km long river canyon which is over 700m deep in places with stunning views. I was there a couple of years ago and was lucky enough to see a mother eagle teaching her three young offspring to fly - it was an amazing sight.