Destination Weddings in the French Riviera
Celebrate your wedding in the French Riviera, one of the most spectacular regions in France - the glittering coast along Provence’s southern edge. Nowhere in France can you delight in such fashionable elegant surroundings and international glamour than along the ‘Côte d’Azur’. This region has been home to both rich and famous movie stars as well as famous French artists for centuries. Today it offers a wonderful combination of jet set coastal spots and romantic serene hillside towns : the perfect setting for a romantic wedding in France!
The French Riviera’s most famous resorts include Cannes, Nice, Antibes, Saint Tropez and Monte Carlo. Several smaller towns have become increasingly sought after for their quaint fishing harbours, peaceful beaches and lush greenery. These include Beaulieu, Menton, Cap Ferrat, Juan les Pins and Cap d’Antibes. As you head inland from the coast, the towns of Grasse, Saint Paul de Vence and Saint Agnès offer magnificent panoramic views and a wealth of tourist attractions.
For years the French Riviera has attracted the most famous international artists who cherished the brilliant light of the Côte d’Azur and the rich palette of colours found in this region. Fields of yellow sunflowers, purple lavender, green pine and olive trees and clear blue skies have been the setting for landscapes painted by Cezanne, Van Gogh, Matisse, Renoir and Picasso.
Picture a glamorous wedding reception on the French Riviera in one of the major cities along the Riviera. Cannes, famous world-wide for its international film festival, offers couples the most luxurious hotels, casinos, beaches and a charming old city to stroll through. A wedding celebration in Cannes could be held in the Notre Dame des Pins Church. Built in the early 1900’s it features an eclectic mix of architectural styles from Romanesque to Italian Gothic.
Nice is a lively, yet less jet-set, wedding destination on the French Riviera. The town is home to two excellent art museums featuring masterpieces of Matisse and Chagall. A huge ‘Carnaval’ is held in Nice every winter when hundreds of thousands of revellers parade through the streets. Stroll along the ‘Promenade des Anglais’ Nice’s famous coastal boulevard lined with massive palm trees and colourful flower arrangements.
Monte Carlo, within the principality of Monaco, is the ultimate chic destination for a wedding in the South of France. With its royal palace, once home to Princess Grace, exclusive casinos, and luxury boutiques and jewellers, Monte Carlo has attracted millionaires, movie stars, models and famous sports stars for decades. The coastal road that passes through the city offers visitors some of the most spectacular views of the Côte d’Azur and would be an ideal backdrop for your wedding photos.
St Tropez, a port town along the Riviera, has been popular among the very rich and famous for over a century. Artists, composers, novelists, and the film colony come to St-Tropez in summer. This town has a reputation world wide for its flamboyant atmosphere and as the place to be seen. Chic people anchor their yachts here in summer and the non-stop beach parties create a uniquely festive and glitzy aura. There are some wonderful wedding reception possibilities in this area including some exclusive chateaux.
On the other side of the Baie des Anges (Bay of Angels), across from Nice, is the port of Antibes. Antibes is one of the most beautiful wedding destination locations for the French Riviera and an ideal spot for your honeymoon. This old Mediterranean town has a quiet charm unique on the Côte d'Azur. Its little harbour is filled with fishing boats and pleasure yachts, and in recent years it has become a new "hot spot." The lovely outdoor marketplaces are full of flowers. If you're in Antibes in the evening, you can watch fishers playing the traditional Riviera game of ‘boules’. The old city features a 12th century castle and 17th century ramparts. For art lovers there is an excellent Picasso Museum. Housed in the ancient Château Grimaldi on the ramparts above the port it is one of the world's greatest Picasso collections. Weddings in Antibes, France can be celebrated in the Church of the Immaculate Conception. This church has served as a place of veneration for all sea-farers who sail far from Nice with the blessing of Our Lady of the Port.
Cap d’Antibes is a peninsula studded with the villas and pools of the super-rich. Film and rock stars are often seen at the exclusive Eden Roc. What draws them to this location are the pristine, sandy beaches among a rough and rocky coast that today remains untouched by tourism. Here you can take a romantic evening stroll on oft sand lined with pine trees and dine at one of the many charming restaurants featuring fresh fish and local specialties. At the top of Cap d’Antibes is a charming site sheltering an old chapel called Notre Dame des Amoureux (Notre Dame of Lovers) and a lighthouse from whose top you can enjoy terrific views of the bay.
Protected from the cold north winds blowing down from the Alps, Beaulieu-sur-Mer is often referred to as "La Petite Afrique" (Little Africa). It has the mildest climate along the Côte d'Azur and is especially popular with the wintering wealthy. Beaulieu is graced with lush vegetation, including oranges, lemons, and bananas, as well as palm trees. Like many other Riviera towns, Beaulieu features a glamorous casino, built in the Art Nouveau style in 1903. Weddings in Beaulieu are celebrated in the late-19th-century Eglise de Sacré-Coeur, a unique mix of Bysantine and Gothic styles. There is also the 12th-century Romanesque chapel of Santa Maria de Olivo. As you walk along the seafront promenade, you can see many stately Belle Epoque villas that evoke the days when Beaulieu was the very height of fashion. Several paths allow visitors to reach locations offering stunning panoramic views of the Riviera and the deep blue Mediterranean Sea.
There are additional charming inland towns that make perfect wedding destinations in the Riviera region. The hillside town of Grasse is the perfume capital of the world. Here one can visit factories where roses, lavender, jasmine and a host of other flowers are made into exquisite perfumes. French perfume producers take visitors on inside tours of the factories and even give you the chance to create your very own fragrance to keep as a souvenir.
Saint Paul de Vence is another excellent location to tie the knot in France. This romantic medieval village is home to one of the largest private contemporary art museums. Catholic weddings in Saint Paul de Vence can be held in the Collegiale de la Conversion de St-Paul, an impressive church that was built during the 12th and 13th centuries. It features a beautiful walnut Romanesque choir and several artworks.
A wedding reception in the French Riviera means choosing from the many majestic coastal villas with their lush gardens and beautiful view of the sea. Beach front restaurants abound all along the Côte d’Azur and your wedding meal could include one of the delicious regional specialties such as Bouillabaisse, the popular seafood chowder, salade Niçoise, fresh fish and desserts featuring the almonds and lemons that grow in this region.
Wherever you choose to celebrate your wedding in the French Riviera you will be guaranteed stunning coastal scenery, wonderfully warm and sunny weather, delicious cuisine and all the glamour and glitz that have made the Côte d’Azur famous as a vacation destination.