Looking for a special venue for your wedding in France? All of these venues promise a day to remember…
This charming château is hidden away in the Charentais countryside just an hour from Cognac and only 20 minutes from Angoulême, but with its huge bedrooms and bathrooms, four salons, private cinema, 14.5m heated swimming pool and two hectares of private grounds, it is unlikely that you will feel the need to venture out.
The château is available for private rental, and wedding packages that include a wedding planner to ensure the dream day lives up to expectations. The owners are English native speakers, too, making things that little bit more straightforward. Flexibility is everything, with past weddings ranging from just 10 people up to 150.
Manoir de la Foulquetière, Loire Valley
Who wouldn’t want to get married in the lovely Loire Valley, surrounded by some of the world’s most scenic châteaux? Built in the 15th century, this manoir and its idyllic wedding chapel are set within 25 acres of gardens and woodland, complete with swimming pool, providing ample backdrops for wedding photography to grace the mantelpiece at home.
There are nine bedrooms and a reception suite with dining space for up to 150 people, while a catering kitchen gives ultimate flexibility. Two gîtes and three chalets are also available to accommodate up to an additional 40 overnight guests. Rental includes use of the whole property and floral decorations in the reception rooms, chapel and bedrooms.
It is safe to say that wine supplies will not be a problem for a wedding hosted at this Grand Cru château nestling among the vines of Bordeaux, a short drive from the airport. The neo-Gothic architecture of the building, the glass pavilion designed by Gustave Eiffel, manicured gardens and 60 hectares of vineyards bestow a feeling of refined opulence. This is carried through to the five double bedrooms, particularly the decadent gilded honeymoon suite – Le Clos des Songes. The château even has its own tiny chapel, a nod to the Grand Cru’s papal origins.
Set in glorious, rolling countryside, the château is surrounded by five hectares of lawns, meadows and woodland, including a plane-shaded 30-metre pétanque track. With facilities including compact wellness centre, housed in an ancient, stone-vaulted winery, as well as two outdoor swimming pools, there is little chance of pre-wedding jitters taking hold.
There are 28 bedrooms, with 16 in the main castle and 12 in the bastide, just 25 metres away. Peace and tranquillity, combined with luxury and comfort are what the château offers in plentiful supply.
Ideal for a smaller wedding, this beautiful 18th-century manor farmhouse in rural Limousin is set in 2.5 hectares of grounds that vary from groomed lawns to more rugged fields, woodland and orchards. An open-air terrace as well as a covered one, outdoor swimming pool, small yoga studio and fitness area mean there is ample space and plenty to do other than just soak up the atmosphere, relax and enjoy the main event.
The manoir sleeps up to 21 in eight bedrooms, with six bathrooms between them, and can seat up to about 70 guests for celebrations.
This 18th-century Norman manor house perches on a wooded hillside overlooking the Seine estuary, just outside the pretty harbour town of Honfleur. With just ten bedrooms, many of which offer spectacular sunset and sea views, it’s ideal for an intimate wedding, but can accommodate up to 40 for dinner or breakfast.
The manoir has its own spa with steam room, sauna and outdoor spa pool, offering a variety of treatments from waxing to scrubs and massages (at extra cost). Those choosing to enjoy the restaurant will be delighted by the use of fresh seasonal local produce.
Just 30 minutes from the ecclesiastical splendours of Avignon, this family-run independent hotel might well appeal as a slightly quirkier wedding destination, for the château was once owned by the notorious Marquis de Sade and was the venue in 1772 of the first Theatre Festival in France.
The castle has 25 bedrooms, decorated in a modern and elegant style, some with a private terrace or even a hammam cabin. There are a further five bedrooms in the house. Landscaped gardens are graced by an outdoor swimming pool and beautiful surroundings, the perfect opportunity to relish the 300 or so days of sunshine a year that the area enjoys.
A classic 19th-century Napoléon III château near Coutances, a short hop from the beautiful Normandy coast, Le Castel specialises in ‘almost all-inclusive’ family holidays. With the emphasis on being a home from home, the atmosphere is relaxed and cosy, yet with beautiful furnishings throughout.
As a wedding destination, it offers elegant grounds and a boutique size – the minimum number for a wedding package is 14 but it can sleep up to 20. As important though, is the ability to have everything arranged in situ, with no unexpected extras. Packages encourage a genuinely intimate party atmosphere, but also interaction with the surrounding area.
Château de Mercuès, Lot Valley
Occupying a fairy-tale setting on a rocky promontory above the sparkling River Lot near Cahors, this 13th-century château just begs for wedding photography. The gardens are a combination of groomed and wooded parkland, offering spectacular views, while a swimming pool, terrace and tennis court complete the ultimate outdoor relaxation package.
The Relais & Châteaux property offers a fine-dining restaurant and winery and, most importantly perhaps, huge attention to detail in its wedding programmes, such as initial consultation visits and advance menu tastings. The château has 30 bedrooms, but can accommodate up to 100 guests for dinner.
This turreted medieval château in the lovely Périgord Vert overlooks an eight-hectare wooded park and landscaped gardens, making it a photogenic location for a full wedding, reception or honeymoon. The interior is just as impressive, with wood panelling and floors, a huge stone fireplace in the Renaissance Lounge and a general feeling of travelling back in time.
The Les Moulineaux suite boasts a spiral staircase, four-poster bed and private access to a tower parapet. Wedding ceremonies can take place inside or in the grounds, depending on the weather. Maximum occupancy (with extra beds) is 48 people, but standard sleeping accommodation is for 34.
Set within seven kilometres of walls and in turn within 150 hectares of wooded parkland, this rambling estate, complete with towers and turrets, swiftly transplants the visitor from everyday life into the setting of Rapunzel, Beauty and the Beast or perhaps Sleeping Beauty. The enormous guest bedrooms – there are only two suites and three rooms – are furnished and decorated to complement the general atmosphere, and a visit to the château kitchen, with its vast range and copper pots, is well worth a sneaky peak. The oak-panelled dining room with its views of the park is a delight at breakfast time.
Wedding ceremonies take place either in the grounds or can be arranged in the small church at the edge of the domaine. With the addition of marquees and outdoor structures, up to 450 people can enjoy a reception to remember.
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