Want an excessive intro for a how to elope France guide? Definitely. Loving Taylor Swift has got to be one of the most American things you can do. Did you get tickets to her tour? I didn’t, but thanks though.
Your ex-friend’s sister met someone at a club and he kissed her.
Turns out it was that guy you hooked up with ages ago, some wannabe Z-lister.
Getting to the point, it’s like I stumbled down pretend alleyways with cheap wine,
make believe it’s champagne.
I was taken by the view, like we were in PARIS!
All About the Chateau
The next segment on an American’s Guide to Eloping in Europe is how to elope in a French Chateau. Now, what is a French Chateau? According to France Bucket List, “A French château is a castle, which can be fortified or not. It is the home of a king, noble, or just a person with enough money to buy it and maintain it.” Sounds like a dream elopement location to us!
There is only one chateau in the South of France, Château de Beaucastel, otherwise there are quite a few clusters of chateaus in the North/Northwestern region. We are going to focus our guide on that area so you can learn about several options. If you have an unexplainable pull to Château de Beaucastel, drop us a line and we can do the deep dive for you. Cowabunga!
Make it Legal in the States First
The most popular question we get is can you get married in a chateau in France? The answer is yes….ish. You can absolutely have a symbolic ceremony in a chateau and dance around like you’re Belle with your own prince Beast. But if your actual question is, how can I legally elope in France, the answer is you can’t if you’re both Americans and both your parents are also not French.
Just like our guide on how to elope in Spain, France also does not allow two Americans to tie the knot in their country. According to the France Consulate, you know, pretty high up there people, “If you want to get married, then you, your partner or one of your parents needs to have lived in the town where you want to get married for at least 40 days before the ceremony.”
Stick around though, an EU location where you CAN elope might be coming up in one of our next guides. Wink wink.
Prep before you go
While getting ready for how to elope in France, we have a bit of admin work. First our American friends, switch out your dollars for Euros. As of December 13, 2022, the exchange rate is 1 Euro for 1.06 US dollar, so very similar. Most credit card providers charge you a fee for currency conversion when you’re abroad. You can also expect a cash withdrawal fee. The cheapest way to do things is to convert your cash at home before you travel. However, the most convenient is to swipe.
Next, make sure you have a passport. This can get tricky if you are legally getting married and changing your name in the states. Before you go getting your new social security card and using that to get your passport which can take MONTHS, you should plan ahead. If you are ready to elope in France (symbolically) either elope first then go home, get married, do paperwork. OR get married, enjoy France, come home and then change your name.
You don’t have to worry about your phone IE lifeline while in France. Virtually all modern smartphones (iPhone 7 and newer) are compatible with Europe’s mobile infrastructure. What you will have to worry about is your charger. Sneaky sneaky. Be sure to pick up an EU plug adapter for $20.00 before you go.
Rain or Shine
Weather is key when determining how to elope in France. Late Spring or Fall is the best time to travel to the north end of France. If you choose to go totally off the wall and book in Winter you can expect it to be between 32° F to 46° F, but there’s nothing more romantic than Christmas in Paris. Take it from the experts, a coat and a shot of fireball will warm you right up.
Chateaus are absolutely beautiful, what dreams are made of. However, they are not the most accessible of venues. We outline a few airports and “nearby” chateaus. Based on the premise of a chateau, you will not be finding one in the city. Which means, mass transit is out. Rideshare services / taxis will be very costly and while one may get you there, the return back may be a struggle. Based on this, we recommend booking a car in advance so you’re not stuck.
Where to hop a flight
Let’s get to the good stuff – getting you to France! You are looking at about a ten hour flight from New York to France. Add a few more hours if you’re in the Midwest and a few more after that for our wonderful Pacific Coast peeps. Unlike the Spanish islands we took a look at in the first guide, all our France locations are continental, no sea travel required!
The international airport, Rennes Bretagne, is a logical choice when searching how to elope in France. Rennes Bretagne will get you to two popular chateaus (La Motte Husson and Challain-la-Potherie), both an hour from the airport, but in different directions.
Chateau de La Motte Husson
This fairytale castle is set in the Pays de la Loire, France. Ready for a small intimate family gathering or an extravagant soirée. They guarantee that your journey will be effortless and your celebration wondrous. The Chateau is set within twelve acres of breathtaking parkland. It features a majestic moat, an Art Deco orangery, a walled garden and numerous outbuildings and stables, not to mention The Chateau itself, which boasts five floors and forty-five rooms!
Things to consider – they are currently on a two year wedding ‘catch-up’, and will reopen enquiries as soon as they can.
Château de Challain-la-Potherie
Rennes Bretagne will also get you an hour from Château de Challain-la-Potherie. This chateau believes than an elopement is an act of love between two people, a sacred bond, a never ending oath for lovers. Not wrong! Whether you’re dreaming of just running away with the one you love, declaring your devotion to one another, treating yourselves to a very special honeymoon, or creating a memory to last forever, Château de Challain-la-Potherie does it all.
There are four elopement locations at the chateau – Memorial Tower, Cathedral, Garden, and Fairytale. All of which have their own charm for your elopement! As your elopement photographers and location matchmakers, you tell us a bit about yourselves and we will help match you with the chateau of your story book dreams. Pssttt French Wedding Style shared the most gorgeous groom-groom intimate wedding at Château de Challain-la-Potherie and we’re obsessed.
Bonus, if you or your honey is a number lover, this chateau is for you. It is made up of 4 towers which represent the seasons, 12 turrets represent the lunar months, 26 spiral staircases represent the fortnights per year, 52 fireplaces represent the weeks of the year, and 365 windows represent each passing day. It covers an area of 7,600 square meters (nearly 82,000 square feet).
All we know is one + one, plus us two = a fabulous foursome for your elopement!
Chateau de Courtomer
Chateau de Courtomer is smack dab in between Rennes Bretagne and Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport. Our recommendation is to fly into Paris Charles and make it a two day elopement. This chateau was actually our Honeybee pick from our 7 luxury resort wedding venues. A mix of the stylish and classic elegance of a forgotten era blends with 21st century comfort and convenience. Stroll through the little town of Courtomer, just a few minutes walk. You’ll find a charming little town of perfect little espresso shops and baguettes. The estate is over 350 acres of lush trees, rose bushes, fountains, and moats. It connects you to the best of rest and relaxation. A private chef onsite is the perfect way to accomplish everyone’s dietary needs.
Courtmer is characterized by its large lavender fields in June and July. May and October’s climate is sunny and hot. The per night stay at Chateau de Courtomer is $2,800+ but with over 22 rooms on the estate, splitting it with your closest family and friends is the best way to go.
How to elope in Paris France
We’ll admit it, we snuck this one in. It is not a chateau, buttttt it is drop dead gorgeous and we couldn’t resist. Now if you don’t think Paris is your vibe, let us SHOW you why you need to reconsider with our Paris Elopement Inspiration.
Hotel Monge in the heart of the 5th arrondissement of Paris, and has always been an address of prestige and significance in the Latin Quarter. It’s LITERALLY walking distance to BOTH the Louvre and Palais-Royal with about twenty cute cafes in between. Espresso anyone? Stay at the Hotel Monge and say your vows on bridge Pont Andre III. Merci bonne nuit.
Pssttt if your wheels are turning on other options in France not just how to elope France, can we just say the French Riviera is B-E-A-UTIFUL! It reminds us a bit of our Costa Brava, Spain elopement. IE the most fun day ever.
So, are you ready for your France elopement? We love that it’s a place to stay, to explore, to exchange vows, and to honeymoon, all wrapped up into one neat French package. Grab a bottle of certifiable french champagne, nibble on some chocolates, and throw us the bat signal to let us know you are for us to take allllll the beautiful, magical photos. We can’t wait to give you kisses on both your cheeks and HYPE. YOU. UP!
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