Monday, May 16, 2011

Where to Propose in Provence?

I received this charming email the other day.  Anyone have any ideas to share?

Dear Julie,

I found your blog while researching food and restaurants in Provence. I'm in need of some serious recommendations.  I will be proposing to my girlfriend during our trip to France this summer.  We'll be spending our time all over Provence (Marseilles, Cannes, St. Tropez, The Luberon, etc.) and also on Corsica.  I'd love to propose to her in either Provence or Corsica, but I want it to be unique and one-of-a-kind.  I want to find that perfect place that just "sets the stage" for the most romantic proposal.   I want her engagement to be so memorable that no other will ever compare. Do you have any recommendations on where to propose in either Provence or Corsica?  The perfect restaurant, or natural setting, or experience?  I have a solid budget, but I'm am more concerned about the uniqueness of the setting. 

Some current ideas are the cactus garden in Eze, a hot air balloon ride in the Luberon or in Bonifacio, Corsica.  I'm leaning towards a place on the coast because she loves the ocean, but it's much more about the uniqueness of the experience/location.  I'm really trying to find a place that I could not find on my own with just internet research.  I hate the term "off-the-beaten-track" but I guess that's the best description...although I'm open to a more "touristy" location if there is a special experience I can arrange there.  Thank you in advance for any advice you can provide!

**Note from Julie: If you've never left a comment on my blog, this is a great time to do it! Let's help this adorably romantic man find the perfect place to propose. Leaving a comment is super easy. Click comments below.  Write your comment in the box.  Choose an identity. If you don't know which option to choose, tick "Name/URL." Then type in your name. Full name, first name, fake name: whatever. If you want your name linked to a website, type in the website or URL when prompted. Click "Publish your Comment." Et voila! 


  1. I have been to all of the places in France you have mentioned.

    I would propose overlooking the water at sunset. I did not stipulate which body of water at what location. There are many too choose from. Have a glass of wine or champagne, sunset, and the magical light at that time of day in Provence. Take a camera. All the best...JoAnne

  2. Right here on Provence Post see the ultra romantic and unique "Get in Touch with Your Inner Gypsy" - a caravan for two at the "finest auberges and inns worldwide", La Bastide de Marie in Provence (Luberon). Check out the article and photos - Fabulous! Can you top that?

  3. Thanks Lynda, great idea! Here's the link to that story:

  4. Eze to bardzo romantyczne miejsce, w dodatku z widokiem na morze, na czym Ci zależy. Jest tam wspaniały ogród egzotyczny na samym szczycie. Jest też inny bardzo nadający się na taką uroczystość ogród - na tarasach od strony morza.

    Eze is a very romantic place, overlooking the sea, what you care about. Is there a great garden exotic on the Summit. There is also another very suitable for such a celebration garden-terraces on the sea.

  5. I don't have any ideas to offer but I wanted to comment anyway because the request is so sweet! I hope it works out perfectly :-)

  6. What about La Colombe d"or in Saint Paul de Vence where Yves Montand romanced Simone Signoret?
    Beverly Stephen, Food Arts

  7. A wonderful place, in my opinion, would be l'Ousteau de Baumaniere : .
    You will never forget it !
    I wish you a wonderful day.

  8. There's a goat farm in a remote part of Sivergues, it's in a beautiful setting. It's called
    Auberge Les Castelas. I spent three nights there

  9. Get the room with the tree house at Hotel les Ateliers de l'Image in St-Rémy de Provence, and propose right there.

  10. Ron, thanks! That's a GREAT idea!! I love the hotel Les Ateliers and know the treehouse room well. It was dreamed up by Antoine Godard, who built the hotel with his wife Nathalie. Antoine passed away last year, very unexpectedly, but the beautiful hotel rests in very good hands. If you didn't see it at the time, you might want to read what I wrote about Antoine here:

  11. atop Mont the Ocher Canyon at a table at the cafe de Paris in Lacoste looking over the valley at the top of the tower next to the Abbaye de Montmajour when the sunflowers are in dinner at Ousteau Baumaniere under the illuminated cliffs of the tree house in the plane tree at the Hotel Les Ateliers de l'Image....stop me

  12. That's a good idea. i've stayed at that hotel but couldn't afford ther treehouse.

  13. A few thoughts...

    The underground "Cathedral" at Château Romanin - this is definitely unusual, and would be enhanced if they are fans of Lord of the Rings type settings. It could be followed up with Champagne in the lounge at the top that looks over the valley. I'm sure the winery would be game to set something special up. Here's a description and pictures from a blog post I did last year, though I imagine Julie you are familiar as it is very close to St Remy:

    Another idea would be a late night proposal on the old harbor in St. Tropez. Though if he is going in summer it just might be a bit to crowded for a romantic setting.

    Or, rent a boat for a nighttime tour of the Marseilles harbor. Bring some champagne and chocolates, and while looking at the lights reflecting on the water, bring out the ring...

    Lastly, there are hundreds of beautiful little chapels throughout Provence. Find one that will stay open late, and after a dinner in the village stroll into the candle lit chapel and propose...

    Julie, you must let us know what he ends up doing!

  14. Hi Julie,
    What a delightful letter. I'm so glad you shared this with us. I'm coming to St. Remy in September with my husband of 25 years so I'll just love reading where everyone is suggesting. The lovely Vicki on French Essence has recommended to me . as a truly memorable experience. Maybe a good place for a proposal??

  15. What about Cassis? Book a table looking out on the sea or bring a picnic and sit on the sand and as the sun is setting...............?Please let us know what happens!

  16. The tiny chapel on top of St. Etienne des gres has such a lovely view over the Alpilles and won't be crowded. The Dalmeran Winery is just below and so maybe something could be arranged?

    I also thought of renting a boat for a tour of the Calanques, followed up with dinner and a night at the tiny Jardin d'Emile ( in Cassis. Their room 1 with its terrace overlooking the sea, is more romatic than some of the five stars I've been to!

    Speaking of, I would only go with L'Oustau if something private could be arranged in one of their annexes. Doesn't seem the unique experience this man is looking for.

    How fun! Wishing him lots of luck!!

  17. Dear Proposer,

    What a woman loves is that someone has made an effort and that it is special to them. So, you mentioned that your future wife loves the ocean, so would suggest that your proposal in some way reflects that. What other things does she love? Seafood? Good bread? Chocolate? Pine trees? If you're not sure, perhaps you could find a discreet way of finding out from some of her oldest friends or family - especially if you find out things about her that she doesn't know you know.

    And you need to make an effort - not just asking on here - although that's a great start. Perhaps you've put together a diary/photo diary of your time together, or a music compilation that reflects your time/dates together that you have arranged to have played at your proposal location - and have a special copy in a presentation CD case to give her as well.

    Anyone can spend money or ask for advice, but romance is about someone making you feel special by knowing you inside out, including the things that will blow your mind - and making 'yes' a no-brainer.
    Have a really great time thinking what that could be for your future wife and do let us know what you choose to do.

    Best wishes

  18. Ah, not by the ocean but over a river. Begin your evening at Lisa M's ( Vers Pont du Gard with a romantic dinner on her terrasse. In the moonlight walk to the Pont du Gard, the ancient Roman aqueduc (17 AD) which crosses the Gardon River. There on a bridge of the past would be a wonderful way to begin the future.
    Such fun to plan this adventure.

  19. Eze is by far the most romantic and spectacularly beautiful place I've ever been. Stay at the Chateau Eza, which is just below the Exotic Garden, overlooking the Mediterranean. Swim in the cool Mediterranean during the day, watching the Chateau disappear into the clouds only to reveal itself again once they've passed. Walk the village and the gardens with the beautiful statues of young woman gazing out over the vistas of mountains and sea. Propose on the balcony of your room, at your favorite time of day. You cannot go wrong. She will feel like royalty, and neither of you will ever forget it for as long as you both shall live.

  20. Dear Cindy and Joe,
    Thanks for your idea! I've never heard of Lisa M and just went to the site. It looks so cool I can't wait to go check it out! Also, the Pont du Gard is one of my absolute favorite places in Provence and the idea of a walk there in the moonlight followed by a marriage proposal is AWESOME. If only this proposal thing were happening to MOI! Sigh...

  21. Wow! Thank you everyone for all the suggestions so far. I never thought my email to Julie would create such an outpouring of ideas and well-wishes. I actually bought the ring last week and it's being made as I type. It was such an amazing feeling when I picked it out...knowing that very soon I'll ask the love of my life to marry me!

    I'm setting aside a few hours tomorrow night to research all of your suggestions. My plan is to research everything, pick 2-3 of my favorite suggestions, and then finally choose "the place". I'll then fill in the details of the plan with personalized touches that my bride-to-be (hopfully!) will love. I'll make sure to keep everyone updated.

    If any more suggestions pop into your head, please repost! I am so excited! (As you can see from the abundance of exclamation marks haha)

  22. Dear Proposer,

    I love the ocean too, but I was really taken by the mineral blue water of the Gorges du Verdon, considered the Grand Canyon of France. You could stay in the quaint town of Moustiers Sainte Marie, enjoy amazing cuisine, hike and bike around the Gorges. Once there, go out on the water on a little paddle boat, swim, enjoy and propose. Voila!

    By the way, if you don't get the answer you're hoping for, I know this really nice, witty gal who admires your thoughtfulness...

    -Susan, NYC :-)

    Book a helicopter from the airport in Hyeres or Nice to l’ ILE DE PORQUEROLLES, one of the South Of France secret gem. Stay on the island at Le Mas du Langoustier which also has a great restaurant on premises L’ Olivier, or for a more unusual accommodation there are yacht rentals in the harbor with 2 bedrooms/2 baths. The island is still today car-free, you can still find your own private beach, order her favorite food from the hotel kitchen with her favorite wine or champagne have it delivered at the beach and propose while swimming in the beautiful Mediterranean. La Mediterrannee has magical power! Best wishes, Fabienne Perpiglia

  24. Ok, if I were you I would take the road to les Baux de Provence from the southern end of St. Remy. When you get to the top of pass overlooking the best view in Provence, I would take a left up a dirt road (this would add to the intrigue)and get to the highest point overlooking the Valle des Baux and I would get out of the car and propose there in view of the Mediterranean. Then I would go down to dinner at l'Oustau de Baumaniere (pre-arranged of course)and have the most memorable meal of your life in the one of the most beautiful places in France with the person you love. Simple non? If you need more details contact me.

  25. Been beaten to suggesting l’Oustaou de Baumanière by several people – their seconde de cuisine was runner-up in this year’s Top Chef :

    Just been to domaine Grand Boise in Trets, near Aix-en-Provence – I think that’s a very special place too with an amazing view over the Mont Sainte Victoire.

  26. Think I forgot the link on my comment :

  27. A beautiful place with tons of ancient history, romance and a splended view is Les Arcs Sur Argens, located just a short drive west of nice and north of the sea by only 20 minutes. In this medival town of restored homes and chapels and towers is a wonderful restaurant and luxury hotel, Le Logis du Guetteur, with a noted French chef at the helm. The amenities are first calss and the food is divine. The hotel will assist you in arranging something very special for your actual proposal. Just go on-line and look up this remarkable place. We just returned from our third trip there and it is very romantic and lovely.
    Karen Mitcham-Stoeckley

  28. After reading the others comments, I would also agree on the visit to L'Oustare de Baumaniere in Le Baux/Maussane. It would definitely be my second choice and Le Baux, while very touristy is also very unique. But do look at Le Logis in Les Arcs.

  29. What a nice guy! I am sure whatever he decides to do will be fabulous...........Maryannexo

  30. I see you are also travelling further East on the Cote d'Azur. We live in Cannes and our most favourite and fabulous restaurant is the Eden Roc at the Grand Hotel du Cap d'Antibes. The atmosphere is there the moment you drive in through their lovely gardens. You should get a table for 2 for lunch right on the water's edge overlooking the Mediterranean - dreams are made of this. It is very expensive! We particularly love all the waiters in their white jackets and black sunglasses and they often look more glamourous than the guests. It is very sexy at Film Festival time as the big players all stay there. Enjoy.

  31. What an amazing Provence! We spent our honeymoon this past October exploring the wonders & incredible beauty that Provence offers...and many thanks to Julie's suggestions (I, too, reached out to her prior to traveling to ask for recommendations of must-do's in Provence!) we had an incredible trip. While we enjoyed the coast of southern France (Cannes, Nice), and even though we live in So-Cal and my husband is an avid surfer/waterman, we actually found the most beautiful & romantic places to be in the Luberon - driving through vineyards and winding roads with unbelievable scenery surrounding us - through mountains full of plush greenery and old farmhouses that mirror what you read about in books. Personally, exploring Lourmarin, St. Remy and Gourdes were among our favorites. So romantic - you really can't go wrong. If you can set up a picnic at a winery, I really can't imagine a more romantic venue. True Provence. Have an amazing trip! I have photos from our trip posted on my blog...under "Beautiful Things"...might give you a better idea of locations :)

  32. Hi Katie,
    Thanks for this really nice comment. I didn't know about your blog...glad that I do now. My readers who are interested can simply click your name to go there. Thanks and Best Wishes!

  33. Why not declaring all your intentions in a famous vineyard?
    And conclude this with a conducted tasting?
    The wine and the vineyard will always be a special memory of that moment
    Sincere greetings Mike Rijken Wine Safari

  34. i'd say have a great holiday in provence, take in all these suggestions and propose when you are moved to do so!

    (my wondeful and romantic husband proposed to me AFTER a very romantic trip to a friend's wedding in devon, whilst driving round the london orbital at 90 mph. that was when he was moved to do so..!)

  35. I somehow get the idea that all suggestions made earlier will be on the beaten track shortly... I might have some suggestions, beautiful villages in the Northern part of Provence, not really known by tout le monde, but I prefer not to share them publicly. By mail, no problem.

  36. If she likes big landscapes take her to Gorges du verdon. Spectacular landscape,magnificent views! I'd say yes! Up in the Haute Provence alpes.

  37. This comment has been removed by the author.

  38. Julie!

    my daughter's boyfriend JUST proposed to her on our very own Chic Provence Design Tour a couple of weeks ago!
    He chose the banks of the Sorgue River, in a meadow under the cypress trees at a table with wine, at the "crepescule"!! utterly romantic and beautiful...

    since I knew it was going to happen, I had my camera ready and hid in bushes....she actually did the cheerleader jump! so excited!

    but of course, so many places in Provence come to mind..I love Fontaine la Vaucluse, or Ramatuelle on the coast...

    great fun post!!



  39. Andrea, I agree! The Gorges du Verdon is so beautiful! Perhaps Proposer could do the actual deed at at the Bastide de Moustiers, the hotel and restaurant run by Michelin three-star chef Alain Ducasse. I've been there and it's wonderful. Here's the link:

  40. I live in Alpes Maritimes and I visited several wonderful places in Provence.

    In Vaucluse department you can definitely go to see Isle sur la Sorgue (a small village on Sorgue), but go also to see Fontaine de Vaucluse, and certainly Roussillon and what we call here "Colorado Provencal" (mountains in hundreds of red, yellow, green shades),

    Gordes is also a wonderful village.

    You can stop by Avignon which is a bigger city but lovely as well (in June they organize a great Festival for the Fete de la Musique (Music Festival) which is a tradition in France).

    A little bit further away in the north you also have another jewel: village of Moustiers St Marie (you find there as well some of the most well known French porcelain and faience) and Gourdon (Gorges du Gourdon), that is also awesome.

    I am sending you a link from a site which has plenty of information (it is about Vaucluse department), touristic sites, where you can find accomodation etc etc

    Send me an email directly via LinkedIn if you have more questions ! Hope this helps, Alina

  41. One of the best sea views is Cassis. Book a room at the Chateau de Cassis and propose at sunset. Best, Laurence

  42. If you love her and she loves you, any place is memorable for a propose :)

  43. I think the Le Mas Tourteron is a perfect restaurant to propose! There's a beautiful garden with a gorgeous light in the sunset. Some weddings are celebrated there, is very romantic. I went there with my boyfriend and we loved it!

  44. There's an abandoned little chapel on the grounds of the Minuty vineyards near St Tropez. An easy walk from the tasting room. Perhaps you could ask her to imagine what it must have looked like, what a wedding would look like, etc. nearby, La Verdoyante is one of the best ( and I mean because of location, views , setting and food quality) restaurants around. Ask for a table with the view--- tell them your plan. You will see rolling vineyards all the way to the sea. And it can officially be declared " off the beaten bath" though many have found it and return. Courage.

  45. I agreed with Jessie....a banquet menu and I am totally awe looking at
    all those dishes.