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France vs. Italy: which is better for a destination wedding?

Do you find yourself wondering which of these two European countries - Italy or France - is a better wedding destination?

Let’s try to figure it out by answering a few questions.

Beautiful bodies of water for a dreamy wedding in Europe? Lake Como and Lake Garda in Italy are great options but Côte d'Azur in southeast France is also a wonderful choice.

Picturesque countryside venues for a laidback elopement? See the vineyards of Tuscany in Italy and the scenic lavender fields of Provence in the South of France.

How about luxury hotels with unparalleled city views? You’ve got to check out the wedding venues in Venice and Paris!

The list can go on and on to determine which of these two romantic countries will win as the best wedding destination in Europe.

But we’ll leave that decision up to you.

For now, we will take you on a trip to the unique features and awe-inspiring sites in Italy and France with the hope that by the end of this post, you’ll be able to decide whether it’s an Italian elopement or an intimate French wedding that’s right for you.

Dreamy waterside elopements: Italian lakes and beaches vs. French Riviera

Italian lakes and beaches

When it comes to waterside elopements, Lake Como and Lake Garda in Italy will guarantee a blissful big day. Along the calm Italian waters are historic villas with terraces fronting the lake. Here, you can have a scenic ceremony with the breathtaking views of Lake Garda or Lake Como, peaceful Italian villages, and forested mountains just across the lake.

Surreal beach wedding venues are also scattered across Italy. Some of the loveliest include luxury resorts in Sicily, seaside elopement villas, and secluded sandy beach venues in Sardinia.

The French Riviera

While Italian lakeside venues impress with mountain views and scenes from local Italy, wedding spots along Côte d'Azur are simply captivating with wide sea views that stretch out as far as the eye can see!

French Riviera elopement spots offer beach views consisting of a sandy coast and an endless horizon - a perfect location for a lovely sunset wedding. Compared to Italian lakes, Côte d'Azur offers a more urban vibe with venue options like top of the range restaurants and luxury beach hotels.

Our tip

If you’re looking for a quiet and serene atmosphere for your wedding in Europe, an Italian lakeside ceremony may be more fitting for you. But if you want a beachside urban vibe for your ceremony, a venue along the French Riviera could be your best option.

Countryside wedding venues: Tuscany vs. South-West France

Some couples fly all the way to Europe for the serenity that the European countryside brings. That’s what we’ve heard from couples who asked for our assistance with wedding planning in Europe. They often tell us, “We just want a peaceful ceremony with the wonderful views of the European countryside. Which destination will you recommend?”

If you find yourself asking the same question, take a look at your options for a wedding venue in Tuscany and South-West France.

Tuscany

Tuscan elopement spots include country houses overlooking wide green fields, farmhouses, vineyards, and elegant villas with medieval features. Most wedding venues in Tuscany sit on top of Italian rolling hills, offering views of mountainous landscapes and humble villages down below. Tuscany is also home to works of arts and structures reminiscent of the Renaissance and the middle ages.

South-west France

Elopement spots in South-west France, on the other hand, often lie behind beautiful forests, far from the hustle and bustle of French tourist spots. The region is dotted with historic buildings, charming chateaus, and peaceful vineyards. While you get the chance to say your I do in a charming French chateau hidden beneath the forest, you can visit heritage sites scattered along South-west France after your wedding day.

Our tip

It’s hard to decide which of the two is better for a European wedding with complete serenity: Tuscan countryside or rural South-west France. But one thing we’re sure of is that with either option, you will enjoy authentic European wines that will make your wedding more enjoyable!

Popular cities for destination elopements: Rome and Venice vs. Paris and Bordeaux

Rome and Venice

From the sound of the city ‘Rome,’ you can already imagine the Colosseum, the Trevi Fountain, St. Peter’s Square, and of course, St. Peter's Basilica. Rome is a destination that people from around the world dream of experiencing. Equally popular as a tourist destination is Venice with the Grand Canal, Rialto bridge, and historic Venetian buildings.

These two Italian cities are also home to unique elopement spots that beat the most expensive wedding venues elsewhere in the world.

Some of our best recommendations for a destination elopement in Rome are rooftop restaurants and luxury hotels with outdoor ceremony spots overlooking the Roman cityscape. The best Venetian wedding venues, on the other hand, consist of historic palaces, hilltop villas, and open spaces along the Grand Canal.

Paris and Bordeaux

When you think of a wedding in Paris, the Eiffel tower will always come to mind. Millions of couples are dreaming of a Parisian elopement with the Eiffel tower behind them!

For European elopement planners like us, we can think of other wedding venues in Paris that guarantee an equally extraordinary experience. Probably even better than an Eiffel tower wedding.

Our top picks are historic public parks surrounded by vibrant gardens and century-old sculptures, and rooftop ceremony spots overlooking the Parisian cityscape. Some luxury hotels in the city are fitting for intimate elopements and a grand honeymoon!

Not as popular as Paris is Bordeaux that many people consider as the best French city. Among your options for a wedding venue here are rustic country houses, charming riverside chateaus, lovely vineyards, sandy beaches of Arcachon, and the famous wine producing town of St. Émilion. Bordeaux is a wonderful place for destination weddings because it’s accessible, it offers lofty views of cityscapes and rich greenery, and you can literally just walk to enjoy its wonders.

Our tip

If you prefer a historic location with old buildings and architecture, Rome and Venice are great options for your wedding in Europe. But if you want to experience the present-day European culture, choose Paris for your big day. Bordeaux, on the other hand, offers a perfect blend of culture, city luxuries, and a calm nature vibe.

Unique elopement spots: Amalfi villas and hotels vs. historic French chateaus

Amalfi villas and hotels

A vertical city with hotels, villas, and historic buildings descending from the top to the shores of the Tyrrhenian Sea is a scenery that’s hard to beat. This view of Amalfi makes it a top tourist spot in southern Italy. Whatever time of the day you choose, celebrating your wedding here will be an experience of a lifetime.

Some of the top Amalfi wedding venues that we recommend are villas right at the edge of the vertical city, offering surreal views of the sea. Have a ceremony just before dinner and you’ll have wonderful sunset hues for a backdrop as the sea reflects the glorious sight of the sun going down.

French chateaus

Historic French chateaus in southwest France are equally wonderful spots for your wedding in Europe. Medieval chateaus next to vineyards, red-brick chateaus in the middle of the forest, century-old chateaus above French rolling hills, or a chateau estate complete with a reception hall and fairytale French gardens are available for your big day in France.

Most of them can be rented exclusively for a private experience between you and your loved one. If you’re bringing your favorite people in the world, you will all have a taste of luxurious French living when you choose one of these exclusive chateaus for your wedding, honeymoon, and vacation in Europe!

Our tip

If you’re in love with beach sceneries and your idea of a perfect wedding is having the glorious sunset as your backdrop, we encourage you to get married in Amalfi. We have seen how our couples’ beach wedding dreams came true after they braved all the challenges of travelling to Italy for a wedding in Amalfi. It’s an experience worth all the effort it requires.

On the other hand, if you want to have a fairytale wedding with all the comforts of fine French living, we recommend getting married in a French chateau. It offers a relaxing vibe next to forests, vineyards, and rolling hills, an experience of living inside elegant French chateaus, and a taste of the finest French cuisines during your whole stay.

European wedding feast: Italian food vs French cuisines

Italian food

It’s a mortal sin to get married in Italy without cheese on the table! It doesn’t matter whether you’re having an intimate dinner with just the two of you or a grand wedding reception with your friends and family. You’ve got to have Italian cheese and pastries for your wedding in Italy. If possible, request for cheese produced from the regions of Trentino, Veneto, or Lombardy.

Needless to say, Italian pizza has to be part of your celebration. Complete your buffet table with authentic pizza, pasta, and risotto made by Italian natives who know the original recipes for these traditional dishes. As for the main courses, include Tuscan tomato bread soup with steamed mussels, grilled fish with artichoke caponata, and beef brasato with pappardelle and mint in your wedding menu.

After the main course, indulge in delectable desserts like the Sicilan sweet cannoli and the Italian icy dessert, sorbetto, served in cold tall glasses. Sorbetto comes in fruity flavors of strawberry, lemon, mandarin, and mint which makes the perfect finish for every meal.

French cuisines

French people love good food, and some of the world-class cuisines from France include chicken breast in morel cream sauce, lentils and red cabbage purée for vegetarians, and Moules Marinières or mussels in white wine and parsley.

French desserts are definitely gorgeous and luscious, like croquembouche that takes the place of an ordinary wedding cake. We will never forget the rich flavors of authentic French soufflé that will leave you speechless after taking a bite! So go ahead and enjoy each delectable French dish and dessert that you can find when you get married in France!

Our tip

While none is more superior than the other, Italian foods have more carbs in them and are complete in themselves when served than French foods which rely heavily on sauces that you have to pour over the dish before taking a bite. French chefs and locals also pay attention to the appearance of the dishes while Italians often serve food fresh from the oven or the pan, as the case may be.

Nevertheless, both Italian and French dishes are worth the trip to Europe. In fact, the amazing gastronomical experience is one of the things that our couples treasure the most when they got married in Italy and France.

Although restaurants promising authentic French and Italian dishes are scattered all over the world, they can never compete with local chefs who have stayed all their lives in France and Italy to perfect their craft.

We therefore conclude...

As narrated above, France and Italy compete in grandeur as the best wedding destination in Europe. Each has a unique beauty of its own that will give any couple an experience of a lifetime.

Consider the tips that we mentioned above while deciding between having a French elopement or a small wedding in Italy. You can also read a more comprehensive guide in our dedicated wedding destination page for each European country.

If you still find it hard to choose, contact us and schedule a consultation call with our wedding planners.

Peach Perfect Weddings has a dedicated wedding planner for each country who can answer your questions and address your country-specific concerns.

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