5 original places to propose on the French Riviera

Today, I’m joining in with my first contribution to the ‘All About France’ Blog Link Up.

All About France is a monthly Blog Link Up that started for the first time in February 2015 and takes place every 1st Thursday of the month.  Each link-up lasts a week.

The idea is to link up any posts about France, old or new, as long as there’s something French about the subject. The idea then is that participants and readers will have fun hopping around different blogs reading and learning about France, and discovering lots of new interesting blogs along the way.

The All About France Blog Link Up is overseen by Phoebe Thomas who runs a gite in the region and writes an informative blog called Lou Messugo with tips on travel, French culture and snippets about life here as an expat.   You can subscribe to Phoebe’s blog via the link, ‘Like’ her on Facebook, and follow her on Twitter.

Why visit the French Riviera

The Côte d’Azur – or French Riviera as it is commonly referred to by non-French people – is famous for epitomising an image of fabulous, sun-filled days.

It is true that the French Riviera tempts tourists with promises of cocktails on sun loungers, French cuisine and strolling through cobblestoned villages but there is so much more to the region than this.

Where to propose on the French Riviera

The region is a popular choice for weddings with an agreeable climate and gorgeous venues ranging from luxury villas, castles, vineyards, private beaches, hotels and restaurants.

But what about before the big day? Where would you go to pop the question on the French Riviera?

Forget about a clichéd luxury hotel or Michelin-starred restaurant – here are Access Riviera’s picks for 5 original places to propose on the French Riviera:

1.   Orion Treehouses, Saint-Paul-de-Vence

Saint-Paul-de-Vence is one of the most visited villages on the French Riviera, and this area is home to the lovely Orion Treehouses.

Orion Treehouses, Saint-Paul-de-Vence

A unique bed-and-breakfast resort, the treehouses blend into the surrounding forest and have a view to Saint-Paul-de-Vence village.


One of the distinctive features of the resort is a natural swimming pool that is chlorine and chemical-free.

natural swimming pool at Orion Treehouses

They also offer an eco-friendly sauna, massage with essential oils and yoga lessons to ensure your well-being and relaxation.


2. Circuit de  l’Aiguille, Théoule-sur-Mer

The Massif de l’Esterel owes it’s rust-red hue to rhyolite, an igneous volcanic rock, and the contrast of the red rock to the turquoise ocean is stunning along the N98 coastal road and makes for some of the best scenic driving in the region.

Esterel rocks on the N98 coastal road

At the edge of the Esterel mountains, near Théoule-sur-Mer you will find the Circuit de l’Aiguille, an easy hiking trail that leads past the red rocks to sheltered pebble beaches.

secluded beaches on the Circuit d'Aiguille

The path continues up through a forest track past mimosas and fragrant lavender ending at lookout spots most tourists don’t venture to for some seclusion and a birds-eye view over the Gulf of La Napoule.


3. Batterie de la Convention, Île Sainte-Marguerite

The Lérins Islands off the coast of Cannes are a popular tourist destination on the French Riviera.

Île Sainte-Marguerite, the larger of the two islands, is frequently visited for trips to the Musée de la Mer in Fort Royal, where the Man in the Iron Mask was imprisoned.

But few people wander over to Batterie de la Convention, the lesser known (and less visited) ruins at the other end of this island.  You reach them by following the eucalyptus and pine-fringed Route de la Convention that dissects the middle of the island.

eucalyptus and pine-fringed pathways dissect Île Sainte-Marguerite

Take a picnic hamper and a bottle of champagne and sit beside your own private French ruins.

A photo of me trying  to break into Batterie de la Convention

4. Col de Vence

Situated between the towns of Vence and Coursegoules, the Col de Vence is an alpine hill that is popular for hiking, cyclists and pony schools.

Col de Vence in winter

The Col de Vence’s main attractions are the panoramic views across the French Riviera and the rocky terrain similar to being on the moon.

Barren and under-populated, it’s a great place for quiet moments and stargazing at the Riviera sky due to it’s low pollution levels.

Col de Vence moonscape

It’s also a reputed area for UFO sightings so chances are you’ll end up with a great engagement story regardless.

5. A Mongolian yurt, Villars sur Var

Villars sur Var is 45 minutes from Nice and a favoured destination for hiking, canoeing and rock climbing.

If that sounds like your idea of bliss, Yurts of Domette rent two Mongolian yurts in a wooded park overlooking the Var river.

Yurts of Domette, Villars sur Var

It’s glamour-free but secluded, and a perfect place to swim in the Var river, and listen to birdsong while swinging in a hammock.


Disclaimer: Access Riviera does not act on behalf or have any sales or marketing affiliations to any of the companies mentioned in this article.  All opinions are my own, if you like them I’d love you to please share on Facebook or retweet this on Twitter.


Lou Messugo

Accommodation – SAINT CÉZAIRE (Gem in Provence rural gîte)

The medieval village of Saint Cézaire hangs over the Siagne river and valley and forms a barrier to the neighbouring Var department.  It is a lovely village with old stone houses, a church in the centre and the remnants of the old ‘lavoir’ (wash house).

houses in St Cézaire

old town wash house (lavoir)

Not far from the village, is a local rural gîte nestled in a quiet location down a driveway.  It is a great spot to base yourself so you can enjoy the sights of the area, and is only 15 kilometres from Grasse and 30 kilometres from Cannes so you can be at the coast in a short period of time.

The gîte occupies the ground-floor of a Provençal homestead and sleeps up to 6 guests comfortably – there is one bedroom with a double bed, one bedroom with 2 x single beds and also a double sofabed.  There is a fully equipped kitchen for self-catering, or the gîte owners can offer meals by request.

the ground-floor gîte and pool area © Photo courtesy of Gem in Provence

The entrance to the gîte is past a wide open pool area with deck, and there is a treehouse and trampoline for children.  WiFi and Sky Freeview is also offered.

gîte entrance © Photo courtesy of Gem in Provence

The gîte is on the ground-floor so it is stroller-friendly and wheelchair accessible, and there is plenty of carparking.

Some other options that the owners can assist you with when booking are:

Crew Getaways – Team building and ‘down-time’ for yacht crew, spend a weekend away from the coast in a Provençal setting (cheaper than the cost of a crew house).

Hiking: The SD2 trail, marked as a GR (Grande Randonnée) passes through St. Cézaire. To the southeast, the SD2 connects with the GR51 (Balcony of the Cote d’Azur) near Le Tignet. To the north, the SD2 goes up through some beautiful valleys, passing the village of Escragnolles about 6-7 km away.




Skiing – St Cézaire is located halfway between the coast and the mountains.

Yoga or beauty weekends (hair, nails, massage) – good for Hen’s weekends!

Picnics and Barbeques – the gîte owners can custom-make picnic baskets and barbeque supplies

Mini conferences

Travel tip:  For autumn/winter, they have a special deal:  Book a minimum 2-night stay you receive a complimentary bottle of house wine per booking and a daily continental breakfast.  For bookings go to www.geminprovence.com