Wedding venue in Loire Valley, France – wedding photographer in Chateau de Challain
Chateau wedding venue in France
Imagine a magnificent Neo-Gothic Chateau in a place with no tourists around… and you don’t have to die to get there. It’s a real dream come true wedding venue for brides who are looking for a bohemian french style wedding. A real-life fairy tale. And it’s not only a fairy tale for you, but it’s also one for me as a wedding photographer in the Chateau Challain.
It lies deep in the French countryside of Loire Valley, in a small village called Challain la Potherie. Loire Valley is famous for its wine production, stunning chateaus, and energetic culture. Chateau Challain offers all of that.
You can have the entire place just for your wedding.
There’s a small forest with ivies around tree trunks and fields of wildflowers around the chateau. Outside Challain la Potherie is nothing like Tokyo, so the feeling of owning the whole thing is quite real. The serenity of the village amazes me, interrupted only by the annual horse race or the local bar just across the street.
Being built in 1854 the Chateau is a true treasure of the past. Opening the squeaky doors of the chateau is another kind of adventure. You know that feeling when you find a bag full of treasures in grandpa’s attic, from the time you were not born yet, you’ve got it here. Whenever I walk inside the chateau I feel the history of this place trying to tell its stories from the past. It might be the chateau, or it might be the way the owner of the chateau has designed and decorated every corner of it. Every room has a different story to tell – it’s either romantic, lavish, or chick – I like all of them.
Wedding photographer in France
It’s been my privilege to be a wedding photographer in Chateau Challain for the past 11 years now. Every spring when I first arrive there, the place just blows my mind away again and again. In spring it’s gardens are full of blooming trees and spring flowers. The forest is covered with a magnificent carpet of bluebells. During the summer weddings hortensias have exploded together with the scent of lavender and queens of the garden – Roses. In autumn the foggy mornings are perfect for couples that want a hint of mystery to be added to their wedding photographs.
A wedding designed by the chateau owner Cynthia has a character no one can copy. There is no wedding alike. She keeps the most talented people together in her team from all over the world. Be it a florist from the United States, acrobats from Poland, photographers from Latvia, videographers from the Czech Republic – everyone is a true professional in their own field. Chefs are local though because they’re that good. There’s nothing Cynthia can’t get done for you. Would you like a hot air balloon in the back garden? Or a proper unicorn running around, or an ice rink? Voila! There it is.
To book your best chateau wedding in France at Chateau Challain click here.
Some of the weddings that I’ve shot at Chateau de Challain
Chateau wedding in France – Midsummer’s Night Dream at Chateau de Challain
Wedding photographer in Loire Valley, France
There are no two weddings alike in there. I believe I’ve photographed near 100 at the chateau and it always amazes me how they come up with new things to surprise both the clients and me.
Getting ready in Chateau Challain
I like to start the day with a smell of hairspray when girls are getting ready in the morning. That just reminds me of the importance of the day ahead. Guys usually take it a bit easier with either a beer in the pub across the street or doing whatever they choose to. The variety of rooms provides me with a perfect environment for getting ready photos.
Chateau Chalain wedding ceremony
Most wedding ceremonies take place either outdoors in the back garden’s gazebo or in church next to the chateau. With no strong preference for one over the other, I have few tips here. If you’re having a summer wedding, it can get quite hot during the day and the light is harsh, so I recommend having an outdoor wedding ceremony later in the afternoon, say 5 pm, the light is beautiful then, shadows are less harsh than during the day, so yes, that’s my preference. As for the church – there’s always the same amount of light there and the weather is not an issue.
Loire Valley wedding photoshoot
The evening light is fabulous at Chateau Challain and it’s a true joy to be a wedding photographer there. Sun is up for quite a while so we have plenty of time for photos after the ceremony. I’ll take you through the rooms inside the chateau for photos while wedding guests are having cocktails outside. Then we’ll take photos in the gardens of the property. After that, I’ll take you to the village or sunflower fields for more photographs. This way I’ll be able to tell the story through wedding photographs.
Most amazing Chateau dinner and party
Enjoy the perfectly designed wedding dinner and party like there’s no tomorrow. I’ll take photos of that.
Elopement photographer in Loire Valley
It’s quite often that couples come to elope in France at Chateau Challain. This requires a slightly different approach from a wedding photographer, but I’ve adopted some tricks to get the best out of it. We’ll spend most of the time taking wedding photographs and I’ll be focusing on just two of you all day. Be it the getting ready or ceremony, all focus will be in you. If you’re eloping in the chateau, you can also choose to have your ceremony in the Memorial Tower, on the bridge, in the chapel, secret garden, forest, or anywhere you please. Be sure to let Cynthia know and she’ll make it happen. As there are no guests to entertain, we’ll spend more time driving around and taking elopement photos in the nearby villages and fields. Please take a set of comfy shoes with you as well as average Jimmy Choo’s are not well suited for wheat or sunflower fields.
Boudoir photoshoots in France
The design of the rooms inspires you for a boudoir photoshoot, you’ll see that when you’ll get there. I’m happy to do one either in the night before the wedding or on the morning of the wedding day, or a couples shoot the following morning after the wedding if you’ll be able to. These photos are not published, they can be printed in a separate album fur just two of you to enjoy.
Top 5 questions and answers I thought you’d be interested in:
1. How far is it and how to get there?
The quickest way of getting there is flying into Nantes airport. You can fly to Nantes directly from Paris, London, Amsterdam and other cities, I recommend that you arrange a pickup at the airport with the chateau, they do this for any number of people, be it just two of you or a full group. There’s a good high-speed TGV train connection from Angers to Paris, either the city center or Paris CDG airport, so if you’re spending a day wandering around Paris or want to fly away, you have your options. A typical train journey to Paris Montparnasse is 1hr 40 mins, to CDG airport it’s approx 2hrs 30 mins.
2. How many guests can the chateau host?
There are eight suites in the chateau, there’s a recently renovated coach house offering 13 rooms for more guests and a gatehouse offering a two-bedroom apartment. The chateau hosts up to 120 people for events and it can accommodate 50 guests
3. What kind of wedding ceremonies do they provide?
Outdoor wedding ceremonies are the most common ones, they mostly take place in the back garden of the chateau. You can also have a wedding ceremony in the forest. Smaller ceremonies can be arranged either in the secret garden, memorial tower, or in the chapel inside the chateau. The other option is to have the wedding ceremony in the church which is located in the village just outside the chateau.
4. What else is there to do and see?
If you there for a week, don’t worry, you won’t be bored. Chateau provides a billiard room, massage room, you can enjoy some lawn games or horse riding. You can just sip the vine in the shade if you feel like it. There’s a pub right across the street, only locals understand their opening times, but if there are guests in the chateau, it usually stays open. And then, out of nowhere, it’s full of people on a random Thursday night. Go figure.
The nearby city of Angers provides you with everything you expect from a historical french town – culture, history, shopping, and dining. There is a number of excellent vineyards around the Chateau hosting vine tastings and wine tours. If you’re in to enjoy something truly medieval thy also organize tours to Mont St Michel. When I’m there in a car, I just choose to drive to the empty beaches of the Atlantic coast. It takes about 2,5 hrs to get there but it’s totally worth it.
5. How much does it cost to book a wedding venue in Loire Valley
Although I don’t have exact numbers, getting married and booking a wedding venue in Loire valley is considerably cheaper than in the South of France, or Paris, or anywhere in England.