Epic Engagement in the Olive Groves in Les Baux de Provence

I love photographing surprise proposals and engagements in Provence, so when I was contacted for a surprise proposal photoshoot in Les Baux de Provence, I was thrilled!

engaged couple walk through olive groves in les baux de provence

Planning the Surprise Proposal

Victor, who lives in South Bay, northern California, contacted me about a surprise proposal in Provence. He shared his itinerary with me, and I gave him some thoughts on great places to propose in Provence. Provence, unlike Paris, is a huge region in the south of France and there are hundreds of possibilities.

Most people who want to become engaged in Provence, are traveling to Nice, and then doing a tour of the French Riviera, and maybe some of the cities in Provence. They’re looking for something a bit less cliché than the Eiffel Tower. Not that I feel the Eiffel Tower is cliché, but many of my clients do. They feel that the proposal will not be as appreciated in a place where so many other people propose. It’s true, a proposal in Nice, the French Riviera, or Provence certainly will be more of a surprise, and no less wonderful and beautiful than Paris. Paris is a very crowded city at all times, Provence has a lot of rural area, beautiful weather, and a much more laid back approach. For those who want to do something different, this is a wonderful option.

Deciding Where to Propose in Provence

Victor and I discussed the areas he’d be visiting. Nice, Antibes, St. Tropez, Aix-en-Provence, and then Orange, before heading back to Paris. I told him more about where I live, Arles, a fantastic old Roman town, made famous because Vincent Van Gogh lived and painted here in the 1800s, and also well known for its weekly Provençal market and many activities and festivals in summer time.

Victor was also really interested in the olive groves, which are everywhere in this part of Provence. This is where much of the olive oil, the delicious stuff, is produced. A wonderful natural place with olive groves is nearby to the town of Les Baux de Provence. Located on a rock in the Alpilles mountains (meaning “Little Alps”), this little village is listed on the Most Beautiful Villages of France list and has the ruins of a chateau. The village is tiny, but has great views, and is surrounded by interesting rock formations. It also has great hiking trails for those that love the outdoors, and the Carrières de Lumières, a stunning interactive art experience in an old quarry.

man and woman walk through olive grove
man and woman old hands in olive grove in provence
woman is surprised by engagement in olive grove
man on one knee proposes to woman in olive grove

For those who like luxury, there’s two 5-star resorts near Les Baux, Baumanière, and Domaine de Manville, which also has a golf course (a rarity in France).

Victor liked the idea of having engagement photos in Les Baux, but also in my colorful town of Arles. He thought getting on one knee in an olive grove would be great, as they both love nature and olives. I was totally up for it!

Preparing for the Surprise Proposal

I woke up early the morning of the proposal, and caught the first bus of the day to a beautiful village in the Alpilles called Maussaune-les-Alpilles. From there, I walked in the first morning light to the countryside near Les Baux, where we’d be meeting. I sat under an olive tree and waited for Victor and his girlfriend, Tina, to arrive. They were driving in from Aix-en-Provence, and of course Tina had no idea what was to happen.

Getting Down on One Knee

Finally, the moment arrived. Victor parked his car alongside the road, and the couple headed into the olive grove, just beneath the rock of Les Baux. They did some selfies and I sort of snuck behind some olive trees so Tina wouldn’t see me. This was a bit tricky, but I was able to get the proposal, and oh my word, was it beautiful! After the proposal, I introduced myself to the couple, and Tina was so surprised. It was a simply gorgeous morning, in a beautiful setting.

man proposes to woman in olive grove
man presents engagement ring in olive grove in provence
couple embrace after getting in engaged in olive grove
man proposes to woman in les baux de provence
diamond engagement ring on olive tree in les baux de provence
smiling couple run in olive grove with mountain in background

A few more photos in the olive groves for this newly engaged couple, and then we headed up the rock to walk around Les Baux a little. Les Baux welcomes roughly 1.5 million visitors a year, so getting there in the early morning, like we did, ensures the best experience. Sometimes this area experiences fierce winds, called the mistral winds, which can gust over 50mph, but this day was warm and the wind was calm.

A Photoshoot Around Les Baux de Provence

After a walk around Les Baux, and soaking in the amazing views, we headed south to Arles. I moved to Arles part-time from Paris during the early part of the pandemic, in an effort to also reclaim my active outdoor lifestyle, that I enjoyed, living in Los Angeles. Not only does Arles offer great restaurants, museums, festivals, shopping and Roman history, but surrounding Arles are so many nature opportunities. You can hike in the nearby mountains, ride a bike for hours and hours on wonderful trails, discover birds and horses and the sea in the Camargue nature area, and so much more. Just 20 minutes by train from Avignon, and one hour by train from Marseille, Arles has a lot of charm packed into it, and I love it.

man kisses woman's cheek in les baux de provence
engaged couple dance in front of chapel in les baux de provence
man and woman dressed in white walk in medieval village
man and woman in embrace in les baux de provence
woman shows off her new engagement ring in les baux de provence
newly engaged couple walk in les baux de provence
engaged couple hold hands in chapel in les baux de provence
man and woman sit in lavoir in france
engaged couple pose with fortress in background
newly engaged couple kiss beneath flowers in les baux de provence
man and woman look at scenery in les baux de provence
man and woman embrace near chapel in les baux de provence

Engagement Photos in An Historic Town

What I love also is sharing the town with visitors. We injected a lot of color into Victor and Tina’s engagement, with stately 17th century colorful buildings and vines, flowers and plants everywhere. In July, the town is at its peak, with visitors from all over the world enjoying its photography festival and other festivals that take place in summer time. People walk around town enjoying the sights, licking ice cream cones, and taking advantage of the sunny skies. I so enjoyed showing Victor and Tina around, and the worst part of the day was when I had to say goodbye to them! We ended with them having iced coffees at a cute café, in the same square where Van Gogh painted “Le Café de Nuit”.

It was an absolute pure joy to capture Victor and Tina’s engagement in Provence, and I wish them happiness and love for a lifetime.

Karina Leigh Photography

If you’d love to capture your surprise proposal and engagement, reach out and share all the details, I can’t wait to capture your special moment in Provence!

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I adore capturing love stories in France! From the grandeur of the most romantic city on earth, Paris, to the colorful and lively seaside city of Nice, to the lavender fields and olive groves of charming Provence, France is filled with stunning beauty. To better understand my approach and my style, have a look at my work, by selecting a category below. Here, you'll get a better idea of how I can tell your love story, too!

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