Im planning on proposing to my girlfriend (I am also a girl) of 3 years on our up coming trip to Europe. We are going to most of Western Europe and I have a few places in mind e.g. Paris, Venice, Verona (she loves Shakespeare), somewhere in Spain (San Sebastian maybe) or Cinque Terre. I know she will be stoked no matter where I propose but I thought I might try and get some advice from people who have been to Europe and know the nicest places. As I will most likely be doing it in a public place I would also like to know how people in these countries act towards gay couples. Thanks guys :)
If you are at all worried about how you will be received, then my suggestion is that you do this in one of the countries where same-sex marriage is fully legal. Netherlands is the longest standing of these legalizing in 2000. Although I am straight, I can't think of a finer place than Amsterdam (and its many squares), where you will also find many wonderful B and B's run by same-sex couples.
I don't see where she says she's going to Amsterdam. I haven't been to all of your destinations, but I have been to Paris, Venice, Verona and the Cinque Terre. All of those would be a good choice, but personally I think that Paris is a very romantic city. Also, if you're concerned about how others might react, people in a large city may be more tolerant than in a small place like the CT. It might be cliche, but what a story to say you were proposed to at the top of the Eiffel Tower! Sunset would be a perfect time. If you do this, get your tickets as far in advance as possible so you won't have to wait in a long line.
I would expect that in most big, cosmopolitan cities you would be greeted with applause and well wishes. Congrats and all the best!
Same sex marriage is also fully legal in Spain. Can you give us more of an idea of where you will be in Spain?
I agree with Andrea.. Paris would be the most romantic place of all. And no better place than the Eiffel Tower. Close friends of mine just got engaged on the Eiffel Tower 3 weeks ago, they're gay and everyone clapped and cheered for them. Paris is very gay-friendly and same sex marriage is now legal in France.
I think a proposal atop the Arc de Triomphe would be romantic, with the Champs Elysees at your feet. And if you can manage it so that she says "yes" about a second before the Eiffel Tower sparkles start, that'd be brilliant. No matter what you decide to do, you must come back and tell us how it went.
Even though Romeo and Juliet is fictional, if she's a Shakespeare fan, why not under Juliet's balcony in Verona? Few people are going to look twice at a gay couple, I wouldn't worry about it.
On the Eiffel Tower itself is not that romantic, it's full of tourists, etc. On top of the Arc de Triomphe, as someone mentioned, is better. A great location in Venice, is at the point of Fondamenta Salute and Fondamenta Zattere Ai Saloni, because you can see St. Mark's across the water and all the water traffic coming in and out of Venice.
Wow! What a romantic plan. I'm so jealous! Your girl is lucky to have you! I have no doubt she will be floored. All are stunning. There are some amazing vistas in the Cinque Terre, but its quieter if you are looking for something public. If you are going to Granada, I'd like to put the Alhambra in the ring as a contender. The gardens are beautiful and the architecture stunning. Really, you can't go wrong.
"...would also like to know how people in these countries act towards gay couples." I think Iceland's President summed it up nicely in a talk he gave at Drake University last night. Although he was discussing climate change, someone asked about same sex marriage in Europe versus the U.S. and referenced Iceland's former openly gay (lesbian) prime minister. He simply said that nobody ever talks about this issue there like they do here, because it's simply a natural human thing. That was it. Of course, that's not completely true, because there are unenlightened, backwater places in Europe, where they would just as soon hang you for such an "offense" (just like here). Still, like here, you likely won't encounter any negative attitudes in most places, because most people simply don't see this as some kind of problem. Even marriage equality is just part of regular life in many places – Iceland, Netherlands, France, Spain, Sweden, and more (even Iowa). Congrats.
I really like Brad's idea of Juliet's balcony. I know folks recommend the Eiffel Tower, but it's rather common. Regarding others' reactions, no guarantees, but I think that in general, you will be okay. Best wishes!
Juliet's balcony is pretty crowded too. Of course not as crowded as the Eiffel Tower, but it is a much more compact and confined space. The ET may be more common, but IMO that is for a reason. If my intended was looking for a romantic but public place to propose to me, I would be thrilled if it was at the ET. If you're looking for a private place, of course that would not be it. For a totally private place, maybe on a trail in the Cinque Terre overlooking the sea would be nice. You know your intended. What do you think she would like?
If you did end up with Juliet's balcony, you should time it for lower traffic - as said it can get busy during the middle part of the day. You could also do a little foreshadowing and watch the movie Letters to Juliet before your trip (2010, Amanda Seyfried and Venessa Redgrave).
One of my favorite places in Paris is the Luxembourg Gardens. And there is a terraced area that looks over the pond and is surrounded by urns of bright pink geraniums, with a view of the Eiffel Tower in the background (one of my favorite pictures). Also, a few blocks west of the Luxembourg Gardens, at 27 rue de Fleurus, is the apartment where Gertrude Stein and Alice B. Toklas shared their life together (I believe there is a plaque on the bldg, but I have actually not been there). If your interested in gay history, theirs being one of the most successful and long-lasting lesbian relationships in history, you could go for a walk down rue de Fleurus and into the garden and propose there, overlooking the pond with the ET in the background, knowing that a lifelong relationship was possible, long before it was legal. I'm not gay, so maybe you will think this too contrived. Just throwing it out there...
Gardens of Versailles? Very romantic, and there are some secluded nooks or visible spots, depending on your taste.
Thanks for all the help guys!!! I'm still undecided because there isn't a clear winner from all your very helpful answers but I am feeling a little more comfortable about a public proposal! I'm very happy with all the replys but I'm still happy to hear some more! Of course I will let you know where I end up doing it and the result of it (which I'm sure will be a yes haha) Keep the advice coming :)
Hahahaha I'm not going to Greece buddy