French Connections

Find Holiday accommodation in France

  • New! Win a spring break in the south of France

    Our latest competition offers you the chance to win an April or May week at the picturesque Domaine de Barthe, an ancient wine domain near Carcassonne in the heart of the wine regions of Languedoc-Roussillon.

    Owners Mark and Nicole Adams have tastefully restored four former workers’ cottages to create beautiful self-catering gites. There’s a large swimming pool with terrace in a sheltered walled garden, spacious games barn, giant outdoor chess and a full size covered Petanque court.

    In association with FrenchEntree Magazine, we’re inviting you to enter to win one week’s stay for up to four people in the prestigious Alaric Cottage, opened just last year and pictured above. (Travel is not included).

    The cottage has a large lounge with separate dining kitchen and a feature spiral staircase leads to one double and one twin bedroom, both en suite. Outside, the cottage has its own patio and BBQ area.

    The beautiful Canal du Midi is very close, as are the wine regions of Minervois and Corbiere. In 15 minutes you can drive to Carcassonne’s famous mediaeval walled city and in 40 minutes to the Mediterranean coast.

  • Save up to 75% on rail fares to the South of France in May and June

    Rail Europe, the experts in European rail tickets and passes and our rail travel partner, is currently offering savings of up to 75% on journeys to the South of France this summer.

    Routes covered by the offer include Brussels and Lille to Lyon, Bordeaux, Perpignan, Nice, Toulouse, Montpellier and Avignon, with standard class fares starting at £32.50 one way from Lille or £36 one way from Brussels. First class tickets are also included in the offer, with fares starting at £41.50 from Lille and £50.50 from Brussels.

    Travelling via Brussels and Lille offers the additional benefit that onward services usually depart from the same station as trains arriving from the UK, avoiding the need to negotiate the Paris Metro.

    The offer will be available to book until Saturday 5 June, for travel between Friday 25 May and Saturday 30 June, making it perfect for anyone wanting a quick get-away for some summer sun or to make the most of the long Jubilee Bank Holiday weekend.

    Tickets at the offer prices will be limited so travellers are advised to book early through our one-stop link to Rail Europe to avoid disappointment.

  • France to Corsica - a fantastic ferry experience

    We’re all familiar with the crossings on the English Channel between the UK and France, either by Eurotunnel or ferry. But have you ever thought of making the ferry experience part of your holiday? I recently had the opportunity to do just this, travelling from Marseille to the wonderful French Mediterranean island of Corsica, a distance of approximately 330 kms. Whether you are looking to spend your full holiday on the island or just a part of it, it is well worth experiencing the overnight SNCM Ferry to reach Corsica.  

    Early one evening in October we boarded the SNCM vessel Pascal Paoli (named after Filippo Antonio Paquale di Paoli, who I later learned was a Corsican patriot and leader who designed and wrote the Constitution of the State). Swift embarkation allowed us enough time to become acquainted with our small but comfortable cabin with en-suite shower/WC before we sailed and to get ready for dinner on board ship. 

    A buffet salad entrée that was satisfying enough as a full meal was laid out enticingly in the dining room where one served oneself, followed by a choice of main meal and delicious desserts to die for (again help yourself buffet). Accompanied by a delightful Corsican Rose, this was a perfect way to start our trip to Corsica.  

    SNCM runs ferries from various ports along the south coast of France. You can either fly down to your Port of Embarkation or do as we did and take the Eurostar to Paris, making the simple change across stations via the efficient RER metro from Gare du Nord to Gare de Lyon. The speedy, comfortable TGV between Paris and Marseille added to the laid back mood of the trip as we relaxed into our seats and watched the French countryside fly by. From the station at Marseille it’s a short distance (metro or taxi) to the Place de la Joliette where we boarded the ship.

    For anyone staying along the south coast of France, a trip to Corsica makes an unforgettable experience and is well worth adding to your trip. Our photo shows the ferry at the island's port of Bastia.

    Aferry.co.uk have a wide choice of routes and ferry companies in the UK and Europe and you can compare prices in one easy hit! 

  • Golden Var - a glorious year-round destination in the South of France

    Everything beautiful can be found in the Var, our Mediterranean region of the month – landscape, beaches, resorts, climate, even the people. As part of the Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur region, the department enjoys the reputation of being one of the most exclusive areas of France.

    The first superlative is the Corniche des Maures, known as the most beautiful coastal drive in France with views of sweeping sands, rocks and pines over an azure sea, rich forests and luxury homes of the rich and famous. In the peak months of summer, this road is heaving, but in autumn or spring sunshine you can enjoy a less crowded jaunt.

    Another evocative outing involves hopping on a ferry to the Îles d'Hyères, a group of Mediterranean islands that give you a glimpse of what the Riviera was like before the crowds hit around 50 years ago. Porquerolles, now a nature reserve, is the best of the islands and can be enjoyed on foot or with a leisurely cycle ride.

    Inland, the Gorges du Verdon form a spectacular canyon, with claims to being the most beautiful in Europe and a rival to America’s Grand Canyon.  This thousand year old rock forms cliffs on a fabulous scale and harbours the lakes of Sainte Croix and Esparron. Wonderful scenery to hike and the more ambitious can indulge in some climbing or windsurfing.

    Var’s main city of Toulon has a wealth of markets, museums, monuments and cultural events and its bay is spectacular.  The old town of Draguignan is a labyrinth of narrow streets,  squares and fountains, with intriguing houses and hidden alleys. On boulevard John Kennedy is the American cemetery, last resting place of 861 soldiers who died in the 1944 landings.

    The Var may be exclusive, but we have holiday properties that offer both kerb appeal and excellent value - perfect for all tastes and budget. Charming B&B starts at just £56 per room per night, you can book an apartment from just £175 a week or a lovely villa in countryside, woods or close to the sea. Mon Cabanon villa lies between Cannes and St Tropez and is just a few minutes’ walk from the rocky calanque or cove in our photo above.

    Enquire with owners about flexible booking dates, a long weekend or a long winter let of a month or more, with prices considerably reduced. Browse our Var properties and check out our guide to the region.

  • Grab a bargain long winter let in France

    France is not only for holidays! A number of our owners offer long winter lets at their properties with rental by the month at very favourable rates.

    Long winter lets can run from one month right up to six months. Most property owners offer lets from November up to late February or March, depending partly on the region and local weather.

    Maybe you fancy escaping the British winter and are drawn to southern regions of France where temperatures are generally higher and there is more light and sunshine. Or perhaps you want to get away for a sabbatical and do that writing, photography or meditation you’ve been promising yourself.

    If you’re thinking of buying in France, a winter rental is a great way to be on the spot for viewing properties when they come on the market, get to know the region and way of life and improve your spoken French.

    Families thinking of emigrating often want to do the very sensible thing of ‘try before you buy’. Many even put their children into French schools for a while and really get a true taste of the lifestyle.

    Our ‘Long Winter Lets’ pages list a range of attractive properties whose owners offer this service. Most invite you to get in touch to discuss rates, so use their weekly rental quoted as simply a guide to where they sit in the market. If the Provencale apartments in our photo have started you dreaming, why not check out our long winter lets right now?

  • Holidays in Aude, the sunny south of France

    The Aude is a small area that seems to encapsulate all the best of France. A hot, sunny climate, miles of low-key Mediterranean coastline, the majestic Pyrenees mountains, vast vineyards producing iconic wines, colourful markets selling luscious local produce, picturesque farmhouses to stay in – oh and the capital, Carcassonne, is one of France’s most romantic historic cities.

    No wonder the Aude is our region of the month. Located in southern central France, in Languedoc-Roussillon, it’s a popular choice for holidays and we have a really good selection of accommodation, from seaside apartments to chateau gites and family villas in peaceful countryside.

    This is Cathar country, so there is plenty of history to discover. Amongst  a rich heritage are medieval castles, ‘Citadelles du vertige’ (literally ‘head spin’ citadels), sites of the 13th century Cathars who were so persecuted, romanesque abbeys and cloisters, prehistoric caves and the Roman city of Narbonne.

    This territory is ideal for viticulture and the Aude contains the biggest and oldest vineyard of France.  Fitou, Corbières and Cabardès are among the wine making areas and, when it comes to food to accompany such delights, gastronomy here has been taken to the level of a fine art.

    Aude offers a wide range of outdoor activities in spectacular and varied landscapes, not least walks under century-old trees bordering the famous Canal du Midi, the miracle of engineering that forms a 360-km network of navigable waterways that are such fun to cruise. Then there is hiking, water sports, cycle touring, mountain biking and cave exploration.

    festival mairie Carcassonne

     

     

     

     

     

    Carcassonne really is a must-see. Once the inspiration for ‘The Sleeping Beauty’, the city lies inside imposing medeival ramparts with 52 towers and is a maze of narrow streets, memorable views, fascinating sites and reminders of Cathar history. When you get tired of sightseeing, just wander into one of the 50 restaurants located inside the central Citadel area.

    In July the city celebrates two popular festivals - the Festival de La Cite and the Festival de la Bastide. The first features concerts of classical and pop music by world renowned artists, while the second combines opera and dance, music, theater and performance, both traditional and experimental.

    See more about the region and find your perfect holiday accommodation at our complete guide to the Aude.

    Canal du Midi photo by Paul Palau, Aude Tourism

  • New! Win a week at a Provencal farmhouse gite

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    We’ve teamed up again with FrenchEntree magazine to offer you the chance to win a holiday at Mas Berangere, a lovely 18th century stone farmhouse in two acres of gardens with wisteria, lavender and mimosa scenting the air.

    The Mas and three gites are on the edge of the medieval village of Vers Pont du Gard, close to Uzes and are surrounded by vineyards, olive groves and orchards. Owners Philippe and Cathy Plauchut  have renovated these comfortable, stylish holiday homes to preserve their great character and charm and have added private terraces and a swimming pool.

    The competition is to win one week’s stay for two adults and (optionally) two children under twelve in Gite Laurier (travel is not included). Enjoy fabulous views to the Gorge du Gardon from the bedroom and a spacious private shaded terrace with sofas and dining table.

    Enjoy the beaches and canoeing at the River Gardon, just 200 metres away, or take a 2km stroll through the wild herbs of the garrigue to the awe-inspiring Roman aqueduct, the Pont du Gard. Visit the nearby vibrant city of Uzes or go just a little further afield to Nimes, Avignon and Arles. Go wine tasting and buying from excellent, little known local producers.

    See more about Mas Berangereand enter the competition here

  • Nice Carnival and Spring flower festivals in the South of France

    In the south of France, along the coast of the magical Mediterranean, it’s time to celebrate Spring. Biggest and most exuberant of all celebrations is the carnival in Nice on the Cote d’Azur. Here, the processions of elaborate floats work their way up to a crescendo of gigantic decorations on the Place Masséna.

    These massive, colourful parades take place day and night, with entertainment provided by over 1,000 musicians and dancers from around the world. This year, Nice carnival continues until  1st March and on Saturday 21st and 28th February there is a flower parade in the afternoon and a Carnival Parade of Lights in the evening.


    Menton is also on the Cote d’Azur, close to Monte Carlo, and the Menton Lemon festival continues  until 4 March, with fabulous displays of citrus fruits and flowers.

    The medeival village of Tourrettes-sur-Loup lies between the mountains and the sea and hosts a charming Violet festival on 21st and 22 February, celebrating the village’s role as a centre of cultivation of the beautiful, perfumed flowers.

    Fluffly yellow Mimosa flowers are gorgeous, bright symbols of spring in warmer climes. Bormes-les-Mimosas, situated between Hyeres and Saint Tropez, holds a Grand Mimosa procession on 22nd February, and from here you can drive the mimosa route between the Maures mountains and the sea.

    We’ve a range of gorgeous apartments and Provencal villas to rent in and around these towns and villages, for spring, summer and autumn holidays and fun short breaks beside the blue Mediterranean. Where will you stay for the flowers, floats and sunshine?

  • North or South of France? September’s French Property News features our owners

    Ever been torn between holidaying or relocating to the North or South of France? In the September issue of French Property News, two French Connections gite owners talk about living and running gites in their corner of the country - one in Brittany in the north, the other in l'Hérault in the south.

     France is a large country with massive variations in landscape, weather, culture, local produce, sights and activities. Whether you love to go on holiday or long to relocate, it can be tough to decide which region would suit your taste and lifestyle priorities. Our gite owners are located all over France, but especially in the popular holiday areas – and some of them clearly have terrific enthusiasm for their corner of France. So we asked two such owners to explain the appeal of their region.

    149174 Ollerenshaw La Chaumiere Cottage and pool

    In the three magazine article, which is also highlighted on the front cover and Contents page of French Property News, Ron and Sue Ollerenshaw explain how they grabbed a last minute week’s holiday on impulse at a Brittany gite. They were soon hooked by the setting and the peace and quiet - and then discovered that the owner happened to know somebody who sold properties to British buyers.

    By Thursday they had singled out Poulmarvezen, a former farm close to the village of Ploerdut in Morbihan. Now they offer five holiday cottages restored and furnished to a high standard, each one sleeping either five or six people, with a swimming pool (shown in the image above).

    Sabine and Graham Peek are no strangers to France, having lived and worked in Paris and other locations for many years. But it was in the relatively undiscovered l'Hérault region just west of Provence in the south of France that Graham, originally from the UK, and Sabine from Germany finally chose to settle three years ago, near the medieval town of Pezenas.

    The couple bought a stylish, pink-washed villa with a garden that features a swimming pool (shown in first image at top of page) and palm trees and created a two-bedroom gite in one self-contained floor. They named the gite 4 Paws, both in honour of their tabby cat and because it is a place ‘for pause’. They now take pleasure in sharing their knowledge and love of the region with guests.

    Explore holiday accommodation options at Poulmarvezenand 4 Paws and read the full article in our Press pages

  • Our guide to the best Christmas markets in France

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    It’s the season for magical French Christmas markets to shimmer into life all over France. So many cities and towns stage these fabulous mixtures of shopping, community and carnival – and the markets really do capture the traditional magic of Christmas as a season of light, good food and family feeling.

    The markets are really worth a visit for both their atmosphere and the great shopping. We know that many Francophiles and lovers of traditional Christmas spirit go every year for a market mini-break. For seasoned visitors and first-timers alike, our guide to the Christmas markets of Franceis indispensable. We’ve put together detailed information on over twenty of the top markets, from north to south and from small towns to large cities.

    Our guide lists the top markets and for each one paints a picture of the place, setting and character, the variety of products on sale and special events taking place. We also give dates, travel information and links to a range of self-catering accommodation and B&Bs in the area to enable you to plan your trip.

     avignon marche de noel copyright ville d'avignon jp campomar

    Strasbourg Christmas market is the oldest and one of the largest in France with a breath taking setting in front of the Cathedral. Mulhouse market reflects the architecture of the Alsace region with half-timbered stalls featuring exceptional fabrics.

    Easily accessible by car from the UK are the towns of Northern France. Arras holds a spectacular Christmas market on the splendid Grand Place with lots of arts and crafts. The market at Béthune features Flemish-style chalets selling festive crafts, regional produce and other gifts.

    Licques is famous for its traditional turkey parade and the market sells quality, traditionally-reared organic poultry. Amiens Christmas market, one of the largest in northern France, has an alpine flavour and sells kitchenware, fine crystal and hand-made glass, as well as a variety of fish.

    For anyone who fancies a trip further south, the markets in Bordeaux, Toulouse, Avignon and Menton are all celebrated events with real local character – and easily accessible by the TGV train.

    Most markets run from around the third week of November to either Christmas Eve or New Year’s Eve and all include events and parades that enhance the fun, spectacle and sense of community.

    Browse our Guide to Christmas Markets in France