fbpx
French Connections

THE FIRST thing I said when I approached this stall, no doubt drawn irresistibly to it by a sudden wave of patriotism induced by the Union Jacks, was (in French) "I imagine you speak English?"

"Ah, non, pas du tout, Monsieur," (Ah, no, not at all, Monsieur) came the answer, very decidedly, as though speaking English would make her hair catch fire. H'm. This seemed bizarre to me, a stall calling itself So British and proclaiming itself to be an outlet for good British things to eat.

NO, IT'S not easy, writing a Christmassy piece before Christmas has come along. It just makes you think, though: all those Christmassy bits in the media must all be illustrated with pics from earlier festive seasons. They have to be ghosts of Christmas past, don't they?

We went to Montpellier the other day, towards the end of November. It's the big city for us, 90 minutes distant, over the hills and far away. (Montpellier? 250,000 people. Huge university. Teaching hospitals, a tradition stretching back to the 14th century. Centre of regional government. Municipal opera. Heineken Cup rugby team. Ever-expanding public buildings and tramway system. Showcase of modern civic architecture. Flourished under the leadership of the charismatic (and late) Georges Frêche, slow decline since. French premier league football champions 2011, under the aegis of a local man, Louis Nicollin, boss of the privatised municipal cleansing contractors. Oh yes, and according to Arthur Conan Doyle, Sherlock Holmes came here incognito, in that mystery period between being wrestled into the Reichenbach Falls by Professor Moriarty and his Return, to study coal-tar derivatives. Just thought you might like to know.)

I SHAN'T forget 11/11/11 (Onze-onze-onze if you prefer it in French). An unusual combination of numbers. My son's birthday, as it happens. And a public holiday in France to commemorate the 1918 Armistice marking the end of the First World War. Unlike in the UK, when Remembrance ceremonies take place on the nearest Sunday to November 11th, in France the day itself is a public holiday marked by ceremonies great and small throughout the country. Our village was no exception.

Featured holiday rentals

Bouches-du-Rhone

Sleeps 8 – From £1330
Villa Quietude »

Dordogne

Sleeps 8 – From £450
La Claperie »

Tarn-et-Garonne

Sleeps 6 – From £775
Le Bosc »


Discounts and special offers

Grab a special offer or discounted deal on a French holiday home, farmhouse, cottage or villa.

Last Minute

See last minute availability for self catering rentals, villas and cottages across France.

Long lets

Looking for a long let prior to moving to France or taking an extended break or a sabbatical? See what our Owners have on offer >>

Car hire in France

Our dedicated car hire search engine finds the best prices for you with pick up points in all major French cities, airports and stations.

Mobile and Internet

Save money on mobile and broadband charges in France with LeFrenchMobile.

Currency

Compare and save up to 10% on foreign currency with our travel money comparison tool.

France by Ferry

Find some great deals on ferries to France.

Flying to France

See routes and get latest fares on flights to France.

Driving in France

Read our free guide to driving through France.