French Connections

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Both Valentine’s Day and school half-term holidays occur this month – and both are great opportunities for a trip to France.  How do you choose when there’s a lot to be said for either?

I would love to be whisked off my feet and on to the Eurostar for a romantic dinner and chic hotel, a stroll down the Champs Elysees and a browse around the Rodin museum. Of course a few red roses would have to be involved and a spot of shopping at Le Printemps – and the more I think about it, a couple of extra nights would really be needed because I’d want to see the latest at the Pompidou centre and ride that fun escalator, take a trip on a bateau mouche, marvel at the glories of Notre Dame and peruse the books at Shakespeare & Co.

Then there’s Montmartre and the Eiffel Tower and all those fountains. This time I might finally get up the courage to go up the tower to see those amazing views. l know this sounds a bit like a film starring Audrey Hepburn, but I really don’t care. You see, I’m just a hopeless romantic and I think Paris was made for people like me, especially on Valentine’s Day.

However, I’m also a proud grandmother and love my girls very much and revel in their company. It’s such a thrill to show new places, ideas and experiences to youngsters. They’re learning French at school and two of them actually had small parts in the film of Les Miserables. How cool to bring to life for them the France of the revolution. I would show them the chateaux of the Loire, let them marvel at the extravagance and be beguiled by the fairytale beauty.

Or should I take them to Nice for a boost of warmth and sunshine? The carnival coincides with half-term so they could line up along that grand promenade, the sparkling sea behind them, and throw flowers at the massive procession of floats. Of course, they would also have to learn a few new choice phrases in French to join in the general merriment and practice ordering their biftek and frites with a near-perfect accent.

I enjoy the dreaming – but actually there’s still time to make it happen. For your perfect Valentine’s break check out this inspiration for Romantic France and for half-term fun, look at these ideas for last minute availability.

Our photo shows Nice viewed from La Rade apartment