Thinking of a change of scene for the festive season? We reckon that France is a perfect and memorable destination for Christmas or New Year – and our owners are making some great seasonal offers.
There’s something about the way things are done in France at this time of year that truly captures traditional joy, magic and goodwill - and plenty of community events ensure a Joyeux Noel.
Christmas Eve is time to celebrate midnight mass– an uplifting tradition when all churches, from big city cathedrals to small country chapels, are aglow with dozens of candles and filled with the sounds of carols and hymns, which visitors are welcome to share.
Alongside Christmas markets, many towns and cities host cultural festivals for Christmas. Attractions might include skating, colourful parades through streets and squares and concerts, art exhibitions and dance. The atmosphere is fun and inclusive, with all generations joining in.
Festival events often continue into the New Year, which is marked with firework displays, dinners and even balls (une soirée dansante). New Year's Eve is known in France as la Saint-Sylvestre. There’s usually a feast with champagne and delicacies like foie gras. At midnight, everyone kisses under the mistletoe – a New Year rather then Christmas tradition - and exchange best wishes.
On New Year's Day, le Jour de l'An, friends and family gather to share their New Year's resolutions. Although work, routine and services continue as normal between Christmas and New Year and from 2nd January, the official end of the festive season is on 6th January, with the religious tradition of Epiphany, marked by eating a cake called la galette des rois, which has a lucky charm inside.
Some Christmas and New Year special offers from our owners:
La Bouzole, (left) a pretty villa near Carcassonne with Pyrennees views that sleeps seven. Includes woodburning stove and a new six-seater hot tub, decorations, Christmas tree and cheap car hire – all for £450 a week. You can see more about this holiday let and its owners in our major feature on Christmas in France in the December issue of French Property News magazine, published 17th November.
La Mirande, a gorgeous Ardeche farmhouse offering luxury B&B in a stunning location with views to the Alps. From 3rd Dec to 3rd Jan enjoy a short break with a cosy log fire and fantastic food, visit Avignon Christmas market and cultural events. 150-180 Euro per night for dinner, bed and breakfast for two people.
Les Eaux Calmes – a village house in Languedoc. Situated between sea and mountains, the house sleeps seven and is built into the old village walls in Gabian, a delightful fortified medieval village. Christmas and New Year rentals just £440 a week.
Belle Vue - Village house Bed & Breakfast accommodation in Blangy Le Chateau, Calvados, Normandy. For Christmas, there’s 10% off on the third night for a double room, usual price 77 euros a night.