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France is a fabulous destination in May and June. The weather has warmed up and can be hot in the South, yet without those searing days of high summer. The evenings are long and light and the sunset is often dramatic, making the perfect setting for strolling and outdoor dining.

While Paris gets extremely popular at this time of year, the rest of France has so much space that it’s easy to find peace and quiet. Because the crowds have not yet arrived, both travel and accommodation are cheaper than in peak season and you may pick up a bargain holiday home with our special offers.

With warmer weather, parks, gardens and the countryside are bursting with fresh growth, abundant with colourful, sweetly scented flowers. Special places to head for are Monet’s garden at Giverny, Normandy and the chateaux of the Loire valley with their exquisitely designed outdoor spaces, especially Villandry, shown in our photo.

Attractions and museums are all open, so there are theme and water parks for the under fives and fascinating destinations for adults. We all know of Paris’s Pompidou Centre, but did you know there is also Pompidou Centre in Metz, Lorraine region, displaying the arts?  In Marseille is the ambitious Museum of the Civilisations of Europe and in the Ardèche the awe-inspiring replica of the Chauvet-Pont d’Arc caves with its prehistoric paintings.

The festival season also gets going, with events dedicated to music, food, art and theatre. Try jazz in Le Mans or Normandy, the bull festival in Nimes, the film festival in Cannes or even tennis at Roland Garros. In France it seems that almost every city and town likes to put on its own show – and we love them for it!