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While we’re all staying at home to beat the virus, we thought you might like to make some classic French dishes for a taste of France. First up, the perfect snack or starter, cheesy gougères are easy to make and very moreish. Like little cheesy balloons, they’re crisp on the outside and deliciously fluffy on the inside.

Recipe for 36 gougères

115ml water

115ml milk

25g unsalted butter

1 Teaspoon sugar

2 Teaspoons salt

125g plain flour

4-5 large eggs

1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1/8 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

120g coarsely grated Gruyère

25g coarsely grated Parmesan

How to make perfect gougères

Heat the oven to 425°F.

Line two baking sheets with parchment.

Place the milk, water, butter, sugar, and salt in a pan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Add the flour all at once, stirring vigorously with a wooden spoon. The mixture will form a thick mass. Keep stirring for another two minutes to dry the mixture out. Remove from heat.

Add eggs one at a time, stirring vigorously after each addition until each egg is incorporated. By the fourth egg, the mixture should have a smooth, glossy consistency. If not, stir in a fifth egg. Add ¾ of the grated Gruyère.

Drop heaped spoonfuls of dough about 2 inches apart onto lined baking sheets. Combine remaining Gruyère and Parmesan; sprinkle over tops of dough.

Bake 15 minutes, reduce heat to 375°F, and continue baking until evenly golden, about another 15 minutes.

Best eaten warm!

Did you know that apart from having one of the best and biggest French holiday rental sites, at French Connections we also list houses for sale?

We list apartments and villas, gites and cottages, plots of land, farmhouses and even chateaux for sale in all areas of France.

Sell your French house

Join thousands of happy customers who have sold and bought their homes through French Connections.

If you want to sell your French House, we make it very easy for you to reach an engaged audience. With both English and French speakers on our team, we will help you at every stage of the process. And we’ll even help you create your ad on our site – of course at no extra cost. We make it all very simple, speedy and straightforward – and very economical too.

Simply list your property, add as many photos as you like (or videos) and your contact details on our site and we’ll host your listing until you sell your home.

Just click here to get started.

Search for your dream property

If you’re looking for your dream home in France whether it’s for holidays, an investment or permanent move – we can help you.

We have lots of helpful free information from buying a house to estate planning, mortgages, property types and more.

And we have thousands of houses listed for sale all over France.

When you’re looking for an ideal property, you want choice - and we can offer that by the bucket load. Simply click on to our property for sale page, choose the area where you want to buy a property, choose your budget and the number of bedrooms you want, and search for your dream French home.

France is a great place to live. The quality of life is good, the roads are a joy to drive on and in many parts the weather is better than the UK! So it's no surprise that more and more people are buying property in France.

If there’s a home that grabs your attention, you’ll find full contact details so you can set up a viewing, ask questions and find out more.

Just click here to find out more.

Picture-perfect lavender fields, quaint and pretty street markets, exquisite little cafés where you can sit and watch the world go by, chilled wine and wonderful architecture – Provence is one of the most beautiful places in the world. Blessed with a sunny disposition, it’s also one of the best places to take a holiday...

Holiday homes in Provence

There’s a wide choice of holiday rentals available in Provence, something to suit every taste and budget. We have a huge selection of stunning properties in all parts of Provence from the Luberon, Vaucluse, Mont Ventoux and the Alpilles areas as well as the French Riviera. Whether you’re looking for a bijou, romantic villa for two, or a holiday home big enough for friends and family, they have a huge choice.

Where to Stay in Provence

If its lavender fields you want, then some of the best are in the Luberon area, around the hilltop village of Sault and the iconic Abbaye de Senanque, Gordes, where the resident monks grow and harvest lavender. The Plateau of Valensole is the largest lavender field area in France, located between the Luberon and stunning Verdon where there is a Gorge, considered one of the most beautiful in Europe.

Provence is peppered with pretty villages where life revolves around the village square, lined with cafés and restaurants, shops and art galleries. From Menerbes to L’Isle-sur-la-Sorge, the antiques capital of Provence, Bonnieux and Saint-Remy-de-Provence, you’ll find a wonderful selection of villas to rent in the villages, the countryside and in elegant towns like Aix-en-Provence, Arles and Avignon.

Experience Provence

Wherever you go in Provence, you’ll be inspired by the beautiful sights, as well as by the local cuisine and wines. The tastes and flavours you’ll discover are part of what makes your vacation in Provence so memorable. The olives, garlic, fresh herbs, jewel like cakes, rosé wines from legendary vineyards such as Chateauneuf-du-Pape and Bandol, markets where the scents, sights and sounds will stay with you forever. There’s nothing quite like cycling through the gorgeous countryside, stopping to enjoy lunch and a glass of chilled rosé in an authentic bistro en route. Or dining under the stars at a grand restaurant where the dishes are like works of art.

There are activities galore from water sports to hiking, cookery lessons, museums, wine tasting and rejuvenations spas – or simply relaxing and soaking up all that this area of southern France, with its light filled skies has to offer.

Here at French Connections we love to help your Provence holiday dreams come true… click here to browse our listings of holiday homes in the Provence-Alpes-Cote-D’azur region.

 

The Loire Valley is made up of orchards, vineyards and farmlands, châteaux and picturesque villages. In spring the fruit trees burst into colour and so do the chateaux gardens. Intoxicating detours are plentiful in this region but these are a few of our favourites…

Saumur

Saumur is a tranquil sort of town with a friendly ambience. It’s a great place for those who love culture, history, beautiful architecture, wine and great French cuisine. And, let’s face it, it doesn’t get much more tempting than that does it?! Saumur is a flowery town and a great place for wandering. You’ll discover the remains of the ancient walls of the city, and plenty of cafés and places to while away the hours while you enjoy the local wine and produce. Try the friendly Bistrot de Place where the tables spill out onto the pedestrianised square on a sunny day. And then admire the view of the fairy tale looking 12th century castle on a hill overlooking the Loire river.

Angers

Lively, buzzing and festive, this remarkably compact city is one of the greenest in France. The massive Chateau d’Angers, a Plantaganet stronghold, is home to a unique masterpiece: the 14th century Tapestry of the Apocalypse. Just as extraordinary, the modern version, Le Chant du Monde, a series of ten tapestries by Jean Lurcat is housed at the Gothic Hôpital Saint-Jean close by. Wine lovers will enjoy the smallest vineyard in Angers, within the castle walls.

Tours

The city makes for a great base for touring the Loire. Place Plumereau is perfect for an aperitif, in fact it was once voted, the square most loved by the French for just that reason! Lined with half-timbered buildings of the 15th century with plenty of lively bars, it’s easy to see why it’s so popular. There are several cultural venues in the town including the fabulous Centre of Contemporary Art Olivier Debré.

Chenonceau

The chateau of Chenonceau is one of the most visited castles in France – we’re not surprised, it’s gorgeous. Turrets and towers, and rooms filled with flowers at the chateau which is as famous for its gardens as its beautiful rooms, once the home of Diane de Poitiers, mistress of Henry II, and later the home of his wife, Catherine de Medici. The castle’s master florist is Jean-François Bouchet, a Master Craftsman of France for his floral skills. With a small team, he creates 200 bouquets a week to fills the rooms, hallways and the lovely onsite restaurant.

Chambord

The Chateau de Chambord is a French Renaissance masterpiece. This jewel of the Loire Valley was begun in 1519, the year Francis 1 became King of France. The flamboyant king loved to put on a show and at Chambord, his imagination ran wild. This grand castle in true Renaissance style was designed to shout to the world that this was the home of the greatest King that ever lived. It’s also famous for its double helix staircase, said to have been inspired by Leonardo da Vinci.

Chinon

A magnificent royal fortress, in which Richard the Lionheart was born, sits majestically watching over its domain, located high on the banks of the river Loire, right in the centre of the city. In the old town medieval houses line winding cobble stone streets, rue Voltaire is particularly beautiful. Place General de Gaulle is great for restaurants and it’s close to the elevator that takes you up to the chateau, saving you a climb.

Discover more great things to do in the Loire Valley: www.loirevalley-france.co.uk

French Connections loves to help you make your holiday dreams come true – check out our listings of holiday homes in the Loire Valley

We reckon it’s time to blow those winter cobwebs away and give yourself a well-deserved break and a bit of French sunshine.

Here are our top French destinations for a fun break in the sun:

Nice

The capital of the Côte d’Azur is renowned for its rainbow of colours all year round. Popular sites include the Promenade des Anglais, the cobbled streets of the old town, Cours Saleya and a picturesque market. There are museums galore including the fabulous Matisse Museum, Roman ruins, the “Chateau de Nice”, boutiques and stunning restaurants. With regular, short flights from the UK, what’s not to love?

See our holiday homes in and around Nice

Cannes

West of Nice on the French Riviera, this town is famous for its Film and Shopping Festival. But it’s not all bling. There are stunning beaches, exceptional golf courses, sites of outstanding natural beauty like the Lerins Islands and a charming, authentic old town. For a relaxed, luxury break – Cannes is just about perfect.

See our holiday homes in and around Cannes

Corsica

The French Island of Beauty boasts 1,000km of coastline lapped by turquoise waves and 2000m high mountains. Whether you want to relax in the sun on a sandy beach, cycle or hike, there’s something for everyone on this island of endless possibilities. Corsican gastronomy is famous and there’s not much that beats dining al fresco in the sun looking over the Mediterranean Sea from an island village…

See our holiday homes in and around Corsica

Hyères

Porquerolles

The sunny ‘Belle Epoque’ town of the French Riviera is home to remarkable natural heritage such as the National Park of Port-Cros and the Ile d’Or Archipelago. Hyères has over 2400 years of history, a ruins of a medieval castle, gorgeous beaches and wonderful arts, and cultural venues. From here you can visit the Porquerolles islands, one of the most beautiful in France. Hyères is a mere 20 minutes east of Toulon and its airport.

See our holiday homes in and around Hyères

Languedoc-Roussillon

In the south of France, spanning from the Spanish border all the way to Provence, this region has the sea and gorgeous beaches plus mountains and famous vineyards. With many Plus Beaux Villages de France (“Most Beautiful Villages in France”), Montpellier, 11 historic Cathar castles and an extensively rich cultural and historical heritage (including several UNESCO world heritage sites), this region has everything on offer.

See our holiday homes in Languedoc-Roussillon

Amiens cathedral

Celebrating its 800th year in 2020, the great Gothic Cathedral of Amiens is awe-inspiring. By day the Cathedral attracts pilgrims and tourists eager to see its vast interior, filled with statues and frescoes, soaring vaulted ceiling and to feel its majestic presence, witness to eight centuries of history. At night though, it’s an altogether different place as the exterior of the cathedral is smothered in a technicolour light performance in a show that makes audiences gasp in wonder. This free 50 minute show runs throughout the summer, as well as in December during the Christmas market. It’s an absolute must-see.

Gerberoy

A classified “plus beaux village de France”, officially one of the prettiest villages, Gerberoy has oodles of charm. Think cobbled streets, half-timbered buildings dripping with roses and wonderful views over the lush countryside. Gerberoy, one of the smallest towns in France is on the border of Seine-Maritime, Normandy.

Les Hortillonnages Amiens

The Hortillonnages of Amiens are floating market gardens. They’ve been cultivated since the Middle Ages on a maze of canals, on the edge of the city. The best way to experience this historic heritage site is with a guided electric (environmentally friendly) boat tour (from April to October). It’s incredible to see the city’s Cathedral spire in the background while you spot dragon flies, wild birds and even herons on the tranquil waterways. The lush, flower filled island gardens reflect a close relationship between man and nature and make for a unique nature escape right in the heart of the metropolis. From spring to autumn a fabulous Arts and Garden festival is held in the Hortillonages. Details: www.hortillonnages-amiens.fr/

Chantilly Castle

From the Middle Ages to the 19th century, the castle has preserved its exceptional and imposing setting. Visit the various galleries of paintings (the second greatest collection of antique paintings after the Louvre) and stroll through the romantic gardens, especially the one designed by André Le Nôtre, as well as the great stables of the 18th century and the horse museum. Details: www.domainedechantilly.com/fr/

Champagne vineyards

Yes you did read that right. If you thought Champagne only comes from Champagne – think again. It might surprise you to learn that the vineyards of Château-Thierry in the Aisne department of Picardy, Hauts-de-France account for a whopping 10% of AOC Champagne production. The perfect visit for fans of fizz!

There’s heaps more to do in Picardy including Asterix Parc, a theme park inspired by comic book characters Asterix and Obelisk; the medieval chateau of Pierrefonds; fabulous Marquenterre bird & wildlife park and the pretty port town of St Valery-sur-Somme.

Find more great ideas for what to see and do in Picardy at: www.visit-somme.com/explore; www.france.fr/en ; www.weekend-esprithautsdefrance.com/

Browse our selection of holiday homes in Picardie – we love to help you make your holidays dreams come true…

UNESCO listed Le Havre has incredible contemporary architecture and a world famous museum of modern art. It’s a vibrant, friendly and fascinating city to visit with a seriously innovative vibe…

Architecture

Le Havre’s contemporary architecture has UNESCO heritage status in recognition of its exceptional urban design on a monumental scale. The inner city of Le Havre is a masterpiece of modern planning. After the city suffered enormous damage caused during WWII, the project to rebuild required speed to take care of so many homeless inhabitants. The re-design was overseen by architect Auguste Perret. A teacher of France’s famous architect Le Corbusier, he had distinct ideas a love of reinforced concrete, a material which certainly helped speed up the build. There’s nowhere else quite like it in France.

Don’t miss:

Perret’s show flat: In 1949, Auguste Perret created a show flat to allow local people to see what he was proposing with the rebuilding of Le Havre. His ideas for concrete weren’t always well received but this show flat homage, re-created in 2005, reveals just how visionary he was.

Neimeyer Library: Brazilian architect Oscar Niemeyer’s concrete Volcanoes, the name given to the cultural centre in Le Havre, are mesmerising. The recently renovated small volcano is now the public library - as extraordinary inside as it is outside. You’ll feel like you’re inside a spaceship with futuristic style seats in bright colours and a sweeping staircase. There are regular exhibitions and a cool coffee shop. This has to be one of the most remarkable libraries in the world.

Les Bains des Docks: This extraordinary aquatic centre was designed by legendary architect Jean Nouvel. Book a swim in one of its 12 pools and admire the strikingly beautiful white architecture.

Impressionists

Follow in the footsteps of the impressionists at Le Havre, where Claude Monet painted “Impression, Rising Sun” which gave the movement its name. He also found inspiration nearby at Etretat, Rouen and Trouville. Travel just 30 minutes from Le Havre to gorgeous Honfleur and fall in love with the 17th century Vieux Basin, lined with friendly restaurants serving fresh seafood. Around an hour and 30 minutes will bring you to Giverny where you will discover Monet’s enchanting house and garden.

Don’t miss:

MuMa – Museum of Modern Art: A stunning building with an outstanding collection Impressionist works, one of the largest in France. Enjoy works by Renoir, Pissarro, Sisley, Degas, Courbet and Corot. Details: www.muma-lehavre.fr/en

Beach

It’s just a short walk from the city centre to Le Havre’s beach, 2km of sand and pebbles, a big draw for the locals as well as for savvy visitors. The beach hosts the biggest free skate park in France (a legend amongst skate boarders) and in the summer there are water sports, fun activities and pop up restaurants. Further round the coast is the beach of Saint-Adresse. Here the resort and old houses are built on the slopes of Cape Hève, the gateway to the Alabaster Coast. It’s a great place to drink in the spectacular sea views, just as Monet loved to do.

Eat

Normandy is famous for its food and Le Havre has loads of great restaurants.

Locals love: The Architect restaurant in the newly renovated Southampton Wharf area. Owned by an Australian, it’s perfect for a taste of Aussie cuisine (and wine!) ...

Wine and dine: Restaurant Les Enfants Sages (the wise children) is in a former school masters house, built in 1905. The rooms have been converted into individual dining areas rooms decorated to reflect its previous incarnation. It’s very cool and the food is fabulous…

Authentic: Bistro Au Caid is a listed building and an institution in Le Havre. Opened in 1954 it’s one of the favourite meeting places for the locals and has a lovely terrace bar. The 50s style interior is cosy and charming. Situated next to the Perret show flat building, and overlooking the famous Volcanoes, it’s a great place for a snack or lunch with a fresh, seasonal plat du jour.

We have lots of great holiday rentals Normandy, check out our selection and find your dream holiday home…