Morbihan is one of the most popular tourist destinations in South Brittany – and we know why! It’s the perfect mix of country and coast and there’s so much to fall in love with. Here are five of our favourite things to see in magical Morbihan…
The region takes its name from the words: Mor-Bihan, which means "little sea" in the Breton language. The natural harbour of the Gulf of Morbihan is the most famous feature of the coast line and is included in the official "Club of The Most Beautiful Bays in the World". Apart from its good looks it’s also great for nautical jaunts. And if that’s not enough, there are, apparently, 365 islands off the coast, perfect for explorers!
Whatever you have planned when you’re in the Morbihan area, do seek out the 15th century picture perfect port of St Goustan in Auray, named after the patron saint of sailors and fishermen. Approach it via a steep narrow road just off the square leading you down to the river Auray. As you cross the bridge you will enter an almost perfectly preserved 600 year old harbour that is today full of restaurants and cafés, a great place to pass the time. Often there are ancient boats tied up at the quayside giving a flavour of times past.
It was here that Benjamin Franklin landed in December 1776 for secret meetings with the King of France. Franklin took the road to Paris to ask France for help in the American War of Independence and one of the quays is now named after him.
This little town of winding cobbled streets is a place of history, character, colour and beautiful medieval architecture. With its rues full of cafés, restaurants and quaint little shops selling local produce and gifts, it makes for a perfect day out. If you’re lucky enough to be there when the market is on, you’ll discover the sleepy town come to life. From fresh bread, cheeses, olives and seafood, clothes, shoes and leather goods, you’ll be sure to find a treat!
In Carnac discover the French equivalent of Stonehenge – but much bigger. Carnac is known throughout the world for its unique rows of ancient standing stones. The megalithic mystery of these incredible, huge blocks of stones makes most people stop in their tracks. Don’t miss a trip to the lovely long sandy beach of Carnac Plage and the chance to enjoy succulent oysters which are farmed in the area…
Tucked away in the small town of Le Faouet is a beautiful romantic chapel, with fairy tale style turrets and surrounded by stunning countryside. The chapel was built in gratitude to Sainte Barbe by a knight seeking shelter from a great storm hundreds of years ago. Inside there are wonderful statues and stained-glass windows. Take the path down to the river to discover a natural spring. It’s the perfect place to take a moment, sit by the flowing river and listen to it find its way down to the coast, the wildlife here is wonderful. Don’t forget to ring the bell in the guardhouse and make a wish on your way back on to the centre of town – it’s a tradition here!
In the town you’ll find an art museum reflecting the heritage of this secret part of Brittany which has inspired many artists over the centuries. There are plenty of little cafés and a lively market (first and third Wednesday of the month), and don’t miss the 16th century covered market place…
Morbihan is home to dozens of off the beaten track gorgeous little villages, just waiting for you to discover them.
Tourist office website: www.morbihan.com/
French Connections has loads of lovely holiday homes in the area – we love to help you make your holiday wishes come true…
Cannes, a resort town on the French Riviera, is famous for its international film festival – but there’s much more to this lively town than that. It’s the perfect city for a sunshine winter break.
Although it’s cooler in winter months, it’s often warm enough for T shirts during the day. Strolling the Boulevard de la Croisette, the wide road that curves around the coast, lined with sandy beaches, upmarket boutiques and palatial hotels, is always a pleasure…
Just a short ferry ride from mainland Cannes, are the “Iles de Lérins”, a small cluster of islands. Here you’ll find a totally different vibe from the hustle of Cannes. On the Island of Sainte-Marguerite, inhabited since Roman times, you’ll discover the Fort Royal, where the “Man in the Iron Mask” was imprisoned.
You’ll also see the ruins of an old fort, vineyards, forests and walk ways. The views from the top of the island are well worth the climb. Ferries run throughout winter.
Marché Forville is a fabulous market which offers local fresh foods, seafood, meats, pasta, cheese, breads, nuts and oils, spices and wines, fruits and vegetables. Open six days a week (Mondays are antiques and art) and in winter when the mimosa blossoms in the area – it’s an absolute feast for the eyes.
As Cannes is most well known for its role in the film industry its not surprising the walls of the buildings in the main town reflect this heritage. Wall murals depict film scenes, directors filming and film reels, including older classic films and stars. There is a Petit Train tourist ride you take to see the paintings, but you can get closer by walking through the town, or take a guided tour on foot from the tourist office - it’s well worth it.
Right in the heart of the oldest part of Cannes, perched up high is the church of Notre Dame d’Esperance. It is well worth the hike to the top, but if steep hills and stairs are tough for you, take the Petit Train from the town. It stops here for about 10 minutes, allowing you to take in the scenery along the seafront and the bay.
The church is small but has beautiful stained glass windows and statues. From the courtyard with its walled entrance, you’ll have the most incredible views over Cannes.
Follow the winding paths through the beautiful nature reserve of the Hill of La Croix-des-Gardes in a smart district of Cannes. There are acres of grassland with beautiful wild flowers, shrubs and trees, with spectacular views from the high point.
With numerous fabulous restaurants, bars, bistros and cafés to indulge in the local gastronomy, a winter break in Cannes is perfect for blowing away the winter blues.
French Connections has lots of accommodation in and around Cannes, take a look and find your dream holiday home…
Banish the January Blues and visit The France Show in London!
It’s the biggest show in the UK that’s totally dedicated to all things French and we’ll be there.
French Connections is celebrating 21 years of bringing you wonderful holiday homes in France in 2019. From gorgeous villas, to romantic cottages, great gites, enchanting chateaux, seaside apartments and even B&Bs, we’ve got thousands of choices of French rentals all over France. We have something to suit every taste and budget.
Come and see us on Stand L45 and let us help you find your dream holiday home in France.
From 25-27 January 2019, France comes to London. From gorgeous gastronomy, wine tasting, property stands and more there’s everything you need for your French fix, all under one roof. Visitors can also shop for French goodies including cheese, cakes and break. Quiz experts in everything from learning French to buying a property and getting a job in France. Join presentations from the experts on diverse topics from holiday destinations to tax. In fact our very own features writer, Janine Marsh, will be chatting on the Flavours of France Show stage about life in France on Friday and Saturday and would love to say hello to you! Find her under our Blog section.
In short, the France Show has got everything under the sun for beating those January blues – including French Connections!
In the meantime, why not browse our website and start planning your next, fabulous holiday France. Please contact us if we can be of any assistance and join us on Facebook and Twitter for lots of tips and recommendations.
Find out more about: The France Show
When you look out of your window and the sky is grey, it’s cold and winter has a way to go, it’s time to plan your next holiday in France.
Here at French Connections we have loads of offers to tempt and entice you to take your dream holiday in France…
Check France out our Special Offers section where there are loads of terrific offers exclusive to French Connections customers. Money off, discounts and early bookings offers – grab a deal on a French holiday home, farmhouse, cottage or villa.
See all offers here: Discounts and special offers
If you’re in the enviable position of being able to take a last minute holiday, we have some terrific bargains. Whether you’re hankering after a bit of winter sun, summer at a seaside resort, city breaks, cultural holidays or countryside retreat – check out the deals here: Last minute holiday deals across France
For those able to take an extended holiday, we’ve got some great treats in store. Check out our article dedicated specifically to long let holidays in France.
We’re been working with holiday home owners in France since 1996 to bring you one of the best and most diverse choices of holiday homes in France. Our website lists loads of details so that you get a comprehensive view of every property.
We love France and we write a weekly blog about the places we visit, things to do, ideas and guides.
We’re not a nameless, faceless team – we’re real people who love to make holiday dreams come true for our customers so don’t hesitate to contact us if we can be of assistance.
Donna, Izzy, Laura and Janine
We’d like to wish you a very Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays and a Very Happy New Year.
We’ve really enjoyed that this year we’ve helped so many people to make their holiday dreams come true. It’s something we’ve been doing for 22 years and we have an ongoing passion for bringing you a fabulous range of holiday villas, chateaux accommodation, gites and B&Bs in France.
Whether you want advice for which villa might suit your needs best, to find a gite that’s suitable for a wedding or a family get together, city break accommodation, a romantic chateau stay or a B&B that’s close to the best beaches - get in touch with us by phone or email and we’ll be happy to help you.
Our office will be closed Christmas Day, Boxing and New Year’s Day only.
We wish you all the best for the season and look forward to talking to you next year.
With best wishes
Donna, Izzy, Laura and Janine
If you’re able to take a longer holiday, perhaps you’re retired, or taking a long break from work, then there are plenty of options for a relaxing or productive holiday in France.
There are loads of reasons to take a long let holiday:
1 If you’re thinking of relocating, a long holiday in the area can give you real insight into what life will be like in the area you’re considering.
2 If you can, then why not take an extended break where you feel like you live somewhere – without having to buy there.
3 It can be a chance to do something inspirational – perhaps write, learn to paint, take up a sport, cookery lessons. There’s a whole load of reasons why a long holiday in France can bring motivate and give you the chance, and the time away from normal daily life, to do something different.
4 If you go in winter months, it can be very economical. You may not get the summer weather but pick right and they’ll still be loads to do.
5 Master the French language, with a long holiday there’s a lot more chance to practice.
At French Connections we’ve got a long list of holiday homes in France where long lets are promoted and can be a really great option.
Fancy a gorgeous apartment on the Cote d’Azur, southern France? La Bastide Saint Christophe, set in an ancient olive grove, complete with heated pool – is perfect for a solo or couples long term get away.
Or how about gorgeous Dordogne where La Bourgeoisie Cottage in sensational Sarlat would be perfect for a family or a group of friends with its 4 bedrooms and 4 bathrooms. The ancient 16th century house has a salt water pool, set in 6 acres of gardens and is close to Sarlat with its amazing markets and wonderful medieval architecture.
If you’re a beach lover, then The Waterside Apartment in Marseillan will definitely float your boat! South facing, the architect designed apartment in a former wine warehouse is superb. The terrace overlooks the sea and boats bobbing about and the beach and lovely port town with its beaches and cafés is just outside the front door. Perfect for friends, couples or family, this 2-bedroom apartment would make for a most inspiring long holiday in the south of France.
We’ve got heaps of choice for long lets in France waiting for you to check them out and plan your dream extended holiday…
Chartres, in the department of Eure-et-Loir, region Centre-Val de Loire, in south west France is world famous for its UNESCO world heritage listed cathedral.
We look at this majestic church and tour the city to see what the best things for visitors to see and do…
The extraordinary and wondrous gothic Cathedral of Chartres has been a major pilgrimage for more than 1000 years. More than 1.3 million pilgrims a year still make their way to Chartres to visit the Cathedral, to walk its ancient labyrinth and to enjoy its ancient ambiance.
No matter how many cathedrals or churches you might have been to, this one stands out. It has the most beautiful stained-glass windows - 172 of them in total covering an incredible 2,600m². Incredibly, Some of them date back to the 12th century. You can’t help but love the colours, especially “Chartres blue”, a deep blue used on the oldest windows. There is also an extraordinary, ancient crypt, effectively an underground cathedral which in the summer months you can tour by candlelight, it’s incredibly atmospheric.
In 876, French King Charles the Bald gave the town of Chartres a holy relic, said to be a piece of the veil worn by Mary when she gave birth to Jesus. It was a major draw for pilgrims. The fabric survived a fire but not the French Revolution when it was cut into pieces and dispersed. A few pieces were returned though and you can see them displayed in the chapel.
The main building of the current cathedral, there has been a church on this site since the 5th century, was built between 1194 and 1221 and you really have to see the architecture for yourself. No photo does justice to the incredible buildings skills of the medieval builders, glass makers and masons.
There are some beautiful medieval buildings, and, if you’re a fan of Renaissance buildings, you’ll spot plenty in Chartres. You can recognise them by their mushroom shape, smaller at the bottom and spreading out from the 1st floor. The design reflected an attempt to save money on taxes as owners paid according to how much ground they took up.
Chartres’ International Stained-Glass centre is the only one of its kind in France. Next to the Cathedral it’s housed in a listed monument. You can get up close to ancient panels of stained glass, join in workshops and discover the history of stained-glass.
Maison Picasiette, a little bit out of the centre, but well worth the detour and fans of Naieve Art will adore it. The house was decorated with pieces of broken china between 1930 and 1962 by Raymond Isidore, an iron foundry worker. His decades of laborious love are astonishingly bright and vibrant. Every inch of surface covered and sparkling, like an enormous mosaic jewel box.
Top tip: Pick up Le Pass from the tourist office for 10 euros. You’ll get discounts and saving at 50 of their partners including shops, hotels, restaurants cultural and tourist sites and more.
You can take the little tourist train with an audio guide to see the historic districts from spring to autumn. Take a guided tour via the tourist office or visit with a Greeter, volunteers who are locals who love to share their knowledge of the city they love.
http://www.chartres-greeters.com/en/ Chartres Tourist Office, 8 Rue de la Poissonnerie