After months of staying home, dreaming of being outdoors, of taking a longed for break in France – the summer is back on!
Whether you dream of cycling on traffic free roads through gorgeous countryside, lazing in the sun on a golden sandy beach, sipping wine in a vineyard, visiting castles, hiking in the pure mountain air or exploring picturesque villages – France has everything to make your holiday dream come true.
Book a stay in one of our gorgeous gites, fabulous villas, apartments overlooking the sea, beautiful chalets in the mountains, chateau rentals and more – we have thousands of listings in every part of France…
Getting to France
If you want to avoid air travel, there’s a great choice of routes…
Eurotunnel car train from Ashford to Calais takes just 35 minutes and you don’t even need to get out of your car en route. Just drive on one side, drive off the other.
P&O Ferries operates sailings between Dover and Calais – a journey of 1.5 hours.
DFDS Ferries operate sailings between Dover and Calais, a journey of 1.5 hours. They also operate sailing between Dover and Dunkirk (2 hours) and Newhaven to Dieppe (from 4 hours).
Brittany ferries operate several routes from the UK to Normandy and Brittany ports: Portsmouth to Caen, Portsmouth to St Malo, Portsmouth to Cherbourg, Portsmouth to Le Havre, Poole to Cherbourg, Plymouth to Roscoff, Cork to Roscoff.
All rail and ferry operators have put enhanced hygiene and safely protocols in place and have details on their websites.
Driving in France
The freedom of the open road in France means you can have adventures galore. Take the slow road and let yourself make unexpected discoveries with detours en route. Or take the efficient autoroutes to speed you on your way.
There are a few key essentials to remember.
You’ll need to have with you in the car at all times the following documents or risk a fine or confiscation of your vehicle:
A valid full (not provisional) driving licence
A vehicle registration document (V5c) - the original not a copy, called "carte grise" (grey card) in France
Motor insurance certificate
If the vehicle is not registered in your name, carry a letter from the registered owner giving you permission to drive.
You also need to have a GB sticker clearly displayed on the back (unless your car has 'Euro-plates').
And, if you’re driving in a classified low emission zone (Paris, Grenoble, Lyon, Lille) you’ll need to display a sticker which can be bought on line before you travel.
Find your perfect French holiday home
Now all you need to do is sort out your perfect French holiday home! Browse our thousands of listings all over France and use the filters to pick your ideal property from B&B to pet-friendly, wheelchair access, couples only and heaps more.
Welcome to summer in France…
The Dordogne department in southwest France is one of the most popular places in France for British holiday makers. We’re not surprised, there’s loads to see and do in this beautiful area.
We take a look at some great things to in in the historic town of Périgueux in Dordogne...
In 1959 workers on a building site discovered the ruins of a Roman villa. When archeologists excavated the site, they found a wonderfully preserved Gallo-Roman dwelling, known as the Vesunna domus, dating to the 1st century AD. It’s now a museum, covered in a spectacular glass building designed by renowned French architect Jean Nouvel. Mosaic floors, painted plasterwork and innovative info screens, together with a collection of Roman artefacts, make this a must-see.
There are also temple ruins in the museum’s park. Local legend has it that Périgueux’s patron Saint Front, the first Bishop of Périgueux, chased demons out of the temple and away from the town.
The Jardin des Arenes is where a Roman amphitheatre once stood and in amongst the trees and flower beds you can still see the remains of pillars, walls and arches. Much of the original building was plundered for its stone which was used to build local homes in the middle ages.
And at the Chateau Barrière, amongst the ruins of the in the town, you’ll spot yet more remains of the Gallo-Roman wall which once protected the city.
Museums and monuments
History fans will enjoy the excellent Musee d’Art et d’Archeologie du Perigord. Located in a converted Augustinian convent, the display shows the ancient history and prehistory of Perigord as well as other regions of the world. The collection includes beautiful medieval art, a 13th century enamel statue of the Virgin Mary and stained glass windows recovered from a nearby 14th century church as well as fossills and Roman relics.
The Military Museum holds a prestigious Museum of France label. 1000 years of warfare in the region are covered, with around 12,000 objects including cannon, muskets, suits of armour and much more.
The 12th century Saint Front Cathedral bears a resemblance to St Mark’s Basilica in Venice on which it was modelled. It’s five symmetrical domes and a bell-tower dominate the skyline. If you’re lucky enough to be there on a day when the organ is being played or the choir is singing, you’ll have a memorable visit.
Marvellous market and scrumptious gastronomy
The Dordogne region is famous for its fruit and vegetables, walnuts, conserves, pâtés and jams, foie gras, truffles, wine and liqueurs and the markets at Périgueux are fabulous to shop for fresh, local, seasonal goods.
Market days take place Wednesdays and Saturdays. Gourmet night markets are held in summer. Truffle fairs are held in January and February.
Details of the markets and lots of things to do in the area can be found on the Périgueux Tourist Office website: https://www.tourisme-grandperigueux.fr/?lang=en
If you’re dreaming of a time when you and your family can finally take a sunshine break in France, we’d love to help you.
We’ve been craving a French fix too and we’re hoping that by the end of June, UK quarantine restrictions will be lifted, and we can take a safe and sunny holiday, nibble on croissants fresh from the bakers, take a dip in the sea, walk in the glorious French countryside, indulge our love of wine, cheese and cakes… and all that makes France such a fabulous place to visit.
France is easy to reach by car, with ferry services from the UK and Ireland to various locations around the French coast and by Eurostar. Once you arrive, the French autoroute network will whizz you straight to your desired destination.
Many of our holiday homes are offering some serious savings with up to 50% discounts.
You can see all our special offers here: https://www.frenchconnections.co.uk/accommodation/france?offers=true
And our weekly last minute holiday properties here: www.frenchconnections.co.uk/accommodation/last-minute-availability
Holiday homeowners across France are really looking forward to welcome you. You’ll find contact details on all our listings so feel free to ask any questions about location, things to do, and safety and hygiene regulations that have been put in place so that you can ensure that you can holiday with peace of mind.
With around 3000 holiday properties on offer, ranging from bijou cottages for 2 to gorgeous chateaux for an extended family holiday – you’re sure to find your dream holiday home with French Connections.
We also post offers regularly on our Facebook page – join us there to keep in touch and find out about special offers as soon as they’re available: www.facebook.com/frenchconnections
Enjoy a liberating holiday in the fresh air of the French Alps…
Summer in Savoy, French Alps
The Savoy department is a land of magnificent mountains, flower-filled meadows, crystal clear lakes and lush green forests. Peppered with tiny hamlets and beautiful towns, it’s the perfect post-lockdown holiday destination. Uncrowded, wide open spaces, unpolluted and beautiful…
Why we love summer in the French Alps
Sunshine. The average temperature in July and August in Savoy is 26˚C, perfect for a sunny vacation.
Mountains: Mont Blanc, need we say more. The sight of this striking mountain is enough to make your soul soar. The Savoy Alps range is vast with the highest peak being Pointe de la Grande Casse, part of the Vanoise National Park.
Activities galore from horse riding to hiking, hang-gliding (those views!) swimming in the clear lakes, canoeing, mountain biking, roller-skiing and cycling on roads used in the Tour de France. And a whole lot more. Or simply relax and enjoy the beauty of this region.
Savoy is famous for its cheese and dairy products produced in lush pastures. Fresh fish from the lakes and mountain streams, game from the forests and mushrooms from the woods. Orchards are planted with cherry, apple, pear and walnut trees, strawberries and raspberries grow abundantly in the glades. And there’s wine too! The wines of the Savoy have a long history, predominantly white wine but you’ll also find some local reds and even a delicious crémant de Savoie.
Towns and villages
Historic cities and resorts: Annecy, Aix-les-Bains, Cambery and Albertville are just a few of the beautiful towns you’ll find in Savoy. The ski resorts turn into a summer playground, and at the resort of Courchevel there’s heaps to do with festivals throughout the summer.
Villages that are so pretty you need to pinch yourself to make sure you’re not dreaming. Faverges with its wonderful Wednesday street market. Thones, where you can visit a Reblochon cheese farm and taste the delicious fromage at source. Talloires on Lake Annecy with its picturesque town. The choice is huge. Le Grand Bornand with its gorgeous chocolate box pretty chalets and views over the surrounding countryside. And lovely La Clusaz. There are just so many lovely villages that you’ll always want to return to this area to discover more.
Outstanding natural beauty, friendly folk and a wealth of activities make Savoy an idea sunshine, summer destination.
Check out our holiday home listings in Savoy here. Gorgeous chalets and gites. From a luxury stay with a pool, to a cosy just for 2 chalet. It’s the perfect location for a wonderful holiday and the summer break you crave…
Tarn in the Occitanie region, (formerly Languedoc Roussillon), borders Toulouse in southwest France. It’s a land of open spaces and glorious unspoiled countryside, perfect for cyclists and hikers. Covered in lush forests and vineyards, rivers, including the Tarn which gave it its name, and lakes, the area is peppered with castles and beautiful villages. With the golden sandy beaches of the Mediterranean within easy distance, a holiday in the Tarn offers something to please everyone.
Here are some of our favourite things to do and see in the Tarn…
Enjoy the glorious countryside
Think Yorkshire Dales meets Cheddar Gorge and the Peak district, mixed in with the Cotswolds for good measure – you have the Tarn. Picturesque, green and rolling, dramatic, and brimming with things to see. It’s perfect for lovers of the great outdoors. Cyclists will find the roads are scenic and traffic-free. And, the region has plenty of sunshine.
The capital of Tarn, Albi, is about hour west of Toulouse. The city is dominated by the monumental 13th century Sainte-Cécile Cathedral, part of the UNESCO listed Episcopal City. The listing also includes the Palais de la Berbie, the palace’s riverside gardens, the Saint Salvi church and the Pont Vieux. Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, the famous artist, was born here and there is a wonderful collection of his work in the Toulouse-Lautrec museum. The old quarter is enchanting, the perfect place to take a break at a café and watch the world go by with a glass of local wine from the world-famous Appellation Gaillac vineyards.
Cordes-sur-Ciel is a medieval hilltop town, it’s buildings are literally in the clouds…
“One travels over the years without quite knowing what one is searching for, wandering amid the clatter, caught up with desires or regrets, and one arrives unexpectedly in one from those two or three places which await each one of us in this world. The traveller who, from the terraces of Cordes, looks at the summer night sky, knows that he needs to travel no further, because the beauty here, day after day, will remove any loneliness.” So said Albert Camus. The French philosopher and writer fell under the spell of this town in the sky like many artists over the years.
The town’s narrow cobble-stone streets, arches and winding lanes lined with beautiful stone buildings, art galleries and craft shops are truly charming.
Around 45 minutes south of Albi, the city of Castres, is well worth visiting. There’s a fabulous Saturday morning market which fills the whole of Place Jean Jaurès. Head to the Quai des Jacobins for wonderful views over the medieval multi-storey tanners' and dyers' houses which line the River Agout, AKA the Venice of Languedoc. The Goya Museum is superb. Castres is the gateway to the Montagne Noire.
Get off the beaten track | Les Cammazes
In the Tarn’s Montagne Noire, Les Cammazes is a tiny but very surprising village. Here you can see the UNESCO listed Rigole de la Montagne, or Mountain Channel, which supplies water to the UNESCO listed Canal du Midi. Built in 1666 by the 122m underground aqueduct is open to the public. Beware, if you’re claustrophobic you won’t enjoy the dark narrow tunnels but it is a unique and unusual experience.
How to get to the Tarn
By air: Blagnac Airport, Carcassonne Airport and Rodez Airport make travel by air easy from the UK and Ireland.
Autoroutes serve the area from all directions. High speed trains run to Albi, the capital and there are local connections to main towns.
We have lots of fabulous holiday rental listings in the Tarn, check out our great selection here: frenchconnections.co.uk/accommodation/tarn
In anticipation of the UK opening air bridges to Europe – it’s time to save your summer holiday and take a look at our wonderful selection of villas, gites, apartments and chateaux holiday homes in France.
Self-catering is going to be really popular
This year will see interest in self-catering accommodation really bloom as holiday makers seek choices in whether to eat out or stay in.
French markets are open and full of tempting seasonal produce, perfect for your stay at (your French holiday) home barbecue, picnics and alfresco dining in the summer sunshine.
Not much beats a fresh baguette from the boulangerie, a chunk of cheese, fresh salad and fruit or a delicious cake – easy to make, little clearing up and utterly scrumptious.
Self-catering means you have the facilities to cook if you wish – croissants for breakfast anyone? Or order a take away! During the last few months, many restaurants and cafés have worked to provide takeaway options for customers ranging from 3-course gourmet dishes to burgers and pizzas.
Get out and about
Staying in for most of us has resulted in a longing to get out and enjoy the fresh air. If you’ve missed being able to hike, sail, cycle, swim and generally enjoy the great outdoors – France has so much to offer. Glorious beaches, wide open countryside, mountains, vineyards, forests and lakes, the choice of French destinations is immense. And our listing of thousands of holiday homes means you’ll find something that’s just right for you.
What to expect on your holiday in France Summer 2020
We advise you to bring masks with you. Rules are being made/changed constantly but it’s highly likely you’ll need to wear them while travelling to France on public transport – ferries, trains and planes. People working in public areas are likely to be using PPE.
You’ll also find that masks are required wearing to walk about in the vast majority of restaurants, though not when eating of course.
Some shops will also require you to wear masks and some tourist attractions may also require this.
1m social distancing rules are being practiced in shops, restaurants and tourist attractions.
Hand sanitiser is freely available in every bar, café, restaurant, shop, tourist attraction – even ski lifts.
Deep cleaning, cleaning and disinfecting is an ongoing requirement – if you want to know more about the hygiene protocols at the holiday home you’re going to, just email the owners for information.
The new normal means that you can have peace of mind on your summer holiday in France and enjoy that much needed break.
The Gers department in south west France is at the heart of historic Gascony. A land of valleys and vineyards, forests and fields of sunflowers, medieval villages and exquisite hamlets.
If you yearn to visit an authentic part of France where the food and wine are second to none, the people are friendly and the wide open spaces of glorious countryside leave you feeling refreshed and tranquil – then the Gers is for you…
Discover the stunningly beautiful, pinch-yourself-it’s-so-pretty area where Armagnac is made. In the Gers department, the locals make Armagnac, a world famous brandy. But this is not just any brandy. It’s the oldest French eau-de-vie.
A craft brandy, it’s not produced in industrial quantities but lovingly made by family-run wine growers, small producers and artisans. Many of them are open to the public for tastings and to buy direct. Don’t miss out on the chance to but Armagnac orange liqueur while you’re there, it’s hard to get outside of the area and utterly delicious.
You’ll find plenty of wine and Armagnac tasting opportunities en route – the perfect opportunity to try and buy.
Tip: Chateau Millet Winerie and Armagnac distillery in Eauze is sensational.
Gers is not highly populated with around 200,000 people in the whole department. There are literally hundreds and hundreds of small towns, villages and hamlets. They are dotted along the river, around lakes, hidden in forests, perched on hills, overlooking vineyards and laid out around cobbled squares.
The people are famous for their friendliness, hospitality – and love of good food! There are markets galore and seasonal dishes are de rigeur. Gascon wines, Floc de Gascogne (wine fortified with Armagnac) and Armagnac feature on every menu alongside local favourites. Duck, foie gras, Melons from Lectoure, garlic from Lomagne, Gascon apple pie. The food here is generous and the love of gastronomy celebrated.
There are officially six of the prettiest villages in France in the Gers department, jewels amongst a treasure trove of pretty villages. Larressingle, the smallest fortified town in France, and Montrèal-du-Gers, a medieval gem. Lavardens with its beautiful castle, Sarrant, La Romieu and Fourcés, with the only “round” square in France! But the fun of visiting this area is the discoveries you make for yourself.
Tip: The market at Samatan is the oldest and biggest in the area. Held on a Monday morning, it’s superb.
Auch, the capital
The small city of Auch is the capital of the area and like everywhere, it’s not highly populated. Famous for its incredible Cathedral (don’t miss the carved wooden seating area – it’s exquisite) which has a treasure museum of more than 200 objects of religious art. You can’t fail to spot the statue of Gascony’s famous musketeer d’Artagnan which keeps a watchful eye over the Grand staircase which connect lower Auch to the upper part of the city.
A warren of streets filled with great restaurants, friendly bars, boutiques and bookstores will keep you entertained.
Tip: Don’t miss La Table d'Oste restaurant, 7 rue Lamartine, right by the Cathedral. You’ll enjoy home-cooked Gascon food and a very warm welcome.
A place to get in tune with nature, enjoy the most delicious food and wine, discover the most beautiful countryside, historic towns and much much more
See our holiday home selection in the area here: https://www.frenchconnections.co.uk/accommodation/gers