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
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
Angoulême in the southwest France, department Charente is not that well known to tourists and yet it makes for an excellent visit with a raft of attractions from a unique “treasure room” to a world famous comic museum…
From enjoying stunning views from its perch on a plateau to museums and fabulous restaurants, there’s lots to do in Angouleme
Comics (bande dessinée, "BD" - the "drawn strip") are big in France where they’re considered a serious and respected art form. Angoulême, with its museum, is the world capital of comics. It feels like every street reflects this love of art and even in the lovely covered market place there are reminders. The Le Cite de la Bande Dessinée et de l’Image is an enormous Museum with thousands of original examples, some of the earliest comics in existence.
Each January there is a major comic festival in the town and fans arrive from all over the world to join in the comic fun! Details: http://english.citebd.org/
“Le Trésor” has to be one of the most unusual ‘attractions’ anywhere in France. Unlike many of the grand cathedrals of France, Angoulême‘s is Romanesque, not Gothic. Made from white stone with a stunning carved façade it is beautiful and ancient, the original parts dating back to the 12th century though it’s been modified over the years. What sets this Cathedral apart though is the quite extraordinary “Le Tresor” by artist Jean Michel Othoniel, and nothing prepares you for the burst of colour you experience when you enter the three rooms he has “decorated” at the top of the Cathedral. Blue and gold are the predominant colours and glass artworks that are quite simply mesmerising. The treasures are ancient religious relics and church objects. Guided tour bookable at the tourist office – unmissable.
Right next door to the Cathedral you’ll find the Museum of Angoulême. Fine arts are stored here, plus one of the largest collections of arts of Africa and Oceania. It also presents the history and evolution of Angoulême with some outstanding exhibits dating back millennia. Well worth a visit.
There are loads of great options for a gastronomic break from fine cuisine to rustic but head to the old part of town and stroll the warren of narrow roads lined with all sorts of options. One of our favourites is La Bulle Gourmande in rue de Genève, where the friendly staff make you feel welcome and feed you like you’re family. A small but tasty menu of seasonal local produce and a fabulous wine list. (Details: www.facebook.com/pages/category/French-Restaurant/La-bulle-gourmande)
This is a city in which to to wander and wonder. There are dozens of wall murals that make you go “wow” – they are so impressive. Created by comic artists of renown they give this town a real air of artistic quirkiness.
Top tip: Pick up a map of where the wall paintings are located from the tourist office.
Take a stroll through the lanes and boulevards and you’ll notice that there are distinct districts. Enjoy wide open spaces, elegant squares (Place Francis is lovely for sitting at a café watching the world wander by), grand buildings and stunning views from the ramparts.
More on what to do in Angoulême: www.angouleme-tourism.com
French Connections has loads of fabulous rentals in the Charente, one of the sunniest departments of France – pop over to our search pages to discover your holiday dream home…
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
We love Christmas in France. From festive markets, to Chateaux decked out in gorgeous finery, sensational food and beautiful shops. Here are five of our favourite places to enjoy Christmas in France…
Strasbourg is nicknamed the Capital of Christmas and the Christmas market, known locally as the Christkindelsmarik, is the oldest in Europe. From 23 November to 30 December 2018, beautiful lights and decorations in the most festive Christmas market with, it’s said, the tallest decorated Christmas tree in Europe. Take a boat ride, wander from one Christmas market to another – there are eleven, and prepare to be awed by the fabulous decorations on almost every street. www.otstrasbourg.fr
Sarlat in Dordogne hosts three weeks of colour and warmth at it's Christmas village. It's made up of forty-two charming chalets set up around an ice skating rink. The village showcases the work of craftsmen from all over France and a variety of goods are on offer to provide you with unforgettable gift ideas.
Gourmets will appreciate the many products to be enjoyed on site or taken away. Truffles, walnuts, foie gras are some of the favourites of the locals. There's a tavern at the heart of the market where you can warm up with a mulled wine or Christmas beer. The festive atmosphere and enchanting holiday décor are lovely. December 5 – December 31 2018. www.sarlat-tourisme.com
Credit: Julien Roche, City Hall Carcassonne
From early December until early January, Carcassonne’s magic is at its best as it comes alive with festivities for the Christmas period. There are twinkling lights everywhere, concerts, street entertainment, an ice rink, Christmas market and a wonderfully festive atmosphere. The celebrations take place in the Citadel as well as in the ancient city centre of Bastide Saint Louis at the base of the old city. Details: www.tourisme-occitanie.com
Credit: © Guillaume Souvant
Several of the Chateaux put on their winter and Christmas finery for real wow factor appeal. Some of the best include the Chateau de Brissac, the tallest castle in France and Chenonceau, the castle of flowers. www.loirevalley-france.co.uk
Credit: © Puy du Fou
Celebrate at Puy du Fou theme park in the Vendée, with a quirky take on Christmas. Puy du Fou is a unique and frankly amazing French experience. Best described as a historical theme park, they put on re-enactments, displays and special effects on a grand and epic scale and Christmas is no exception. puydufou.com
If you have a gite, villa, B&B or holiday home of any type to rent in France – we can help you to maximise your bookings.
For more than 22 years French Connections has been matching holiday home owners like you with our audience of holiday seekers – and we’d love to help you too.
Our simple to use website allows holiday makers to easily search our listed properties by region, size and amenities, giving you multiple opportunities to showcase your accommodation. Our popular blog posts and social media campaigns create a strong online presence to capture additional enquiries from people searching for their dream French holiday.
We are so confident of your success with us that we’ve created two great offers.
Offer 1: Our no risk money back guarantee. Advertise with us and if you don’t get a booking, we’ll refund your money*
Offer 2: 50% discount off your first year’s subscription*
*Offers available until the 31st December 2018. Terms and Conditions apply.
Let us help you have a great 2019.
Christmas in France is pretty much all about food.
The finest wines, cheeses, breads, oysters – the best of everything beautifully prepared, cooked, and presented are what make the Christmas meals in France truly stand out.
Market stalls heave with stunning displays, shops dress windows and shelves to look their festive finest. If you don’t want to spend hours cooking in the kitchen, you’ll find it’s easy to buy food ready prepared – and utterly delicious.
In France it is Christmas Eve when the big get together generally takes place. “Le réveillon” as it is called, can go on for several hours and into the next morning - hence its name which literally means the “wake up”.
For many French families, the Christmas Eve meal is more important than Christmas Day lunch.
Actually, there are two meals called the le réveillon in France. If you haven’t over indulged enough on Christmas Eve, you can do it all again on New Year’s Eve just to make sure!
For le réveillon it’s tradition to start with an aperitif, a pre-dinner drink served with nibbles or an amuse-bouche, literally something that amuses your mouth, a mouthful of deliciousness and easy to buy in the shops.
Aperitifs: Champagne of course, or perhaps Kir - white wine with a splash of liqueur, usually cassis (blackcurrant) or perhaps raspberry (framboise) or peach (pêche). Or maybe a Kir Royale – sparkling white wine or Champagne served with liqueur. Champagne cocktails are also popular – here are five classic Champagne cocktail recipes. Even beer gets festive at this time of the year, you can add a liqueur called Picon or simply buy Christmas beer, bière de Noël, which you’ll find easily in supermarkets.
Starters: Work your way through the entrée (starter) which is often oysters, snails, lobster or foie gras. Rich foods and the best that money can buy is the order du jour.
Plat Principal: The main dish is usually roast turkey or chapon (castrated cockerel), goose or other birds and wild fowl served with vegetables and maybe mash, but not roast potatoes, they’re not traditional in France.
Cheese: It is unthinkable for a French person to consider a meal without cheese at Christmas.
In France, cheese is served before dessert. For a great cheeseboard, mix flavours, textures and colour. Aim for five cheeses and include hard, soft, blue, mild and strong so that everyone’s taste is covered. Also try to include cows and goats cheese, maybe even cheese made from sheep’s milk.
Go overboard with a bit of fromage carving and decorating, serve with baguette or savoury biscuits and say cheese for those Christmas photographs…
Dessert: Bûche de Noël (yule log) is a tradition in France, every boulangerie, patisserie and supermarket will have them. Crystallised fruits, nougat and praline nuts are also really popular. In some parts of southern France thirteen desserts are traditional!
Wine: Expect to serve a different wine, paired perfectly with each course.
Dreaming of spending Christmas in France? Hop over to our Home Page and use the easy to search facilities to find your perfect French holiday home…