Known as the gastronomic capital of France, Lyon is a feast for the eyes, the soul, and the stomach.
It’s a city that’s perfect for culture vultures, a shopper’s delight and in the old town, almost every other building seems to house a restaurant, bakery, wine bar or somewhere to tempt your taste buds.
Get a map from the tourist office which is in Place Bellecour and from where you can take a guided tour on an open top bus. It stops at 13 key sites and you can get on and off as you like, so you can spend time where you want and it saves you the trouble of buying a one-day travel pass and it’s good value.
From Place Bellecour you can take a stroll over Pont Bonaparte, the bridge that crosses the River Saône and leads straight into the Old Town – a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It’s a place of medieval towers, Renaissance mansions, cobbled streets, amazing restaurants and has a fascinating history. It’s easy to spend several hours here browsing in shop windows and simply enjoying the views and the ambiance.
credited @ Tourist Office Lyon
There are several museums including the huge, recently opened Musée des Confluences located in the newly regenerated docklands area. Its radical design has raised eyebrows but the exhibition of the story of mankind shown through a collection of two million objects is very popular.
You’re bound to come across the word “traboules” in Lyon. These are a network of medieval covered alleyways and stairs in the Croix Rousse district linking courtyards and houses to the river. Lyon was famous for its silk weaving industry (think Marie Antoinette) and the traboules enabled goods to be transported without getting wet.
Cinema fans will enjoy the fascinating museum dedicated to famous residents of Lyon - Auguste and Louis Lumière, the world's first film-makers, located in their former, art deco home.
The city is famous for its annual Festival of Lights, held in Early December in honour of the Virgin Mary who it was said, saved the city from plague in 1643.
Lyon has a sweet tooth so there's plenty of opportunities to take home some luscious memories, Violette & Berlingot is a sugary feast (52, Passage de l'Argue). Bernachon of Lyon is an institution and a must visit for cake lovers (42, cours Franklin Roosevelt).
You might not be so keen on the local specialty, andouilette, a sausage made from offal, it's a bit of an acquired taste.
Where to eat
It’s hard to know where to start in a place that has more restaurants per head than any other town in France - including 14 Michelin star restaurants. Eating out is a passion and hobby for the Lyonnais and there’s a huge choice. Head to the old town to experience Bouchons, traditional Lyon eateries where you’re likely to hear a chef sing and the details reflect restaurants of old and are seriously charming. Fun dining to fine dining, microbreweries, ultra-posh to gourmet burger – this town has it all, and then some.
Les Cordeliers district is also brilliant for restaurants, especially rue de la Monnaie and Rue Mercier. We recommend you try to book in advance because the good restaurants get packed very quickly as the people of Lyon consider dining out as a compulsory hobby!
French Connections have loads of fabulous holiday rentals all over France, making your holiday dreams come true…
I’d like to take you somewhere special. It’s a place where deep blue Mediterranean skies slowly bake a rocky green landscape in which you’ll find the medieval town of Uzes.
Uzes oozes charm
Perched on the crest of a small mountain, Uzes will have you falling in love with its ancient streets and beautiful pale limestone mansions which glow in the sun that shines around 300 days a year here in the Gard region. The town is picturesque and authentic, sure tourists visit, but not in their droves as they do to some of the more famous towns in the area. Uzes is at the centre of the sunny Arles-Nimes-Avignon triangle yet somehow this designated historic town and Ville d’art feels like a secret.
What to see and do in Uzes
Sit in the medieval square in the shade of thick-leaved plane, olive, and mulberry trees and simply soak up the ambiance. Stroll those ancient streets, through cool stone arches under the watchful eye of three feudal towers and Le Duché, the resident Duke’s castle. Linger in the central Place aux Herbes, especially on market day. Go on a Wednesday or a Saturday and you’ll be bowled over by the sights, sounds, and scents of this vibrant square, teeming with stalls selling every manner of saucisson and bread, cheeses adorned with herbs and petals, delicious local olives, fabulous flowers and much more.
Uzes Flower market, credit French Ventures
Afterwards, take your seat at a pavement table of a local café and watch the life of this little town unfold before your eyes, all packed up and gone by the end of lunch. In the evening the trees in the square are strung with fairy lights, it’s romantic and alluring, and the perfect place for an aperitif.
If you’ve got a sweet tooth don’t miss out on a visit to the Haribo Bonbon Museum in which of course there is a shop to make you lose your senses when you see every shade of sugar-coated sweets.
And there’s plenty to see around and about. A 15-minute drive will bring you to one of the most famous bridges in France, the Pont du Gard, a Roman aqueduct which once carried water to the Roman stronghold Nimes around a 40-minute drive away by car.
The scented Garrigue, the dry herby countryside surrounds Uzes. There are dozens of enchanting little medieval villages clinging to the hills.
Uzes is intoxicating and memorable, but be warned, go once and you’ll yearn to return, it’s the sort of town that dreams are made of.
French Connections has loads of gorgeous holiday homes in and around Uzes – we love making your holiday dreams come true…
There are loads to see and do in the Manche in Autumn with fabulous towns like Cherbourg, Saint Lo and of course the ever-popular wonder of the world – Mont-saint-Michel. At this time of the year, the famous island is far less crowded and you’ll be able to stroll those wiggly little streets and enjoy the views over the bay in comfort.
Granville is one of the jewels of the Manche, known as the “Monaco of the north” it’s a coastal town with museums including the former home of the iconic fashion designer Christian Dior. There are mouth-watering seafood restaurants, cosy little bars and it’s a lovely town to wander.
Stay at: Chateau d’Hambye in Hambye. Sleeping 14 in luxury, set in 9 acres of pretty gardens and fields – it’s a place to really relax and recharge your batteries. Walking distance to the village amenities and just 20 minutes from Granville.
The vineyards and countryside of the beautiful Cote d’Or are a tapestry of vibrant colours in autumn. The magnificent city of Dijon is one of the true gems of this lovely area of Burgundy. With its fabulous covered market designed by Gustav Eiffel who was born here, plenty of museums, a fabulous castle, brilliant restaurants and wine bars – it’s the quintessential and utterly lovely French town.
Other highlights include Beaune, the wine-lover's paradise, Mersault and Puligny-Montrachet as well as pretty Flavigny where the movie Chocolat was filmed.
Stay at: Well Cottage in Montigny sur Armancon – a perfect bijou cottage just right for two. Situated in the heart of the village and just 7km from the stunning medieval town of Semur-en-Auxois, it’s a cosy and charming place to stay with lovely views over the valley.
The department of Aube is home to some of the finest Champagne vineyards including Drappier who make the biggest bottle of Champagne in the world. Their Melchizedek bottle holds a stonking 400 glasses of Champagne in one single bottle! It’s an area that has retained its rural simplicity, Renoir lived here in Essoyes and loved to capture its beauty. It’s an area that is peppered with pretty little villages where you’ll find independent Champagne makers offering a taste and buy service along the route de Champagne.
The medieval city of Troyes is full of half-timbered houses, delicious restaurants, there are several museums and loads to see and do.
Stay at: Les Marais cottage in Mesnil-St-Pere. There are actually 5 delightful cottages on the shore of the Lac d’Orient and this one sleeps 6. Cosy and comfortable, it’s ideal for nature lovers with wonderful views in the most picturesque countryside. And it’s very close to the wonderful city of Troyes.
Boasting the longest beach in Europe (9km of golden sand), La Baule on the Cote d’Armor is a beach lover’s dream and listed as one of the most beautiful bays in the world. A sophisticated sort of place with plenty of charm lying among pine trees where you can ride a horse or simply relax. There’s plenty do to all year round here and some excellent restaurants.
Close by, Batz-sur-Mer, a recognised “City of Character” is on a peninsula with the sea on one side and the salt marshes on the other. Visit the fabulous markets, museums and enjoy the town’s architectural heritage and salty history!
Stay at: The Coastal House at Batz-sur-Mer. Sleeping 7, in the centre of a friendly village, this is ideal for families. At just a few minutes’ walk from the beach where you’ll be able to use a private beach hut, it makes for a lovely place to stay for beach lovers and with usually mellow weather in autumn, the last chance for a bit of late sun before winter.
Sorges is famous throughout France for its truffles, in fact, it’s known as the world capital of truffles. In this town, you’ll find a famous restaurant - the Auberge de la Truffe known for its gourmet dishes. There’s even a truffle museum, but there’s more to this place than the delicious little fungi known as the black diamond of gastronomy. The town is small and beautiful, the perfect place to relax, with its magnificent Romanesque church and medieval houses and castle remains.
It is a tranquil place that is surrounded by lush countryside, yet it’s only 20 minutes’ drive to the medieval city of Perigueux. Brantome is also nearby. Known as the “Venice of Dordogne” it’s the sort of place that all who see it, fall in love with.
Stay at: Lovely La Chenaie, a stunning country house in Sorges. With enough room for 12 guests and exquisitely renovated, with a beautiful south facing terrace, perfect for those autumn sunny days.
There’s never a bad time to visit the French Riviera. With lots going on all year round, the sun shines more than 300 days a year and there are loads of gorgeous towns to visit. Autumn and Winter are great seasons to take a break with plenty to do and see, fewer crowds and some much-needed sunshine.
Glitz and glamour sum up what Cannes is all about. Fine dining restaurants, luxury fashion boutiques, casinos, and VIP nightclubs for those with cash to splash.
The place to go shopping for the biggest haute-couture brands and walking in the film stars’ footsteps is La Croisette. Even if you’re not out to buy, the windows of glamorous shops like Dior, Chanel and Bottega Veneta are beautiful to see.
Head to Rue d’Antibes for a whole range of far less expensive shops - from small hatters to high street stores, cheese shops, and patissiers. At the Forville Market, you can find local products and a more authentic feel for the town. Get lost in the winding streets of the old town all the way up the hill to the Castre Museum where you’ll have the most beautiful views over the city and the bay of Cannes.
Everyone’s heard of the Cannes Film Festival – it’s one of France’s landmark annual events. Want to see the cinema where everything takes place? Climb the famous steps where the red carpet welcomes the stars and visit the Palais des Festivals on one of the Tourist Office’s guided tours.
Treat yourself to lunch at Cannes’ highest rated restaurant - the two Michelin star Palme d'Or, located in the Hotel Martinez on La Croisette. The talented chef even makes his own crockery to make sure everything complements the ingredients used. The Croisette et Gourmandise lunch menu is pricey but worth it at around €78.
Finally, hop on a catamaran to visit the Lerins Islands which takes just 15 minutes from Cannes. You’ll discover a whole new atmosphere in these outstanding areas of natural beauty on the Ile Sainte Marguerite and Ile Saint Honorat which belongs entirely to the Monks that reside and produce wine there. There’s also the smaller Ilot Saint Ferreol and Ilot de la Tradeliere to enjoy.
Not far from Cannes, between the Mediterranean Sea and the mountains of the Mercantour National Park, is the colourful and vibrant city of Nice.
The main beach is stony rather than sandy, a place to see and be seen, but drive 20 minutes (or take a bus) around the coast to find sandy beaches perfect for a swim and snorkel in the aquamarine sea.
Place Masséna on the edge of the old town has a beautiful chequered black and white pathway alongside bright terracotta-coloured buildings. As you wander under the azure sky, towards the Promenade with its fresh green palm trees and the unbelievably turquoise sea, the glittering rays of the sun make the colours intense. Walk through the small windy streets of the old town, take a stroll by the harbour with its beautiful yachts or climb the hill to the Chagall Museum.
Explore the daily market of the famous square known as the Cours Saleya. Antiques and flowers plus stands filled with local specialities such as Socca (pancakes and chips made from chickpea – delicious) and Pissaladière an oniony tart, make this a must-see market. You’ll find homemade jams, organic honey, exotic spices, soothing lavender and local arts & crafts – all in the shadow of beautiful lemon and orange coloured buildings.
Nice has its own language, music, and protected traditions and you’ll notice the street signs in both French and Niçois. The sound of local music fills the air and, if you’re lucky, you’ll stumble onto a show by the famous Ciamada Nissarda – Nice’s traditional association in charge of protecting and promoting the town’s rich cultural heritage.
Though there’s something going on year-round, one of the main events is the colourful, vibrant and fabulous Nice Carnival. The whole town takes on a party atmosphere in February to welcome the spring and it's usually warm enough for T-shirts!
Cassis is on the outskirts of the French Riviera. It’s a small town has a lively fishing port overlooked by the amazing Cap Canaille – the highest sea cliff in France. It towers almost 400 metres straight up out of the sea.
It’s the perfect place for a dip and then afterward to enjoy a few drinks in one of the vibrant beachside bars. West of Cassis is the UNESCO listed Massif des Calanques – chiseled white limestone cliffs that are mesmerizingly beautiful. Here, marine valleys have been cut out of the rock, creating miniature fjords and magnificent natural coves. Take a skippered ride or hire a boat to be able to really appreciate the astounding wild beauty of the Calanques from the deep blue waters. Popular for everything from snorkeling to kayaking, to boating and hiking, this park is an incredibly important and beautiful reserve.
We have hundreds and hundreds of beautiful rental properties in the French Riviera – we love to help you make your holiday dreams come true…
The cuisine of France is renowned for many reasons – across the country menus offer tempting regional dishes. The taste of the south though is very different from that of the north, influences from neighbouring Italy, from Spain and North Africa, have left their mark.
The sun-drenched French Riviera, lapped by the Mediterranean Sea, is a melting pot of tasty dishes as all those influences come together to create some truly breath-taking flavours.
The gentle climate lends itself to al fresco dining for most of the year, even in winter, and here you’ll enjoy bold flavours like garlic, olive oil and herbs that give the food a unique quality and make it among the best in France.
Here’s a must-try list of fabulous gastronomic delights for you to discover the exquisite flavours for yourself…
Cours Saleya credit @ A.Issock, Nice Tourism
The markets of the south of France are famous for their vibrant atmosphere, fresh seasonal produce and colourful characters. Visit the Nice market, the Cours Saleya, and relish the endless stands of local Socca, Pissaladiere and Salad Nicoise served in a bun as a snack called a pan bagnat. As you enjoy the scent of sea salt olive oil and smoke wafting around you, you’ll definitely be tempted by the exotic spices, fresh local fish, organic honey and home-made jams, flamboyant flowers and juicy fruits, soothing, deliciously scented lavender and local arts & crafts.
The world's greatest bouillabaisse is made in southern France and Marseille, in particular, is famous for the flavoursome fish stew. Almost every restaurant, from Michelin-star venues to tiny cafés will serve their own version. Check out the ‘Panier’ area, the famous old district for great people watching from the pavement and terraces.
Before your meal though, enjoy sipping a Pastis like the locals (who call it Pastaga). This aniseed flavoured and very strong liqueur should be enjoyed with ice, and perhaps a little water if you want to keep a clear head!
Porquerolles, credit @ Julien Maucery, Hyeres Tourism
There are masses of choice for vineyard visits all along the French Riviera. Much loved by the locals are the wines from the vineyards of Bellet. Just ten minutes’ drive from Nice airport, the dozen or so vineyards from one of the smallest Appellation d'origine contrôlée (AOC) regions in France. Located high in the hills, requiring a drive up some very steep and winding roads you’re guaranteed a warm welcome and a fabulous tasting of some unique wines from the land where grapes have been grown for two millennia.To go even more off the beaten track, visit Hyeres-
To go even more off the beaten track, visit Hyeres-les-Palmiers, a little town outside of Toulon which boasts over 8,000 palm trees. From here take a 15 minutes cruise to the island of Porquerolles to see its vineyards and savour liqueurs while you have a game of petanque. Try Domaine Perzinsky for its wonderful views and shady terraced tasting area.
Antibes has lured many admirers over the years, from Picasso to Miles Davis, drawn by the dazzling blue sea, the warm architecture and the culture. This is a place of fishermen’s districts and wharves, markets and pine groves where the living is good. Head out to the surrounding villages like Vallauris for an authentic taste of Mediterranean cuisine in a gorgeous surrounding. Here, beach restaurants and traditional brasseries are plentiful and you’ll find the prices are much lower than in the main tourist areas.
There isn’t much that beats dining at a restaurant along the sea’s edge at night when the air has cooled and the sky is filled with stars. Watching the twinkling lights of the boats, listening to the soft sound of jazz being played on the beach and the gentle waves lapping the beach as you dip into a freshly made tapenade made from sun dried tomatoes – priceless!
French Connections has oodles of fabulous villas, gites, B&Bs and apartments all over the south of France, just perfect for your any time of the year gourmet visit!
Autumn in Alsace
Thinking of a last-minute holiday in France? As owners offer incentives to fill their Autumn weeks, we have some sensational special offers on holiday homes.
You can find big discounts on family villas, exceptional deals for couples at beautiful gites and apartments, and bargain breaks at larger properties for groups and extended families. And, if you’re lucky enough to take a big break, there are some great long let deals – perfect for winter getaways.
Deals are available in great locations all over France. From Normandy to Brittany, the Dordogne, Languedoc-Roussillon, the Alps and the South of France.
An Autumn market
A gite or villa rental offers excellent value, especially at this time of the year. The markets are filled with local and seasonal produce, just perfect for you to cook your own meals with luscious local food and wine in your home from home kitchen. Sipping hot chocolate at a pavement café, watching a rosy hued sunset, the colours of the autumn leaves on trees vibrant as dusk falls – France in Autumn is utterly fabulous.
Autumn in Conques, Aveyron
Search by date on our last-minute availability pages. Find a property you fancy and explore a new area of France. Discover excellent restaurants, historic towns, traditional markets, glorious countryside, rural parks or theme parks to enjoy and enjoy walks on beaches without crowds.
Find lovely long lets that will make you want to va va voom to your extended holiday in France.
The old city of Carcassonne dates back to 1st century BC but these days there’s a fabulously restored hill top castle and a beautiful medieval town that’s fully functional with around 50 inhabitants. As you enter through the main gates of this fortified town you’ll be caught up in a warren of cobbled streets on different levels (tip: wear comfy shoes). The entire town, surrounded by 2km long walls and 52 towers is a UNESCO listed monument and, every street and corner reveal traces of its fascinating history.
In the citadel, there are loads to do and see and you can easily spend a whole day there just wandering. There are daily displays of jousting in the summer months and it’s easy to stroll with a stroller. The streets, for the most part, are free of cars throughout the day with only limited access allowed for people operating their businesses or living in the city. You can also take the little train, a 20 minute, multi-language sightseeing tour of the turrets and ramparts. There are lots of little shops, many of them touristy which some people complain about but, we’re tourists in Carcassonne right, so a little souvenir is always good. Some of the shops are fabulous, shoes, clothes, and bags will definitely tempt! If you like to eat where the locals go, take a break at the bottom of the Citadel in Bloc G (112 e Barbacane), it may not look much from the outside but the food is amazing, home-cooked, seasonal produce with serious servings of flavour.
The area is famous for its cassoulet and there are plenty of restaurants in the old city. Don’t though, miss the so-called “newer” part of town which dates back to the Middle Ages! In the Bastide de St Louis, you’ll discover a rectangular grid of streets which join the old city to the Canal du Midi. Here you will find a terrific selection of bars, restaurants - Le Bistrot d’Alice (26 rue Chartran) is popular with locals for luscious home cooked local dishes, friendly service, and a great ambiance. There’s a fabulous market in Place Carnot with its local pink marble pavement and it’s is lined with places to watch the world go by.
For a real end of day treat, dinner at the award-winning 2 Michel Star Franck Putelet restaurant Le Parc (80 Chemin des Anglais) just outside the old city, is truly memorable.
Opposite the train station at Carcassonne, you can take a boat ride on the UNESCO listed Canal du Midi. Drift through the stunning countryside where the canal paths, great for cycling, are lined with regal plane trees. Le Cocagne boat company run guided tours of an hour plus which give wonderful views of the old city of Carcassonne.
There’s never a bad time to visit Carcassonne. There’s always plenty going on. Festivals, concerts, Christmas markets, it’s a town that’s good for your bucket list all year round.
Check out our properties in the area – we have thousands of fabulous holiday homes all over France and we love to make your holiday dreams come true with the perfect accommodation for you…