French Connections

Find Holiday accommodation in France

  • Activity holidays – added value for visitors and property owners in France

    Activity holidays have become very popular among visitors to France, not least because many take several breaks a year and are looking for a new experience each time. This is a great time of year for all sorts of activities in France from arts, crafts and photography to French language, from golf, fishing or cycling to therapies and relaxation. The weather is warming up, the countryside is fresh and beautiful and the evenings are long.

    An activity holiday is so easy at a gite or self-catering house, where all members of the group can mix and match the way they spend their days with flexibility. Many breaks are offered by owners who started with a desire to pass on their own passion or hobby. As an owner of  French holiday let, what could you do?

    That’s the question asked in the May-June issue of Britmag, the popular magazine aimed at British residents in North West France  and among the answers is advice from our own Glynis Shaw, joint MD of French Connections.

    Glynis gives her own five top tips for running successful activity holidays in the article, which also features French Connections auberge Le Mesnil at Creances, Normandy. Here, owners Jan and Dave Tarbuck offer B&B along with painting holidays. The tutor is Joe Cousin (shown in our photo), a well known local artist whose paintings have been purchased by the Beckhams, Caron Keating and members of the Arsenal and Chelsea football teams.

    Britmag is available at French supermarkets with a press section and at “Marchands de journaux” in towns with substantial British populations in Basse-Normandie, Brittany and the Pays de la Loire.

  • Complete guide to the Tour de France now published

    'Tour' is a fat, glossy magazine with fabulous photos and all the low-down on the 2011 Tour de France - and it features French Connections places to stay close to the Tour locations.'Tour' is described as the ultimate fans' guide to the great race. It includes exclusive interviews with Bradley Wiggins, the great British rider and Geraint Thomas, the Welsh superhero, and gives tips on bikes and equipment for cycling enthusiasts.  There is a complete rundown on the stages, teams, favourites and bikes and a detailed stage analysis by Chris Boardman.

    An article on 'Grand Tourism' reminds readers that going to France to watch the action unfold is an unbeatable experience with the bonus of riding some of the race's legendary routes.  Among the suggested places to stay are French Connections' Old Salt House in Port Launay, Brittany (ID 152560), Grange du Devezou in the Auvergne (ID 154964) and some 300 properties within 30 miles of Serre-Chevalier for the Alps stage.

  • Discover lakes and mountains in the Haute-Savoie

    High in France’s Rhone-Alpes region, the Haute-Savoie department is a world of lakes, waterfalls, caves, gorges, glaciers, nature reserves, perfect ski slopes and, of course, majestic mountains. Back in the 18th century, the English came to Haute-Savoie to admire the glaciers. Now, this beautiful natural landscape is a top destination for tourists.

    The town of Chamonix is probably one of the most popular Alpine ski resorts, having played host to the first Winter Olympics in 1924.  Nestling in a valley, it is surrounded by stunning mountains – including the famous Mont Blanc - with nine ski areas that offer some of the best skiing in Europe.

    The capital of Haute-Savoie is Annecy, an elegant, fashionable city with a friendly ambience. Annecy’s network of canals make it a truly romantic setting – think Venice plus crisp mountain air and snow-capped Alpine peaks! A 15km long lake adds to the romance and is a great setting for hiking, gliding or cycling.

    In the north of the Haute-Savoie lies Evian-les-Bains, close to Lake Geneva. Yes, this is the Evian famed for its springs, where water is bottled and sent around the world. A visit to the factory is a must as you can sample the famous water at its source. Also on the lake is the enticing medieval stone village of Thonon-Les-Bains.

    Find accommodation in Haute-Savoie

  • Discover the Ardèche for rivers, mountains, nature and culture

    Want to try a new part of France this year, away from the tourist hotspots but with plenty to do and see? Well, here's a hot tip - plan a visit to the Ardèche. You'll get a taste of the real France and discover one of the country's most varied regions.

    Where exactly is the Ardèche? Well it lies just south of the centre of France and has borders with  Languedoc,  the Auvergne and Provence in the south, where the weather is about as warm and sunny as Provence itself. The landscape is abundant with rivers, mountains and green forests so it's great country for walking, canoeing and communing with nature.

    But this is France, so life's little pleasures and sophistications are not forgotten! The capital town of Privas, for instance, is a gastronome's delight and also the epicentre of the marron glacé (candied chestnut) business. Throughout the department, there are cultural feasts and fun events galore this summer, from a balloon festival in June to chamber music in July, two or three arts festivals that combine the visual with the historic and a medieval pageant.

    Where can you stay? There's a surprisingly wide range of self-catering holiday rentals in this region, many of them oozing local character with stone and timber and most in lovely country locations close to towns and villages. You'll find anything from a country cottage or gite for couples and small families to all or part of an elegant chateau with traditional features so typical of France.

    Find holiday accommodation in the Ardèche

  • Doing the Doo by Canoe

    Actually it's not the Doo, it is only called the Doo, it is really the Doubs and it is a River.

    It is a rather special river because it goes alongside and feeds one of the most attractive canals in France which joins the Rhine and the Saône rivers, and so it gives water-borne traffic the possibility to travel from Switzerland and Germany to the Mediterranean. However at the beautiful town of Dole the river and the canal part company and the river continues through almost deserted countryside until it joins the Saône at the picturesque town of Verdun-sur-Le-Doubs.

  • Easter in France - something for everyone

    Easter is just around the corner and in France that means age-old community traditions and joyful celebrations – especially in the countryside, which is also great for getting active outdoors in the longer spring days. French cities combine tradition with the stimulation of an urban buzz and there are even more thrills as Disneyland Paris celebrates its 20th year from Easter Monday onwards. So Easter in France really does offer fun for all ages and tastes.

    One of the joys of staying at a holiday home in a village or town in the French countryside is dipping into a way of rural community life that has held fast to its traditions, humanity and sense of identity.  This is particularly evident at Easter, the announcement of Spring and rebirth that is evident all around in field, forest, vineyards and verdant hillsides.

    Even the smallest French village has its church, often with a distinctive tower or steeple housing the all-important bells that peal to mark the great occasions and transitions of human life. But on the Thursday before Good Friday, the bells of French churches fall silent. “The peal of the bells has flown off to Rome to see the Pope,” it is said. Only on the morning of Easter Sunday do the bells fly back to peal once again, bringing with them chocolate Easter eggs.

    The eggs are said to be strewn by the bells for children to find in gardens and parks. This is why French children hunt outdoors for their chocolate eggs – and why the gorgeous displays in the window of the village chocolatier includes lots of bells with wings as well as eggs. The tradition behind Easter chocolate fish is less clear – but they are beautiful works of confection, sometimes containing smaller items of chocolate shellfish.

    Churches hold an Easter Mass on Saturday evening and the Sunday is marked by a long family lunch with plenty of local produce and wine, which seems like a pretty good model to follow if you’re holidaying in France!

    Easter Saturday falls on 30th March – and there’s still time to book your Easter getaway for this or the following week at a cottage, farmhouse, chateau or chambres d’hote in many rural areas of France with great walking, cycling and sightseeing. More in our guide to Easter – including a fantastic choice of Easter accommodation still available - and in our calendar of Festivals and Events.

    Photo: Tulip picking at the Chateau de Percey in Burgundy

  • Escape the ski crowds in the Hautes-Alpes

    Set between Grenoble and the Italian border, this sunny corner of the Alps has a wealth of friendly villages, some spectacularly high peaks and fantastic winter sports. Yet the Hautes-Alpes are delightfully unspoilt and offer less crowded ski holidays than better known ski areas of France.

  • Family holidays in France (CMigrator copy 1)

    No wonder France is such a popular family holiday choice. The country is easily accessible by road, rail or air, is affordable - especially for accommodation - and offers a great variety of landscape, history, activities and fun for adults and youngsters alike. Oh, and let’s not forget the child-friendly culture and delicious local food and wine.

    The Dordogne, Languedoc-Rousillon and the Mediterranean are all favourite destinations – and for somewhere different, try the Auvergne or Burgundy. Most accessible for family holidays is North West France, especially Normandy and Brittany. You’ll find spacious countryside, Celtic traditions and every kind of seaside from unspoilt rocky coves to buzzing resorts with wide, sandy beaches.

  • Follow in the Tour de France cycle tracks of Bradley Wiggins

    Bradley Wiggins’ historic Tour de France victory has inspired many of us to get on our bikes. If you’re an even half serious road cyclist, what better way to pay homage than to follow in the great man’s tracks by taking a cycling holiday in France?

    Make your base a self-catering property in one of the great cycling areas of France and you have maximum freedom and flexibility to plan your timetable and routes. In the evenings, there’s a choice of relaxing by the barbecue while you massage those weary legs, eating out locally for a change of pace and scene or falling into bed at an early hour to be ready for the next day’s fun.

  • French Connections advises owners in leading magazines

    September's Living France magazine features How To Let Out Your French Property, while French Property News has a major article on bringing in extra income for gites and holiday lets. Both are written by our own Glynis Shaw, based on her years of experience and lively ideas, with two French Connections holiday home owners as case studies.