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French Connections

Find Holiday accommodation in France

  • The best Christmas market in France for crystal and Le Creuset is Amiens; at Licques market there’s a turkey parade, while Noisy le Grand, Paris offers hand crafted wooden toys and horse-drawn carriage rides. All this and more is in our comprehensive 2013 online guide to Christmas markets, a veritable treasure trove of information for lovers of these luscious shopping experience–cum-theatre events that are so special in France.

    Each market reflects the character of its location, so a visit is a good chance to discover a new area of France. Mulhouse market, for instance, is typically Alsatian, with half-timbered stalls featuring exceptional fabrics - and there’s mulled wine to sip on and little biscuits to nibble.

    The medieval town of Nancy, famous for its triumphal arch built to honor Louis XV, hosts its celebrated market in the historic Place Maginot, selling delicious fresh bread, spicy charcuterie, Bergamotte bonbons and mouthwatering macarons. Enjoyable Christmas activities here include carol singing, folk dancing and lively street entertainment.

    The guide lists around 25 markets – from Arras in the North to Avignon in the South - all in complete and tantalising detail, including location, goods for sale, food specialities and associated events. It also gives options for travel by road, rail and air and local accommodation, both hotels at discounted rates and self-catering options.

    So, what are you waiting for? To plan your trip, browse our 2013 guide to Christmas markets in France

  • Our featured region this month is the Somme in Northern France.  Bet you didn’t know that there was such a potent mix of history, seascapes, fishing harbours, unspoilt beaches, sports and activities around an hour’s drive from Calais. Typical is St Valery sure Somme, shown in our photo.

    I first visited this area by train when staying in Le Touquet, a little way up the coast, and I really liked Amiens, the main town, for its Gothic cathedral and surrounding square and its walkways beside the River Somme. Abbeville was fascinating for its World War II history and museums.

    For some reason I particularly remember seeing in Abbeville a monument to a 19 year old boy who was shot shortly before the Revolution for refusing to salute a passing member of the aristocracy. No wonder French people so value their egalitarianism!