French Connections

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  • Bordeaux and the Gironde - an enchanted land of wine and water

    If the Gironde region is not already familiar, then why now make this the year to discover its beauties? The capital Bordeaux is already one of the most evocative city names in Europe. To arrive at this historic centre of wine and culture is to enter the warmer, sunnier climes of south west France and immediately to bask in a distinctively, delightfully French way of being.

    Arrival in Bordeaux is not difficult, with the choice of a major international airport, TGV link from Paris and easy motorway access. The city is an enticing combination of wide avenues, elegant 18th century buildings, parks, pavement cafes, shops, museums, fabulous restaurants and, of course, the iconic centre of one the world’s great wine producing areas.

    Bordeaux is also a good starting point from which to explore the Gironde. As you might expect, this is countryside replete with rolling acres of vines, many of them belonging to small independent vineyards. It also embraces the confluence of two rivers, with unspoilt coastline and a fascinating estuary to explore.

    The history of wine production even influences the type of holiday rental you’ll find here. Stay at a truly mouth watering chateau in acres of grounds, make an ancient manoir or Maison de Maitre your very own or enjoy a stone farmhouse with its own swimming pool that oozes traditional character.

    Many of our Gironde holiday properties are in peaceful country locations. Others lie at the heart of towns and villages, like the stunning Le Pavillon-Villemaurine, a Maison de Maitre in St Emilion, shown in our photograph.

    See the full range of holiday rentals in the Gironde and Browse our useful guides to Bordeaux, the Gironde and Aquitaine 

  • Following the wine trail in France

    A wine trip to France is really less about shopping and more about lifestyle. A couple I know once hopped into their Porsche on a Friday night whim, drove on to the ferry and motored down to champagne country to stay in a chateau for an autumn weekend, returning with the boot full of bubbly. Every December friends with a large family put their station wagon on the Eurotunnel train for a well planned trip to Calais to stock up on Viognier and take in the Christmas markets.

    With the autumn wine harvest approaching, it set me to dreaming of my ideal French wine trip. I would certainly seek out local wine from limited production family vineyards. I’d want to taste the producer’s love for the grape and its bounty in the finished product, for them to care that the wine is properly appreciated.

  • French Connections in Sainsbury's magazine

    The August issue of Sainsbury's Magazine, on sale now, features an article about 'the perfect villa holiday' at a French Connections Maison de Maitre in the countryside not far from Bordeaux.

  • Lonely Planet rates Bordeaux world’s top city


    Experts at travel guide publisher and website Lonely Planet have just announced their top destinations for 2017 in a ‘Best in Travel’ guide. In the Top City category, the favourite choice of cities to visit next year is Bordeaux, France.

    In terms of travel, Lonely Planet loves Bordeaux right now because the new LGV Sud-Ouest line, due for completion in mid- 2017, will connect the city with Europe’s high- speed train network and cut travel time from Paris to just two hours. In terms of attractions, LP says, ‘ The recently opened Cité du Vin continues the impressive redevelopment of the Garonne riverfront with a state-of-the-art wine-lovers’ experience, and the city’s gastronomic revolution keeps building on its own success.’

    We already love this city for its great climate and rich history. As capital of the most famous wine region in the world, Bordeaux offers all the culture and shopping you'd expect to find in a large, sophisticated city plus the added benefits of its association with the centuries-old wine trade.

    Bordeaux is full of elegant 18th-century buildings and wide avenues. These, along with the neoclassical architecture and well-tended parks, combine to give the city a certain grandeur. Yet the centre is easily explored on foot, has world class restaurants and wines, excellent museums and lively nightlife. When you fancy a change of pace, beaches are close by and if you want a day trip to the city, Bordeaux is very accessible from the popular Gironde and Dordogne regions.

    We have a great range of places to stay around Bordeaux, so start browsing our accommodation and city guide now to plan your trip to this world class city.