French Connections

Find Holiday accommodation in France

  • New! Win a spring break in the south of France

    Our latest competition offers you the chance to win an April or May week at the picturesque Domaine de Barthe, an ancient wine domain near Carcassonne in the heart of the wine regions of Languedoc-Roussillon.

    Owners Mark and Nicole Adams have tastefully restored four former workers’ cottages to create beautiful self-catering gites. There’s a large swimming pool with terrace in a sheltered walled garden, spacious games barn, giant outdoor chess and a full size covered Petanque court.

    In association with FrenchEntree Magazine, we’re inviting you to enter to win one week’s stay for up to four people in the prestigious Alaric Cottage, opened just last year and pictured above. (Travel is not included).

    The cottage has a large lounge with separate dining kitchen and a feature spiral staircase leads to one double and one twin bedroom, both en suite. Outside, the cottage has its own patio and BBQ area.

    The beautiful Canal du Midi is very close, as are the wine regions of Minervois and Corbiere. In 15 minutes you can drive to Carcassonne’s famous mediaeval walled city and in 40 minutes to the Mediterranean coast.

  • Carcassonne cottage with a special owner

    We enjoy making connections between holiday let owners and their guests. We also know that many of our owners run gites primarily because they love to be in the hospitality business. It’s a real pleasure for them to welcome holidaymakers at their property and share all that they love about France and their local area.

    Jaen Williams, based just outside the beautiful city of Carcassonne, shown in our photo, is a prime example. Her gite, Willow Cottage, is a private, independent two bedroom cottage with its own swimming pool and a huge rooftop terrace. It’s set in one acre grounds with an orchard and boules pitch in a fantastic village location and with close access to this romantic medieval city and its airport.

    Jaen was once a nurse, but is now retired and has lived in her pretty village, close to the Canal du Midi, for nine years. “I love everything about this place,” says Jaen in her lilting Scottish brogue. “The tranquillity, the lovely friendly people and the ten minute walk to a shop, café bar and chateau.”

    Jaen also loves helping her guests have the best possible holiday, without being in any way intrusive. “I know a lot about the local history and stories and it seems that others share my enthusiasm as I have three families who have been coming to stay here for six years!”

    Carcassonne is a great year round destination and Jaen has availability for this spring and summer for up to four people.
    See more about Willow Cottage at the link below

  • Holiday Heaven in the Aude

    It’s February and here in northern Europe, winter still has us in its icy grip. So naturally our thoughts turn to long, lazy days in the sunny south of France, to glorious Mediterranean beaches and forests fringed by mountain views.

    Here at French Connections, our thoughts are turning especially to the Aude in Languedoc Roussillon, for this is our region of the month. Typically for its Mediterranean location, the Aude enjoys long, hot summers with temperatures topping well above 30C, so no wonder we consider it a holiday heaven.

    The coastline stretches for a full 50km and is positively bursting with beach resorts, so there’s plenty of swimming and sunbathing. Further inland lies a blanket of wheat fields and vineyards as far as the eye can see, with the magnificent backdrop of the Pyrénées mountains, guaranteeing you scenery with constantly changing light and drama.

    The landscape is unmistakably Mediterranean with wild, rocky hills and hot, stony plains – and the wine is warm and southern too, for this is the territory of the gorgeous Minervois and Corbières. I recently enjoyed a delicious glass of Corbieres de Nimes - on offer at the supermarket - and the name, label and taste all transported me immediately to the warmth and history of this area of France.

    Deep forests offer a cool, quiet retreat and are a hiker’s paradise. And the history! From the 13th century, the Cathars have left their mark in the Aude, especially in the capital Carcassonne, surely one of France’s most romantic cities. Stroll the winding streets, explore the sights, languish at a pavement café and finish with a dinner of superb local food and wine in one of the many restaurants that ooze warmth and welcome.

    Where to stay in the Aude? You’ll find mouth watering traditional stone farmhouses with shutters and vine-clad terraces, village houses for a real taste of local life, beachside apartments and lovely country auberges with every luxury laid on. Check out accommodation ideas in our guide to the Aude and our guide to Languedoc Roussillon

    Our photo shows the breathtaking view from Les Gascous, a spacious 12 bedroom farmhouse set in five acres of garden with a salt water swimming pool. This tranquil setting is only 10 minutes drive from the medieval city of Mirepoix, where there’s plenty to see and do.

  • Holidays in Aude, the sunny south of France

    The Aude is a small area that seems to encapsulate all the best of France. A hot, sunny climate, miles of low-key Mediterranean coastline, the majestic Pyrenees mountains, vast vineyards producing iconic wines, colourful markets selling luscious local produce, picturesque farmhouses to stay in – oh and the capital, Carcassonne, is one of France’s most romantic historic cities.

    No wonder the Aude is our region of the month. Located in southern central France, in Languedoc-Roussillon, it’s a popular choice for holidays and we have a really good selection of accommodation, from seaside apartments to chateau gites and family villas in peaceful countryside.

    This is Cathar country, so there is plenty of history to discover. Amongst  a rich heritage are medieval castles, ‘Citadelles du vertige’ (literally ‘head spin’ citadels), sites of the 13th century Cathars who were so persecuted, romanesque abbeys and cloisters, prehistoric caves and the Roman city of Narbonne.

    This territory is ideal for viticulture and the Aude contains the biggest and oldest vineyard of France.  Fitou, Corbières and Cabardès are among the wine making areas and, when it comes to food to accompany such delights, gastronomy here has been taken to the level of a fine art.

    Aude offers a wide range of outdoor activities in spectacular and varied landscapes, not least walks under century-old trees bordering the famous Canal du Midi, the miracle of engineering that forms a 360-km network of navigable waterways that are such fun to cruise. Then there is hiking, water sports, cycle touring, mountain biking and cave exploration.

    festival mairie Carcassonne






    Carcassonne really is a must-see. Once the inspiration for ‘The Sleeping Beauty’, the city lies inside imposing medeival ramparts with 52 towers and is a maze of narrow streets, memorable views, fascinating sites and reminders of Cathar history. When you get tired of sightseeing, just wander into one of the 50 restaurants located inside the central Citadel area.

    In July the city celebrates two popular festivals - the Festival de La Cite and the Festival de la Bastide. The first features concerts of classical and pop music by world renowned artists, while the second combines opera and dance, music, theater and performance, both traditional and experimental.

    See more about the region and find your perfect holiday accommodation at our complete guide to the Aude.

    Canal du Midi photo by Paul Palau, Aude Tourism

  • Our latest happy competition winners

    The two latest winners have been announced of our competitions with FrenchEntree magazine. We regularly run competitions where one of our fabulous holiday lets is featured full page and readers can win a week in France staying at the property. Watch out for a new one coming up soon!

    Mel B has won a week at Les Bonnets cottage, Domaine de Fumel, a relaxing retreat in the Dordogne. “I can't believe I have won, I am so happy!” exclaimed Mel when we told her the news. “ I haven't been to France for many years and have never visited the particular area near Bergerac, so am really looking forward to seeing the quaint villages. Our first plan is to visit the market on Sunday in the village of Issigiac. We can't wait. It will be my partner’s first holiday abroad in 25 years, and he has never been to France. Thank you so much for your amazing competition!”

    Jan Haldane and her husband will take their prize week at La Petite Maison Devine near Carcassonne. “On a touring and camping trip with teenagers recently, we got lost around Paris and were flooded out of our tent! But we spent a wonderful week in Brittany when first together 35 years ago, so I am looking forward to a more calm, relaxed and warmer trip, and to finding out what all the fuss is about. Everyone I know loves France!

    “We are Canal lovers, and the location is right on the Canal du Midi - so we shall be swimming, walking, cycling and eating some great food I expect.  Also we love to explore old medieval towns and castles, and this location looks perfect for that too. I have bought my husband some conversational French lessons, so he can update his skill!”