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French Connections

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  • Biggest savings ever on Wine in France

    More people from Britain are going to France to stock up on wine and other drinks, as the savings are now greater than they have ever been.

    This is due to a potent mix of rising liquor duties in the UK and a weakening euro giving better exchange rates. According to a recent report in the Daily Telegraph, it’s a combination that has ushered in the “new age of the booze cruise”.

    The newspaper also points out that tax on wine is an astonishing eight times higher in Britain than in France, and the gap has widened over the past few years.

    There are no limits on the quantity you bring in as long as you don’t intend to sell the wine and no import tax is due on alcohol brought in from France, providing it is for personal use, which includes large purchases for weddings, events and parties. With savings of around £4 on an average priced quality wine and £12.50 on a bottle of Veuve Clicquot champagne, there’s plenty to celebrate.

    Don’t forget that you can book ferry and Eurostar crossings on our travel pages – and why not make your booze cruise into a French mini-break? If you’re shopping at the Calais hypermarkets, visit the Cote d’Opale, the Boulogne aquarium and pretty inland towns like Ardres with its lovely lake.

    We have a range of accommodation in the Nord-Pas de Calais and Normandy as well as in the Champagne area and all the wine regions of France. With this year’s harvest time approaching in the vineyards, the next few weeks are great for a visit. Salut!



  • 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.

  • Visit Aube in France's Champagne country

    Spring is the perfect time for a visit to Champagne country in France. The easy four hour drive from Calais makes this an ideal region for a short break of indulgence in golden bubbles, gourmet food and glorious countryside.

    This month, we’re focusing on Aube, in the southwest corner of Champagne-Ardenne. Just imagine a landscape of gentle hills and valleys, lakes and forest, smothered in millions of vines burgeoning with luscious champagne grapes whose wine growing owners  welcome visitors.

    In this charming and relaxing pocket-sized paradise you’ll find half-timbered ancient towns and villages where fabulous food, local wines and a really French way of life reign supreme. Top day out tip - it’s just an hour and a half to Paris.

    The best way to learn about champagne is to drive along the impressive Route Touristique du Champagne. This takes you through the south eastern area of Aube between Bar sur Seine and Bar sur Aube. Local tourist offices supply lists of wine growers and champagne cellars that are open to the public and owners organise tours explaining what makes champagne produced in this region so special. (Leave plenty of room in the boot for bottles!)

    Troyes (the capital of the department) lies conveniently in the heart of Aube en Champagne, so a visit to this lovely medieval town of timber-frame houses, narrow streets and a beautifully preserved historical centre is a must.

    We have a great selection of both B&B and self-catering accommodation in Aube, including lakeside cottages, Maisons de Maitre and gorgeous farmhouses.