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French Connections

Find Holiday accommodation in France

  • Beach fun, music and days out in Charente-Maritime

    Long sandy beaches combined with France’s second sunniest climate make Charente-Maritime a mecca for families, couples and groups in search of swimming and water sports in an unspoilt location. There is plenty of space and great facilities for enjoying boating, surfing and beach sailing – and when you want an evening out or a day away from the beach, choose from lots of events and interesting places to visit.

    Old Port of La Rochelle

    This beautiful historic harbour has three outstanding medieval towers and is surrounded by stately buildings The harbour is also the biggest yachting centre on France's Atlantic coast, so you can spend many happy hours wandering through the old streets and looking at the boats. There is a real holiday buzz here with street performers, a fabulous selection of fish restaurants and welcoming bars. Elsewhere in La Rochelle are an aquariumand France’s largest zoo.

    From 17th – 22th September ,La Rochelle is host to Le Grand Pavois, one of the most important boat shows in the world with more than 750 boats on display, 89,000 visitors in 2012 and covering an area of 100,000 square metres.

    La Rochelle

    The following month, music takes centre stage with the Jazz between Two Towers festival - one of the best known in France attracting stars such as John Scofield, Joe Louis Walker and Michelle Hendricks. The beautiful setting between the towers of the old port adds to the atmosphere.

    The Sixteenth Jazz en Ré Festival will take place from 22nd to 25th August on the beautiful and popular Ile de Ré. This is an island where life is lived at a delightfully slow pace and is a great place to enjoy cycling and watching birds on the nature reserve – and maybe spotting a few of the celebrities who have homes here.  

    Boat trips

    Boats leave La Rochelle harbour for trips to several destinations, including the many islands off this part of the coast. The voyage to the Island of Aix includes sailing around the ancient Fort Boyard, an impressive and photogenic sight.

    Oysters and Fort Louvois

    Marennes is home to the largest oyster cultivation area in all of Europe, so you’ll have the opportunity to see the growing and refinement process and also enjoy savouring oysters really fresh from the sea. Between Oléron Island and the Marennes Basin, is Fort Louvois, a 17th century coastal fort built on a submerged rock between 1691 to 1694. Today, the Fort is open to the public, offering a fascinating visit.

    Shopping as it used to be

    The Musee des Commerces d'Autrefois is a private museum in the town of Rochefort, south of La Rochelle. It vividly brings to life the shops and daily routines of this busy port in the early 20th century, with a bar, a dental surgery, chemists, hairdressers, general hardware shop and more – all equipped with the products and machinery of the time.

    For more ideas, travel information and a fantastic range of holiday accommodation, check out our complete guide to Charente-Maritime.

  • Christopher Campbell-Howes turns the clock back . . . (CMigrator copy 1)

    WE'VE GOT a street map of Paris all over the kitchen table this morning. No, we're not going there, except maybe in our imagination. We're looking excitedly for certain streets. Here's the Avenue des Champs-Elysées, which we've just learnt

  • Discover the Vendée region of France

    vendeebeach

    Vendée, our region of the month for April, is south of the Pays de la Loire region on the French Atlantic coast, just south of Brittany and Nantes, and north of La Rochelle. Just two to five hours’ drive from the western ferry ports, it’s an easy day's journey from Britain and Ireland.

    All year round the Vendée is one of the sunniest spots on the west coast of France. In summer the wether is generally warm. The capital is La Roche sur Yon, originally a stronghold for the people of the Vendee.

    Attractions and places to visit include:
    •    Beaches for swimming and water sports
    •    Picturesque villages and fishing ports
    •    Romantic offshore islands
    •    Historic towns
    •    Beautiful chateaux and gardens
    •    Wine producers
    •    Excellent Golf courses
    •    Cycle routes and rambling trails
    •    The fascinating Poitevin Marshes

    For travel, the area is nearest the ferry ports of St Malo, Roscoff and Cherbourg, two to five hours’ distant by car, and the journey from Calais is about seven hours.

    Holiday accommodation in the Vendée is great value. We have lots of country and coastal private holiday villas with their own garden and many with a swimming pool, making them ideal for family holidays. Also gites, farmhouses and converted barns offering traditional charm.

    Find accommodation and our regional guide to the Vendee

  • Does talking to plants really work?

    When I first arrived with my family in the Alsace, in Eastern France, our property had a cherry tree that was about fifteen years old, which had never produced a single cherry. It had flowered beautifully every year, but there was no fruit.

  • Dreamy holidays in the Dordogne

    dordogneboat

    If you love peaceful countryside, scenic views and picturesque market towns, enjoy walking and boating, appreciate good food and wine, then the Dordogne, our region of the month, will delight you.

    The first time I saw Dordogne country, I thought I’d discovered The Shire, Tolkein’s idyllic pastoral land that time seems to have forgotten.

    The Dordogne is a great holiday area. The climate is warm and sunny and it’s reachable in a day by car from the channel ports. Holiday lets in the Dordogne range from quaint village houses and romantic rural cottages to luxury villas and easy going family farmhouse conversions, most with their own private pool.

    Families love to combine days by the pool with nights around the barbecue, along with interesting outings and reasonable meals of fresh local produce and delicious wine in friendly auberges.

    Main towns are Perigeux, Bergerac and Brantome, all small and welcoming, with fascinating markets and museums, arts and crafts. Prehistoric painted caves and museums deserve exploration. The countryside is perfect for walking or cycling and the rivers ideal for canoes, kayaks and slow cruises.

    Find your Dordogne accommodation and check out our useful guide.

  • Fabulous Finistère is Brittany's coastal gem

    Our region of the month is Finistère, the beautiful Brittany peninsula with a coastline similar to Cornwall. From the Pointe de Primel in the north to the Pointe de Trévignon in the south, there are over 1200 kilometres of coastline, including high vantage points with unbelievable views and breath-taking panoramas, perfect places to gaze out to sea and watch the enchanting light playing on the water.

    You’ll find sweeping sandy beaches with grassy dunes that invite you to relax or take a romantic stroll and children will love unspoilt coves where they can swim in clean water, build sand castles and explore rock pools. Then there are pretty fishing harbours, historic villages and towns to discover.

    Inland, Finistère is a place of myth and legend and harbours some magical locations. Nestling in the heart of the Arrée Mountains, in the Natural Regional Armorique Park you'll find the town of Huelgoat, which in Breton means 'the wood from above'. Nearby is a lake and extensive forest, where you encounter the truly unforgettable sight of an astonishing array of rocks and moss-covered boulders, looking for all the world as if they were discarded by giants.

    The Breton cuisine is rich and varied - and nowhere more so than in Finistère, which has been described as a platter of fresh produce set on a shining sea. Enjoy fresh golden cider, local salted butter thickly spread on hunks of bread, pale pink prawns nestling in crisp salad leaves or a warm, simmering casserole followed by a velvety chocolate pudding.

    For accommodation in Finistère, we have a great range of self-catering gites, villas with pools and country houses offering B&B, many of them in coastal locations. Use the link below to explore where to stay and click on Info for more about the region.

    The airports of Brest (Brest Bretagne) and Quimper (Quimper-Cornouaille) cover the north and south of the region. There are no toll-roads, so the motorways coming from Rennes or Nantes direction allow you to access the whole of Finistère easily, conveniently and free of charge.

    For ferry travel, the port of Roscoff has connections from Plymouth or Cork with Brittany Ferries and from Rosslare with Irish Ferries.

  • Falling in love with beautiful Brittany

    Brittany is this month’s  regional focus– and it’s an area particularly close to our hearts at French Connections. Most of us have enjoyed truly memorable holidays there and  Izzy, the friendly voice of our owners’ helpline, is a native of la belle Bretagne.

    The appeal of this westerly peninsula is a potent mix of peaceful, unspoilt countryside, a charming rocky coastline and a special factor that can only be described as soul. Like Cornwall, Brittany is Celtic country where ancient magic and myth abound, where you can sense the mystery and tradition. From the thousands of standing stones at Carnac to religious processions in local costume, from the Archangel Michael’s Mont St Michel to folk art and musical instruments, a visit to Brittany is a varied voyage of discovery.

  • 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.

  • Fantastic half-term family breaks at French theme parks

    futuroscope 2

    France is home not only to Disneyland Paris but also some of the best theme parks in Europe. They make a great family adventure and are still open during half-term week later this month.  Although most theme parks do have hotels on site, they can be costly and get booked up in advance. We offer a range of self catering holiday homes near to most parks, which can be a more affordable option and give you more flexibility to enjoy local French life. Here’s our top picks:

    Disneyland Paris
    Disneyland Paris is the biggest theme park in France. The enchanted kingdom offers sensational attractions, breath-taking parades and a fairytale backdrop...And of course, there’s the chance to meet Mickey, Minnie and all their Disney friends wandering around the site!

    Disneyland Paris 2
     
    Futuroscope
    Situated in Poitiers, Western France, Futuroscope (top photo) is one of France’s most visited parks – and most of its attractions are indoors, so perfect for October. It’s all about multimedia, cinema, audio visual and robotic technology of the future.

    The Astérix Park
    Inspired by the famous comic book, Parc Astérix is based on the adventures of Asterix, Obelix, Getafix and their friends. It features a range of rides and attractions with an ancient history theme.

    Vulcania
    The Vulcania theme park gives visitors the chance to experience science through sense and feelings and features underground tours and film shows exploring the story of volcanoes. Attractions include magma explorer, angry earth, earth machine and the unveiled planet.

    Use our guide to theme parks in France to find more detail on these and other options and to choose accommodation in the vicinity of your favourite park.

  • France in February – Family half-term or Valentine hearts and flowers?

    Both Valentine’s Day and school half-term holidays occur this month – and both are great opportunities for a trip to France.  How do you choose when there’s a lot to be said for either?