French Connections

Find Holiday accommodation in France

  • 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.

  • New competition winner excited about a week's holiday in the Ardeche

    Our latest competition was held with Third Age Matters, the magazine of the University of the Third Age, and Denise Roberts of Northumberland is the delighted winner.

    Denise's prize is a week's stay at the beautiful holiday cottage at La Mirande, a converted farmhouse in a stunning, peaceful location in the Ardeche with views to both the Alps and the Massif Central.

    Denise takes a French conversation class, so can't wait to share her delight at being the winner with her group – and practising her language skills. “My husband and I know and love the Ardeche, having visited some years ago, when hardly anyone knew about the area. We are thrilled at the prospect of returning.”

    The University of the Third Age (U3A) movement is an unique and exciting organisation which provides, through local groups, life-enhancing and life-changing opportunities. Retired and semi-retired people come together and learn together, not for qualifications but for its own reward: the sheer joy of discovery!    

    The magazine Third Age Matters is published five times each year and contains opinion, events and local news from U3As up and down the country.

    La Mirande combines luxury and contemporary colour with dramatic timber and stone period features. As well as the self-contained cottage, it offers two large B&B suites with table d'hote. See more about La Mirande cottage and B&B

  • New! Win a Normandy farmhouse weekend

    We’ve joined again with FrenchEntree magazine to offer you the chance to win a weekend in Normandy in early or late Summer 2015. The destination is Le Grand Pont, a restored farmhouse with comfortable bed & breakfast accommodation near Estry, in Calvados cider country.

  • New! Win an autumn sunshine break at a Catalan farmhouse

    We’ve teamed up with FrenchEntree magazine to offer you the chance to win a week's holiday this autumn in the most southerly part of France. Roussillon Farmhouse is a gorgeous Catalan farmhouse and two chic cottages restored to high standards - and they're in a fabulous location in sunny south-east France, near Perpignan, Mediterranean beaches and the Spanish border.

  • Our owners star in C4’s A Place in the Sun magazine

    In the Spring issue of the famous TV programme’s mag, the owners of La Chouette in Tarn, a gorgeous FC holiday rental, tell their story – and it’s out just in time for this weekend’s A Place in the Sun Live exhibition at Olympia, 12th-14th April. So you can buy the magazine, read the story and get two free tickets for the show!

    For the three page feature that starts on page 56 of the magazine, Angela Bennison told me the story of how she and partner Simon Crundall came across La Chouette, a winemaker’s smallholding near the village of Puybegon. They fell in love on the spot and proceeded to spend no less than twenty years renovating the beautiful old stone house with wooden shutters, rising to some stiff challenges along the way, not least renewing the massive tiled roof.

    Now the couple are living their dream, having made the farmhouse and its neighbouring barn both their home and a successful holiday property available to rent all through the year.

    Angela and Simon are also well established as members of the community in their French village, fully appreciating the way of life and fantastic fresh local produce. Planning to visit or dreaming of doing the same? At the end of the feature are some top tips for embracing French life that just might come in useful!

     See more about La Chouette ID 157201 and A Place in the Sun Liveexhibition

  • Travelbite online magazine features a stay at our Béarnaise farmhouse

    Leading online travel resource Travelbite has posted a major feature on a stay at The Farmhouse, a luxurious  French Connections holiday rental property. Under the title, Pyrénées Atlantiques: A land of contrasts, the website’s manager Sarah Gibbons explains that she chose this rural idyll to be close to both the Pyrénées Mountains and the beaches of Biarritz.

    ‘From the very first glimpse of the pretty stone-built property complete with classic blue shutters, I knew I was going to enjoy my stay’ writes Sarah. ‘The owners had lovingly renovated it to the highest standard without losing the charm that comes with staying in such an old property…. I could see how cosy it would be in winter with its wood burning stove and homely interiors – an ideal winter refuge from which to explore the nearby ski centres of the Pyrénées.’

    Sarah’s visit was in late summer and this period, along with spring and early summer, are an excellent time for hiking and cycling, while the Atlantic beaches are easily accessible for hot summer days. An all year round pleasure is exploring the local village of Navarrenx and the many picturesque small towns in this area of south-western France, which is not over developed for tourism yet offers some spectacular and contrasting scenery.

    The article is full of suggestions for places to go and things to do, making it a really useful starting point for anyone who enjoys discovering a new region of France. Its enthusiasm will make you want to head straight for the Pyrénées Atlantiques.

    The three bedroom Farmhouse sleeps up to eight people and is a particularly good destination for families with babies and young children, who can play safely in the half-acre garden. The owners – clearly experienced at holidaying with little ones – have provided all the facilities that parents might need, including booster seats, a bottle steriliser, toys, a paddling pool and much more. They can even arrange baby sitting to allow couples to enjoy a precious night out.

    The Farmhouse is available for rental all year round and local airports are served by several low-cost airlines. The drive from the Channel ports is about 12 to 13 hours.

    Read the Travelbite feature and see more about The Farmhouseand how to book

  • Win a week at a luxury Dordogne farmhouse cottage!

    The fabulous prize in our latest competition is a holiday at Domaine de Fumel in the beautiful Dordogne countryside near Boisse. This competition is running in conjunction with French Holiday Inspirations 2015, an ideas-packed guide to holidays across France, on sale at newsagents and online.

    Domaine de Fumel is a luxury stone farmhouse complex of seven pretty cottages and a large swimming pool with panoramic views – all set in their own 53 acres of vines and farmland.

    Dave and Bunty Cox have created an oasis of calm and tranquillity for the discerning holidaymaker, with a no children policy and a private and peaceful feel. Each one-bedroom cottage is beautifully restored and furnished, with fully equipped kitchens and queen or king size beds.

    The cottages have a courtyard, barbecue, sunbeds and boules, there are figs and cherries to pick and wildlife abounds, including golden oriels and nightingales.

    Discover the nearby medieval village of Issigeac, with its Sunday market, or drive to Bergerac on the river Dordogne. You can also see the famous cave paintings at Lascaux, the pre-history centre of Les Eyzies and Josephine Baker’s Art Deco château. Enjoy beautiful views, walks and river trips, shop for arts and crafts and savour local wines and food.

    The prize week’s stay can be taken during April/May or Sep/ Oct 2016 and you can enter by following the first link below. (Travel is not included). Can’t wait until then to stay at the Domaine? See more and book at the second link. Alternatively, view our huge range of gites, cottages, villas and other accommodation across France.

  • Win a week's holiday for four in the Lovely Lot!

    We’ve teamed up with FrenchEntree magazine to offer you the chance to win a week’s holiday for four in September or October at Mondounet. This period farmhouse with swimming pool is close to villages and vineyards in the sunny Lot, our featured region for July.

    The Farmhouse is a gorgeous period building that retains a wealth of stone and beam features alongside a newly fitted kitchen and bathroom and recently refurbished bedrooms, with doors to the garden. Mondounet is surrounded by two acres of grounds and rolling fields but is also close to the buzzing town of Montcuq.

    With 22 years’ experience of running Mondounet, owners Peter and Zoe Scott offer laughter and warm hospitality in comfortable surroundings so that guests feel immediately at home. The large heated, salt water swimming pool has pool house, views and underwater lighting, communal barbecues are a regular feature and in the grounds are table tennis, badminton and boules.

    For your chance to win this great prize and enjoy a late summer week in the Lot (travel not included), click here