fbpx
French Connections

Find Holiday accommodation in France

  • A short cruise across the Channel

    On my recent trip to Brittany the ferry was very busy with both vehicles and foot passengers. Hardly surprising, as people stranded by the flight ban were, of course, taking to the sea instead.On my recent trip to Brittany the ferry was very busy with both vehicles and foot passengers. Hardly surprising, as people stranded by the flight ban were, of course, taking to the sea instead. Sea travel seems normal to me as I once lived on a Greek island and had to get a boat to go anywhere, but I was still reminded of just how easy and pleasant it is. On our outward journey from Portsmouth to Le Havre with LD Ferries we travelled overnight and managed to sleep well in calm seas. For the return we allowed time to stop in gorgeous Honfleur and resisted an expensive harbour view to enjoy one of those typically fantastic French lunches at a little restaurant called Relais des Cyclistes, close to the tourist information office. I can heartily recommend the set menu of three generous courses for just 12.50 euro, made all the more delectable for being eaten outside in warm sunshine. Once on board, the five hour crossing seemed to fly by. We found a nice sheltered spot on the top deck, watched the port and town disappear, dozed in warm sunshine, came inside, chatted and played cards and watched a glorious sunset across the sea. Ferry companies report increased bookings this summer after the ash crisis and no doubt train services to France will be popular too. If you’ve never tried these alternatives to flying, perhaps now is the time to –er- take the plunge?
  • Calvados, Normandy - a beautiful year-round destination

    Calvados in Normandy is our region of the month – and a very evocative one for me in several different ways. Firstly it brings back deliciously the flavour of the fruity apple brandy drink of the same name, especially when sipped in a country garden or at a chic pavement bar.

    Secondly it conjures up images of rolling fields, contented cows, impossibly pretty timbered farmhouses and country paths magical with abundant flowers and verdant leaves. The countryside of Calvados is beautiful for driving, walking, cycling and simply sitting beneath a tree listening to birdsong whilst enjoying fromage, baguette and a verre du vin.

    My next evocative memory is the stunning coastline, from beautiful harbours to tremendous sweeps of wild, sandy beaches where a salty breeze blows away the cobwebs. I’ve travelled by ferry from Portsmouth to Le Havre and from Dover to Calais and there is always that thrill of the sense of voyaging from port to port.

    For both journeys, I managed to arrange a meal stop at a restaurant in gorgeous Honfleur. As you would expect with a coastal department, there is a huge variety of fresh fish and shellfish on the menu and market stalls groan with fruit and vegetables, mushrooms, herbs and flowers.

    Honfleur is one of France’s most beautiful and historic harbours and a happening town filled with art and history – which are definite themes of the whole of the Calvados region, from the poignant D -Day landing beaches to Caen and Bayeux with its famous tapestry.

    The climate is oceanic with mild winters, so this region is perfect for a short winter break, a spring week to enjoy the apple blossom and a fortnight’s summer holiday. We have an excellent range of accommodation in peaceful countryside, villages and towns – including Honfleur. You can also use our Travel pages to book ferries and Eurotunnel and find your travel needs.

  • Exchange rate reaches 1.2 euros to the pound

    Travellers to France can get a healthy 10% more spending power for their holiday money over last summer, as the currency settled yesterday at 1.2 euros to the pound, making a euro just about 85 penceTravellers to France can get a healthy 10% more spending power for their holiday money over last summer, as the currency settled yesterday at 1.2 euros to the pound, making a euro just about 85 pence. For the last year, the difference between the euro and pound has been lower than ever before and at times close to parity, but rates have now improved just in time for the summer holiday season and it's now possible to buy 500 euros for as little as £419. I can't help thinking about the excellent lunch I recently enjoyed at Au Relais des Cyclistes, a really French restaurant just off the harbour in Honfleur. The menu du jour was 12.99 euros and I tucked into a smoked fish with salad starter followed by steak and chips with roast vegetables and topped off with a chocolate fondant in creme anglaise. At today's rates that lunch would cost around £11. Who said France isn't excellent value - and when can I go back?
  • Introducing Faith - French Connections team member - Wrapping my heart around Paris

    My love affair with France seems to have been conducted in a series of glorious and hugely varied bursts of heightened awareness – an album of snapshots that span decades and miles. At the centre of each snapshot my face smiles contentedly,...My love affair with France seems to have been conducted in a series of glorious and hugely varied bursts of heightened awareness – an album of snapshots that span decades and miles. At the centre of each snapshot my face smiles contentedly, my mind relishes the romance of the language and history, my body relaxes into the freedom of all that space and my senses savour cassoulet, tarte aux abricots and pungent vin de pays. It started long before I set foot in the country. From my first school French lesson, I was hooked. I would surely fit into a place where boys might murmur, ‘Je t’adore, mon amour, tu es si belle.’ When I spoke the language, I became Juliette Greco or a heroine of Francoise Sagan - someone as chic as Audrey Hepburn in Givenchy, sophisticated and mysterious as Paris itself. When would I get to stroll across Pont Neuf with a well groomed poodle in tow? I’ve walked beside the Seine several times now, most memorably in the summer of 1995, madly in love (with an Englishman, since you’re wondering) and blissfully happy watching ducks preen against the Gothic backdrop of Notre Dame. At the Pompidou Centre we ate crepes on the roof and lingered in the Museum of Modern Art, pondering the messages behind its installations; in Montmartre we gazed at mime artistes and invoked the spirit of Picasso; through the lanes of St Severin we found a world of restaurants and café culture; outside the glorious Gare d’Orsay gallery we spotted a flowery straw hat on the ears of a statuesque marble horse; in the Jardin des Tuileries formal pond, boys were bravely launching boats; in the Louvre glass pyramids we spotted architectural reflections of the iconic Tour d’Eiffel. Writing about France for French Connections regularly reveals delightful discoveries and prompts poignant memories. Images crowd in of Dordogne sunflowers, Honfleur sails, the Tarn gorge, Roman Arles – but they are for another time. The City of Light is my first snapshot. Paris, je t’adore encore.
  • The Pont-de-Normandy, one of the largest cable stay bridges in the world. - Photo Friday 17 December 2010

    When the bridge was constructed it was a source of national pride that it was the longest cable stay bridge in the world.