French Connections

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  • Activity holidays – added value for visitors and property owners in France

    Activity holidays have become very popular among visitors to France, not least because many take several breaks a year and are looking for a new experience each time. This is a great time of year for all sorts of activities in France from arts, crafts and photography to French language, from golf, fishing or cycling to therapies and relaxation. The weather is warming up, the countryside is fresh and beautiful and the evenings are long.

    An activity holiday is so easy at a gite or self-catering house, where all members of the group can mix and match the way they spend their days with flexibility. Many breaks are offered by owners who started with a desire to pass on their own passion or hobby. As an owner of  French holiday let, what could you do?

    That’s the question asked in the May-June issue of Britmag, the popular magazine aimed at British residents in North West France  and among the answers is advice from our own Glynis Shaw, joint MD of French Connections.

    Glynis gives her own five top tips for running successful activity holidays in the article, which also features French Connections auberge Le Mesnil at Creances, Normandy. Here, owners Jan and Dave Tarbuck offer B&B along with painting holidays. The tutor is Joe Cousin (shown in our photo), a well known local artist whose paintings have been purchased by the Beckhams, Caron Keating and members of the Arsenal and Chelsea football teams.

    Britmag is available at French supermarkets with a press section and at “Marchands de journaux” in towns with substantial British populations in Basse-Normandie, Brittany and the Pays de la Loire.

  • Apremont-sur-Allier in the Loire Valley - Photo Friday 20/8/2010

    Apremont-sur-Allier and it's Park Floral are beautiful and well worth a visit.

  • Fairytale chateaux and fine wines in Indre et Loire


    Indre et Loire, our region of the month, is the former region of Touraine, based around the city of Tours and the Loire river. At the heart of the rural escape for Paris aristocracy before the Revolution, it’s rich in history and architecture, with plenty to do and explore.

    Visit exquisite chateaux, especially Chateau de Chenonceau, with its arches across the river,
    Château de Chinon and Château de Villandry, famous for its amazing vegetable garden, where cabbages are planted alongside roses in a formal parterre

    Explore the ancient city of Tours and enjoy a gourmet meal at one of its fine restaurants

    Visit the town of Amboise, where you can see the final home of Leonardo da Vinci, with its interesting artefacts and inventions, all set in lovely gardens

    Have a wine tasting and learn how to judge a wine by its colour and aroma, also how to select the best food to accompany it

    Buy local wines from small vineyards at bargain prices. Vineyards produce some famous fine Loire wines, such as Bourgeuil, Chinon and Vouvray, and are set in pretty, rolling countryside.

    Stay in a chateau, a handsome maison de maitre, a farmhouse or pretty country cottage. Choose from our great range of accommodationin the region.

  • Marathon to Music - What's On in France this April

    One of the great delights of France as a holiday destination is the constant parade of festivals, fairs and events. Here are three of the biggest that you can join in this April – but don’t forget that every region of France has its own timetable of local events.

    Our owners have great local knowledge, so if you’re booking accommodation be sure to ask the owner what’s on during your visit. You might be pleasantly surprised!

    The Paris Marathon is run on 12th April, starting on the Champs-Élysées and boasting as much excitement and bonhomie as the London version. Want to take in some sightseeing as well? If you’ve already explored all the familiar sites like the Eiffel Tower and Notre Dame, then visit the Rodin Museum and Galeries Lafayette Department Store where the architecture as beautifully French as the stylish goods on offer.

    The Etauliers Asparagus Festival is held on 25-26th  April. Etauliers is in south west France – north of Bordeaux and this very French event, which attracts 12,000 visitors, brings together each year 60 gourmet exhibitors and includes concerts, asparagus and wine tastings, workshops, tours of the asparagus cooperative, and a giant asparagus omelette.

    Bourges Spring Music festival takes place 25 to 29th April in the Loire Valley town. Every form of music from rap to opera, the world’s most famous artists and the most promising young talent. You’ll find them all here. The festivities explode from midday to dawn in ten concert halls which are adapted to every type of music and audience. The 60 or so concerts present over 200 artists. The venues, for audiences of between 300 and 6500, are under cover and heated. All are in the vicinity of the town centre, with its stalls, bars, restaurants, attractions and three free outdoor stages where groups perform all day long.

  • Montsoreau and the inhabited Troglodyte cave houses - Photo Friday 17 Sept 2010

    In and around the village of Montsoreau are some of the strangest houses in France

  • Special Easter offer at a Loire Valley Chateau

    Want to live like a lord for the holiday weekend? The Comte and Comtesse de Vanssay are offering an elegant Easter break with a complimentary extra night at their Chateau de la Barre, which is featured in our latest competition.

    The offer includes a VIP welcome and tea in the salon, a private tour of the château, a festive Easter Sunday Grand Siècle dinner with fine wines and champagne in the XVIIth century grand dining room, using the family silver and crystal, and two nights’ accommodation with breakfast - plus an extra night free. All for 390 to 490 euros per person, depending on the room chosen.

    See more about Chateau de la Barre


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