French Connections

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  • Bordeaux and the Gironde - an enchanted land of wine and water

    If the Gironde region is not already familiar, then why now make this the year to discover its beauties? The capital Bordeaux is already one of the most evocative city names in Europe. To arrive at this historic centre of wine and culture is to enter the warmer, sunnier climes of south west France and immediately to bask in a distinctively, delightfully French way of being.

    Arrival in Bordeaux is not difficult, with the choice of a major international airport, TGV link from Paris and easy motorway access. The city is an enticing combination of wide avenues, elegant 18th century buildings, parks, pavement cafes, shops, museums, fabulous restaurants and, of course, the iconic centre of one the world’s great wine producing areas.

    Bordeaux is also a good starting point from which to explore the Gironde. As you might expect, this is countryside replete with rolling acres of vines, many of them belonging to small independent vineyards. It also embraces the confluence of two rivers, with unspoilt coastline and a fascinating estuary to explore.

    The history of wine production even influences the type of holiday rental you’ll find here. Stay at a truly mouth watering chateau in acres of grounds, make an ancient manoir or Maison de Maitre your very own or enjoy a stone farmhouse with its own swimming pool that oozes traditional character.

    Many of our Gironde holiday properties are in peaceful country locations. Others lie at the heart of towns and villages, like the stunning Le Pavillon-Villemaurine, a Maison de Maitre in St Emilion, shown in our photograph.

    See the full range of holiday rentals in the Gironde and Browse our useful guides to Bordeaux, the Gironde and Aquitaine 

  • Lonely Planet rates Bordeaux world’s top city


    Experts at travel guide publisher and website Lonely Planet have just announced their top destinations for 2017 in a ‘Best in Travel’ guide. In the Top City category, the favourite choice of cities to visit next year is Bordeaux, France.

    In terms of travel, Lonely Planet loves Bordeaux right now because the new LGV Sud-Ouest line, due for completion in mid- 2017, will connect the city with Europe’s high- speed train network and cut travel time from Paris to just two hours. In terms of attractions, LP says, ‘ The recently opened Cité du Vin continues the impressive redevelopment of the Garonne riverfront with a state-of-the-art wine-lovers’ experience, and the city’s gastronomic revolution keeps building on its own success.’

    We already love this city for its great climate and rich history. As capital of the most famous wine region in the world, Bordeaux offers all the culture and shopping you'd expect to find in a large, sophisticated city plus the added benefits of its association with the centuries-old wine trade.

    Bordeaux is full of elegant 18th-century buildings and wide avenues. These, along with the neoclassical architecture and well-tended parks, combine to give the city a certain grandeur. Yet the centre is easily explored on foot, has world class restaurants and wines, excellent museums and lively nightlife. When you fancy a change of pace, beaches are close by and if you want a day trip to the city, Bordeaux is very accessible from the popular Gironde and Dordogne regions.

    We have a great range of places to stay around Bordeaux, so start browsing our accommodation and city guide now to plan your trip to this world class city.

  • Save money on fabulous holiday lets

    savonniere163918Manoir Savonniere is a large, luxurious manor house with stunning décor, an additional gite, private gardens and pool – and the owner is offering a discount of 30% on June and July weeks.

    The Manoir is situated on the outskirts of the small wine-producing village of Les Verchers Sur Layon in the countryside of Maine-et-Loire and there are great wine tasting opportunities!

    This period property has been beautifully converted to create dramatic, spacious rooms with loads of character and architectural features but a light, contemporary feel with all modern conveniences.  The manoir and house together sleep up to twenty people, so they are ideal for large parties and families, anniversary and wedding celebrations and catering can be arranged.

    Now is a great time to bag a last minute bargainfor your summer holiday in France as our owners in lots of locations are making Special Offer discounts on their unsold summer weeks, many of 15% to 25%. Find a family villa with pool in the Vendee, close to the sea, a lovely country house in Aveyron, rural farmhouses and cottages in Normandy or the popular south west and even in Provence and the South of France.

    France holiday rentals are already excellent value compared with other European countries, with lots of space for your money. Now we can help you reduce the cost of your holiday even further.

  • Time to follow the French wine trail


    The grape harvest months are nearly upon us, so it’s the perfect time to plan a wine trip to France. Explore vineyards, enjoy tastings, join in harvest celebrations and see some glorious countryside in the gentle sunshine of early autumn.

    With so many iconic wine regions to choose from, where would my ideal trip take me? I like to be a bit different from the crowd, so I would 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 explained and appreciated.

    The Loire Valley would be a good start – specifically at Pouilly-sur-Loire in the Nièvre département for its aromatic Pouilly-Fumé. The town is picturesque and around it are lots of wine domaines, two of which are chateaux.


    Then, perhaps, a steady pace along the Bison Futé quiet rural roads towards Bordeaux where my gite or B&B owners could advise on the best and least known local red wines. Here I would aim to learn about that elusive terroir effect and, frankly, how to choose one Bordeaux wine over another.

    My next stop would be the Mâconnais region of Burgundy in central France – not for more red wine but my other favourite white, Pouilly- Fuissé. Yes, confusingly, this one comes from a totally different area than Pouilly- Fumé and Chardonnay is its only grape variety.

    On the way back to the ferry, a stop in Champagne country would be de riguer. I might still have room for a couple of cases of fine but great value bubbly!

    To plan your wine trip to France, use our in-depth guide to the French wine regions