Release Date: February 2008Five key departments are this years rising stars in the French holiday rental market. All are in the sun-filled southern regions of Languedoc-Roussillon and Provence. Top of the popularity stakes are Var and Aude, both established areas for property rental, but more dramatic increases in interest have been seen for Gard, Vaucluse and Herault.The popular areas - both coastal and inland take in miles of vineyards, quaint towns and villages and the historic centres of Nimes, Avignon and Carcassonne, with their cosmopolitan outdoor lifestyle. They are close to scenic national parks like Luberon, the Camargue and the breathtaking Cevennes mountains and are well served by motorways, TGV trains and low-cost airline destinations. January and February are traditionally the busiest months for French summer holiday rental bookings. Enquiries received so far this year at www.frenchconnections.co.uk, leading online French property specialist, show a marked increase over 2007 throughout France. But the greatest leap is in the top five departments. Properties popular with the self-catering market are typically in a quiet setting with access to restaurants, places of interest and activities such as swimming, cycling, canoeing and walking explains Glynis Shaw, joint MD of French Connections. In these departments theres a wide variety, from farmhouses and vineyard domaines to rooftop apartments - and even houseboats.