Our closest neighbour France is one of the most visited countries in the world which is not surprising as this huge country has such a diverse landscape with so much to enjoy and explore.
The capital Paris is lively and diverse with so much to see and do. Strolling through the Latin Quarter or people watching in neighbourhoods such as Montmartre you can take it at your own pace and get a true feel for the city. A boat trip along the Seine is perfect for seeing many of the sights and the city has a truly wonderful collection of museums and galleries to choose from.
If it's beaches you're looking for the Mediterranean coastline buzzes with the luxury resort towns of the French Riviera which are a huge playground for the rich during the summer months. The wilder west Atlantic coast is home to pretty towns, beautiful beaches and coves and also the biggest sand dunes in Europe.
France is blessed with both The Alps and the Pyrenees mountain ranges which have wonderful ski resorts to keep you busy during the winter months but are beautiful and full of fun activities during the rest of the year too. Away from the mountains there are numerous natural beauties to explore from the gorges in Ardèche, the volcanic region of Auvergne and national parks with forests and lakes scattered throughout the country
For history lovers there are castles, medieval villages and the moving WW2 and D-Day museums in Normandy. For food and wine lovers there are fertile wine regions for wine tasting and for foodies every region of France has its own wonderful mouth-watering specialities,
Last but not least is one of our favourite places, the beautiful French island of Corsica, which has a stunning coastline and a green, lush interior. During the summer months the sea is deliciously warm and clear and there are gorgeous, uncrowded beaches to relax on.
Travelling to and in France
There are airports all over France and daily flights to many of them from all over the UK. London to Paris has a flying time of just over an hour although when you take into account travelling to the airport and checking in it's often quicker and easier to catch the Eurostar train which takes just under 3.5 hours, leaves from central London and whisks you in to central Paris. You can also get the Eurostar directly to Lille, Lyon and Marseille.
Driving your own vehicle from the UK is also relatively easy - here's all the information you need about ferries and Le Shuttle and here are some tips for taking a road trip including how the road tolls work. Coaches from London to Paris are probably the cheapest way to travel with fares starting at £12 although the journey can take up to 12 hours.
Travelling within France is pretty straightforward. If you're driving there is a great network of motorways which take you far and wide although many have tolls so be aware of how that works. Trains within France are reliable, reasonably priced and you can find out all the details here. Coaches, buses and taxis are plentiful and cyclists are well catered for in many areas.
Mainland France: Paris Orly, Paris Charles de Gaulle, Lyon, Nantes, Carcassonne, Montpellier, Nice, Toulouse, Lourdes, Pas, Strasbourg, Lille, Bordeaux, Biarritz, La Rochelle, Marseille, Perpignan and more...!
Corsica: Ajaccio, Bastia
What is a Gite?
In it's truest form a Gite is rural holiday rental often a renovated cottage or barn conversion which is quite simple and basic. More recently the word Gite is used more broadly for any type of rented holiday accommodation in France and often describes some much more luxurious properties.
There is huge range of accommodation in France to suit all budgets and desires! In addition to the usual range of villas, apartments and hotels there are lots of quirky options out there including castles, lighthouses and boats! France also has a brilliant camping culture and campsites can be found all over the country many of which have mobile homes or pre-erected tents.
A few favourites:
Hotel Aiglon - This comfortable hotel in the heart of Paris has great rooms, friendly staff and is good value for money. Its location is perfect for exploring the city, with many sights within walking distance and there is a choice of lovely restaurants and patisseries on the doorstep.
Les Maisons De Léa - Welcoming hotel in the centre of Honfleur overlooking the beautiful St Catherine Church. Parts of this hotel were built in the 16th Century and it has been lovingly restored and preserved. Top location for wandering the cobbled streets of this historic town.
La Fargassa - Beautiful, family friendly camping and Gites set in the Pyrenees on the boarder with Spain. Surrounded by nature with a river running through the area this is haven for children and adults alike. Each evening there are optional communal vegetarian meals and a roaring fire. During the day there is the river for swimming and paddling, walks, and a host of animals to care for including donkeys and a boar. Totally worth the slightly hair-raising drive up through the Mondony Gorge to get there.
Camping San Domiano - Half an hour down the coast from Bastia this all-singing all-dancing campsite is great fun. There's a pool, restaurant, supermarket and daily programme of activities during the Summer. It's also on edge of a beautiful beach and many pitches overlook the sea. Mobile Homes and cabins are available to rent if you don't want to lug your camping gear all that way!
Praz Sur Arly
La Griyotire Hôtels-Chalets de Tradition - Traditional Alpine chalet accommodation with great access to the ski slopes. Cosy, friendly and peaceful with activities galore to keep everyone busy all year round. Great value particularly for families.