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The perfect French holiday?

(76 Posts)
ElizabethinherGermanGarden Wed 21-Aug-19 12:38:49

Next summer, I get to pick our holiday (couple) and I want to practise my French.

If you've been somewhere lovely in France, tell me why it's the best - I need inspiration.
Ta smile

LadyMonicaBaddingham Thu 16-Jan-20 18:32:08

Saint Valéry sur Somme was our best shorter distance French holiday of recent years. The Picardy area is, in any case, HIGHLY recommended!!

EthelReady Thu 16-Jan-20 18:29:54

I love the southern part of the Dordogne (Perigord Noir) so we bought a house there 20 years ago. We did rent it out, very successfully, but due to problems finding a property manager decided last year to only have friends/friends of friends stay. It's so peaceful yet plenty to see nearby, friendly people, lovely restaurants, night markets, etc. etc. I could go on! Happy to answer any questions anyone has and if you're curious to see photos of the area there are some on my (amateurish) website:

StillSmallVoice Mon 14-Oct-19 15:42:53

A couple of years ago we got a train to Nimes. It was lovely, and you get to see the scenery al the way down. We live in the South East, so have easy access to the Eurostar, and swapping onto a French train at Gard du Nord was easy. We reckoned that by the time you got to an airport, go checked in and got in from the airport at the other end it didn't actually take any longer.

Nimes itself, and the countryside around was lovely, especially in May when the weather was gorgeous.

caperplips Mon 14-Oct-19 15:20:18

A few years ago we got the ferry over and did a road trip down the length of France, avoiding motorways all the way. We were away for 2 weeks or so.

We did 3 nights in Paris when we arrived, then we headed down via Languedoc, we stopped off in random places that took our fancy and mainly tried to avoid the bigger cities, except Lyon, we spent a lovely day & night there. We were in Avignon, Nimes, Arles, Montpelleier etc
we stopped off at a tiny placa called Blancardy along the way and spent about 3 nights there in an old castle. It was close to the river Ganges. We ate and drank all round us and had a lovely time

Loopytiles Sat 12-Oct-19 07:13:30

V good tips here, thank you!

rrg1 Tue 03-Sep-19 12:00:43

As much as I love Brittany, I prefer Languedoc, well Catalonia. You have mountains and the sea, plus just a short hop across the border into Spanish Catalonia, where prices are even cheaper.Take a look around Colliure.

Twisique Tue 03-Sep-19 11:53:16

Saint Marine near Benodet in Finisterre

DorisDaysDadsDogsDead Thu 29-Aug-19 10:31:22

Pretty much anywhere you choose will be lovely, I think that's the thing!

I love the Dordogne. So much to see and do, canoeing along the river there was particularly memorable. And the food...
If you were to drive you could always spend a few days in Brittany or the Loire Valley on your way down/back up. They are also worth some time.

Alternatively, we often get the Eurostar directly to Avignon, and then stay in Provence. You can hire a car for a few days to do some exploring, or experience public transport where it's available! So many gorgeous towns to amble around.
Come back via Paris for a couple of days (the return direct Eurostar involves a horrendous stop at Lille where you have to get out with all your luggage and is well worth avoiding). Time in Paris is never a waste.

I enjoy planning trips too!

shellyandlayla Thu 29-Aug-19 10:11:29

I've lived near Vannes in South Brittany for 15 years. I'm biased obviously, but I love it here. Vannes has city life, history, festivals, sailing, exploring, great food and within 15 minutes there are fantastic beaches, water sports, walking etc etc. Happy to help further if I can smile Also, I am a pasty northerner.

midsomermurderess Tue 27-Aug-19 11:15:42

I love the Ardeche, and Drôme, which sits above Provence. Lavendver fields, pretty villages, less busy.

Leftiefterson Mon 26-Aug-19 23:50:17

I went to Provence a few years ago Op and loved it. I went there to practise my French as I was just starting out and I also needed to figure out what the heck I was doing with my life. I went alone initially and then my boyfriend at the time came out to meet me.

It wasn’t beautiful, we rode our bikes, ate tonnes of cheese, visited vineyards and just relaxed. It really was idyllic.

Mother87 Mon 26-Aug-19 23:44:56

Another one for Ile de Ré... just gorgeous

Herefortheduration Mon 26-Aug-19 23:10:08

* too hot for northern boyfriend*

Too funny, I'm Northern and believe me we can take the same temperatures as our southern contemporaries. The difference in N to S is only a few degrees, we don't live in Siberia.

CurlyhairedAssassin Mon 26-Aug-19 22:40:42

I another one saying the Dordogne. Whoever mentioned Le Banquet at Les Eyzies, it is beautiful but more geared up for families (perfect for families!), I wouldn’t particularly like to go there for romantic couple time in school holidays (I work in a school myself). The owners did have another place down the road set up without games room etc so better for people without young kids maybe.

The area is absolutely stunning. We went 2 years on the run to Les Eyzies (was recommended on here) and would love to go back. It was very central for all the places of interest. only experience of France before was many years on the Riviera a long time ago as a teen, and Paris.

Climate in summer: can be VERY hot. 35 degrees or more, but then can be much less so the next week and you could even get half a day of drizzle. It’s not like a holiday in cornwall though where you expect heavy rain on at least one day in the week! You will need lots of summer clothes for not weather and a cardi for any cooler evenings. The canoeing is fantastic. The towns (Sarlat is my favourite) are so picturesque, countryside very green (then south is much more Med looking- pale dry grass,,olive trees etc). The prehistoric thing is so interesting even if you don’t think you’re into it. The chateaux,, beautiful gardens (eg chateau de Marqueyssac), honestly stunning.

I’d also love to visit Lake Annecy and the Alps at some point.

CIareIsland Mon 26-Aug-19 22:38:30

OP is a teacher so tied to school holidays....

HaroldThatsEnough Mon 26-Aug-19 22:37:51

The Limousin, much prefer it to the Dordogne and far fewer Brits. Correze is breathtaking, parts are very like Tuscany, Creuse is quiet and very green with beautiful hills, Haute Vienne not quite as dramatic but still lovely. Lac de Vassiviere is absolutely wonderful too.

Because it's quiet, holiday rentals are cheaper than other, most touristy areas.

Jsmith99 Mon 26-Aug-19 22:35:19

As you have said you are a couple, I am going to assume you are not tied to travelling in school holidays. If so, that is a very, very good thing. The nice bits of France are much, much less crowded in May, June and September than in July and August.

Brittany is absolutely lovely, it’s a sort of French equivalent of Cornwall, but with better weather, and it’s very easy to get to.

CIareIsland Mon 26-Aug-19 22:27:20

The Alps are stunning in the summer - sunny and hot with build in air-con. Loads of activities - canyoning, via ferreta, white water rafting, horse riding, trekking - or you can just swim in a pristine alpine lake or sip wine on the terrace of a rural restaurant with only the sound of goat bells and church bells chiming. Find the lovely mountain villages don’t go to big ski resorts such as Chamonix if you want an authentic experience. Other areas are national parks such as Ecrins

Wrongdissection Mon 26-Aug-19 22:24:30

We flew to Bergerac when we went to the Dordogne.

France is great for kids. We have a 15 and 9 year old and we’ve done paddle boarding, pedaloe, parcour, inflatable assault course on a lake, a couple of beach days, canoeing as well as a couple of pool days. We’re knackered but the kids have been kept going!

Wrongdissection Mon 26-Aug-19 22:18:44

Currently in Provence, in a wee town called Regusse, right next to Lac de St Croix and the utterly breathtaking Gorges du Verdon. From here we have visited Monaco, Ventimiglia in Italy, Cannes, St Tropez, Frejus and St Maxime. We were considering Marseille and Port Grimaud but have run out of time.

We’ve done the Dordogne and Sarlat is a gorgeous town. I just absolutely love France. Nice is my happy place. In fact the whole Cote D’Azur.

CoolShoeshine Mon 26-Aug-19 22:13:18

Lake Annecy - no contest. Definitely one of my favourite places ever.
Preferably combined with a few nights in Alps such as Chamonix. an easy train ride away.

aufaitaccompli Mon 26-Aug-19 14:39:17

Concarneau in Brittany is a lovely place to visit from Finistere/Benodet.

Doussard nr Annecy is/was a very pretty village.

St Maxime and Frejus/San Raphael are gorgeous...the roads between Cannes and St Tropez are littered with pretty villages, however fairly expensive.

I have spent time in Vendee/Loire/Brittany/Paris/Bordeaux/Cote dAzur/Alps/Massif Central and love them all.

Yelloh Villages does campsites (not just tents, Breton cottages etc) They're a great source of information on Mountain/Sea/Countryside

zafferana Mon 26-Aug-19 14:26:08

The Dordogne is very hot and humid in July/Aug. I went many a summer there as a DC and remember it most for mosquitoes, thunder storms and being boiling hot. If you have air con it would be bearable, otherwise very hot if you're not used to it.

My favourite summer holiday place is Brittany. It rarely gets too hot, it's wild and rugged, the food is fab, it's a big area with lots to do, some lovely old towns and cities to explore and some incredible beaches.

As for Provence - gorgeous in June or Sept - but fucking hot, crowded and expensive in the summer holidays. Go in May half-term to the south of France.

Robindrama Mon 26-Aug-19 14:16:10

Thanks for the inspiration everyone! Time to dig out our guides books ( as we planned to go to France two years ago, but never did). With two kids (9,12) we are looking for a place with a diversity of activities...

drivingtofrance Mon 26-Aug-19 13:58:46

I drive. I love to have my own car with me. Can then pack it full of goodies to take home.

Usually we break our journey.Also me and DH take turns driving.

When my parents go only DF will drive so they have started to fly and then hire a car if the location is quite far south.

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