At this time of year it’s only natural that our minds dream of warm summer sunshine and holidays and it’s no coincidence that January is still the month when most summer holidays are sold. In this article we look at France, a destination that’s becoming more and more popular with Brits taking the short hop across the Channel to soak up the sublime seasonal delights France has to offer. Record numbers are expected to flock to France in 2016 – the once-unexplored corners of France having become a veritable adventure playground for British families.
So for those giving thought to the idea of jumping on the ferry next year, here’s a quick rundown of 10 outstanding holiday hotspots to check out:
The quintessential French coastal region of Brittany boasts hundreds of miles of glorious coastline, the idyllic beauty of the French countryside and gorgeous little towns and villages to explore. You could spend months with the family in Brittany and still merely scratch the surface. For families with little ones, it’s the most convenient location as it’s closest to the ferry ports and Brittany Ferries holidays include return ferry travel with your car so you can explore at your own pace.
Historic Normandy likewise serves up more than enough to inspire, entertain and captivate families for short and extended trips alike. Urville-Nacqueville represents a particularly notable highlight, offering nearby access to a huge array of water-sports and beach-side activities. Check out the cliffs of Étretat around 32 km northeast of Le Havre for a breath-taking view you’ll never forget.
The Loire Valley has been inspiring poets, writers and artists for centuries with its outstanding natural beauty and world-famous Chateaus. Explore the grounds of the truly captivating Chateau de Chambord, the beautiful setting of Chateau de Chenonceau or the fascinating Le Chateau du Clos Luce at Parc Leonardo da Vinci – the legendary artist’s former home.
Famed for serving up quite fantastic local cuisine and with a wealth of activities available for all ages and tastes, Vendee is the seaside hotspot you may not have heard of but will never forget. You’ll usually find yourself mingling more with locals than fellow Brits as Vendee doesn’t tend to make it onto the tourist maps of most. Still, when a secret’s this good – why on Earth would you want to give it away?
One of the most important wine producing regions in the whole of France, there’s no better place for a stroll through the vineyards, a guide through the wine-making process and a taste of the France’s finest export than Aquitaine. And with cities like Bordeaux right on your doorstep, you’ll be able to soak up the incredible cosmopolitan atmosphere of modern French living while basking in the glory of the unspoilt countryside.
Staggeringly beautiful and home to some of France’s most important historic sites and structure – including the prehistoric caves at Grotte de Lascaux and the medieval waterfront village at La Roque-Gageac – the Dordogne is impossible not to fall in love with. Despite being one of the most popular tourist regions in all of France pulling in vast armies of visitors from all over the world, it retains an unspoiled and to some extent an discovered charm and beauty that likes of which will have you coming back time and time again.
The important Mediterranean port of Marseille has the kind of charm, character and appeal that demands little explanation. Along with over 20 incredible museums to explore (Check out the Musée Cantini, Musée Borely and La Friche de la Belle de Mai), a wealth of ancient buildings and the undeniably beautiful old harbour, there’s a buzz about the place 365 days a year that’s simply enchanting. Marseille is a firm favourite holiday location throughout the year.
Taking the time to explore this UNESCO World Heritage Site is an absolute must.Avignon is a wall to wall tale of cobbled streets, unique architectural treasures and the kinds of old-town centres you can happily get lost in for a few hours with no destination in mind. And of course, a wine tasting tour of the Chateauneuf du Pape comes highly recommended.
The second largest renaissance city in the world outside Venice, Lyon is explosively vibrant and an absolute joy to explore. The whole place bursts into life throughout the spring and summer season, when the beautiful weather sets the scene for dreamy afternoons wandering the cobbled streets and soaking up the atmosphere. Boasting so many outstanding architectural treasures from the middle ages, you’re never far from a surprise or two in Lyon. The easiest way to discover these surprises is by booking a Lyon car service, booking a great driver will ensure you get around all of the sites with ease.
Last but not least, for a taste of the high-life there are plenty of places along the French Riviera that tick all the right boxes – Cannes undoubtedly being the jewel in the crown. Despite being unashamedly upmarket and home to some of the world’s most beautiful and indeed wealthy people, there’s a wonderfully relaxed and casual ambiance to Cannes that simply isn’t there with so many of its neighbouring ultra-exclusive haunts.