France Villa Holidays

France Villa Holidays

Welcome to the Villa Holidays guide to France holiday villas and planning your villa holiday to France.

An Introduction to France

France is said to be the most visited country in the world. It offers everything from the romance of Paris to excellent beaches, stately palaces and incredible mountain scenery. The Loire Valley is lined with fairytale chateaux and charming towns, while Provence is dotted with small sleepy villages. The south of France enjoys wonderful weather whilst the chic French Riviera attracts the mega-yachts of the rich and famous. Red roofed houses within walled towns wind around hilltops, ruined castles look down on broad rivers meandering through scenic valleys. France is ideal for driving and cycling holidays as well as offering gourmet cuisine and wine. It encompasses idyllic walks, colourful gardens, beautiful churches and impressive architecture. Whatever you are looking for, France can offer it, along with a wonderful selection of affordable holiday villas to stay in.

 

Climate in France

 

The north of France has similar weather to the south of England, with mild winters and plenty of rain showers. Summer temperatures reach 23C (73F) whilst snow is almost unknown.

On the south coast the summer sunshine raises temperatures to 30C (86F) while midwinter averages are around 12C (54F). Rainfall is negligible in the south of France during the long, dry summer.

Most Popular Areas for Villas in France

 

South of France – Languedoc-Rousillon

Villas in the south of France are always in high demand. The area offers over 200km of sandy beaches, studded with marinas full of luxury yachts. The beaches are gently sloping and ideal for family holidays, offering safe bathing and plenty to do. From the Languedoc and the Pyrenees to Montpelier you can find some beautiful holiday villas in France’s most unspoilt regions.

Provence/Alps/Cote d’Azur

Holiday villas and chalets in the Alps and Pyrenees are popular during the skiing season but the coast remains the most popular area for summer holidays. Inland from the coast there are gorges with spectacular caverns and undulating hills covered in vineyards and chestnut forests. To the west is the upmarket Cote d’Azur which stretches beyond Monaco to the Italian border. Families may choose a villa with pool to relax by whilst luxury villas come in all sizes to cater for couples or larger family groups.

Aquitane

On the west coast, the golden sandy beaches and sloping vineyards of Bordeaux offer wonderful scenery, culture and heritage.

 

Normandie

On the north coast of France old cities such as Evreux and Rouen offer historic sights, while the beaches are best known for their D-Day history. Staying in a holiday villa here makes Paris very accessible too.

Transport in France

 

Most french cities have an international airport which has opened up the country for weekend breaks as well as facilitating the ownership of second homes. Cheap flights at ridiculously low prices are offered by budget airlines such as EasyJet and Ryanair. Once you have settled into your holiday villa in France, you may wish to rent a car locally in order to explore the area. Around Paris and between the major cities the SNCF high speed train service is very efficient, but further south it is not a feasible means of local transport. Hiring bicycles or hiking are some popular holiday options. For those wanting to bring their own car, the Channel Tunnel and overnight ferries offer a choice of routes. Once in France, the autoroutes make driving fast and easy.

Main airports offering regular scheduled flights include Bordeaux and Marseilles airports in the south of France and Lyon Saint- Exupery International Airport which is located in the centre of France. It is a suitable choice for those who are traveling to the Alps. Paris is served by Orly airport just 9 miles south of Paris, and Charles de Gaulle International airport to the northeast.

Festivals and Annual Events in France

Almost every area of France has a full calendar of local events and festivals celebrating everything from the Somme Bird Festival in April to the Scallop Festival in Erquy in May. France celebrates the New Year, the Chinese New Year in Paris, Carnival in February, Holy Week at Easter, Wine festivals in the autumn and Christmas. Saint’s Days and national open days, scarecrow fest and music festivals are too many to mention. Of course the Big Day in the French calendar is Bastille Day which celebrates the start of the French Revolution on July 14th each year. Huge parades of the armed forces and local street parties take place. The day ends with grand firework displays in every town and city.

Things to do in France

Beaches

From the Brittany coast to the fabulous beach of San Tropez, France has more then its fair share of beaches. The most popular are in the South of France where the weather is reliably warm. Renting a holiday villa in the Riviera gives easy access to the many lovely beaches there.

 

Walking, Hiking and Climbing

The Seine is a beautiful river valley in Normandy with idyllic walks and pretty local towns. The Alps and the Pyrenees offer more challenging terrain for serious hiking and climbing.

 

Shopping

Where better than Paris for a shopping spree? The renowned department store, Printemps, the designer boutiques and the local markets all have something to offer serious Shopaholics.

Culture

France has a rich collection of museums and galleries in every city from Paris to Marseille. Opera, ballet and the theatre are all well-frequented by international stars.

Cycling

The Loire Valley is a popular area for a cycling holiday. Using a holiday villa as a self-catering base, explore the river by bike or kayak.

Winter Sports

The Alps are a beautiful winter destination for skiing and snowboarding. Enjoy roaring log fires and après-ski activities from your holiday villa accommodation. Popular resorts for skiing include Chamonix, Meribel and Tignes. More about skiing in France.

 

Wine Tasting

France has supplied the world with the finest wine and champagne for centuries. Visit a vineyard to see the wine-making process then sample the products at the final wine-tasting. Wine wholesalers also provide wine tasting for serious buyers.

Useful Tips when Visiting France

 

In case of emergency dial 17 for the police, 18 for fire and 15 for medical emergencies.

Most cafés and restaurants in France include a 15% service charge so no additional tipping is necessary.

Some of the beaches on the French Riviera are topless, so be prepared!

The French will greet each other with a kiss on the left then the right cheek.

The local town square is where you will see a game of boules called pétanque being played by young and old alike.

Food and Drink

 

France is the home of cordon bleu cuisine and each region has its own delicacies. Fresh seafood from the Normandy coast, cheeses, andouille sausages and Morel mushrooms are delicious on their own or in the regional cuisine. Trout and crayfish and chicken chasseur are all served with rich sauces. All the delicious food is accompanied by fabulous local wines, champagne or scrumpy from the cider region. Wherever you dine it will be a memorable event and the food will be first class.

Typical Costs in France

 

France generally has a lower cost of living than the UK. Food in the supermarkets is cheaper on basics including bread, cheese and fruit. Wine bought from a local wine merchant in Normandie costs around €3 for a reasonable bottle of Vins de Pays from J P Chenet and Faustino Rivero Rioja is around €4. However you will be lucky to be able to get a beer for under €5 in the Alps! Eating out on the French Riviera is similarly pricey.

Paris is also more expensive than the family-type restaurants along the Normandie and Brittany coast. An average 3 course meal for 2 in Paris is around €40-50. For a 2 or 3 star restaurant allow €100-125. If you are interested in the fancier cuisine, L`Ambassadeurs has a lunch bargain for €75 and a few of the other restaurants might have similar prix fixe deals. 10 Metro tickets cost €11.40, however there are no cut prices on designer handbags, perfume and clothing.