Stay in a French Gite

Each year France has more visitors from overseas than any other country in the world. This is for various reasons: the country has magnificent scenery, great beaches, a large number of historic monuments and medieval villages; and of course Paris itself – the Eiffel Tower alone attracts 20,000 visitors each day!

So how best to discover France yourself?French Gite The perfect way is to stay in a French holiday rental property – these are known as French gites. These gites vary in size type and location, and can be anything from a small cottage in the country to a luxurious clifftop villa with a private swimming pool.

The main attraction is that you will be staying in exactly the same kind of property that French people themselves live in. Continue reading Stay in a French Gite

Choosing a Luxury Self-Catered or Catered Ski Chalet in the French Alps

Desaturated chalet
Image by Éole via Flickr

Ski chalets in France are all over. In fact, you can take your pick from any of the luxury chalets in the Alps depending on the number of persons you are bringing along and your specific requirements as well. Of these luxury ski chalets, one can choose between catered and self-catered.

Catered chalets are perfect for tourists who do not want to be bothered by the many nitty-gritty details of the trip. Well, if you are the type who doesn’t want to go out on your own and explore the wilderness, this is definitely your choice of an accommodation. Luxury chalets in the Alps are aplenty. Thus, you will never have difficulty looking for the perfect place where you can rest the night away after a sumptuous dinner and a good drink. You can wake up at the smell of freshly baked bread and coffee brewed to perfection. The seasons carry the French Alps from a snowy winter wonderland to simply a wonderland of stunning mountains and sun-drenched valleys. Stretching along the southeastern region of Savoie, the French Alpine region is an unrivaled ski destination and veritable playground for the affluent traveler. Meribel boasts three charming ski resort villages with gorgeous ski chalets to rent just along the ski trails. Meribel chalets welcome you, your friends and family in a cosy and unique atmosphere.

On the contrary, self-catered ski chalets in the Alps are slowly becoming to be a favorite choice among travelers especially those who come with the whole family in tow. There are a number of luxury chalets in the Alps that offer this kind of accommodation. One good thing about staying in self-catered chalets is the independence that goes with it. You can literally do what you want without having to bother other people. Your kids can run around the place without bothering other people too. If luck is on your side, you can have the perfect chalet with a front lawn where you and your family can have a little picnic.

Additionally, staying in self-catered luxury ski chalets allow you to have control over the place. As such, you can have your own activity planned. You can even explore the many activities the Alps have to offer at your own pace. It is like your home away from home. You can cook whatever your want and have your meals anytime of the day. Some luxury chalets in the Alps that are self-catered can even provide you with a private chef. At the same time, you can also request for fresh produce to be delivered to you daily straight at your doorstep. Unlike with catered chalets that require you to come on specific times just to have your meals eaten.

Make your holiday plans ahead and decide on your choice of accommodation. Whether you are staying in self-catered or catered ski chalets, it is how you make the most out of your Alps experience that counts.

Getting to French Destinations in the Best Possible way

trip to France
trip to France

If you are planning a trip to France, you must know how to make the trip a memorable one ensuring that you can comfortably visit all the famous tourist destinations for which the country is best known for. It is important that you have enough information about the various means of internal as well as inter-state transportation available in France to travel within the country or to and from other countries. To make your trip hassle free, you must know about the best ways to reach from one place to another in France that mainly depends on the locations and the public transports commonly available in those regions.

Ferry to France are the most popular way to travel from the UK through the English Channel, preferred by travelers mostly on their vacation to the continent. Among the internal transports of the country, France is known to offer an excellent and one of the best railway networks across the world. To travel from the southwest region of France or from Brittany to Paris, you can avail TGV or the train grande vitesse and for traveling within Paris, both locals and tourists may avail the RATP service, which is a combination of rail, underground and a bus network operating all across the capital. If you think air travel will be much easier and quicker to reach your desired destination, you will find at least one good airport serving every major French town or city. Air France is the main airline offering regular trips between these cities everyday but if you travel in peak seasons, you must check availability of tickets on the official website of Air France.

ferry travel on the other hand is the best way to enjoy the spectacular scenic views in the coastal regions of France. You can travel with the BACs, the state owned car ferries connecting the mainland with the larger French islands on the nearby Atlantic coast and sail across the Gironde estuary where the Dordogne and Garoone rivers merge. There are several ferry lines operating for specific islands, such as, SNCM ferries operate between the Corsica Island and the mainland. You will find many vessels offering regular crossings to visit the historic sites, villages or towns. This public transport is the best suitable option if you want to enjoy the scenic beauty of the wonderfull French canals in a relaxing way. By exploring the region in this way you will come to know about the rich historical background of rural France. Cruising boats are another way of sailing through the waterways that is available with or without crews. The cruise boats include small cabin cruises as well as large commercial vessels that offer you luxurious trip in a relaxing way. This kind of ferry boats provide wide range of facilities to keep the travelers entertained throughout the journey and are available in various price ranges.
Choose from the above travel options that suits your budget, timing and preference.

Why You Should Consider a Trip to Paris

Due to the closeness of so many European cities, traveling weekend breaks UK citizens can be just great. There are usually around nine 3 day holidays, so one can have an even longer weekend!! What fun!!
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Let’s begin with fabulous Paris, the most visited and likely the favorite for city breaks by “weekenders” all year long. Travel to Paris is easily is accessible for lucky UK citizens by taking the cross channel ferry, driving through the channel tunnel, or by a short flight landing in the “Charles de Gaulle” International airport about an hour flight away.

But remember Paris has over 30 million visitors a year from all over the world, so don’t leave travel or hotel bookings until the last minute.

Paris is called the City of Romance and for good reason.  There is no place like Paris with many romantic and lovely hotels.  Then imagine holding hands with your love while walking near the Seine River, or on the beautiful Avenue des Champs-Elysees with wonderful gardens and the Arc de Triomphe.  Shopping on the Avenue des Champs-Elysses is some of the best in the world.  A fancy trinket should tickle your sweetheart’s affection. After your stroll, have a lovely glass of wine at one of the outside café. This alone would be a perfect romantic weekend, but, there are so many things to see and do in Paris that it may be difficult not to branch further out.

Famous landmarks like the Eiffel Tower and Notre Dame are wonderful to visit.  For some, looking at the Eiffel Tower from ground level is more majestic, and certainly less hectic than maybe several hours standing in line.  However, on a clear day, the view above is lovely.  Then there are the famous monuments like the “Grand Arch” and the “Pantheon”.

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A visit to the Louvre can be a fairly quick trip on a weekend break if you have decided ahead of time what you want to see such as the Mona Lisa and other famous works of art.  However, if you are an art lover spending more time in this wonderful museum is almost a necessity.    If you “need” more art, visit the Musee National d’Art Moderne or the Musee d’Orsay with its fine impressionist art

Going on a Seine River boat ride is a wonderful and inexpensive way to view Paris and take great photos, while the boat passes by the Eiffel Tower, the botanical gardens and Notre Dame, the Musee D’Orsay, and more.  You can buy a ticket for a day or 3 days and leave and get back on the boat as you like.  Riding bicycles is an easy way to get around the city and walking across the city can be done in a day. Of course, likely one will take more than a day while visiting all the many places to tour and see, of course, stopping at a café to enjoy a glass of wine. A self-guided tour is always fun and there are travel guides that will gladly show you the sites.

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Then there is the food.  Paris has wonderful food and fine wines.  A French Brie is almost perfect and there are many other cheeses to try. Buy a baguette and sit on a park bench savoring it with your cheese and a favorite wine, perhaps a Bordeaux or Beaujolais.  Crepes are abundant in restaurants and on street carts, either sweet or with ingredients like meat, eggs, and cheese. A fancy drink like a kir royale, made with champagne and black currant-flavored liquor, before a meal is fun and “so sophisticated.”   The pastries and so many other desserts are almost indescribable. You can hardly go wrong when enjoying the food, drinks, and, wine in Paris whether it be in one of the wonderful restaurants, sitting on a park bench, on a picnic, or at one of the street corner cafes.

If you want to do something “American,” but with a French flair, go to Disneyland Paris.  Whether a couple or a family with children Disneyland Paris is exciting and so much fun and will bring many smiles and laughter.

disney

For so many, Paris is close to perfect.  It’s hard to go wrong with all of the many things to do, see, eat, and drink.  Go to Paris and take advantage of the many family holiday parks. You more than likely will return to this seductive city.

This article was written by Ricky May on behalf of Holidays 365.

Tour de France

Paris is where style inspires and fashion thrives. From the launch of a boutique to the opening of a museum, Paris is the city of magical soirees and a heaven for the discerning gastronomes. In this city of lights, everything is irresistible. One cannot miss the miraculous collision between glamour and French seduction – a real mix of adventure and naivety.

Highly original, truly unique

The grand event, hosted at the most coveted address in Paris. The Elysee Palace ended beautiful with a spectacular firework display at the Tower Eiffel. The reason: It was the 120th anniversary of the world’s most photographed monument. What’s more, the fireworks matched its glory. Incidentally, July is also month when the Tour de France ends at the Place de la Concord with all bikers racing on the Champs Elysee. A host of surprises welcomed us as we joined the crowds to welcome the enthusiastic sportsmen. The buzz was amazing; everyone had a speedy disposition and a big grin. The racers rode at the speed of the escort cars and it was difficult to click a good picture. Everyone from little children to aged men Veronique Quefflec , Pinazo and Beri at the La Fermette Marbeuf

Gastronomical delights

La Fermette Marbeuf, the historical French Restaurant which opened its doors in 1900, is a real gem. Situated in the heart of the Triangle d’Or at 5 Rue Marbeuf, its authentic French interiors overwhelmed us. The refinement of Parisian aesthetics was obvious as soon as we walked in to the restaurant. It is an artistic marvel, dominated by gilded mirrors, lacquered surfaces, frescoes and statues including massive chandeliers on gold leaf painted ceilings.

For dinner, Chef Jerome served us gourmet delights that included melt-in-the-mouth appetizers, must-for-the-occasion champagne and different courses that were complemented by suitable wines. Unforgettable degustation options, the best of the typical French favorites like escargot and foie gras, creative dishes like sautéed langoustine in citrus oil braised turbot with truffles made for a royal feast. The Grand Marnier Souffle was the piece de resistance. It perfectly served as the meeting point of absolute glamour and aristocratic fine dining. It was just too French!

Art Junction

The grand opening of the Madame Vionnet exhibition at the decorative Arts Museum of Paris at the Louvre was pure nostalgia. Comparisons were drawn to how contemporary her style was. The hall was jam-packed with celebrities like Naomi Campbell and Charlize Theron to name a few. We also spotted Christina Aguilera who made a brief entry with beau and three bodyguards in tow. It was, we felt, the perfect tribute to quintessential style. Like any trip, France car rental service will help you to explore more places nearby Paris.

Shop till you drop

A trip to Paris without a visit to the unique Parisian flea markets is incomplete. Also known as the Puces de Saint-Quen or Clignancourt , north of Montmartre, this is the city’s ( some claim the world’s ) largest and the most famous flea market, offering everything from Louis XVI Furniture , precious antique jeweler , famous book collections , wines and all kinds of collectibles. If you are far away from north of Paris, you must hire car in Paris to reach this market.

Paris is always an exceptional experience of varied senses, a personal welcome and one leaves the city feeling it is never enough.

Myself Kathy Green, a passionate traveller offers you detailed information to take necessary remedies before you travel to your vacation. Give preference to book accommodation early as possible and car hire in Paris service to make your trip more enjoyable.

Retiring Overseas: France

Most people know a city in which they dream to live, whether it is the place you have lived all your life or somewhere you hadn’t even heard of until someone told you about it, everybody has an aspiration to escape to somewhere. If you are still to realise your dream you may be interested in retiring overseas, where the guarantee of a better climate and cheaper living expenses is often more realistic. However, restrictions such as finances may limit your options.

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Retiring Overseas: Francemarfis75 / Foter.com / CC BY-SA

If you do decide to move overseas, it may be sensible to look into an international transfer facility. Pick an established international FX company for example; try sending money overseas with RaphaelsBank.com. It will allow you to make regular payments on your properties overseas or back home, or even send some financial support to relatives. Raphaels Bank offers an international banking service which delivers a range of options for its customers. Our intuitive online account management system will make monitoring and managing your finances an easy task.

Paris is a fantastic city and one which will keep retirees entertained for years. It is rich in history and culture and you will always find something worth discovering in the city. It is a very popular travel destination, so you will be able to make friends with people from all walks of life, including the locals and other French residents. Obviously it is a little bit more expensive than many other areas in France, and as one of the busiest cities in Europe it may not be suited to everyone’s taste.

The south of France offers a wealth of options for retiring, you could even own your own vineyard if you wanted. It is also blessed with a fantastic climate which will be scorching hot in the summer. Carcassone is at the centre of the Aude department also known as the ‘Cathar County’. It is surrounded by other quaint villages which possess their own unique qualities. The region is fairly mountainous and in the winter months, you can travel east to ski in the Alps or west to ski in the Pyrenees. Leucate lies in a gorgeous natural landscape and has its own port which further enhances the scenery. It resides on the south side of France which benefits from the warmth of the Mediterranean Sea. All of these small local towns are perfect for people who want to live in a beautiful but quite remote location, where they can live sustainably on a small amount of cash, all whilst enjoying the fresh local produce and glorious weather.

Adam Porteous writes on behalf of RaphaelsBank.com who offer private banking solutions including comprehensive commercial & personal foreign exchange facilities, consumer finance, card, ATM & bonds services.

Start Holidaying on France Ferries

Norfolkline Ferries
Norfolkline Ferries

Although self drive family holidays are most common in France and other parts of continental Europe, it may not be enough relaxing and enjoyable as you expected it to be, particularly when you are driving a car with your children. Kids become restless halfway the journey wanting to get down and have fun as they lose patience very quickly, which may make the situation very much unpleasant to start off a holiday. It may spoil your journey as well as make it stressful. When planning for a self drive holiday across the Channel the first ferry route that comes to everybody’s mind is Dover to Calais which is the shortest route to the continent, though certainly not the best and cheapest option for all destinations. If you are starting off from the South-East of England via Dover to Calais, you need to take the roads around London, including the M25 which is not at all an ideal start to a pleasant and relaxing holiday!

Travellers, however, can prefer to travel with the ferries to France on the Dover-Dunkirque route operating exclusively for motorists, particularly on my holidays. Having direct access to the A16 and A25 motorways, this is the best suitable route for many European destinations including France, Belgium, Germany and many more. Another important thing you must take into consideration before going for self drive holidays is the type of ferry crossings you are opting for. A longer ferry crossings is ideal in many situations, especially it is more cost saving than the short ferry crossings as you can save on your fuel.

It is worth going for an overnight sailing with less driving than a short ferry journey combined with longer drive depending on your final destination, as it saves lot of cost on the ever increasing fuel prices. The added advantage of a longer ferry journey is it provides you ample scope to spend minimum time in driving and enjoy quality time with your family. It is much more adventurous than the regular ferry crossings. You will be thrilled to know about the range of amenities offered by the modern fleets of ships running on the Dover – Dunkirque route. Starting from the basic accommodations the ferry France provides club class seats, comfortable lounge area and cabins suitable for families. You can easily get off your car and take rest in these cabins which would make you refreshed by the time you reach the port to proceed for your desired destination.

They also offer you a surprising range of modern day facilities to make your journey relaxing and comfortable which includes bars and restaurants, cinemas, designated play areas for kids, great value onboard shopping etc. Thus your holiday starts as soon as you board the ferry vessel, much before you reach your actual destination.

Markets of Paris

Paris is a beautiful city, visited by millions every year for its famous sights such as the Eiffel Tower and the Arc D’Triomphe, along with the chic café culture. A popular location for romantic getaways, you can fly to Paris from the UK in around an hour, making it an ideal destination to visit for a weekend especially if you love bargaining with street sellers at markets.

Eiffel Tower GigaPixelized!!  (Paris) (Zoom Inside)
Eiffel TowerAnirudh Koul / Foter / CC BY-NC

Every neighbourhood of Paris offers a range of ‘marchés’ (markets) that fill the streets for a varying number of days a week. There is no doubt that you will come across them whilst exploring the city. However, there are several that stand out from the crowd. Keep them in mind as places to visit for a memorable and exciting market experience.

Food is one thing the French are famed for, so it is a given that the city is brimming with food markets. Probably the most famous and biggest of these is the Sunday ‘Marché Bastille’. Lining Richard Lenoir Boulevard in the 11th arrondissement (district), it is filled with hundreds of stalls proffering gourmet produce. Almost anything can be found for a reasonable price, making it popular with locals and tourists alike.

Also located in the Bastille area is Place d’Aligre, open Tuesday to Sunday. Actually two adjacent markets, ‘Marché d’Aligre’ has some of the cheapest food stalls in the city, whilst the covered ‘Marché Beauvau’ sells high quality, yet reasonably priced produce that draws people from all over the city.

Discreet and hidden away in the fashionable Marais area is the ‘Marché les Enfants Rouge’. The oldest covered market in Paris, founded in 1628, it is set apart by its range of ‘eat in’ stalls, offering culinary delights from Asia and Africa in addition to traditional French fare. Open every day except Monday, it is pleasingly affordable.

For a more exotic feel, delve into ‘Marché Dejean’ (18th arrondissement). Open Tuesday to Sunday mornings, the bustling African-influenced bazaar is heaving with exotic foods and spices, African eateries and textile stalls. The nearby ‘Marché Barbes’, open on Wednesday and Saturday, is similarly stocked, whilst ‘Marché Belleville’ (found in the 19th arrondissement on Tuesday and Friday) boasts a more Middle Eastern souk-type atmosphere.

There are many other noted food markets. ‘Saxe-Breteuil’ (7th), close to the Eiffel Tower, sells quality French produce from Thursday to Saturday. The tiny ‘Marché Monge’ (Wednesday, Friday and Saturday), in the Latin Quarter, is popular for its quaint atmosphere and beautiful stalls, which offer some of the freshest food in Paris. Also look out for ‘Marché Montorgueil’ in the 1st arrondissement and ‘Marché Buci’, open daily in the 6th.

If you’re looking for a keepsake of Paris beyond the usual tourist trinkets, there are many flea and antique markets to investigate. One of the more renowned, at Porte de Cligancourt, is the ‘Marché aux Puces de Saint-Ouen’, often referred to as ‘Les Puces’ (“The Fleas”) for short. Covering seven hectares, it is the largest antiques markets in the world, with hundreds of thousands visiting each weekend to explore the organised sprawl of covered and open market space. Open Saturday to Monday until 6pm, items for sale range from cheap bric-a-brac to collectable antiques.

‘Marché de Montreuil’, in the 20th arrondissement, is smaller and less organised than ‘Les Puces’ but great for a bargain. It is off the tourist track and has some real vintage gems to be found if you’re willing to be patient and to haggle for the best price. It is open on weekends and Mondays.

‘Marché aux Puces de Vanves’ (14th arrondissement) is another favourite. Each weekend, between 7am and 1pm, over 350 stalls display their wares. Rather than selling larger items, this market is excellent for vintage clothes and jewellery.

Specialist markets can also be found dotted around the city, catering to a variety of interests.

Paris’ first purely organic market comes in the shape of ‘Marché Biologique Raspail’ in the 6th arrondissement. Open Sunday and Tuesday mornings, it caters to an upmarket, health-conscious clientele and prices reflect this. As well as a shopping experience, it is also a trendy hangout spot!

‘Marché Rond-Point des Champs Elysées’ is a stamp market open on Thursdays, weekends and holidays; serious collectors gather here to buy and trade stamps and postcards. You can also discover the weekend book market (‘Marché aux Livres’) at Parc George Brassens in the 15th arrondissement. It sells old and new books and even first editions and those dating back 200 years! ‘Marché Saint-Pierre’, meanwhile, is the place to go for textiles and fabrics. Open every day but Sunday, it offers a wide variety of fabrics, from tablecloths to rare materials.

The ‘Marché aux Fleurs et aux Oiseaux’, located on the Île de la Cité in the Seine, has been dedicated to flowers and birds for more than 200 years. Flowers are sold every day of the week, whilst birds are on display on Sundays.

For original artwork, visit the ‘Marché de la Création de Paris Bastille’. This 11th district venue, occupied every Saturday, is the biggest weekly art market in Paris. Over 200 self-representing artists and designers display their work to visitors. A slightly smaller arts market sets up every Sunday in the 14th arrondissement Montparnasse.

Whatever you’re looking for, Paris will have a market for it, from food to bric-a-brac and collectables. There are so many that you are sure to stumble across at least one by pure chance. There are hundreds of hotels in Paris, so wherever you stay you’ll never be too far away from a bargain or two. Be prepared then to head home with much more than you ever intended to!