France tailor-made holidays
France is one of the world's great travel destinations. From Paris to Provence and Brittany to Burgundy, Alsace to Auvergne, there's something for everyone – and so it's little surprise that France consistently rates as one of the most popular holiday destinations in the world. And from the UK it's right on our doorstep, a mere hop across the Channel - making it the perfect place for a short break or a longer self-drive or tailor-made tour.
Whether you're visiting the countless grand cathedrals and bastions of France's ancient cities or surfing the Atlantic breakers on the Côte d'Argent in Aquitaine, skiing the pure-white slopes of Chamonix or catching a glimpse of the Mona Lisa at the Louvre in Paris, France holidays are endlessly diverse and constantly inspiring.
Historically, France is one of Europe's most fascinating countries. Neanderthal civilisations are said to have been established here as long ago as 50,000 BC and, since then, empires have come and gone, kings have been crowned and some beheaded, and numerous wars have been won and lost - all of which have left behind landmarks and traditions that have shaped the French identity.
Today, her influence stretches way beyond her borders, whether through the country's leading role in the European Union or in former colonies in Africa, Asia and elsewhere, in which the French language and traditions remain. French food is one of the most familiar exports, the likes of tarte tartin, moules frites, duck confit and endless varieties of cheese enjoyed in many countries, but best enjoyed in France than anywhere else. And then of course there's the small matter of French wine – Bordeaux, Bourgueil, Burgundy and Champagne to name a few – each and every one iconic, distinct, and truly French.
The English playwright Charles Morgan once said ‘France is an idea necessary to civilisation'. Think of farmers' markets in the Loire Valley, artists working along the Seine in Paris, rowing boats in the La Venise Verte in Poitou-Charentes and the glamorous bars of the French Riviera and it'd be near impossible to disagree with him.
At a glance
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Where to go in France
Southeastern France is a varied and enticing holiday destination, a place where luxury indulgences can be enjoyed with the jet set in Cannes and Nice, but where an another, more authentic version of France is never far away. It can be tasted in the hearty food of Lyon, smelt in the lavender fields …
Southwestern France has a lot to offer travellers. Beautifully rural in parts, dramatically mountainous in others and fringed by the stunning beaches of the Atlantic coast to the west, this area of France encompasses the three great regions of the Midi Pyrenees, Languedoc-Roussillon and Aquitaine.
Central France is the geographical and political heart of the country. Here you'll find the glorious capital of Paris, and some of France's former royalty's most glamorous and outrageous châteaux.
Western France, like many areas of France, is quite distinct from its neighbours. Though situated across the sea from the British Isles, the area has as much in common with the Celtic traditions of Wales, Scotland and Ireland as it does with France, thanks largely to its close historical links with…
When to go
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"If you are lucky enough to have lived in Paris as a young man, then wherever you go for the rest of your life, it stays with you, for Paris is a moveable feast."Ernest Hemingway France has a fabulous variety of year-round attractions. Skiing is possible in the Alps from mid-December to late April in the main resorts, and even into summer on the high glaciers of Val d'Isère, Les Deux Alpes and l'Alpe d'Huez, while the lower slopes of the Alps, Jura and Pyrenees offer fabulous hiking and biking from spring to autumn. Paris seduces visitors all through the year, though springtime remains a perennial favourite; the Mediterranean coast and Corsica have mild winters and very hot summers, while …
Top itineraries in France
The Loire is the longest river in France, rising from the Massif Central and flowing 620 miles to the Atlantic Ocean, passing beautiful rolling countryside, some of France's finest vineyards, picturesque villages and an incredible concentration of grand country chateaux.
Explore the regions of Languedoc and Provence on this seven-day self-drive tour. Feel the weight of history in Carcassonne and Avignon, walk among olive trees, lavender and vineyards, fill up on foie gras at centuries-old markets, and bask on the beaches of the Cote d'Azur.
Top places to stay in France
Capturing the minds of many an artist, this Relais & Châteaux 16th century bourgeois residence fosters a peaceful atmosphere accompanied by spectacular views.
Created by architect Victor Louis in 1776 and located in the heart of Bordeaux's historic 'golden triangle', opposite the Grand Theatre, the Grand Hotel de Bordeaux & Spa enjoys a setting in perfect keeping with the grandeur of its spectacular neoclassical façade. Set just moments from Bordeaux's m…
With a prestigious location on the Avenue Hoche, just moments from a wealth of iconic attractions, Raffles Le Royal Monceau is without doubt one of the finest places to stay in Paris.
Special offers in France
Save up to £3,692 per cabin
Luxury Europe river cruise visiting Arles, Avignon, Viviers, Tournon, Belleville, Beaujolais Region & Lyon
7-day, 5-star luxury river cruise from just £995
Enjoy a 7-day luxury river cruise from Luxembourg to Basel and vice versa - including flights, transfers, all meals, drinks, tips and more
Reduced single supplement
Book by: 01 September 2016
Board MS Anne-Marie and gently cruise along the 100 km Canal du Rhone-a-Sete as 2,000 years of Provence history unfolds all around. Visit tiny villages where the locals use boats as transport, taste delicious local delicacies, inspect old forts, abbeys, churches and one of the finest Roman aqueducts
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