Nôtre Dame is the heart of Paris. She stands on that little island in the Seine, neither of the Left Bank nor the Right. Outside her doors, a plaque marks the centre of the city. After a day of cafés and boutiques and booksellers, you want stillness. You have to cross water to find it.
Ten bridges connect to that little island, and as you walk over the river, you find a calm in the midst of a hectic city in a hectic world. Between those two great towers at the west end of the cathedral are a pair of doors that have been open to everyone, rich or poor, with faith or without, burdened or joyful, for eight hundred years. Inside, you sit, and instead of doing, here is a place where you can just be. Be in this serene stillness at the heart of Paris. … More
If you're planning a holiday in France for a big group of people - say 10 or more - what's the best choice for self-catering accommodation? Your options may be to find a single home with multiple bedrooms, or a property with two or more separate units on the same location.
Think firstly about the group that you're bringing. If it's one single family and you're used to spending time together under the same roof, then a single large house such as Pallas may be ideal. … More
Before you rent a holiday home on Gite.com, you may be concerned about the danger of fraud. What guarantee do you have that the home you want to rent is real? Is it possible that the person claiming to be the owner is just a fraudster who will take your money and leave you with no holiday home?
These are good questions to ask. At Gite.com, we verify the identity of every new homeowner who adds their holiday property to our website.… More
Before you rent a holiday home in France, take a moment to think about whether you need a home with heating or air conditioning. It all depends on where you'll be and at what time of the year. Heatwaves are increasingly common and are likely to be the bigger problem. Excessive heat is most likely in July and August, but be prepared for the possibility in June and September, especially in the southern half of the country.… More
The Midi-Pyrénées region of Southwest France has a great wealth of history, culture, wine and food to enjoy. Here's a few places to put on your list when you get there.
This gem of a medieval town is set in a gorge above a tributary of the Dordogne. Hugging a cliff, the upper part of the town is filled with old churches and monastic buildings, while the winding narrow streets lined with houses and shops lie on the lower slopes. You'll need to climb a lot of steps to explore the town, but luckily there are plenty of spots to take refreshment.… More
Want to discover France? Here's ten great French destinations to start with!
Paris is a beautiful, walkable city that's best explored on foot, with regular stops at the patisserie. What it doesn't have is tall buildings in the centre... except for one. So start with a visit to the Eiffel Tower to get an overview of the city that's waiting to be discovered. Opened in 1889 for the World's Fair, it's the most-visited paid monument in the world.… More
When you're in southwestern France, don't miss the chance to visit the city of Cahors. Built by the Romans two thousand years ago, the city still has plenty of Roman artifacts. It was an important city during the Middle Ages, had a university, and was a centre of medieval banking. This led to Cahors getting a nasty mention in Dante's Inferno.… More
As Europe's largest river delta, it is rich in natural beauty and is home to a great variety of animals and plants. The area is protected from development, so more than 400 species of birds make their homes here, including flamingos, who throng the salt pools in large flocks.… More
People lived in the caves of central France tens of thousands of years ago- and they still live there now. France's prehistoric cave dwellers created the cave paintings of horses, buffalos, and action scenes of hunting that you can see at dedicated exhibits at Lascaux and Chauvet.… More
Autumn can be one of the best times to visit France. The lower temperatures can be very pleasant, making it possible to get plenty of sunshine without the scorching heat. The high season for tourism ends when September arrives, so you can have a beach almost to yourself. Many outdoor sports, such as hiking and cycling, are more pleasant on a crisp autumn day than under a hot sun.… More
If you love the timelessly beautiful art of the Impressionists, don't miss the chance to visit the village of Giverny, site of the home where Claude Monet spent the latter half of his life and painted many of his most famous canvases. It's 80km north of Paris, so it's well situated for a day trip.… More
For three weeks every July, the Provençal city of Avignon hosts one of the world's greatest arts festivals, the Festival d'Avignon. The official festival is centred on the city's great medieval Papal Palace and is focused on theatre, but also includes films, musical performances, dance, readings, and live discussions.… More