Visiting France The blog

Tips on renting a holiday home in France: Rural, village, or town? What's best?

April 26 2019
Where do you find the "real" France? Is it in the bakeries and bistros of the Latin Quarter in Paris, in the public square of a traditional Provençal village, or in the fields and hills of Acquitaine? You'll find it everywhere, but you may not be sure where you want to go. Here's some ideas on how to find the holiday that suits you best.

Consider first what kind of holiday you want. If you want a vibrant nightlife, an endless choice of restaurants and bars, and days of shopping, Paris is first on your list. And don't rule out the other great cities- Nice, need peace and quiet, give Paris a miss, unless you can stay in a quiet suburb. Or consider one of the beautiful outlying towns like Versailles from which it's easy to get to Paris on the RER train.

Peace and quiet is plentiful in a rural property like La Bellazière (pictured). What about in a town or village? Medieval French town homes tend to be clustered tightly, so sounds can travel easily between homes, but the locals tend to keep noise to a respectful minimum. The intimate setting of a village can be a delight, as you find community with your new neighbours. You'll find that at a home like Maison Oranger.

Or consider a compromise: you could find a property on the edge of a town or village, such as Le Rocher. It'll be an easy walk into town, and fields and forests are also nearby.

One of the first considerations will be whether you'll have a car. If you're bringing your own, bear in mind that it's increasingly difficult to park and drive in Paris and you may want to store your car while you stay in the city.

In smaller villages and rural areas, a car may be a necessity, so if you don't have your own, plan to hire one at the airport or train station. In the centre of some medieval towns, the streets are too narrow for cars and you may have to park yours a few streets away from where you're staying. Most of France is accessible by public transport, but options will be more limited the further you get from a big town.