Holiday destinations in France
France is one of the world’s great holiday destinations. It offers an impressive choice of places to visit, with sandy beaches on two coasts, vast mountain ranges, unspoilt countryside and cities crammed with cultural treasures.
You can ski in the winter, tour great vineyards or historic chateaux, try white-water rafting or go surfing on the Atlantic coast. You can have fun in Disneyland, visit war memorials, watch the Tour de France, tackle classic walking routes or simply watch the world go by at a pavement cafe.
And it’s all on our doorstep, easily reached by a cheap flight or ferry. If you’re travelling with children, see our editors’ tips for the best family holidays in France.
Note: all the travel companies featured are personally recommended by our editors.
Classic holiday destinations in France
France has so many great places to visit, but a short list would certainly have to include Brittany, the Dordogne, Provence and the Loire. If you’re on a budget try a holiday village in Brittany with Siblu, easily reached by cross-Channel car ferry. We recommend Domaine de Kerlann and Les Pierres Couchées both of which have an array of facilities for families.
For a little more luxury – but still keeping costs down by self-catering – we like Pierre & Vacances Premium Residences which have 19 locations across France sleeping between 2 and 12. Apartments have fitted kitchens, wifi and a pool and spa on site.
Just off the Atlantic coast, the Ile de Re is a real treasure, criss-crossed by miles of cycling paths linking quaint villages, fishing ports and beaches. It’s one of many places in France where you’ll find great-value holiday villages.
If you’re in the Loire region you will almost certainly visit at least one chateau. But did you know you can get together with friends and family and rent one for your holidays? Find out more from Oliver’s Travels.
The Mediterranean island of Corsica has some of France’s best beaches, and is relatively unknown to British holidaymakers. We’ve found a great selection of villas, apartments, houses and hotels – see the latest special offers.
Sit back and enjoy the countryside on a luxury hotel barge holiday in France. European Waterways has a choice of 6-night itineraries in some of the most picturesque regions of Burgundy, the Canal du Midi, Alsace-Lorraine, Provence, Gascony, Champagne, Paris and Northern France. This is a genuine luxury experience with air-con ensuite cabins and gourmet meals, fine wines, an open bar, excursions and transfers all in the price.
Active holidays in France
Inntravel offers independent walking holidays in some of the most beautiful French countryside. Or take a self-guided cycling holiday with Headwater Holidays which will transport your luggage between hotels as you pedal gently to your next destination. We recommend its 8-night Secret Provence tour.
If you’re a “foodie”, why not book a cookery course in France in the seaside town of La Rochelle or the gastronomic city of Bordeaux for example. Weekend breaks and week-long courses are available, with plenty of local sight-seeing, visits to markets and wine-tasting thrown in. See prices.
For a great value break, stay in a self-catering holiday village. Some are very easy to reach, such as the Belle Dune Holiday Village, just an hour’s drive from Calais, which has a challenging 18-hole course.
The Adventure Company has a great selection of group family tours.
In winter, try Ski Total for a good-value catered ski chalet holiday. You can ski on a budget by staying in four-star self-catering accommodation at less well-known resorts such as Samoens and Les Carroz. But if you have young children in need of childcare, you can’t do better than Esprit Ski.
Short breaks in France
France has a modern, efficient rail network with super fast trains that provide access to every corner of the country. You could take a city break by rail including – of course – Paris. If you’re booking independently you can great deals on hotels in Paris. Of if you have young children, check out the tailor-made breaks in Paris with Family Twist.
Or take a short break in Nice on the Cote d’Azur with Cox & Kings. It’s a perfect year-round destination, but particularly appealing in the winter, spring and autumn. It was the unique Mediterranean light in Nice that inspired artists including Matisse and Dufy.
If you want to celebrate a big birthday or anniversary, you can fly to France by private jet with Jet Escapes. If you get together with a few friends or family, a day trip or short break starts at under £1,000 per person.
Also see the best time to visit the Mediterranean.
Specialist tour operators to France
Simpson Travel has a range of upmarket villas with private pools.
Inntravel offers a range of walking and cycling holidays.
Arblaster & Clarke is the market leader for wine tours of France.
Kirker Holidays specialises in luxury short breaks, city breaks, music and culture holidays.
in:spa runs health retreats in the South of France.
Single With Kids specialises in single-parent holidays.
Corsican Places is a Corsica specialist.
European Waterways offers luxury hotel barge holidays.
Last updated: 28 April 2016