France is one of the world’s most popular holiday destination and it’s easy to see why. For many it’s the fine food and wines that are the ultimate attraction, others go for the fantastic market towns and provincial centres, all surrounded by miles of unspoiled countryside. Even in high season the pressures are off. Compared to the UK roads seem deserted, cafes enchanting and the weather in France, as if by government decree, stays sunny throughout the summer.
France is easy to reach. Countless flights head out from all UK airports to land in parts of regional France, where rental cars make it easy to explore further. Otherwise just drive. Once you’ve escaped the UK’s clogged roads an excellent motorway network skims across France, bringing even the south within easy reach.
Best of all it is easy and cheap to rent fantastic accommodation in France. You can of course go for period properties, but then you’ll pay more and often discover the facilities also date from a previous age. Sometimes it’s great to have plenty of character in a property but perhaps not when you’re trying to make the most of a relaxing family holiday. To arrange well-appointed accommodation, with comfortable beds, well-equipped kitchens and swimming pools it’s best to follow the French. Look at a local specialist. Some French companies have put together fabulous collections of private homes and holiday resorts in central and southern France. These are usually well-spaced holiday homes, often with private pools, that feed into a larger resort which gives you waterslides and facilities that offer a range of excitement – and the chance to socialise – for children experiencing France for the first time.
Their options range across the board. When it comes to holiday villas they have properties that range from Poitou-Charentes, within easy reach of Futuroscope, to the fashionable beaches of Cannes – and with plenty inbetween. And for UK travellers, used to the exorbitant prices of British holiday accommodation, the prices are bound to bring a smile to your face.
Take an example at random. In Bourg Est – Vigliere you’ll find a range of detached villas for groups of four or eight guests, with private terraces, often private pools, and (of course) wifi throughout. Prices start at €189, which is not a lot for a holiday home, in the sun, in France. Pictured below is an eight-person villa, priced from €490 for a week.
That certainly beats a sodden cottage on Dartmoor which would cost three times as much, give you half the facilities, and in a British summer almost guarantee rain.
Some families would prefer more of a holiday resort setting. You’d get your own pool (if required) but also have access to wider facilities: waterslides, larger pools, more people, more fun. Try FranceComfort.com’s holiday park at L’Espinet, deep in southern France at the foot of the Pyrenees. Facilities include indoor and outdoor swimming pools, a swimming lake with beach, basketball and volleyball courts and various childrens’ clubs. Horseback rides, quad bikes, paintball, waterballs and tree-climbing all add to the active vibe here.
With most of the facilities located at the centre of the resort the holiday homes are simply but privately set in the landscaped grounds. Their holiday homes for six guests start at €445 for a week, but as you can see this would be a perfect place for the grandparents to relax while children – and grandchildren – make the most of the sporting opportunities on offer.
For the ultimate holiday head for Provence. Peter Mayle may have made this region famous with his battles with builders, neighbours and the cultural experience but there’s no need to put yourself through this. The Vallee de la St. Baume is a holiday park comprising 34 luxury Provencale villas, most with private pools, offering tranquil accommodation and wifi throughout. It’s gated for security but older children and adults there is plenty to do, with table tennis, a bocce court, and tennis, as well as a large communal pool. The picturesque village of Nans-les Pins is a couple of kilometres away while Aix and Marseilles are also close: the Mediterranean coast is half an hour by car.
And the cost? Well, not a lot. Pictured below is a six-bedroom villa with private pool, which costs from €630 per week. You’re not going to stop me booking that.
Finally, look at an urban choice. On the infinitely fashionable waterfront of Cannes, FranceComfort have beautifully-situated apartments sleeping six, complete with private parking and immediate access to the Croisette. You’ll save the rental price of €384 – for a week, split six ways – in a couple of days just by staying out of the fashionable terrace cafes and taking aperitifs on your own private balcony.
There are a few extras. A few Euros in a reservation fee, a few more for making beds up before arrival, and an optional fee for cleaning after your visit – which is more but something I’d pay anytime. But they’re not significant. FranceComfort brings you bargain France.