France is a treasure chest of inspiring destinations. For this reason you have plenty of options when it comes to holidays in France. However, such an abundance of choices creates a dilemma. Which one should you choose?
If you are longing to escape to the countryside or coast, and if your preference is a self-catering getaway, then here are a few inspiring ideas for holidays and short breaks in France:
The tranquil island — Ile de Ré, Atlantic Coast
Filled with dune-backed beaches, harbour villages and pine forests, the Ile de Ré is an unspoilt, protected island off the west coast of France. As it has over sixty miles of cycle paths, it is perfect for exploring by bike. This means you can spend a day or more gliding past cornfields, salt marshes and rustic houses, perhaps pausing to picnic at the Phare des Baleines lighthouse, which offers sweeping views of the Atlantic. The main town is the petite St-Martin-de-Ré, which has fortifications dating back to the 17th century as well as a pretty marina. From golden coastland to sweet-scented forests to pavement cafés, Ile de Ré is a chic and understated getaway.
The scenic beach escape — Cap-Coz, Brittany
Perched atop ten miles of fine sandy beach, the seaside resort of Cap-Coz overlooks the Glénan archipelago in Southern Brittany. The beach lies in a sheltered spot at the end of La Forêt Bay, making it perfect for swimming and relaxing. Dotted with rock pools, there is fascinating marine life. You can also experience plenty of Breton beauty in the surrounding area, including protected nature spots, pathways and creeks. The lively fishing ports of Concarneau and Foret-Fouesnant are also within easy reach.
The Medieval wine region village — Eguisheim, Alsace-Lorraine
Holidays in France rarely seem more fairytale-like than those in Eguisheim. Voted the French people’s favourite village in 2013, it is one of the most beautiful villages along the Alsace wine route. Nestled in vine-planted hills, the village’s winding, concentric streets circle the 13th century castle of Château Saint-Léon. You can often spot flocks of storks on the roof of the castle’s chapel and there is even an annual festival held in their honour. Medieval half-timbered houses, colourful buildings and geranium-filled window boxes are just some of the many delights of this storybook-style village. With over 800 acres of surrounding vineyard, you will also have plenty of opportunity to sample the local wines.
The picturesque fishing port — Le Guilvinec, Brittany
Le Guilvinec is a jewel of a fishing port in southwest Brittany. Situated in Finistère, this small town offers family-friendly beaches, an impressive food market, and nearby scenic walks across the Men Meur headland and the Moulin Mer valley. Every day Le Guilvinec’s beach comes alive as local fishermen arrive with their daily catch of crabs and langoustines. Other nearby attractions include the National Maritime Museum, the Océanopolis aquarium with its penguin colony and the rugged cliffs of Pointe du Raz.
The breathtaking ski resort — Lake Tueda, French Alps
Surrounded by a rare species of pine tree, the ski destination of Lake Tueda offers incredible scenery, including natural reserves and protected forests. It is also the gateway to Vanoise National Park, which is situated between the Tarentaise and Maurienne valleys. The lake is stunning when frozen and the area is ideal for both downhill and cross-country skiing, as well as sledging. Les Trois Vallées ski area is actually the largest in the world, with almost four hundred miles of slopes and trails.