From its magnificent mountains, down to its sweeping vineyards, France offers visitors a wide variety of activities to do throughout the year.
Accommodation providers, Summer France and Ski France, offer more than 70 properties across the diverse country. From villas with private pools and luxurious hotels to traditional chalets and generous apartments nestled in the Alps.
Learn how to rustle up an authentic Bouillabaisse, enjoy an adventure through the Alps or even explore the second most visited theme park in France (after Disneyland Paris). The opportunities are endless…
NEW: Learn how to cook traditional French food in Provence, south-east France
The Residence Provence Country Club is located in the heart of the Luberon mountain range, between the stunning riverside town of Isle sur la Sorgue and the historic, rural Saumane. Admire the views from the hilltops of the Vaucluse, visit the many towns located in the area or even learn how to cook traditional French food with local chef Eric Viens. ‘Chef à la maison’, the brand-new experience to Summer France’s self-catering villas in Provence, comprises Eric catering for a group of friends or family in their accommodation at the Residence Provence Country Club. He will prepare a three-course meal (his speciality is Bouillabaisse, a traditional Provençal fish stew originating from the port city of Marseille) in front of the group, showing them how it is done and giving them a lesson and passing on tips so they can replicate the menu back home. The price starts from €30 / £26.50 pp (for a group of eight), this includes cooking, serving, tips and a lesson when he prepares each dish. The food bought for the evening costs extra, plus, Eric can also show the guests around the local markets and vineyard for an additional cost. A week’s stay, at Residence Provence Country Club, from 26 August, costs from £67 pp (£533 total) for a two-bedroom apartment sleeping up to eight people. Accommodation only, return flights, transfers and food extra.
NEW: Fun times with the Flaine Summer Pass in the French Alps
Adventure enthusiasts can make the most of Flaine Summer Pass, which is now free for guests staying at the three-star Résidence Les Terrasses de Veret in Flaine, with Ski France. Situated in the centre of the year-round resort, the accommodation benefits from close proximity to the lifts, supermarkets and restaurants. Each apartment (sleeping up to 10) features a fully-equipped kitchen, living area and a balcony or terrace with spectacular views across the mountains. The Flaine Summer Pass gives visitors to the region access to numerous sporting activities and cultural activities too. Families, friends and couples can try archery, bounce on the giant trampoline and play a game of tennis, plus new sports for 2017 include a mountain bike area, laser rifle course, a Jiu Jitsu session and more. Alternatively, attend one of the classical concerts or let those creative juices flow in the Art Centre (open Sunday to Friday from 4 pm to 7 pm). And that’s not all, the summer pass gives visitors exclusive offers, discounts and goodies at partner shops and traders. The Flaine Summer Pass is free for all Ski France guests who stay at Résidence Les Terrasses de Veret for four or more nights. A week’s stay, at Résidence Les Terrasses de Veret, from 24 August, costs from £44.25 pp (£177 total) for a one-bedroom apartment, sleeping up to four people. Accommodation only, return flights, transfers and food extra.
Visit the incredible Puy du Fou theme park when staying in Vendée, north-west France
Forget the 21st century and journey back through time when visiting the phenomenal (and slightly bizarre) Puy du Fou rural theme park. What started as an open-air dramatics night in 1978, when volunteers re-enacted the history of the Vendée, has turned into the second most visited theme park in France, after Disneyland Paris. Puy du Fou is known for its spectacular extravaganza shows, when thousands of actors and animals recreate high drama, from Roman gladiators to King Arthur, with mind-blowing special effects. Just south of Brittany, Vendée offers 250 km of coastline, dense pine forests and mostly flat terrain. Because of its position in west-central France, it’s easy to reach: Vendee is less than 90 minutes’ drive from Nantes Atlantique Airport. All of Summer France’s residences (six in total) are situated nearby Puy du Fou, and most are located close to the beach and have access to either a shared, or private, pool. Sleeping four to eight, Le Domaine de Vertmarines offers guests easy access to the shops, bars and restaurants of Saint Jean de Monts and the sweeping shores. Alternatively, Les Mas de Saint Hilaire (sleeping four to six people) can be found in a quiet area near Saint Jean de Mont. A week’s stay, at Le Domaine de Vertmarines, from 26 August, costs from £125 pp (£750 total) for a three-bedroom villa sleeping up to six. A week’s stay, at Les Mas de Saint Hilaire, from 26 August, costs from £80 pp (£479 total) for a two-bedroom plus mezzanine cottage sleeping up to six. Accommodation only, return flights, transfers and food extra.
Discover the magic of glass blowing in Val Joly, northern France
Located just a few hours from both Lille and Brussels, and home to the largest lake in Northern France, Val Joly is renowned for its numerous water sports, however, it’s known for its glass blowing too. Take a lesson in glass blowing at the village craft centre and learn all about the techniques, from the cutting, cooking and colouring, to creating the final product. In less than two hours, visitors can produce their own creations, from sketching out on idea to designing the glass structure. (Reservations can be made by calling +33 (0)682284178 and costs vary depending on the size and style of the object.) Don’t leave Val Joly without stopping at the Trélon Museum. Situated in a 20th century glass blowing factory, which has been conserved and restored, learn about glass blowing through the ages and finish the tour with a breath-taking demonstration of the art. (For opening times and information, call +33 (0)327606611.) Stay at Summer France’s Les Cottages de Valjoly (sleeping up to eight guests), which resides on the banks of the Lac du Val-Joly in the heart of the Avesnois National Park, five minutes’ drive from the centre of the town. Make the most of the numerous activities, from canoeing and sailing to horse riding and archery. A week’s stay, at Les Cottages de Valjoly, from 26 August, costs from £44.50 pp (£312 total) for a two-bedroom cottage sleeping up to seven. Accommodation only, return flights, transfers and food extra.
Sign up for a wine-tasting session at Le Château de Candie in Chambéry, south-east France Settle down and enjoy a wine tasting and relaxed wine lesson with Frederic Claude, currently a finalist in the French ‘Sommelier’ Meilleur Ouvrier de France annual awards and private sommelier to Michel Roux, owner and famed chef at the Waterside Inn in Bray (3 Michelin Stars), all at the luxurious four-star Château de Candie. Sip a selection of local wines, including the Château de Candie’s own wine, a light and refreshing Viognier Savoie Vignoble Perrier, plus sample the rich red Mondeuse Elisa 2016 Savoie Vignoble JF Quenard and Pinot Noir, amongst others. Located approximately three miles from the centre of Chambéry, the luxury four-star Le Château de Candie blends past and present seamlessly to create a memorable stay. Guests can admire the beautiful architecture, enjoy the exceptional views across the valley and make the most of the outdoor pool. As well as the spacious apartments (25 in total, accommodating up to four people) with soft sofas, walk-in showers, claw-footed baths and tall windows, Le Château de Candie has an opulent tower suite, ideal for couples after a quixotic retreat. A week’s stay, from 16 September, at Le Château de Candie, costs from £625 pp (two sharing) in a superior room. Breakfast, and other meals not included. Return flights and transfers extra.