France Holidays: An Overview

It can be difficult for Brits to sing the praises of our great rivals across the Channel, but there's little argument that France is essentially the perfect destination for a luxury holiday - a fact borne out by the statistics that the country is the most visited on Earth.

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Harriet, Kate and Lucy are here to help give you the inside track.

Why we think you’ll love it

  • Sample some of La Vie en Rose - or should that be rosé - in Provence. Wonderful climate, legendary food and lazy days spent enjoying both together with some local pink wine are one of the world's absolute best combinations
  • Lyon - a fascinating and much underrated city. France's capital of gastronomy (step aside Paris!) is choc-a-block with great bistrots, brasseries and high end gastro-temples to choose from
  • The Côte d'Azur - legendary sweep of achingly beautiful and glamorous coastline. Ogle the world's blingiest super yachts, gasp at the price of a demi-pression in St Tropez and then retire to some of the world's most impressive historical hotels to enjoy those rather special views

Luxury Holidays to France: The Details

Those lucky Gallic types have got it all, from Western Europe's highest peak and other spectacular mountains to a sublime Mediterranean coastline, the incomparable Paris and food and wine to take on any nations' and win hands down. We could go on, but it's too painful.

Oh, alright then. We'll start with Paris, l'épicentre of all things French. Until recently we thought twice about featuring a city so familiar to so many, but Paris might be the perfect victim of this era of social media-led information overload. So many boutique hotels to choose from, so many delicious bistros to sample, so many opinions on both. As a result, we are starting to work with a select few hotels that we think are best in show (or at least best in arrondisement) and we'd like to think our dossier of places to eat and drink in the city is so up to speed that a weekend in the City of Lights should be the perfect Big Short Break.

Did you know

  • More tourists visit France than any other country in the world
  • Paris was originally a Roman city called 'Lutetia'
  • France produces over 400 types of cheese
  • There are more than 40,000 chateaux in France
  • There is only one 'stop' sign in the entire capital city of Paris
  • French toast isn't actually French; Joseph French advertised the toast but forgot to add the apostrophe

If you're looking to take your French foray further afield, there's some place called the Cote D'Azur that allegedly has some nice places to stay and rather attractive coastal scenery. You may have heard of it. The wider region of Provence with its trademark lavender fields and honey-coloured stone villages really does come close to God's own country. Despite what Yorkshiremen might have to say on the subject.

Over in the Alps, bon skiveurs will know all about the classic French ski resorts of the Trois Vallées, but Chamonix and Val d'Isère certainly give the holy trinity a red run for their money.

Heading west, the gastronomic heartland of France is not Paris, but the lovely city of Lyon with its ancient city centre, complete with mysterious traboules, secret passages dating back to the Middle Ages. Lyon is also the perfect place from which to strike out on your luxury holiday and explore the legendary wine regions of Burgundy and the Rhone Valley.

On the subject of wine, no lover of the grape could ever get bored with Bordeaux. The city itself is worth a look, built as it is on the profits of the sale of its most favourite export, but the wider wine region is just a very special place with the idyllic town of St Emilion a particular favourite.

Last but by no means least is a French island with Italian influences, which surely must rate as the most unbeatable of luxury holiday combinations. Corsica, the island in question, lacks for direct flights from the UK at present, but in combination with Paris or when reached by speedy hydrofoil from the Cote D'Azur it's a gem.

More on Luxury Holidays to France...

To wrap up, and if you hadn't guessed by now, we at Original Travel are completely smitten by all things French (OK, maybe other than the strikes and Parisian doggie doo-doos), and have spent a cumulative total of several years eating, drinking, skiing and sunning our way around the country in order to bring you the best that la belle France has to offer for your luxury holiday.


Top picks for France

L'Hotel

L'Hotel

Paris

L’Hotel is a charming boutique bolthole located in the arty left bank of Paris. Being Oscar Wilde’s last humble abode has done wonders for the hotel’s marketing team and made the hotel quite the Parisian society highlight.

Where to stay

Chalet Zannier

Chalet Zannier

Megeve

Chalet Zannier is a thoroughly sophisticated boutique bolthole in the charming Alpine village of Megeve, just over an hour from Geneva.

Where to stay

Hillside town

Bordeaux & The Dordogne

France

Vineyard visits, spectacular chateaux, wine tasting and luxury accommodation; what more could a person want?

Where to go

Exterior of L'Helios, France

L'Helios

The Three Valleys

L'Hélios is a boutique hotel in the heart of the Three Valleys and its ski in/ski out location makes it the perfect base from which to explore the world's most extensive ski area.

Where to stay

Lavender Fields

Provence & the Cote D'Azur

France

Brigitte Bardot first popularised the bikini on the beaches of the Cote d'Azur, and close by but a world away, Van Gogh and Cézanne drew inspiration from the landscapes of Provence inland.

Where to go

The Haute Route

The Haute Route

Chamonix

The most rewarding way to explore the Mont-Blanc massif is by ski-mountaineering, an exhilarating combination of ascent right into the heart of the Alps, followed by a liberating descent in totally untouched powder.

What to do

Aman le Melezin exterior

Aman Le Mélézin

The Three Valleys

Aman Le Mélézin stands on the magnificent Bellecôte piste in Courchevel 1850, at the heart of Les Trois Vallées. Europe’s highest-altitude resort, Les Trois Vallées encompasses the impressive pistes of Courchevel, Méribel and Val Thorens.

Where to stay

Wine Tour in Bordeaux & the Dordogne

Wine Tour in Bordeaux & the Dordogne

Bordeaux & The Dordogne

If there’s one thing that can’t be missed while visiting the beautiful Bordeaux & Dordogne area, it's – you guessed it - the wine it's famous for. Bordeaux wine is a synonym to quality for sommeliers and the Dordogne hosts some of the world’s most famous vineyards, a must for vino-philiacs who want to experience true variety and authenticity.

What to do

Windmill in yellow fields

Lyon, Burgundy & the Rhone Valley

France

Explore the gastronomic heartland of France from France's second city of Lyon to the winelands of Burgundy.

Where to go

Terre Blanche

Terre Blanche

Provence & the Cote D'Azur

Located in the heart of the Cote D’Azur, Terre Blanche fits in perfectly with the glitz and glamour associated with this corner of France. The hotel is just forty-five minutes away from Nice Cote D’Azur International Airport, making it the ideal base from which to explore the best of what the South of France has to offer.

Where to stay

Le Bristol

Le Bristol

Paris

A grande dame city needs a grande dame hotel or two, and they don’t come much grander than Le Bristol.

Where to stay

Sunset at Corsica

Corsica

France

Take two of our favourite countries – France and Italy – blend their cultures (and particularly cuisines), plonk the resulting Franco-Italian population onto a staggeringly beautiful island in the Mediterranean and hey presto, you have Corsica.

Where to go

La Reserve Ramatuelle

La Reserve Ramatuelle

France

Nestled into the green lands of the commune 'Ramatuelle' the La Reserve Hotel, Spa and Villas provide a welcome break from the glitz and glam of Saint- Tropez yet still keeping in touch with the suave essence that the Province and Cote D’Azur has to offer. The hotels architecture has been redone by the esteemed Jean-Michel Wilmotte and now offers a contemporary space overlooking the clear blue waters of the Mediterranean.

Where to stay

L'Apogee Courchevel evening view

L’Apogée Courchevel

The Three Valleys

Escape to the Alpine retreat of L’Apogée Courchevel in the Three Valleys, positioned at the highest point of Le Jardin Alpin and surrounded by picturesque woodlands. Set in the renowned Courchevel 1850 resort and above the former Olympic ski jump, L’Apogée offers sweeping views of the snow covered valley below.

Where to stay

Le Louvre

Paris

France

The City of Light? the City of Love? Certainly one of the world's greatest cities.

Where to go

Hotel Keppler

Hotel Keppler

Paris

Hotel Keppler is an au courant ‘new art’ luxury boutique hotel in Paris, a stone’s throw from shopping haven the Champs Elysees but also a welcome haven from the hustle and bustle of the city.

Where to stay

Powder_skier_up_close_Megeve_Tourisme_Daniel_Durand

Megeve

France

Megeve is a medieval marvel and one of the easiest resorts to reach in the whole Alps. Oh, and the skiing is pretty decent too.

Where to go

Cycle Provence and the Cote D'Azur

Cycle Provence and the Cote D'Azur

Provence & the Cote D'Azur

What better way to enjoy the Mediterranean climate of the stunning French Riviera and Provence than by cycling through its picturesque landscapes and historic villages. The region has something to offer for every type of cyclist, whether you prefer to take casual day trips or hit the more challenging routes.

What to do

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