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Exciting Embrun

Post by Sharat | February 21, 2018 | See France Destination Guides | Comment
Exciting Embrun

Embrun is located about 30 kilometres away from Gap in France’s Provence region. The town sits on a cliff just above the river Durance and underneath Mont Guillame. This means Embrun is in a very attractive location which unfortunately has meant some parts of the town and the countryside which surrounds it have been over-developed. Despite that fact, much of the historical centre of the town has been retained and there are some tourist attractions that are well worth seeing. If you are thinking about visiting Provence for a holiday then you may want to think about checking out Embrun whilst you are there.

Exploring Embrun

You should begin your visit to the old town centre, more specifically, around Place Barthelon which serves as the location of the town hall and some lovely cafes. You should take a stroll through the streets many of which have been pedestrianised. What you will find is that Embrun is quite a typical Provencal town. There are lots of cafes and shops, plus plenty of interesting buildings painted in wonderful colours and there are a wide variety of architectural highlights including some beautiful little squares which contain some decorative old fountains.

The cathedral

Embrun does have some historical monuments and the most important of which are the Cathedral Notre Dame du Réal and the streets that surround it. The cathedral was built in Lombardy style and is particularly impressive thanks to its uniquely decorated façade featuring a large central rose window. Make sure you go inside to see the fabulous organs and the treasury. The walls inside also feature some lovely patterns as well.

Stroll along the river

Adjacent to the cathedral is a 13th century square donjon that used to be part of Embrun’s defensive structure. Other interesting attractions in this town include the Archbishop’s garden and the chance to take a lovely stroll to a vantage point across the river. You should also be sure to visit the Maison des Chanonges which was also built during the 13th century and has an understated beauty and features a wonderful decoration of a lion feasting on a goat (don’t worry it’s not gory).

The Maison

The building has some beautiful arched windows and a doorway which were revealed following extensive renovations. You should take a look at a photo of the building prior to its renovations which hangs on the wall and you will be amazed by the fact that such a wonderful looking building now looks so ordinary.

Embrun, by Office de Tourisme Embrun on Flickr

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Dynamic Draguignan

Post by Sharat | February 14, 2018 | See France Destination Guides | Comment
Dynamic Draguignan

Draguignan is a major conurbation in Provence. Whilst this town is not a traditionally important destination for tourists visiting Provence, over the last few years there have been improvements made to the town centre and it has become an increasingly popular destination. The town is also attractive because it has one of the region’s largest shopping centres, so if you are visiting this part of France on holiday, you may want to think about checking it out.

Exploring Draguignan

Much of Draguignan’s historical old town was demolished in order to make way for broad tree-lined boulevards during the 19th century that now completely surround the old town. These wide avenues are a significant contrast to the old town which consists of a warren of narrow streets that open on to squares with the pre-requisite traditional fountain and some interesting looking houses. In fact, if you like medieval architecture then some of the best-preserved houses from that age can be found on the Rue de la Juiverie.

History and culture

The clocktower that was built during the 17th century is a particular highlight of the town. It is a square tower that sits on a raised rocky piece of land right above the town. Draguignan also features a beautiful public garden as well as a war memorial and cemetery for American servicemen killed during the Second World War landings off the coast of Provence in 1944. There are also a couple of museums in town that are worth visiting. You should check out the Museum of Provencal Traditions which presents a detailed history of agriculture in the region. You should also pay a visit to the Municipal Museum which displays artefacts representing the town’s history at various points in time. If you do intend to visit, do it either on a Wednesday or a Saturday because those are the town’s weekly market days.

Attractions nearby

On the outskirts of Draguignan is a site called the Fairy Stone which is a large prehistoric dolmen. It is extremely impressive and consists of a giant slab of stone that sits two metres above ground, supported by three enormous rocks. Draguignan is relatively isolated in comparison to some of the more visited towns and cities of the Var department which is why it doesn’t attract more tourists. There are a number of other small towns and villages that are close by such as Les-Arcs-sur-Argens andFlayosc that to this day continue to exhibit the traditional character of old Provence that are well worth visiting.

toitures, centre-ville (DRAGUIGNAN,FR83) by Jean-louis Zimmermann, on Flickr

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Guide To Digne-les-Bains

Post by Sharat | February 7, 2018 | See France Destination Guides | Comment
Guide To Digne-les-Bains

Digne-les-Bains is a town in Provence located below the Cousson mountain on the banks of the river Bléone. It sits in a region filled with thermal springs in the South-East of France. The town likes people to refer to it as the lavender capital because this variety of flower is grown across large parts of the surrounding countryside. The town used to simply be called Digne until 1988 and many people still use that name. The name was expanded because of the town’s connection to thermal baths and spas.

Explore Digne-les-Bains

Digne is an important regional town and this obviously means there are plenty of shops and a wide range of facilities. In the centre of the town which dates back to medieval times you will find most of the attractions worth visiting. The most important tourist attraction in Digne is the Cathedral of Notre-Dame-du-Bourg which was built in a Roman style and was constructed between the 11th to 13th centuries. The Cathedral Saint-Jerome is a more recent building that has a gothic style and dates back to between the 15th to 16th centuries though it did undergo a facelift during the 19th century.

A place to relax

You should also be sure to check out what remains of the city’s original fortifications as well as several sculptures that were added during the 20th century to beautify the town. The thermal spas are the main attraction however and people have been visiting them since Roman times. The spas offer a wide range of treatments for visitors who wish to be pampered and there are also plenty of alternative leisure activities which makes Digne the ideal destination if you are someone who is seeking to relax and chill.

Nearby attractions

One unusual attraction located quite close to Digne is a bed of fossilised ammonites that rewind history as far back as 200 million years ago and covers an area of approximately 350 square metres. You will find it towards the North of town and it is estimated that there are more than 1500 fossils locates on the site, measuring up to 70cm in diameter. If palaeontology is not your thing you can visit the Musée de la RéserveNaturelleGéologique de Haute-Provence instead. This attraction is known for its extensive butterfly gardens which are extremely beautiful.

Hiking and cycling

If you like that sort of thing then be sure to also check out the Botanic Garden of Cordeliers which is housed in a medieval convent. The surrounding countryside is also quite beautiful, filled with valleys and mountains and streams, not to mention the famous lavender fields. You will have plenty of hiking and cycling options to choose from so make sure you check it out if you do decide to pay a visit to Digne-les-Bains.

Digne _34 by ADT 04, on Flickr

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Dramatic Dentelles de Montmirail

Post by Sharat | January 28, 2018 | See France Destination Guides | Comment
Dramatic Dentelles de Montmirail

The Dentelles de Montmirail is a mountain range located in Provence. They can be seen from quite a distance away and you will immediately notice their distinctive jagged outline that dramatically emerge from Cotes du Rhone. When you get up close to the Dentelles, their appearance becomes even more dramatic thanks to the sheer cliffs that are 100 metres high the deliver a landscape that is truly inspiring.

Visiting the Dentelles

The best thing about the Dentelles de Montmirail region is its scenery and the range of outdoor activities it has to offer. If you visit but choose to stay in your car, you will most certainly be missing out. The Dentelles de Montmirail also has a number of villages that are close by that are well worth exploring as you pass them by. This mountain range easily offers some of the most spectacular scenery in all of France and it is best visited on foot. There are plenty of hiking opportunities throughout the region, and there are several well-trodden paths that will help you explore the area. You can choose from short trails below the peaks or if you happen to be the adventurous kind you can opt for the ambitious granderandonnée that traverses the range.

Suggested walks

The most popular hike is one that provides a wonderful introduction to the region and ends at the summit of Mont Saint-Amand. Don’t be put off by the word summit because the peak is in actual fact just 725 metres above sea-level and you start your journey at about 300 metres above sea level so the hike is not that intense. The path is fully sign-posted right from parking and the round trip will take you about 4 hours. There is another walk that starts from the same place and also features spectacular scenery but is significantly more challenging.

Other activities

Other popular activities for those who are not for the faint of heart include rock climbing along the dramatic cliffs and if you prefer something less adrenaline intensive you could go mountain biking instead. The Cotes du Rhone region is full of vineyards and there are some fantastic wines produced here. You should pay a visit to the village of Gigondas which has the best-known wines in the region, but there are also plenty of other villages that produce very reputable wines as well.

Dentelles de Montmirail, on Flickr

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Pretty Cucuron

Post by Sharat | January 21, 2018 | See France Destination Guides | Comment
Pretty Cucuron

Cucuron is a small village that is extremely attractive and located in Provence. The village sits against a backdrop of exceptional scenery just below what is left of a castle that was built during the 14th century. Between the 15th and 17th centuries Curacon had a population of 3,000 and was very busy, however with the outbreak of the plague in 1720, more than 1,000 villagers died causing irreparable damage to the village’s economy from which it never fully recovered.

Exploring Cucuron

There are three gateways that serve as entrances to the village and when you visit you will pass through one of them. They were meant to serve as fortifications for the old town and along with the castle, they dominate the layout of Cucuron. Though the towers are not particular impressive, they are very interesting and offer some fabulous views of the village and its surrounding countryside. It is best to start your visit at one of the towers and finish at the other, taking the whole village in along your journey.

The village centre

The village centre is in Place Maurice Taron which lies smack bang in between both towers. The village houses are quite lovely and there are some extremely interesting buildings such as the Hotel Bérard de Roure, the Maison des Consulsand the Maison de la Reine Jeanne. Other tourist attractions in the village include its clock tower and the Church of Notre-Dame-de-Beaulieu which dates back to the 13th century. There are also a number of traditional stone fountains and wash-houses that you will see as you explore the centre of town.

Visit the pond and the museum

If you head towards the Northern part of the village and go past its fortifications you will find a man-made pond that was built during the 19th century to serve as a replacement to a natural pond that used to occupy the same location. The pond is surrounded by cafés and shady trees and it is actually the liveliest part of town. If you need a reminder that there has been a settlement at Cucuron since prehistoric times visit the Museum Marc-Deydier which sits in a very beautiful townhouse that dates back to the 18th century. There you will be to see some artefacts that date back from Roman and Neolithic times. If you are visiting Provence take the time out to pay a visit to Cucuron.

l’Étang à Cucuron By Salva Barbera, on Flickr

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Save Up To 20% On Hotel And Park Tickets With Disneyland Paris – Offer Ends 05-02-2018

Post by Sharat | January 17, 2018 | Travel Deals | Comment

Disneyland Paris has a fantastic offer right now, you could visit and receive as much as 20% off on hotel and Park tickets plus a free half board meal plan . All you need to do is book your visit on or before 5th February 2018 and this deal could be yours for travel between 15th January and 20th March 2018.

How To Get This Deal

Included in the package is:

Guests will also benefit from:

> > Click here to book with Disneyland Paris

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The Attractive Village Of Colmars-les-Alpes

Post by Sharat | January 14, 2018 | See France Destination Guides | Comment
The Attractive Village OfColmars-les-Alpes

Colmars (also known as Colmars-les-Alpes) is a small mountain village that is extraordinary because it sits in a picturesque setting in a valley between the mountains. Colmars location has been historically strategic, particularly between the 14th and 17th century. You can tell this is the case because of the two fortified walls that surround the old town and the two forts that were built to stand on either side of Colmars-les-Alpes.

Struggle for control

This means you should pay a visit to Fort Saint-Martin which is located just above the Northern side of the village protecting it from potential attack on that front. On the Southern front the town was protected by Fort du Calvaire. The two forts are actually relics from a period in time when France and the Dukes of Savoy were both seeking to establish control of the region, a struggle which lasted until the 17th century. During the 14th century the French controlled Colmars whilst other villages that were nearby such as Allos and Barcelonnette were effectively under the control of the Savoy Dukes.

Attractive village

When you enter the village of Colmars you will do so through either own of the two gateways that pass through the fortified walls. The Porte de France and Porte de Savoie are the names of the two gateways and once you enter you should visit the extremely attractive but small village centre. You will really enjoy yourself as you wander along the village’s narrow streets. Much of the village was actually destroyed by fire back in 1672 so what you see today dates back from after that.

Colmars les Alpes (10) by ADT 04, on Flickr

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Charming Chateauneuf-du-Pape

Post by Sharat | January 7, 2018 | See France Destination Guides | Comment
Charming Chateauneuf-du-Pape

Chateauneuf-du-Pape is a small village that is located in between Avignon and Orange in Provence. The village has a reputation for producing some fabulous wines and it is also very charming so if you have time try and check it out. The village itself is quite small so this means it is very easy to explore. At the bottom of the village lies the main square from where the road up to the ruins of the castle leads.

The fountain

When you visit, your first stop should be at the old fountain located in the main square that is aptly named Grande Fontaine. There are four carved nymphs that are positioned to be permanently looking into the water. The fountain itself serves an important function, acting as the village’s main source of water since the 17th century. The fountain draws water from a spring that is located a few kilometres away and there have been years when the fountain dried up, forcing villagers to visit the spring much further down the hill and if that too was dry, then they had on occasion to get their water from the Rhone river.

Climb the hill

You should climb the hill where you will pass by a number of fascinating houses that have been constructed from stone. As you climb you should follow the cobbled streets and drop in at one of the several cafes and restaurants along away. The most interesting tourist attraction is the Town Hall which is an imposing building that was constructed with a round clock tower on its side. During the 19th century the buildings ground floor functioned as a school and on some occasions, was even used as a small prison!

The castle

When you get to the top of the hills you will approach a castle that is also an imposing structure that was built by Pope John XXII when the Popes were forced into exile and had to live in Avignon at the start of the 14th century. When you get to the castle you will find it is not as intimidating as you would expect. The main wall is virtually the only thing that remains of the building after it was destroyed in the 16th century during the Wars of Religion.It is still really worth making the effort to visit the castle because its ruins are extremely evocative.

Try the wine

As you would expect, from the location of the ruins which sit at the top of the hill, there are some spectacular views across Avignon, the Rhone and surrounding vineyards. There are also a number of shops where you can taste and purchase some of the wines that are made in the region. There are approximately 350 different wines that are permitted to use the appellation Chateauneuf-du-Pape. You can even visit the Museum of Wine which provides a thorough explanation of the history of local vineyards beginning with their planting by the very Pope who built the castle. All in all, this is a charming little village that is well worth the visit.

Châteauneuf-du-Pape by Robert Lihou, on Flickr

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Free £15 Fuel Voucher From P&O Ferries On Long Breaks To France – Offer Ends 31-01-2018

Post by Sharat | January 7, 2018 | Travel Deals | Comment
P&O Ferries

P&O Ferries is running a great offer right now if you book a long break to France of five days or more, you will be entitled to redeem a £15 voucher for fuel from P&O Ferries. All you need to do is book a trip by 31st January 2018 and travel any time between 16th April 2018 to 15th December 2018. Simply enter coupon code SSFUEL18 at checkout and this deal could be yours. Hurry, this offer is for a limited time only, so book a trip with P&O Ferries today.

How To Get This Deal

> > Click here to see latest deals

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Get Free Flexi Upgrade Worth Up To £20 From P&O Ferries – Offer Ends 31-01-2018

Post by Sharat | January 7, 2018 | Travel Deals | Comment
P&O Ferries

P&O Ferries has a great offer right now. If you book a long stay trip of 5 days or more by 31st January 2018 and enter voucher code SSFLEXI18 at the checkout you will receive up to £20 Flexi upgrade on your ticket . If this deal sounds too good its because it is. You must book to travel between 16th April 2018 to 15th December 2018. So hurry and head over to the P&O Site today.

How To Get This Deal

> > Click here to see latest deals

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