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Guide To La Ciotat

Post by Sharat | August 14, 2018 | See France Destination Guides | Comment
Guide ToLa Ciotat

La Ciotatis located in Provence and sits on the coast in between Marseille and Cassis. Thanks to its location there is some lovely coastal scenery to enjoy plus there is easy access to the beaches. La Ciotat itself serves as a fishing port complete with attractive harbour that is filled with pleasure crafts. The easiest place to park if you visit is at the large car park next to the ocean on the Western side of the port. From there it is a short walk to the tourist office where you can begin your exploration.

Exploring La Ciotat

You should make sure you visit the Church of Notre-Dame which was built in Roman style during the 17th century and continues to dominate the western harbour. The church was renovated during the 70’s and there are several frescoes painted during the renovation by Gilbert Ganteaume that are simply beautiful. You should then head to the old town where there are some very impressive houses that are at least four centuries old that you can admire plus a shady open square where you can sit and relax.

Parks and gardens

There are a number of parks and garden all of which are worth visiting. Some of the gardens are located in town.The the one you should definitely make room on your itinerary for is the Parc du Mugel which is a 12 hectare botanical garden. There is a huge variety of flora in this garden and it sits in a lovely setting, on a peninsula which gives you some lovely views across the Calanque du Muguel.

The beaches

If you want to spend some time at the seaside then the Plage de La Ciotat is where you should visit with its six kilometres of beaches but it requires a little bit of travel from the town centre. On the Eastern side of the port you will find the Gulf d’Amour which is where most of the sandy beaches are located. If you don’t want to trek very far head to the Plage des Capucins. If you are non-smoker then the beach to head to is the Plage Lumiere where smoking is prohibited which is unusual for France. If you are adventurous then continue further North-East where you will find some lovely smaller beaches.

Port de La Ciotat By Gerard Colombat, on Flickr

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Lovely La Brigue

Post by Sharat | August 7, 2018 | See France Destination Guides | Comment
Lovely La Brigue

La Brigue is a lovely little village that sits in an extremely beautiful riverside setting in between Tende and Menton. The village was originally part of Italy but was made officially part of France as a result of the Treaty of Paris in 1947. Very few people are aware of this gem because it is usually little more than a footnote in most travel guides, nevertheless the village of La Brigue is very picturesque thanks to its steep rocky hills on either side of the village. There are also a number of important historical sites that are well worth visiting so if you are in the region you should stop off for a visit.

Start on the bridge

You should start your tour of La Brigue on the bridge across the river in the very heart of the village. There are some lovely views to be had of the houses that dot the river banks and the river valley itself. At one end of the bridge you will find a small square where there is a chapel, church and a statue. The most important attraction here is the Church of Saint-Michel built during the 14th century. The church was constructed in Roman style with a baroque façade and given that La Brigue is so small it is much larger than one might expect.

Check out the frescoes

If you venture beyond the square you will eventually reach the older parts of the village where you will find some very attractive houses and a square that is adjacent to the river featuring arcaded buildings. Above the village lies the ruins of Chateau Lascaris which is well worth visiting. You should follow the road leading East out La Brigue and after a short while you will arrive as a small chapel nestled in the woods called Notre-Dame des Fontaines. The chapel sits in a peaceful setting and features a very simple design that is very unassuming. Upon entry however you will discover a very impressive set of frescoes painted by a 15th century artist named Canavesio.

Attractions nearby

While you can easily drive from La Brigue to Notre-Dame des Fontaines, it is highly recommended that you follow the path between the two instead. This is because by doing so you will better appreciate the location and countryside. If you follow the river upstream you come across a medieval bridge and a number of oratories on your way. The route is known as Chemin des Oratories and your walk will take a couple of hours to get there and back.

44320011 by Helen Morgan, on Flickr

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Save Up To 20% On Ferries To France With DFDS Disk Till Dawn Offer – Offer Ends 13-08-2018

Post by Sharat | August 3, 2018 | Travel Deals | Comment

DFDS is running a fantastic Dusk till Dawn offer. You could save as much as 20% on your ferries to France . All you need to do to take advantage of this deal is book a trip between Dover to Calais for a night sail between 10pm and 6am on or before 13th August 2018.  You can travel any time between now and 13th December 2018 excluding selected dates.

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Visit L’Isle-sur-la-Sorgue

Post by Sharat | July 28, 2018 | See France Destination Guides | Comment
Visit L'Isle-sur-la-Sorgue

L’Isle-sur-la-Sorgue is an extremely pleasant place to visit sitting on the banks of the RiverSorgue. The main centre in town is completely surrounded by both parts of the Sorgue River. Whilst it is tempting to stroll along the river it is recommended that you begin your visit in the town centre at the Tourist Office in Place de la Liberte. There are plenty of waterwheels dotted around town which are the main feature you will notice on your visit and the best way to see the most interesting ones is to use the route suggested by the Tourist Office.

The church

When you are in the town centre, pay a visit the church of Notre-Dame-des-Anges which is a wonderful example of baroque architecture and is arguably the most impressive in Provence both inside and out. Whilst you are at the Place de la Liberte you will see an ancient stone tower which were once part of the town’s defences. The main attraction however is without question the areas along the river where there are some lovely views and plenty of cafes to sit at.

The park

If you plan on bringing the kids along with you to L’Isle-sur-la-Sorgue, then make sure you visit the Parc Gautier which is a large park that surrounds a 19th century villa and is the perfect spot for a picnic because of its children’s play area. The town also has a reputation as being a centre for antiques and many collectors visit at the weekends. Sunday morning is a great time to be there because there is a weekly market that is a pleasure to stroll around.

Attractions nearby

Not far away, to the East of L’Isle-sur-la-Sorgue you will find Fontaine-de-Vaucluse which is a village where you can take a lovely walk all the way up to the source of River Sorgue. If you head past that you will find yourself at Gordes which is one of the most visited French villages. If you head North from L’Isle-sur-la-Sorgue you will reach the small town of Pernes-les-Fontaines which doesn’t attract a huge number of visitors but is extremely pleasant and well worth exploring.

2010-08-14, on Flickr

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Explore L’Argentière-la-Bessée

Post by Sharat | July 21, 2018 | See France Destination Guides | Comment

During the latter stages of the 19th century this town had an extremely busy centre thanks to the silver mines that are located in this part of France. The Romans were the first to start mining for silver in this location and the practice continued right until the beginning of the 20th century. There was a brief resurgence in mining due to the discovery of aluminium, but by 1910 all activity ceased.

Visit the museum

It is only in the last few years that the mines have once again opened their doors, this time serving as a tourist attraction. It is possible to visit the mines and see all the tools and techniques that were used to extract silver in the museum. This is an extremely popular attraction with the tourists, and if you do intend to visit, you should allow at least hours for the completion of the tour.

Other attractions

Within the town itself, you should pay a visit to the Church of Saint-Apollinaire which was constructed during the 16th century and sits on the banks of the River Durance. The church is another popular attraction in large part due to its very attractive frescoes which also date back to the 16th century. The other attraction you should take the time to visit is the Chapel Saint-Jean which was built during the 12th century and sits in a very pretty hillside setting and on the site of a much older church that was demolished. You will also get a good sense of the traditional old buildings and farmhouse that surround the village.

Activities in the region

At winter time,Argentiereturns into a ski resort, but if you wish to visit at any other time of year then feel free to do so because it alsoserves as a gateway to the Ecrins National Park. The park is a wonderful holiday destination for the whole family because there are plenty of opportunities for hiking, canoeing, rock-climbing and outdoor sports in the mountains. If you are planning to visit Provence, then you should certainly make sure you pay a visit here.

2012-08-04 by Guillame Baviere, on Flickr

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Jammin Juan-les-Pins

Post by Sharat | July 14, 2018 | See France Destination Guides | Comment
Jammin Juan-les-Pins

Juan-les-Pins sits on the French Riviera right next to Antibes and both resorts are often combined and called Antibes-Juan-les-Pins. Juan-les-Pins itself only became famous during the early 20th century because many celebrities such as Ernest Hemingway and Charlie Chaplin used to visit. Its popularity has continued since those early days and during the summer it is an extremely lively summer resort complete with beaches and ocean during the day giving way to a nightlife filled with casinos, clubs and bars.

Beaches at Juan-les-Pins

Whilst the more historically inclined may prefer to visit Antibes instead, if you are a beach goer then Juan-les-Pins is the better choice. Check out the Plage de Gallice and Plage Epi Hollywood, both of which are small beaches located in the heart of town. They are extremely popular however large sections are private and off limits to the general public. If you want a longer beach head west where the main beach is located. There are plenty of restaurants to choose from on the beach in the centre of Juan-les-Pins and it is possible to obtain hotel accommodation very nearby.

Jazz festival of Antibes-Juan-les-Pins

The beaches in these resort towns serve as host to a jazz festival that spans ten days during the middle of July every year. This festival has been an annual event for the last half century and is the second most important jazz event in the world on the calendar. Over the decades it has attracted all the jazz greats ranging from Louis Armstrong, Count Basie, Duke Ellington, John Coltrane and Sonny Rollins. If you are a jazz fan then you will love the fact that some of these jazz greats have had their handprints preserved for posterity near the stage area. The festival continues to attract jazz legends to this day so if you are planning to visit, you could time your trip to coincide with the festival because it is a great time to visit.

juan les pins by mauro, on Flickr

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Beautiful Hyeres

Post by Sharat | July 7, 2018 | See France Destination Guides | Comment
Beautiful Hyeres

Hyeres is a beautiful French Riviera town in a prime location with plenty of beaches and some lovely Mediterranean countryside nearby just waiting to be explored. Hyeres became popular with the rich and powerful towards the end of the 19th century largely because of its palm tree industry. As a result, many of the houses you will see in Hyeres were built during this period. You will also see plenty of palm trees that serve as a reminder of its heritage and an industry that remains important to this day. If you are thinking about visiting here is a guide.

Exploring Hyeres

Hyeres is not a small town and its centre is rather interesting. There is an older section complete with medieval houses and narrow streets and there is a newer section that is more modern with wider roads and plenty of shopping. There are a number of huge villas dating back to the 19th century that were built when the town started to develop a reputation as a beach resort. Make sure you allocate enough time to explore the town fully, you won’t regret it.

Visit the tourist office

You should start your visit at the Tourist Office which lies a little to the East of the centre of town. There you will get a map that highlights two separate walks, one which explores the Old Town and the other, 19th century Hyeres. You should probably start of with the old town first because it requires the most effort to explore. Visit the Place Massillon which lies at the heart of the old town and is surrounded by colourful houses and cafes.

Check our the castle ruins

Sitting on a hill overlooking the town are the ruins of the 11th century Castle of Hyeres which you can visit. The castle itself was reinforced and expanded two centuries after construction and was ultimately destroyed at the end of the 16th century. There are some great views to be had from here so do make sure you visit. Upon your return to town you should visit the Villa Noailles that was designed in the 1920’s by acclaimed architect Robert Mallet Stevens and is one of the first modernist houses ever built in France.

Hang at the beaches

Hyeres itself is not located exactly on the coast, nevertheless there are still plenty of fine beaches very close by. The main beach is the Plage de l’Almanarre to the south of the town on the Presqu’ile de Giens. The climate is a little windy thanks to strong winds that originate offshore as well as those that blow from the North. Which beach you decide to visit will really depend on which set of winds you want protection from the most. You have a range of beaches dotted around the peninsula which means you have the option of facing either East or West.

Street view – Hyères by Ronald van der Graaf, France, on Flickr

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Guide To Grimaud

Post by Sharat | June 28, 2018 | See France Destination Guides | Comment
Guide To Grimaud

Grimaud is a village in Provence that is not far away from Saint-Tropez. Its history dates back to the Roman era because it occupies a strategic position that allowed its castle to dominate the entire area right until the 17th century. In fact, it was so important that the Gulf of Saint-Tropez was known as the Gulf of Grimaud until the end of the 19th century. If you visit this sleepy village today, you will probably find that all rather hard to believe.

Exploring Grimaud

There are a number of parking locations around Grimaud some of which are free, others require payment. If you want convenience, then park on the main road of the village, right next to the tourist office. Obviously, this is going to cost you money. No matter where you end up parking though, you need to start your trip at the tourist office where you can pick up a map of the village and its highlights. You can take a lift next to the tourist village up to the old village.

The old village

The old village used to serve as the centre of Grimaud and there is lots to see and you should spend time doing so. The lift will take you to Place Nueve which is a relatively recent addition to Grimaud having been built in the 19th century. There is a fountain that was built to deliver water to the town from the valley and before its construction Grimaud has no reliable source of water. This part of town is also where you will find most of its restaurants so it is definitely worth checking out.

The Church

You should pay a visit to the Church of Saint-Michael which serves as the main church in the village. It is quite a pretty building, constructed at the end of the 12th century in Roman style. Inside there are some wonderful medieval frescoes and behind the main building is a small chapel added during the 17th century. If you travel a little further you will reach the windmill that was added around the same time and was restored to mint condition in 1990.

Château de Grimaud

After having explored the village you should climb up the hill to the castle. The chateau can trace its origin back to the 11th century, though its defensive walls were added in the 13th century and other buildings were constructed after that. Grimaud was extremely prosperous in the period immediately following the 11th century until war and plague forced the people to live behind the fortification towards the end of the 14th century. The fortified village continued to grow up until the 17th century at which point it was abandoned following the revolution. The ruins of the castle are well worth exploring and there are some lovely views to be had that will take you as far as the Mediterranean.

Medieval Grimaud by Vasse Nicolas Antoine, on Flickr

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Guide To Greoux-les-Bains

Post by Sharat | June 21, 2018 | See France Destination Guides | Comment
Guide ToGreoux-les-Bains

Greoux-les-Bains is a town in Provence that is perhaps best known as being a centre for high quality thermal waters. Its reputation is a long one, going back as far as 2000 years ago when the Romans controlled the region. The town itself is fairly typical for Provence and has three distinct parts. First there is the castle that sits above Greoux-les-Bainshill, second is the town centre filled with cafes and shops and finally there are of course the famous thermal baths.

Exploring Gréoux-les-Bains

Greoux-les-Bains is not exactly a major tourist destination unless you are someone who likes taking thermal baths, however if you are visiting Provence and are nearby you will have a pleasant experience. If you want a taste of history visit the Chateau des Hospitaliers de Saint-Jean which is a templar castle built during the 12th century and are now stands in ruins overlooking the town. The castle itself is in bad condition and there is not much to do when you get there, but it is a lovely spot for a picnic and there are some scenic views of the town below.

Town centre and spa

The town centre is wonderful and you will really enjoy exploring it, stopping of at any one of the numerous cafes throughout the day if it gets really hot. There are some narrow winding medieval streets you can wander around where you will find treasures such as a traditional lavoir or a babbling fountain. If you have time make sure you visit the Church of Notre Dame les Ormeaux. If you want a bit of pampering head to the spa which is one of the leading centres in France. The town baths offer a wide range of treatments, plus there is a restaurant and accommodation. You can end your tour with a walk along the banks of the River Verdon which flows below Greoux-les-Bains. It’s a pretty scenic stroll set against the backdrop of cliffs and trees.

Local highlights

The town of Greoux-les-Bains sits in some very attractive countryside filled with lavender fields. There is a lake nearby which is well worth visiting because there are some lovely walks to be had and you can hire a boat or take a cruise. If you still need more head to the town of Lac de Sainte-Croix where there are plenty of leisure activities you can participate in and of course, there is the unmissable Gorges du Verdon which is very nearby.

Greoux les bains by ADT 04, on Flickr

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Free Day Trip For Future Travel With P&O Ferries – Offer Ends 08-07-2018

Post by Sharat | June 19, 2018 | Travel Deals, Trips to France | 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 free day trip for future travel with P&O Ferries. All you need to do is book a trip by 8th July 2018 and travel any time between now and 30th September 2018. Simply enter coupon code SUMFREEDAY 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.

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