Hidden gems for summer 2013
An advertorial feature for FRANCE Magazine from Lagrange Holidays, this guide to great holiday hot spots will take readers off the usual beaten track and offer a change of scenery for summer 2013
As all good Francophiles know, L'Hexagone is a veritable plethora of fantastic holiday destinations – from the dramatic windswept beaches of the Brittany coast and rolling foothills and lavender fields of the Provencal countryside, and the glamour of the Cote d'Azur to the rural charm of the Dordogne.
However, even when faced with this abundance of holiday destination riches, we are all guilty of being creatures of holiday habit – finding a resort or village or towel-sized patch of sandy beach we love and simply heading back year after year. Or even worse, as soon as we think we have uncovered an untapped gem for our annual getaway, the world and his wife seem to have the same idea and holiday bliss is over quicker than you can say "make mine a Sancerre". Quelle annoyance!
So, this summer, have a change of pace, get far from the madding crowd and hotfoot it to somewhere a little further off the usual well-beaten track instead. Sound tempting? Thanks to our guide to hidden holiday gems, it can be a reality! Just don’t tell everyone else, OK..?
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Le Crotoy, Picardy
Perfectly placed just a hop, skip and jump over the Channel, Picardy is the perfect destination for anyone in need of a taste of France within touching distance of the UK, with a soupcon more glamour than a day trip to Calais. Steeped in history, from gothic castles to First World War battlefields, and surrounded by miles of unspoilt coastline, the region boasts plenty to entertain history buffs and nature lovers alike. The lively seaside resort of Le Crotoy, with its charming marina and lush natural landscape, is an ideal base for a relaxing break spent exploring the surrounding area and breathing in the fresh seaside air.
Stay in the Les Villas de la Baie apartments, located just 200m from the beach and set in the centre of a landscaped park. From 256 pounds/apt/wk
It is terribly hard to resist the charms of a week or two spent in a Breton seaside resort, and Benodet is certainly not going to make trying to do so any easier. Tucked in the sheltered bay where the Odet River meets the Atlantic at the Gleanan archipelago, the resort boasts sandy beaches and picturesque ports and marinas just crying out for long, leisurely walks, finishing with a crepe or two for good measure…
Stay in the Lagrange Prestige Jardins d’Arvor apartments, conveniently placed in the centre of Benodet and a short 150m stroll from the nearest beach. From 197 pounds/apt/wk
Le Pyla-sur-Mer, Aquitaine
A natural seaside setting and fine sandy beaches just a short drive from the nearby larger seaside resort of Arcachon, Le Pyla-sur-Mer is the perfect destination for anyone looking for a beach break with a twist. The twist in this case is that it is next to one of Europe’s most impressive geological phenomenon, the stunning Dune du Pyla, a 107m-high sand dune built up by tides over thousands of years.
Stay at the Residence Oceana apartments, housed in a charming, traditional Basque-style building, 200m from the beach and 500m from the Dune du Pyla. From 334 pounds/apt/wk
Surrounded by the vineyards which produce the region’s rightly celebrated wines and a rolling landscape dotted with bastides, chateaux and churches which hint at the region’s turbulent past, the town of Bergerac is a holiday haven for any wine lovers and history buffs who wish to explore the Dordogne but avoid some of the tourist crowds often found elsewhere in the region. Don't forget to sample a glass or two of the region's wide variety of wines during your stay…Stay in the Lagrange Prestige Le Clos des Vignes apartments and holiday houses – a high-standard residence located close to a park and grouped together in small hamlets. From 183 pounds/apt/wk
Nestled in the foothills of the Alps, the adorable village of Saint-Trinit exudes a Provencal charm normally only found in adverts and French films like Jean de Florette. Calm, tranquil, and as far removed from the hustle and bustle of day to day life as one can get without re-mortgaging one's house, Saint-Trinit offers a taste of both total relaxation and the 'real Provence' for a summer getaway.
Stay in the Lagrange Prestige Lagrange Prestige Le Claux du Puits, a high-standard complex with shared outdoor pool, made up of just a handful of apartments and holiday houses, located close to the small village centre. From 264 pounds/apt/wk
Six-Fours-les-Plages (Le Brusc), South of France
For serious summer sun-seekers, heading to the warm, sandy beaches of the South of France is the obvious choice. Avoid the crowds and head to the charming seaside town of Six-Fours-les-Plages, a quieter alternative to the larger, busier resorts in the region yet still boasting 16km of coastline dotted with an enticing combination of fine sandy beaches and rocky coves.
Stay in the Lagrange Prestige Les Terrasses des Embiez apartments, located 200m from the centre of the larger fishing port of Le Brusc, and 500m from the nearest beach. From 278 pounds/apt/wk
Nestled in a valley of unspoilt natural beauty and overlooked by the impressive peaks of the French Pyrenees, Loudenvielle is the ultimate picture-perfect hidden holiday hideaway. Thanks to the town’s indulgent Balnea spa centre, Loudenvielle is also an ideal retreat for anyone in need of a little rest and relaxation this summer…
Stay in the Lagrange Prestige Les Jardins de Balnea apartments, a residence build in the local style, just 300m from the Balnea spa centre (the perfect excuse for an afternoon treatment or two!) and 100m from the centre of the village. From 178 pounds/apt/wk