France Magazine’s stunning calendar is now on sale. With 14 beautiful pictures to guide you through the year, it’s the perfect way to plan all those trips to France
The beautiful village of Gordes is depicted on the cover. Set in the hills of Luberon in the north of Provence, the village perches on a hillside offering views of the surrounding area. It makes the perfect base for a trip to the area, taking in other villages such as Lourmarin, Ménerbes and Roussillon. Antique-hunters’ paradise L’Isle-sur-la-Sorgue is also nearby.
Our January picture shows the colourful harbour front at Honfleur in Normandy. The pretty town served as inspiration to Impressionist painters such as Claude Monet and local artist Eugène Boudin. Take a seat at one of the many café terraces, before exploring Saint Catherine’s Church – the largest surviving wooden church in France – and a museum dedicated to composer Erik Satie, who was born here.
Fort La Latte
Perched on the edge of Brittany, on the beautiful Emerald Coast, Fort La Latte makes for a breathtaking day out. Our superb aerial photograph takes pride of place for the February page of the calendar and inspires a visit to the 13th-century castle, as part of a walking trip to Cap Fréhel.
The Eiffel Tower
In his famous song, Cole Porter declared that he loved Paris in the springtime, and March is an ideal time to visit the City of Light. Our March picture shows the capital’s most famous landmark lit up at dusk, with the École Militaire and Champ de Mars in the background. Instead of waiting in the cold to climb the monument, why not splash out and book a table at the Jules Verne restaurant on the second level, for an incomparable view?
Canal du Midi
Step into our amazing April picture and you’ll be wandering down the iconic Canal du Midi. The famous waterway was the brainchild of Pierre-Paul Riquet in the 17th-century, and is now one of the most beautiful destinations for a boating trip. Whether you choose to climb aboard a péniche-hotel to be waited on hand and foot, or prefer to take a self-drive cruise and be captain of your own boat, a holiday on the canal offers utter tranquillity.
The pretty village of Espalion, is the focus of our May picture. With its red stone bridge spanning the River Lot, the village is a popular stopover on the famous Santiago de Compostela pilgrimage route. A visit to this beautiful area will have you visiting other nearby villages, such as Estaing and Saint-Côme d’Olt, which are both classified among France’s prettiest villages.
A visit to a local market is a highlight of any trip to France, and our June picture depicts one of the most popular in France. However, we’re not giving away its location as that is the fun of our annual ‘Name that June’ competition. Do you know where those beautiful, colourful buildings are found? Prove your knowledge by entering before 16 June 2016.
The seaside town of Villefranche-sur-Mer is a short distance from Nice, and a wonderful destination in itself. Our July picture inspires you to explore the Citadel, wander the narrow streets and make the most of the local restaurants for a Mediterranean feast. If you fancy brushing up your language, the prestigious Institut Français language school is perched high above the town.
Local festivals bring colour to any holiday in France, and in Saint-Rémy, the Festival of Saint-Eloi sees locals dress in traditional costume and guide decorated draught horses through the town. The event is depicted as our August photo and is one of many lively events in the town; also look out for the transhumance festival in which the farmers move their sheep through the town to higher pastures.
For an autumn break, look no further than Paris and the vibrant area of Montmartre. With the weather still warm, you can enjoy early evening on a café terrace, as the customers in our September picture are doing. Not far away is the amazing Sacré-Coeur basilica, the area’s own vineyard and the famous Moulin Rouge nightspot.
In the vineyards around the iconic Citadel of Carcassonne in Languedoc, the leaves turn a riot of colour in autumn. Our October picture serves as a reminder of just how beautiful vineyards are at this time of year, and a visit to Carcassonne will see you exploring the striking château and learning about the Cathar heritage.
The Massif Central in the heart of France is home to an extraordinary chain of extinct volcanoes. For our November picture, the village of La Godivelle is shown nestling close to the crater of one of them, with sensational views beyond. While the masses rush to the Alps for their winter holidays, a ski trip to nearby Le Mont-Dore gives you a French ski experience like no other.
The frescoes in the church at Alban in the Tarn were created by 20th-century artist Nicolas Greschny, make this spiritual place unique. Alban itself makes a nice detour if you’re visiting nearby Albi, the birthplace of artist Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec and the home of the jaw-dropping Sainte-Cécile Cathedral.
In some areas of France it’s as if time stands still, and on our Forward Planner page photograph it is Cotignac in Provence that harks back to days gone by. A shopkeeper sits in the autumn sun outside his shop, in the town known for its medieval towers and troglodyte caves.
To order your 2016 FRANCE Calendar, priced from just £11.99, go online to www.subscriptionsave.co.uk/H049, or call 0844 848 4211 and quote HFCH0496