Fancy a fix of France to break up the winter or to look forward to in the Spring? We have four superb ideas for you, whether you are a foodie, adrenaline junkie, history buff, or just really need a splash of sunshine!
1. Brittany: a gust of fresh air in breath-taking Saint-Malo
Easy to reach and with breathtaking scenery, Brittany is a brilliant place to visit for some dramatic natural theatre! The port city of Saint-Malo hosts the highest tides in Europe, and the waves crashing on Plage du Sillon are an impressive spectacle on the Sillon dyke. It’s edged with beautiful historic villas, and the town also has majestic granite ramparts, a castle and cobbled streets to explore, and sandy beaches. It’s perfect for a winter holiday or a weekend steeped in history – it’s Brittany’s most visited city, after all. A longère, or long house, is typically Breton and this is a lovely six-bedroom example on three acres of land, inland from Saint-Malo.
2. Chamonix-Mont Blanc: live a life of extremes!
Head to the Haute-Savoie in Chamonix, located at the foot of Mont Blanc, and a handy hour from Geneva, is the ideal weekend destination (or longer). Chamonix is terrific in summer or winter, and its ski area offers all sorts of winter activities that can allow you to discover the Aiguille du Midi and a ski area where the French Alps meet the Swiss and Italian mountains. Not just downhill skiing or snowboarding are on offer but Nordic skiing, cross-country skiing, sledging, mountaineering, ice skating, paragliding, dog-sledding, snowshoeing, or hiking. If that all sounds very exhausting (or cold) there are fabulously stylish restaurants, museums, cinema, spa, tennis, casino, and shopping to enjoy. This is a one-bedroom flat in the lovely town of Saint-Gervais-Les-Bains in the Mont Blanc ski area.
3. Carnival time in sunny Nice
Follow in the path of artists and (latterly) digital nomads to the beautifully mild Nice in winter. Without the crowds of the summer months, you can stroll along the Promenade des Anglais and you might even be brave enough to take a dip in the 13°C Med. The locals know how to cheer up the winter with its world-renowned carnival – the most important in France. For a fortnight in February, the whole city explodes into wonderful celebration with float parades, flower battles, dancers, and fantastic pop-up restaurants and food stalls. Make the carnival your reason to visit Nice this winter. You can buy a bolthole in one of the best neighbourhoods of the city for less than you might think! Have a look at this delightful apartment with terrace.
4. Perigord – it’s truffle time!
Black truffles are a delicious delicacy that is associated with Perigord in the Dordogne. Why not head there for a winter break? Again, you can escape the summer crowds and make reservations at some of the area’s finest restaurants to enjoy the freshest black truffles: the season is December to March, but January and February are the times when truffles acquire their very best taste! Once you’ve reached peak truffle you can also explore the caves at Lascaux, the Marqueyssac Gardens (boxwood heaven) or the medieval Castelnaud-la-Chapelle chateau. Nearby is this beautiful seven-bedroom Perigordian house with pool and gites which might be worth a look too…