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Fantastique Holidays in France for Free Spirits

Holidays in France should be at the top of our bucket list. It’s the world’s top holiday destination after all! In 2022, it welcomed 79.4 million visitors. This year, its visitors may increase again due to the Paris 2024 Summer Olympic and Paralympic Games. Will you be one of them? The Olympics will be the biggest event in Parisian history!

The Olympic Torch will be lit on Tuesday, 16th April (an ancient Olympic tradition), and its arrival can be celebrated on Wednesday, 8th May, when its procession begins in Marseille. The flame will then follow a cultural Torch Relay Route throughout France to showcase French traditions, sites, and history, taking in many lush landscapes, towns, and urban backdrops. On route, it will light up architectural masterpieces and statues before finishing in Paris on Friday, 26th July.

Ensure you find somewhere relaxing to stay or something new to experience! For instance, you could book into a beachside villa. Or find one of the destinations on the torch relay route! Learn about France’s history, traditions, and respected French figures at your leisure.

To inspire you to plan your holiday in France, here are our suggestions.

French chateau holidays

Give a nod to the country that’s renowned for romance. Find a unique romantic location to explore, surrounded by stunning scenery and superb cuisine, while staying in a historic hotel, quiet villa, or a charming castle…

A chateau holiday in France allows you to step back in time, within an ancient castle visited by kings and queens of the past. Many are close to cities or amongst scenic landscapes. Take your pick! Sleep in a hand-carved four-poster bed and eat in grand, stone-walled restaurants, or discover a local café or restaurant to taste the distinctive flavours of France.

Where are the best chateau holidays located in France?

  • Within the hillside of Dordogne, find Chateau de Castel Novel in Varetz. Take a 15-minute walk to discover the natural beauty spot of Les Jardins de Colette. You will also find golf courses, canoeing, and cycling tracks nearby. Finish your trip with something sweet by visiting the Bovetti Chocolate Museum – a cultural highlight.
  • Near Nice, relax in Chateau de Picomtal which overlooks the Serre-Poncon Lake, within the Hautes-Alpes. A 14th-16th century chateau with an extensive garden and orchard to explore. During your stay, join a tour to learn about the castle. For more action, cycle through The Ecrins National Park before visiting the Les Orres ski resort just 7.5 miles away.
  • Outside the historic city of Normandy, stay in Chateau La Cheneviere, which sits between the D-day landing beaches and Bayeux. Bayeux is known for the Bayeux tapestry that depicts the Norman conquest of England.

French Chateaus

If you think staying in a chateau is a luxury, visit one for a day instead. Each chateau has its own story to tell. For instance, head to the Loire Valley (the ‘garden of France’). This was where France’s royal court was established during the French Renaissance. Here, you can spot over 300 chateaus that once belonged to Kings and French nobility. Some were built between the 17th and 18th century. Others are conversions of medieval castles. The royal fortress of Chinon is the Valley’s medieval landmark.

If you’re looking for somewhere to embrace the sun, you may want to go on a villa holiday in France…

chateau holidays in France

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Villa holidays in France

There are thousands of villas in France to choose from. Some of the best villas can be located in the south of France. Find yours near the sea to create a beautiful beach holiday in France!

Where can I find the top villas in France?

  • In Hossegor, France which sits on the south coast of the Aquitaine region. Stay in a beach house, where you can enjoy a range of water sports, before tucking into oysters for lunch.
  • Depart to Dordogne, where you’ll find a beautiful barn conversion within a scenic rural location in the Lot Valley. To live like a local, go on a culinary journey to the gastronomic centre Agen. For a decent glass of wine visit Pujols.
  • Within Côte d’Azur stay in a luxury French villa, along the French Rivera. French villas are known for being spacious, so one by the sea could provide a blissful setting for a gathering. As the sun sets, visit your private beach to feel the sand between your toes.

On the other hand, if you’d prefer a city break for a bit more buzz and glamour head to Paris.

villa holidays in the Côte d’Azur

Paris city breaks

A classic, cultural, and charming city, Paris has a lot to offer if you go for a week or a short and sweet city break. It’s one of the most photographed cities in the world. So remember to take your camera! You can do so with peace of mind because gadget cover is standard on all Free Spirit policies.

What can I do during a Paris city break?

  • Go shopping – browse within vintage shops and designer stores at the Triangle d’Or. Then discover some Parisian department stores at The Boulevard Haussmann. To end the day, tuck into an impressive appetiser, such as escargot (cooked snails) before a fresh seafood plate or steak.
  • Immerse yourself in Paris’s alluring charm by cruising along the river Seine, which weaves itself through the heart of the capital. Outside Paris, canal holidays in France are also an option.
  • A visit to the Musse du Louvre may inspire you to create a piece of art after your return. It’s full of Western civilisation’s most wonderful masterpieces such as the Mona Lisa. Then enjoy one of France’s favourite pastimes – a picnic on the lawn within the Luxembourg Gardens.

Paris city break

To see more landscaped gardens, art, and glamour take an hour’s drive south of Paris to the Palace of Versailles.

The Palace and Park of Versailles

In the Île-de-France region of France, Versailles stood to illustrate what a glorious royal residence should look like. Originally a small country residence and hunting lodge, Louis XIII rebuilt it and the surrounding area to become a magnificent home. It awed guests and symbolised power and authority thanks to the work of talented artists, architects, painters, and sculptors.

One of the most notable was landscape architect and gardener André le Nôtre, whom Louis XIV asked to design The Versailles Gardens. The gardens included walls of greenery, geometric precision, symmetry, yew trees in surprising forms, and winding alleyways. It became an attractive place for parties and fireworks. Later, le Nôtre’s Baroque Garden design was copied across Europe.

Explore le Nôtre’s original Baroque gardens and the palaces of Louis XIV. Plus, many other artworks while learning about French history during a one- to two-day trip to Versailles.


Caravan and Camping Holidays in France

Explore the great outdoors (with better weather than you’d find in the UK), during a caravan or camping holiday in France. One of the benefits of travelling with Free Spirit is there’s no upper age limit. So everyone at your party will be covered, wherever you stay. You could head for the carefree countryside in Normandy, or the south of France to stay in a holiday park. Most come with a kids club, splashing water parks, cafes, and/or restaurants. To rest at the end of a busy day, rent a tent/caravan or bring your own.

Where are the best campsites in France?

  • On Marseillan Beach, along the Languedoc coast, you’ll find a lovely retreat. With lots of on-site activities to choose from and direct access to the beach, you won’t be short of things to do. To experience French cuisine here, regional specialties are served at the restaurant and local markets. To dive into more divine dishes, drive to Beziers or Montpellier. Outside the medieval city of Montpellier, find Le lac des Reves.
  • Le Lac des Reves is a great location to relax in the countryside – or admire it while in a swimming pool. For more action, head to Montpellier to shop. Then play along the Languedoc beaches before bed. For a day trip, explore the Camargue National Park, where wild horses and flamingos live – the perfect location for wildlife watching.
  • Another place to see stunning scenery is within the Pas-de-Calais region on the Opal Coast. Take in its coastal views, while staying within a high cliff-top setting, in the coastal town of le Portel. Nearby, there are lots of outdoor activities to keep you occupied too. For instance, you can go for a wander, cycle along the coast or the younger members of your party may enjoy windsurfing. Windsurfing is one of 100 activities included for free in our policy so feel free to try something different in Pas-de-Calais.

Pas-de-Calais is just a 28-mile drive from the ferry in Calais, which is one way to reach France to begin your holiday…

The medieval city of Carcassonne

Carcassonne is a medieval, walled city with a citadel (strong castle), which has 52 towers plus 3km of inner and outer stone walls. It was built in the 1st century AD by the Romans who called it Carcasum and has been held by many different people since, such as the Franks. Today it’s regarded as one of the largest and best-preserved medieval fortresses in Europe after becoming a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1997. During your visit learn how the city got its name while wandering around the castle, down cobbled streets, and past ancient monuments during a cultural tour.


Visit France by train

France is within easy reach of the UK and deciding to pay a visit last minute by train is no problem. Plus, it boasts one of the most modern and efficient rail networks in Europe. Reach the country fondly referred to as l’Hexagon (“The Hexagon”) by rail from London, St Pancras train station. Book a trip the Eurostar and you’ll be in Paris in just over two hours. You can also reach Calais and Lille in less than two hours. For holidays in Southern France, change trains in Paris. Or, join a different line to enjoy a unique train holiday in France.

Travel insurance for holidays in France

We hope we’ve provided you with enough inspiration to put France back on your bucket list. As you can see, it can still be one of the best locations for a holiday.

Just give yourself the freedom to plan your holiday in France any way you want. There are many ways to get there and top destinations to explore. Whatever you plan to do on your holiday to France, take Free Spirit for the trip – le France c’est fantastique!

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