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Get inspired ! Your holiday in France starts here… travel articles, general information and easy reading about our wonderful properties, destination guides, videos, features, including interior design articles.

Page 3 of 111 Articles

Château Vivy de Saumur, set in France's famous wine region

Château Vivy de Saumur in Pays de la Loire

The most central of France's wine regions, the Pays de la Loire arcs South-West of Paris, and encompasses several departments, including Loire Atlantique, Vendée, Mayenne, Sarthe and Maine-et-Loire.

The region's prime vineyards and wine châteaux are scattered close to the Loire, France's longest river, most within striking distance of the towns of Nantes, Angers, Saumur and Tours.

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We spent many years looking for our dream French house, a home away from home

Maison Rose, 3 bedroom rental home in Occitanie

We could see it clearly; it would be a stone cottage in an idyllic rural setting. With the benefit of the experience of renting vacation houses over many years in different parts of France, we found we were gradually tweaking our requirements for the French house.

We soon realised that, being practical, the house we were looking for had to be within easy walking distance of a town with restaurants, bars, cultural attractions and of course La Boulangerie, for the morning baguette!

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What's behind that door?

Renovation at Maison Tigre

What's behind that door, we asked the owner of what eventually became Maison Tigre, looking at a small, badly fitted wooden door at the end of the hallway. We knew there was some sort of building next to the main house but had no idea what it was or what state it was in. 'Oh you can’t go in there,' she said 'it's far too dangerous! It used to be the village cobblers but the roof and floors have collapsed and it's just a pile of rubble.'

And, as the pictures show, that’s exactly what it was.

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Le Cube Part 1

Le Cube with private, heated pool

Le Cube is a stunning contemporary house in the medieval hill village of Lusignac – a few kilometres from both the market town of Riberac and Auberterre, one of Les Plus Beaux Villages de France.

The house is on the edge of a chalk escarpment and from the garden the land falls away to the East which affords amazing views over hundreds of hectares of surrounding countryside. A forest of mature oak trees borders the garden and both the woodland and countryside are home to a wide variety of birdlife and insects. Last year a visitor to the house recorded an astonishing thirty five species of butterfly around the house.

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Dordogne renovated farmhouse

Renovated Dordogne holiday farmhouse

Escape to France this summer and stay in a traditional farmhouse in the Dordogne. Beautifully restored traditional farmhouse in Dordogne set in 1.5 acres with private, heated pool. 10 minutes from Monpazier with market, shops and restaurants.

Maison Sainte Croix near Monpazier accommodates 6 people in 3 bedrooms. The farmhouse offers 1½ acres of land with garden and South-facing views with a covered terrace.

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We found our home in Faugères

Maison Capitelle

We bought our first house in the village of Faugères some fifteen years ago. We soon realised that it was not quite what we wanted. So during our visits over the next four years we looked at many other houses in many other villages, now with a much clearer idea of what we wanted. And we found it... in Faugères!

Decent sized house, a good size pool and totally private and tranquil...

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Dordogne, a jewel in the crown

Le Saint-Martin in Saint-Martin-des-Combes, Dordogne, Nouvelle-Aquitaine

The first time we saw Le Saint-Martin, it was from the air – courtesy of a pilot friend of ours. Our family had lived in Paris for many years, and it was our first trip to the Dordogne. We had already fallen in love with the sheer beauty of Southern Périgord – the gently rolling hills, the lush vineyards, the fairy-tale castles steeped in history and the unspoilt Bastide villages.

It was like a jewel in the crown...

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We saw the house that afternoon and knew immediately it was for us

Manoir Clement on the Cote d’Azur

After several years holidaying in France we looked for a home in several regions, finally settling on the Côte d’Azur where we saw over 40 houses. None of which met our demanding requirements until, in 1999, flying back to London after another fruitless trip, Sarah, my wife, flicked through an inflight magazine and said, 'That's it'.

There is an intangible feeling, like love, when you realise something is right...

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Tales from the Riverbank part 5

Private pool on the Dronne River

Pure France launched Bonnes Vacances just last year but already it has proved incredibly popular. Guests have been enjoying its tranquil, riverside location as well as its stunning design and interior decoration.

Visitors have also been telling us how much they've enjoyed being part of the Bonnes village community. As well as the historic water mill which hosts environmental trails and exhibitions, over the past year villagers have redeveloped the old school into a thriving cultural centre. Art exhibitions are staged there throughout the year, along with classical musical concerts and other community events supported by the local baker, pizzeria and bar/restaurant. There is also a programme of talks (in English and French) on a variety of subjects including the Compostela pilgrimage trail which runs through the village.

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Villa Esterel, a memory that will always stay with you

Villa Esterel

Let me take you to a south facing hillside where generations have sat enjoying the spectacle of a medieval village with an incredibly beautiful castle. Illuminated at night, perched on its resplendent peak with the tiny circles of medieval houses nestling below resembling a huge ochre petticoat tumbling down to the valley.

To the right a further view down the valley which before the war grew flowers for the perfumery town of Grasse but now is laid to open fields. In spring one looks down on the rising wood smoke, the irises and white cherry blossom. If you are really fortunate in the early morning you may be privileged to witness cloud below you in the valley and the castle rising through - an unbelievably beautiful moment.

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Le Moulin de Terrac, what's in a name?

Le Moulin de Terrac, what's in a name

Well in the Corrèze department of France, the letters 'ac' signify that the property had habitation in Roman times. So there was probably a mill there many centuries ago.

There was certainly one there in the 14th century, when the bishop of Toulouse acquired it. At that time the mill pond extended to some 14ha!

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It is another glorious Malardier morning

Another glorious Malardier morning

Richard cycled by and checked the pool at first light as he does most mornings. Without waking a soul this ex-adman living in the sun is the best of hosts, never seen or heard but available if needed.

By 7.30, the sun is well up and the house begins to rise. Adults for a quick pre-breakfast dip, teenagers sleep off a long late night. This morning we lay the table on the terrace outside the drawing room overlooking a distant valley populated by miniature cows and tiny farmhouses. They look as it they have been sleeping in the sun for hundreds of years, as indeed they have.

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Q and A with the owners of REF 24182 Le Manoir des Beaux Rèves

Le Manoir des Beaux Rèves in Dordogne

Tell us a little bit about your property, how it started out and where you're based?

In 2016 we decided to have a change of life after years working for companies, and try our own business. It has always been a dream of ours to have our own business, based in a beautiful part of the world, in the tourism industry.

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Mas de Pitou, your home in Provence

Mas de Pitou, your home in Provence

Located in the heart of Provence, the land of Paul Cézanne and Vincent van Gogh – who spent a year in Saint-Rémy and left more than 100 paintings as testimony. This typical and charming home is situated in the most sought-after neighborhood of the town of Saint-Rémy-de-Provence.

A 20 minute walk along a roman canal will take you to excellent restaurants, shops and market where you'll find olives, fruits, vegetables and irresistible local delicacies.

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Château du Pic with unparalleled views over the beautiful medieval village of Najac

Château du Pic

Secluded on a hilltop giving unparalleled views over the beautiful medieval village of Najac, with its own heated pool in a secret garden, the attractions of the 19th century Château du Pic are obvious.

Built in 1886 by the Najac born Rouquet brothers returning to the village having made their fortune in Paris, Château du Pic boasts the elegant proportions of the era combined with all the comforts of modern living. This truly elegant but comfortable home has been renovated to an extremely high standard whilst retaining its period features and is beautifully furnished; combining the luxury of the new with the stylishness of the past.

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Welcome to Saint-Rémy-de-Provence, home to the Romans, Van Gogh and Nostradamus

Maison Rousty in Saint-Rémy-de-Provence

The area is surrounded by many excellent vineyards as depicted by Peter Mayle and in the film 'A Good Year'.

Saint-Rémy is home to the renowned Wednesday market and many wonderful restaurants. Its proximity to Marseille, Aix-en-Provence, Avignon, Nîmes, Arles, the Luberon and the Camargue will allow you to enjoy interesting day trips and make getting here simple due to the numerous excellent travel connections whether you wish to come by car, train or plane.

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A handsome and imposing maison de maître

Maison de maître in the Languedoc

La Maison Carrée is a handsome and imposing maison de maître, a Mansion built around 1890 for the local winegrower, a 'noble' who gave it as a present to his son and his son's bride on the occasion of their wedding.

It was built in an elevated position at the entrance to the village. Now in the 21st century as the village population has grown and the village itself has expanded La Maison Carrée occupies a prominent central position a short walk from the main square.

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Grimaldi, Grimaud and Joan Collins

Modern holiday villa with private pool in Provence

Monaco's royal family - the famous Grimaldi clan used to have a little-known coastal area in the South of France named after them. Up until the end of the 19th century, the Gulf of Grimaldi lay between a small fishing town and a hilltop village with an 11th century church.

And then things started to change. The coastal area was renamed 'The Gulf of Saint-Tropez'. Coco Chanel skipped off a yacht in 1923, Brigitte Bardot arrived on the scene in her controversial film in 1957. The legend of Saint-Tropez had begun.

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Beachfront holiday villa on the Côte d'Azur

Beachfront holiday villa on the Côte d'Azur

A Mediterranean seafront villa in Cavalaire-sur-Mer, Côte d'Azur with garden steps leading to the sea.

Holiday villa with Mediterranean garden with dining terraces offering uninterrupted, sea views.

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Maison de la Grande Plage video

Beachfront holiday villa in Biarritz

An outstanding, highest quality, detached holiday beach villa with ocean views in Biarritz.

Maison de la Grande Plage offers direct access to Atlantic beaches and walking distance to all amenities.

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Infinity pool with Mediterranean Sea view

Infinity pool with Mediterranean Sea view in Provence Côte d'Azur

Take a plunge into the heated 7m x 4m infinity swimming pool and relax on the pool terrace on a sunlounger, whilst admiring the Mediterranean Sea view.

Le Trayas has 3 bedrooms and 3 bathroom, air-conditioning, UK sky TV and Wi-Fi internet.

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Beachfront holiday home in Normandy

Holiday home on the beach in Normandie, France

A holiday rental home on the beachfront in Normandy. Enjoy a walk along a beach in Normandy this summer whilst staying at the beachfront home, La Tour de la Plage.

Admire unobstructed sea views from Villerville, situated midway between Honfleur and Deauville / Trouville in a fully renovated 10th century sea view tower.

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Country Living in South-West France

17th century Perigordian manor house sitting room

350 year old renovated country home to rent, combines old and new interior design in South-West France.

This renovated country home combines old and new interior design and features many authentic details like the original fireplaces, high ceilings with traditional oak beams and original wooden and tile floors.

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Let there be light in Occitanie

Living room

What is the most important element of architectural design? Architectural design with natural light and wonderful reflections.

Natural and ambient lighting can enhance and inform the interior design of a property, and was the most important aspect for the owner of Maison Occitane when renovating this 5 bed holiday rental home in Occitanie.

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Loft du Vigneron

Loft du Vigneron

A fully renovated, former wine-maker's property with private pool (11m x 4.5m).

Loft du Vigneron is located in the village of Rieux-Minervois in the heart of the Minervois vineyards. Carcassonne 30 minutes and Mediterranean beaches 60 minutes at Narbonne-Plage.

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Fairytale castle video

Château Soudun in Centre-Val de Loire

Discover Château Soudan, set beside the Creuse river near Tournon-Saint-Martin.

Bearing many medieval characteristics including a draw bridge, arrow slits, an round tower and thick stone walls.

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Inside Out - Part 4

Loft du Vigneron

Languedoc living turned inside out. Final part of our series form the owner of the Loft du Vigneron, a 3 bed holiday rental home in a wine-producing village in the Languedoc-Roussillon (now called Occitanie). The terrace is finished and the lovely ambience and views can be enjoyed!

Not only does the Loft's vast open-plan living space spill out onto the terrace, so that views of the garden can be enjoyed from indoors as well as from the terrace, but so do two of the three bedrooms, which also have French windows opening onto the terrace at each end, enabling guests to often sleep with the benefit of a natural breeze wafting in from across the terrace.

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Renovation Revelation

Ensuite bathroom today

Restoring a wonderful wine domaine to beyond it's former glory. How the owner of Domaine de Nérige discovered a love of renovating houses with the restoration of this fabulous holiday rental country home near Carcassonne in the Languedoc-Roussillon.

In November 2002 we landed at Carcassonne and were met by a local estate agent. We hired a car and followed her through driving rain into what seemed like the wilderness and miles from anywhere.

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Inside Out - Part 3

Outdoor dining terrace

The naked stone restorer. Part 3 of our series from the owner of popular holiday rental villa in the South of France, Loft du Vigneron. Choosing the upholstery to complement the natural.

A few candles flickering in the evening breeze add a frisson of romance to the evening. A burst of turquoise in all the new upholstery screams 'South of France' and adds a soupçon of glamour to the otherwise rustic chic of the Loft du Vigneron. Style gurus may call this a 'juxtaposition', but guests just call it 'beautiful'.

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Inside Out - Part 2

Sitting room

Creating a beautiful outdoor living space. The next instalment from owner of Loft du Vigeronon on creating the wonder terrace at his holiday rental village house in the Languedoc.

The stunning terrace of the Loft du Vigneron was the perfect place to create a beautiful outdoor living space in which to relax and slip down a gear or two. Not only to while-away long summer days, but to enjoy long balmy evenings watching cobalt blue Languedocienne skies turn pink as dusk sets in and then into a star-studded inky blue sky as nighttime follows. The lack of air pollution makes the sky so clear you feel as if you can reach up and touch the stars.

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