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Normandy

Normandy is in many respects the English countryside, only in France. Beautiful, relaxed and green, with swathes of agricultural land dotted with old stone farm buildings up on the hillsides, the region is peppered with picturesque towns and villages from medieval times. It even has white cliffs.

A plus side, the weather is better than English weather, and there’s an active expat community for those want to engage. Their very presence ensures the locals are very used to Brits in their neighbourhood and you’ll find them open and friendly.

The rural life in winter is quiet, while various summer festivals from music to floral to the Middle Ages bring visitors from across the country and Europe. Along with a stack of historical city quarters, cathedrals, abbeys and ancient monuments. Access to and from the UK is very simple, whilst Paris is between 2 and 3 hours by car to the east by motorway or trains.

The old mill on a medieval bridge in Vernon

Traditional houses in Deauville

Mont Saint Michel Abbey

Brittany

The pink granite shores of Brittany, with their blush-coloured rocks and sand, form the most north western point of France. This is a coastline of contrasts, where wild seas batter the exposed and hilly peninsular extending into the Atlantic Ocean, while further south the waters calm to provide some particularly pleasant sandy beaches.

One of the most British of all the French resorts sits upon the rugged coastline and is something of a journey back in time to the 19th century. Until the French Riviera snatched the top spot in the 1930s, elegant Dinard was the number one summer retreat in France, attracting the wealthy, the famous and the royal. Many built fabulous Belle Époque villas here, leaving Dinard a rich legacy of more than 400 listed buildings.

Also worth a mention is the walled city of Saint-Malo, whose tall granite buildings sit on rock in the English Channel. This busy ferry port is a reminder of Brittany’s important seafaring past and the region continues its maritime traditions today in the town of Quiberon, where the French navy trains its sailors.

Port of Sauzon, on the Island of Belle Ile

Coastal Lighthouse and Fortress

Medieval Tower, The Tour Tanguy in Brest

Loire Valley

Loire Valley is a delightful, sophisticated and beautiful part of France with many places of artistic and historical interest to visit, featuring first-class hotels and restaurants abound. Also known as the Garden of France down to its sheer abundance of vineyards, orchards and fields of asparagus and artichoke.

It was also home to the Kings of France, and their nobles in the Renaissance times. With the impressive fortress of Angers, and the most elegant Renaissance (17th Century), chateaux of Chambord, Azay-le-Rideau, Amboise, Chenonceaux, Villandry, and many more.

This central area of the Loire Valley is world-known as the “Chateaux de la Loire”, and became a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2000, due to its vast history. But if you like a modern France, there is also plenty of contemporary culture to see in cities like Angers, Tours and Orléans.

Pont Wilson in Tours

The chateau of Azay-le-Rideau

Typical restaurant of the Loire Valley