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Provence, Bordeaux, Burgundy…

...simply their names conjure up images of sun-drenched vineyards and starched white tablecloths set for dinner. And well they might - from morning croissants to the after-dinner cheese plate, France's palette is so finely tuned that any holiday here will largely be about the food and wine. Come to think of it, that doesn't leave half enough space for the rest of France's charms...; What about meandering through the streets of Paris, uncovering the rich blend of cultural influences in Marseille or soaking up the sun on the beaches of the French Riviera? Well, there's nothing for it, you'll just have to stay twice as long!

Things to do

Whether you'd like to try wine tasting in the Dordogne or take a river cruise along the Rhone, we're bound to have a holiday in France to suit you. Ramble through fields of lavender in the rural south, discover Monet's garden in Giverny or travel to the unique island of Corsica. For those who would like to explore 20th century history, book a trip on one of our remembrance cruises taking in the war museums of Europe or the sites of the battle of the Somme and the D-Day landings. Our escorted tours and cruises visit the country's most fascinating sights while we've handpicked France's best hotels for our ‘stay and relax’ holidays.

Provence and the Côte d'Azur

Luxuriating in the balmy climes of Southern France, the region of Provence and the Côte d'Azur offers a real variety of landscapes. There is eye candy a plenty here, from hazy fields of lavender to cliff top roads and the sparkling French Riviera. Along the Mediterranean Coast are the sun-drenched towns of Nice, Cannes, St Tropez and Marseille, whilst inland you can explore the ancient walled city of Avignon.

The Dordogne

This cultured region lies between the Loire Valley and the Pyrenees. It is here that you will find the famous wine-growing region of Bergerac, as well as many a grand chateaux set amidst vivid green woodland and picturesque hillside villages.

The Alsace

This lovely northeast region of France stretches along the border with Germany and Switzerland and has changed hands several times over the years. It encompasses the Rhine River valley and the charming waterside town of Strasbourg with its Gothic Notre-Dame cathedral.

Paris

This most famous of European cities hardly needs an introduction. Stroll along the Champs-Élysées, visit the Louvre, the Pompidou, the Eiffel Tower and the Arc de Triomphe. Linger over lunch in one of the capital’s many outstanding restaurants… oh come on, this is Paris – you know what to do.

Corsica

Although this Mediterranean island has been part of France for several hundred years, it has a distinctly Italian feel to it. On a holiday in Corsica you'll find pristine beaches, such as Palombaggia and Santa Giulia, stunning national parks and the stylish coastal cities of Ajaccio and Bonifacio.

Languedoc

Extending from Provence to the Pyrenees Mountains, Languedoc produces much of France’s wine, as well as offering a whole swathe of sandy beaches to enjoy.  Montpelier’s medieval quarter is a must-see, while along the coast sits Perpignan with its distinctly Spanish feel and labyrinth streets.

Normandy

This green and pleasant region of northern France has often been a battleground over the centuries - from Viking times to the D-Day landings. The lovely island commune of Mont St-Michel is perched just off of the coast and the D-Day memorials and cemeteries, as well as the Bayeux Tapestry, offer a sobering insight into times gone by.

Burgundy

This east-central region of France is another big-hitter in the wine world with its idyllic vineyards producing Pinot Noirs, Chablis and Beaujolais. The countryside here is beautiful, the medieval villages a treat and the capital, Dijon, a masterpiece of classic French charm.

See All Holidays to France

Easter Escape

Saga Cruises

What better way to spend the Easter break than cruising to Cherbourg, Guernsey and Le Havre.

Explore France's stunning Côte d'Azur as well as the world-famous scenery of Provence at the Hotel Ibersol Cavalière sur Plage.

A Channel Island Sojourn

Active Explorer Pace 2

Discover a unique combination of British and French traditions on this lively escorted tour, which includes opportunities to visit idyllic Sark and tour Guernsey's highlights.

Discover the summertime attractions of St Peter Port, Cherbourg and Brest during this five-night mini cruise – it makes the perfect short break and it's also a great taster cruise for those who are new to cruising or who've not made the acquaintance of Saga Sapphire yet!

Best of the Rhine

River Cruise

Sail from Switzerland to Holland, calling at many fascinating cities. Compare the pretty French town of Strasbourg to historic Cologne and cosmopolitan Amsterdam.

Follow in the footsteps of the Impressionists, seize the chance to see the opulent Palace of Versailles and relish a whole day and night in beautiful Paris...

Sail the British isles from north to south as you visit the Orkeny isles and the Outer Hebrides before continuing to Dublin and the Scilly and Channel islands.

Savour the delights of the region's fascinating past, absorb the breathtaking scenery and sample the excellent wines produced here.

Take a five-night cruise along the scenic Rhine before enjoying a three-night hotel stay on the edge of the enchanting Black Forest.

Discover fascinating towns and cities including Bamberg, Würzburg, Miltenberg, Mainz and Strasbourg on this cruise through Germany and France.

Sail from Cologne to Basel and back on this relaxing cruise through the Middle Rhine.

This seven-night cruise on the Rhine sails from Holland's vibrant capital to Basel in Switzerland, discovering many of the river's celebrated highlights en route

Best of the Rhine

River Cruise

This seven-night cruise on the Rhine sails from Holland's vibrant capital to Basel in Switzerland, discovering many of the river's celebrated highlights en route

Discover the cultural highlights of the South of France with stays in Albi, Aix-en-Provence and Cannes.

Cruise the Rhône through Provence and Burgundy to discover France's historic heartland and a wealth of UNESCO World Heritage Sites

Sail from Switzerland to Holland, calling at many fascinating cities. Compare the pretty French town of Strasbourg to historic Cologne and cosmopolitan Amsterdam.

Sail Belgian waterways and the romantic River Rhine aboard MS Amadeus Classic, visiting fairytale German cities along the way.

Corsica and Sardinia

Escorted Tour Pace 2

Explore the unique identities of two of Europe's most beautiful islands

Journey through the historic landscapes of Germany and France on this rewarding cruise along the Rhine

Explore the riverside cities of Rouen and Bordeaux and discover the fascinating history of La Rochelle on this delightful cruise to France aboard Fred. Olsen's Braemar.

Chart the legacy of the Rhône from the Roman age to the belle époque, as you visit the beautiful cities of Lyon, Avignon and Arles.

Cruise two of Europe's most scenic stretches of river, passing famous vineyards and visiting towns and cities rich in history and architectural highlights

Cruise picturesque stretches of the Rhine and Main, visiting charming medieval wine towns, enjoying a tour and canal cruise in the vibrant city of Strasbourg and discovering Amsterdam along the way…

This seven-night cruise on the Rhine sails from Holland's vibrant capital to Basel in Switzerland, discovering many of the river's celebrated highlights en route

Mighty fortresses and impressive cathedrals feature on this cruise along the Rhine from Cologne in Germany to Strasbourg in France.

Explore the riverside cities of Rouen and Bordeaux and discover the fascinating history of La Rochelle on this delightful cruise to France aboard Fred. Olsen's Braemar.

Explore a realm of charming cities, vineyards, châteaux and, of course, great wine on this cruise along the Garonne and Dordogne.

Mighty fortresses and impressive cathedrals feature on this cruise along the Rhine from Cologne in Germany to Strasbourg in France.

Admire the picturesque scenery along the Seine during this six-night cruise through France

Cruise the Rhône through the Burgundy region, visit the silk-weaving city of Lyon and medieval Avignon on this Saga holiday

Explore the riverside city of Rouen and discover the fascinating history of La Rochelle on this delightful French cruise aboard Fred. Olsen's Black Watch.

Explore the riverside cities of Rouen and Bordeaux and discover the lively harbour of Honfleur on this delightful cruise to France aboard Fred. Olsen's Braemar.

Embark on an Iberian adventure on this fabulous cruise that follows the Atlantic coasts of France, Spain and Portugal.

Follow in the footsteps of the ancient Greeks with a visit to Athens, discover the mark of Roman rule in Italy and set foot on the glorious Côte d’Azur as you visit some of Europe's greatest cities.

Quaint Alsace villages, arty Amsterdam and Gothic Strasbourg all await as Amadeus Symphony sails along the River Rhine.

Rhine and Moselle

River Cruise

Relax as your ship glides through famous rivers, admiring the stunning landscape and river communities await to welcome Saga travellers

Discover some of the Mediterranean's most sophisticated destinations, including Nice and Venice.

Sample tasty wines, explore medieval cities, and see many elegant châteaux of the River Loire.

Enjoy a magical Christmas exploring the Rhine's festive towns and cities then welcome the New Year with a sparkling fireworks display.

Discover the vibrant culture of some of Spain's liveliest ports, as well as calling at glamourous Monte Carlo. Visit Portoferraio on the island of Elba and Sète, the ‘Little Venice of Languedoc’ – ports that are only accessible to smaller ships like Braemar.

Sail the romantic Rhine and the magnificent river Rhône on this CroisiEurope river cruise from the North Sea to the Mediterranean.

Ride a vintage tram in Lisbon, relax on the beaches of Arrecife, see Mount Teide in Tenerife then inhale the floral scent of Funchal before winding down with a glass of port in Oporto's vineyards.

Explore the riverscapes of Spain and France as Fred. Olsen's Braemar sails along the Guadalquivir, Garonne and Seine and also visits Seville, Bordeaux and Rouen.

Explore the riverscapes of Spain and France as Fred. Olsen's Braemar sails along the Garonne, Guadalquivir and Seine and also visits Bordeaux, Seville and Rouen.

Make a circuit of the Balearics, visiting the capitals of Ibiza, Minorca and Majorca, explore the islands of Corsica and Sardinia, and pay a visit to Sicily before cruising home via the historic cities of Cartagena and Lisbon.

Explore Normandy and experience the magic of Paris as you cruise the Seine, calling at the cities of Rouen and Vernon, and perhaps take the chance to visit Monet's garden at Giverny.

Enjoy a journey along the Upper Rhine, visiting a wealth of fascinating destinations, before cruising along the celebrated Danube.

Discover ancient buildings, striking art, glorious autumnal landscapes and iconic sites – all combine to create a fabulous picture of the western Mediterranean.

Look forward to a slice of life in the fast lane on this cruise of the western Mediterranean, which includes the chance to watch the glitzy Monaco Grand Prix.

Experience the glamour of the Italian and French rivieras. Enjoy the charms of pastel-coloured Portofino, savour a taste of high-society in Monte Carlo, sip pastis in Marseille and watch a spot of water jousting in Sète.

Discover the buzz of Lisbon and Barcelona en route to the sparkling shores of the French Riviera. Stroll through the historic streets of Toulon and Nice, perhaps visit Monaco, and explore high-class Cannes.

This cruise travels the length of the Rhine and on two of its biggest tributaries – the Moselle and Main – revealing the characteristic sights of their banks – castles, vineyards and lively Frankfurt respectively…

Explore the historic cities that line the coast of northern Europe, with five overnight moorings along with calls at the capital cities of Denmark and Norway, and opportunities to explore Berlin and Paris.

Enjoy a journey along the Upper Rhine, visiting a wealth of fascinating destinations, before cruising along the celebrated Danube.

Uncover the island charms of Guernsey before tracing the coasts of Portugal, Spain and France to visit a host of delightful destinations including Bordeaux, where you get to spend two full days. There will be the opportunity to taste the food and wines of this region, and you'll get some unique insights from our on-board experts. The island of Tresco, a new port for Saga Sapphire, provides a grand finale for this springtime cruise.

Cruise the mighty Rhône and Saône through Provence and Burgundy to discover the culture, heritage and fine wines of regional France

Discover a region of fine wine, culture and heritage as you sail in luxury from Provence to the Rhône-Alpes region of France.

See the colours of the western Mediterranean on this cruise that ends the summer in style.

Discover the beautiful islands of the Azores and Canaries in spring, when their colourful flowers are in full bloom. Contrast the sand dunes of Fuerteventura with the laurel forests of La Gomera and admire the dramatic coastline of Brittany.

Discover la dolce vita on this cruise that traces Italy's stunning west coast to Sicily, and also calls at Corsica and Malta.

Cruise to a region where ancient civilisations have left an indelible impression, such as the Greek and Minoan ruins in Greece, Roman villas of Malta and Etruscan relics in Italy.

Explore the fascinating cities of Budapest, Vienna, Strasbourg and more on this diverse cruise.

Join this early summer cruise to the continent and celebrate 20 years of Saga Cruising with us.

Celebrate Christmas and the New Year in style on this wonderful cruise around the Iberian Peninsula and Italy.

This voyage aboard Saga Sapphire takes in the best of the Med – from the eye-catching architecture of Valencia, to the ancient ruins of Carthage.

Language

French - The language spoken throughout France is, of course, French. You'll find English is widely understood in most tourist areas, but it’s always worth learning a few handy phrases as a courtesy.

Tipping

In restaurants a service charge is included, but it is customary to leave small change with your payment. Taxi drivers will expect a 10-15% tip on top of your fare.

Population and size

France has a slightly larger population than the UK, with approximately 65.8 million.

At 674,843 square kilometres, France is more than two-and-a-half times the size of the UK.

Currency

Euro - The official currency is the euro. One euro is divided into 100 cents.

Culture

French cuisine is world-renowned, and in 2010 was added to UNESCO's list of the world's intangible cultural heritage. Food and wine play an important part in French culture, and you can't visit without getting a taste for the region – whether it's biting into a crumbly croissant or a sitting down to a hearty bouillabaisse. Dishes and specialities are diverse, and influenced by the ingredients available in each region.

When visiting shops in France it is customary to say good morning or evening ('bonjour' or 'bonsoir') to the assistant or owner and say good bye ('au revoir') when you leave. Handshaking is a customary greeting between strangers, while friends will lightly kiss on the cheeks, once on the left cheek and once on the right.

The famous sons and daughters of France are, frankly, a colourful bunch and include Napoleon Bonaparte, Brigitte Bardot, Claude Monet, Joan of Arc, Louis Pasteur, Nostradamus, Charles Aznavour, Marie Antoinette, Marcel Marceau, Andre the Giant, Cyrano de Bergerac, Catherine Deneuve, Raymond Blanc, Edith Piaf, Eric Cantona, Louis Braille, Jules Verne, Jacques Clouseau and Athos, Portos, Aramis and D’Artangnan. Who would you invite to a dinner party?

History-wise, France has lots. It began with the homo sapiens some 42,000 years ago, of which we know very little, and then the Celts, of which we know marginally more. But things really got interesting when Julius Cesar conquered the territory known as Gaul in 51BC. Next came the Franks, who formed West Francia in the 900s, followed by lots of land-grabs by English monarchs and the Habsburgs in the ensuing centuries. By the 17th century, French culture was de rigueur in Europe thanks to larger-than-life Louis XIV who kept the throne for a remarkable 72 years. The royals didn't last long though - a messy revolution succeeded in overthrowing the monarch and in 1789 France became a republic. Napoleon took his turn next, then it was back and forth between a monarchy and republic for a few more centuries.

The First World War saw France join sides with the British to fight the Germans. It was also an ally in the Second World War until the Nazis took control. Thankfully the Resistance retaliated and helped smooth a path for the Allies through France following the invasion of Normandy in 1944. In 1958 it became a key member of the European Economic Community which, in 1993, was superseded by the European Union.

Phrases

Here are a few handy words and phrases:

Je ne parle pas français – I don't speak French

Parlez-vous anglais? – Do you speak English?

Bonjour – Hello

Au revoir – Goodbye

S'il vous plaît – Please

Merci – Thank you

Oui – Yes

Non – No

Excusez-moi – Excuse me

Timezone

France is one hour ahead of GMT.

Electricity

The mains voltage is 220 volts AC (50 cycles). Sockets take small round two-pin plugs, so most British appliances will require an adaptor.

It’s best to take one with you, as it can be hard to track down shops that sell them when you are on your travels.

Climate

You'll find the climate in northern France is similar to that of the UK. As you travel south, sunshine increases and the temperature rises until you reach Provence with its long, hot summers and cooler but bright winters.

Health

Mosquitoes can be a problem in southern France during the summer, especially in the evening when you simply want to watch the sun set with a vin blanc in hand! You may find it helpful to wear long sleeves and trousers, and to use mosquito repellents on exposed areas of skin.

As health information can change at any time, we’d advise you to consult your GP at least 12 weeks before departure.

Country-specific information and advice on possible health risks is also published by the National Travel Health Network and Centre – see www.nathnac.org, and The British Foreign and Commonwealth Travel Advice Unit provides important health and safety information for British nationals travelling abroad at www.fco.gov.uk/travel.

Passports and visas

British citizens don't require a visa, but you will need a current passport that is valid for the duration of your holiday.

Smoking

As in all EU countries, smoking is banned on public transport and in public places, including bars, restaurants and hotels.

Flight time

From London to Marseille it takes approximately one hour 45 minutes.

If you’re travelling to Paris by Eurostar it’ll take approximately two hours 20 minutes.


Corsica

Welcome to the French island off the coast of Italy…