Rural retreats in France Explore the glorious French countryside this year
Whether your interests lie in sampling wine and cuisine, or exploring the great outdoors, France is a fantastic choice when in need of a rural retreat. Regarded across the world as boasting some of the best beaches and landscapes, it’s a country with something to offer each and every traveller: you can laze on secluded sands along the Cote d’Azur, or spend some time in Burgundy and enjoy hiking, walking and cycling. Normandy and Aquitane are ideal for lovers of history, with ancient castles and well-preserved ruins found across their hills, while the Loire Valley and Rhone-Alpes region offer every type of outdoor sport imaginable.
Whatever you dream of when imagining your rural retreat, you’ll know that finding the right accommodation’s important. That’s where HomeAway comes in, with thousands of French gites in every region of the country, and something to suit every budget, need or desire. Need a large, traditional house fit for a family? How about a cosy cottage on the coast? Whatever you want to do when in France, and wherever you’d like to go, you can guarantee HomeAway has the perfect property for you. So why wait? Simply read on for our favourite rural retreats in France, and start planning your well-deserved break today.
Best rural retreats in France
When you fancy a lazy week in a picturesque part of France, consider staying in Aquitane. Its vast forests stand against beautiful vineyards, and there are dozens of peaceful lakes on which to spend your days swimming, fishing and relaxing. In the evenings, venture into local villages for amazing cuisine: this is a region famed for its truffles and foie gras, after all. Of course, there’s plenty to do if you do decide to get out and explore: you can visit prehistoric sites like the Caves at Lascaus, home to some of the world’s oldest murals, or admire artworks by Goya in Agen’s Musee Municipal des Beaux Arts.
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Whether it’s summer or winter, the Rhone-Alpes region is a spectacular destination. When the sun shines and the rivers melt, you can explore some of Europe’s finest landscapes, enjoying a myriad of outdoor activities: from fishing to mountain biking, paragliding to kayaking, it’s a paradise for lovers of sport. In winter, however, the region becomes one of the world’s best skiing areas. The peaks of Mont Blanc become laden with sparkling snow, and both beginners and experts refine their skills on the slopes. Of course, it doesn’t matter when you choose to visit the Rhone-Alpes region - you’ll enjoy magnificent gastronomic experiences!
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Burgundy is synonymous with world-famous wine, but there’s so much more to this beautiful region. It’s recommended you take a wine tour while there, of corse: it would be a shame to miss strolling around the pretty, lush vineyards, and sampling the end-product! But for lovers of history and heritage, Burgundy’s an equally great spot for a holiday: you can explore Gallic and Romanesque ruins, or admire small churches and chateaux in quaint, rural villages. Art and outdoor activities are almost something of a speciality in the area: there are dozens of world-famous galleries to enjoy, and the landscapes are ideal for rock climbing.
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With a rural retreat in Normandy, you’ll have no shortage of things to see or do. Once you’ve settled in to your private holiday home, why not make the most of the historical attractions in the region? There are various sites pertaining to Joan of Arc in Rouen, and you’ll find museums commemorating D-day beside the beaches in Arromanche-les Bains. Mont-St-Michel, meanwhile, is probably Normandy’s most visited attraction, home to a spectacular abbey still inhabited by Benedictine monks. Of course, those interested in local fare can’t miss Calvados either, the beautiful region known for its apple brandy of the same name.
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With most of the area awarded UNESCO World Heritage status, you know you’re in for a treat when you book a rural retreat in the Loire Valley. Nicknamed the ‘Valley of the Kings’ due to the vast number of beautiful chateaux in the area, it’s the perfect spot for a well-deserved break - whatever your interests. Wine connoisseurs will find no less than 22 varieties in the region, so there’s no shortage of samples to be had! But don’t forget to explore the historical sites dotted across the region’s pretty landscapes: cycling is particularly popular in this area of France, and will allow you to travel through dozens of medieval villages.
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View cottages in France
Vacation, family or business trip? 'Chez Fifine' welcomes you in a typical farmhouse of Artois. Cottage 3-ears with Gîtes de France.
Old stone barn renovated with a living area of 110 sqm on two levels. Barbecue area and large garden ar...
Mansion house housing a Gite for 1 to 4 people in Ferrette with porch and small garden. Recently renovated, the small Gite des Fontaines opened in the summer 2011. Its architecture, equipment, comfort, interior decoration and location make it a lu...
A beautifully maintained stone house - a textbook Perigordian country home - in an enviable elevated situation overlooking the river valley - complete peace and security - yet only a few minutes drive to the panoply of pleasures awaiting you in th...
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A fully renovated and restored traditional stone house in an incredible garden setting, overlooking the Dordogne River valley. The property has private parking, and a spacious covered Terrace provides summer-long al-fresco living space.