Things to know before renting villas in France

Renting holiday lettings in France is a great way to learn more about the country and to get a real, genuine and authentic grasp of the destination. However, it may be useful to start off with some information about the practicalities of staying in France. Whilst you are sure to feel right at home at your French holiday lettings, there are differences in local legislation, geography, culture and many other things that altogether make going on a self-catering holiday in France a fascinating and exciting experience. Find out more here about transport, geography and national holidays to get you on your way.

Bank Holidays in France

National holidays are a great joy for the French people, and there are many and varied ways the French celebrate throughout the year. There are markets, concerts, traditional religious celebrations, conventions, music festivals and so many more things to do in France whilst these days occur. Perhaps you can book a French holiday rental to coincide with some of the celebrations? Although certain services may be reduced on these days, it is definitely worth seeing which events are going on over the following days:

·New Years Day

·Easter Day

·1 May

·8 May (the Liberation in 1945)

·Ascension Day

·14 July (National holiday - Bastilles Day)

·15 August (Ascension of Mary)

·1 November (Truce 1918)

·25.December (Christmas Day)

Getting to your French holiday homes

French holiday homes by NOVASOL are often set in ideal locations so that you don’t have to travel far to see the main attractions – whether that be beaches, cities or historical towns. With 34 international airports across the country, it is easy to plan a route to your holiday home, however, some rural locations be easier to explore by car. If you are renting a car for convenience whilst you are away, remember you should bring your driving license, registration and insurance documentation. Wear a seatbelt, remember not to use the car horn in towns, and that the alcohol limit is 0.5ml per litre. Please be aware of the following limitations whilst driving to your villas in France:

·Motorways: 110 km/h

·Highways: 90 km/h

·Outside of built-up areas: 90 km/h

·Cites/towns: 50 km/h

Reaching your villas in France via the Eurotunnel

The euro tunnel ‘Tunnel sous la Manche’ connects mainland Europe with Britain. Not only is this an excellent mode of transport to your holiday homes in France, but it is an attraction in itself. The 50.45 km long railway tunnel is the realisation of a dream of engineers from the 18th and 19th centuries. The construction of the tunnel was commissioned in 1987 and completed in June 1993. It pays to take a ride on the imposing ‘Euro Tunnel Le Shuttle’ train even if you have already reached your gites in France. This new, ultra-modern train delivers passengers from one platform to the next in the space of 35 minutes. You can book online before even arriving at your holiday homes in France.

Opening hours in France

As with any other country you may be visiting, it is important to know the opening hours of local facilities near your French holiday homes, as they often differ from the UK and other European countries. Depending on location of your French villas and factors including climate and population, it may also be customary for offices and businesses to often be closed a few hours in the middle of the day. Use this time to relax at your holiday homes or perhaps to explore the magnificent natural resources France has to offer! A rough guide to opening hours is as follows:

·Shops from 9am/10am – 6pm/7pm CET (including Saturday).

·Markets from 9am – 10pm CET

·Banks from 8.30am/9am – 5pm CET (Monday – Friday)

·Public offices from 9am – 5pm CET (Monday – Friday)

·Businesses and offices 9am-6pm (Monday-Friday)

Geography of France

France has three long stretches of coast: in the north towards the English Channel, which separates France from Great Britain, in the west towards the Biscay Bay and the Atlantic Ocean and in the south towards the Mediterranean. NOVASOL has French villas across France for you to choose from. In the south of France, you can choose holiday rentals on the island of Corsica, which constitutes one of the 22 regions. Corsica mainly consists of rock formations separated by deep rift valleys. The west coast is a high plateau with many spits and bays, but only a few natural harbours. On the east coast, however, the altitude is low and level with many beaches. France has such a varied landscape - perfect for city breaks, beach holidays or activity holidays with your family!

Climate in France

Climate can differ across France, so it is important to know how the weather will be before you leave for your villas or apartments in France. If you rent villas in Brittany, for example, you will get a totally different climate from Cannes or Bordeaux. We can generalise and say that there are usually cool temperatures in winter and fairly mild summer weather away from the coast on the mainland. However, on the Mediterrnean coast, you can expect a very different climate - with milder winters and hot summers. Northern France also generally experiences colder, windier weather, whereas the further south you go, the warmer it gets. Learn more about climate in France and seasonal holidays if you are looking for a summer holiday by the beach or a skiing holiday in a French gite!

Speaking French on your self-catering holidays

The French language is a fiercely protected part of local culture and is widely spoken in Europe and in French colonies across the world. English is also widely understood in most places in France, so even if you don’t speak the language, you shouldn’t have trouble on your villa holidays in France. Descended from Latin, like Italian and Spanish, the French language is often cited as the ‘language of love’ and there are countless famous examples of French poetry and other literature through the ages. Pick up translated works by Proust, Dumas, Flaubert or Jean-Paul Sartre to read at your villas in France, or head to your local bookshop for a phrasebook should you want to improve your French.

Exploring French cuisine at your holiday lettings

Again, whilst renting your accommodation in France you will notice the cuisine is another hugely celebrated part of culture – and for good reason. The best things to eat in France generally consist of fresh vegetables, various types of meat and local cheeses. Washed down with wine, dinner often comes in several courses – beginning with an 'hors d’oeuvre' of soup, salad or maybe pâté, and ending with an unctuous chocolate, pastry or cheese-based dessert. If you are eating out, keep an eye out for traditional bistros and authentic restaurants. If you prefer to cook at your French villa, you will love shopping at the boulangerie (bakery), the local marché (market) or the épicier (greengrocer) and enjoying authentic French food with your family.

Service - Why NOVASOL?

Self-catering in France is quite popular because of the quality of apartments, villas and cottages offered by NOVASOL. Select from stunning houses that are airy and very spacious, located in an elevated position in peaceful countryside, well-connected urban apartments or France holiday lettings on the coast. It is not just NOVASOL’s wonderful range of holiday homes in France, however that has kept us going for almost 50 years. Our exceptional service keeps customers returning again and again. With local offices in our French holiday home locations, we have inside knowledge, expertise and a team on hand to make your stay the best it can be.