Summer 2012: French favourites

 

Brittany's south coast is the setting for Les Jardins d'Arvor, a new complex of 134 family friendly apartments at Bénodet that is being sold through Brittany Ferries (0871 244 1444; brittanyferries.com/holidays).

The apartments sleep between two and eight and are within reach of four beaches, the medieval city of Quimper, and the Glénan Islands. This summer, a family of four pays a total of £1,045 for a week, including ferry crossings from Portsmouth, Poole or Plymouth.

The newly renovated Monte-Bianco hotel, near Saint-Gervais, is open for summer fun in the Alps. There's plenty to do in the mountains, from glacier trekking to tours of Mont Blanc. The 84-bedroom hotel has an indoor pool, and kids' clubs provide diversion for youngsters from 18 months to 16 years. Peak Retreats (0844 576 0123; peakretreats.co.uk) offers seven nights' half board at the hotel from £464 per adult and £294 per child, with ferry crossings from Dover to Calais. A night in a hotel en route costs £98 for a family room.

You could set up home in the Dordogne this summer. Simply Périgord (0033 553 545431; simply-perigord.com) has a number of properties available to rent. A new addition is the Maison de la Forêt, a three-bedroom stone house, near Le Bugue. Sleeping up to six, it costs €2,275 (£1,800) per week. Beau Bois, a house sleeping eight with a pool in Campagne, costs €2,285 per week. Return flights are currently available to Bergerac from Stansted, Liverpool, East Midlands and Bristol, starting from £139 with Ryanair (0871 246 0000; ryanair.com).

Sharpen up your dinner-party skills on a cooking and wine tasting course, a new experience from Flavours of France Cookery Holidays (flavoursfrance.com). The four- and five-day courses are held in the gastronomic hub of Lyon, and include classes led by Simon Huet, from local Michelin-starred restaurant Têtedoie, as well as tours of beaujolais vineyards. With departures on 27 July and 17 August, the trip costs from £865 per person, including accommodation, most meals, classes and excursions. Flights to Lyon from Gatwick, Stansted, and Edinburgh airports currently cost from £86 return with easyJet (0843 104 5000; easyjet.com).

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