BRITTANY Ferries' advertising assault on P & O European Ferries and Stena Sealink this week highlights the nervousness of ferry companies and other French travel specialists at the decline in bookings. Latest estimates suggest that bookings are down by at least 20 per cent compared with last year.

When holiday supply exceeds demand, the result is discounting, and this week Keycamp Holidays (081-395 4000) announced cuts of up to pounds 300 for families booking one of its 'Square Deal Holidays' for May, June, July and September.

Travellers choose a tent or mobile home in one of 10 regions in France, Spain and Italy and select the day of departure. Keycamp picks a campsite from its 1993 brochure. A 12-night tent holiday starts at pounds 156 (pounds 332 for mobile homes) for two adults and two children, including return ferry crossings.

Drive France (081-395 8888) has produced a 'Summer Special Selection' of self-drive villa holidays for May, June and July at prices from pounds 41 per person. The holidays are in six regions of France. As for Keycamp, the holidaymaker chooses the region and the company allocates the property.

For the main school holiday season, Drive France is offering 'Family Savers' from pounds 899 per family for a two-week holiday including return ferry crossings.

French activity holiday specialist Headwater (0606 48699) this week launched 'Headwater Lite', a range of cheaper cycling and walking holidays 'aimed at attracting those who have delayed booking because of the strong franc'. A six-night cycling holiday in the Creuse region costs pounds 199, including return ferry crossing and six nights' bed-and-breakfast, with transfer of luggage between stops.

If bookings to France fail to pick up in the next few weeks, expect the bargains to multiply.

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