‘Vive La France’ and all that. A mere hop, skip and a jump from us in Angleterre, let’s not forget we can embrace their mighty cheese, wine and coastline. Or should that be waistline. Show us a plate of steak and frites and we’ll show you one happy diner. With thousands of acres of vineyards to explore, how about a weekend learning your Burgundy from your Bordeaux. Or head to Épernay in the northeast of France; a champagne lover’s dream (and the only place in the world where champagne can call itself that).
For a romantic weekend, it’s Paris of course, filling up your days with macarons and chocolat chaud whilst taking in the sights. Take a river boat cruise down the Seine, amble through the Jardins des Tuileries or opt for a motorbike tour in your own sidecar. Eat a leisurely brunch at Café de Flore and soak up the sights of all this wonderful city has to offer. Paris never disappoints.
Alternatively, do the sensible thing and head to the French Riviera for a spot of sophisticated rest and relaxation. The Côte d’Azur certainly delivers with its twinkling blue sea and sumptuous sunbeds, safe in the knowledge that lunch and dinner is going to be world-class. St Tropez and Antibes are our personal favourites or take a detour to the magical island of Corsica for unrivalled service and white sand underfoot.
You were never told that Saint-Tropez is paradise?
LES ROCHES ROUGES
Set on the glorious Provencal coast between Saint Tropez and Cannes, this hotel boasts barefoot luxury. Designed by renowned architecture firm Festen the have created nautical-modernist lines over the Mediterranean Sea. With a stunning natural seawater swimming pool, two restaurants and endless diving and snorkelling, ths is one for water babies. Most importantly is that you are in total seclusion but only a short ride to the French Riviera.
La Plaga Casadelmar is a contemporary beach retreat set on a private sandy cove. With amazing sea views across Porto Vecchio bay , 15 bedrooms with private terraces and view, this is pure heaven. Similarly, it’s also geared towards adults so you won’t see many kids on your stay. Laze on the gorgeous sandy beach, snorkel in the crystal-clear waters or take a speedboat transfer to their sister hotel. From where you can indulge in some spa treatments and enjoy a Michelin-starred meal.
This chic hotel situated above Palombaggia beach boasts stylish rooms, delicious food and an uninterrupted outlook to the clear blue sea. Sitting on a forested hill, enjoy the infinity pool or head to the beach for a change of scene. Breakfast is served in the restaurant or in your room. Besides that, as a result of being so close to the beach, you can use the private path to walk there or the hotel buggy service to get sand underfoot in no time.
LES TROIS VALLEES
Portetta hotel (sister hotel to Limewood and The Pig), combines amazing service, alpine luxury and tasty food, as well as an enviable ski-in, ski-out setting. All rooms are effortlessly stylish with fabulous views of the pistes or the Courchevel valley. The modern spa area features a sauna, Hammam and candle-lit relaxation lounge and you can also relax in the hot tub overlooking the slopes. Soak up the sun on the largest terrace in Courchevel at their Fire and Ice bar with its wood-fired pizza oven, fur throws and heated bar seating. Or savour an après ski vin chaud in front of the open fire in the Portetta bar.
From £462.48 per night
LE VAL THORENS
Hotel Le Val Thorens offers affordability in a great location. Situated right on the slopes in the centre of the resort, this is perfect for a family ski trip at Europe’s highest ski resort. Located in the stunning Tarentaise Valley, this ski area offers more than 600km of piste. With ski in / ski out access, spend your days scaling the heights of the resort before returning to your hotel with 2 restaurants, sun terrace and lovely spa with indoor swimming pool.
Alpaga offers 22 bedrooms, two restaurants (a bistrot and a Michelin starred restaurant) and La Colline Spa, all just a handy 5 minutes’ horse and carriage (!) ride from the heart of the village. With a fantastic view of Mont Blanc, Alpaga offers a picture-perfect backdrop from its traditional chalet mixed with contemporary furnishings. La Colline Spa is a welcome retreat after a tough day on the slopes. With a dark stone pool, two treatment cabins, fitness centre and Scandinavian hot tub and sauna, this is the perfect mountain getaway.
Tucked away in the lively Marais quarter of Paris, Hotel Dupond Smith offers the ultimate in Parisian hideaways. With only 8 rooms all designed by Philippe Starck and Ronan to name a few the hotel offers that rare gem of ultra-exclusivity without the crowds. The concierge can arrange a massage therapist to visit your room. Plus there’s a bar and lounge downstairs which is open to non-guests for a drink as they pass through the Marais area.
This sleek design hotel has interiors by Gilles and Boissier (who were mentored by Philippe Starck) so expect contemporary art and a modern feel throughout. Set in the heart of Paris, the hotel itself is situated on a quiet side street and also benefits from a quiet outside terrace. You can choose to have breakfast at the hotel for 22 EUR per person or venture out to the nearby cafes for a taste of Parisian life.
LE YULE HOTEL
The newest 5* hotel addition to Val d ‘Isère is rather special indeed. Spectacularly situated at the foot of the Solaise slopes, this Scandinavian-inspired hotel is right on trend what with our current love of all things ‘hygge’. With 41 bedrooms (most of them south facing with stunning views of the slopes), all kitted out in vintage Scandi decor, this is our idea of heaven when it comes to a luxury ski hotel. Their restaurant bar and lounge boasts a huge sun-filled terrace on sunny days or a roasting fire to enjoy with a hot drink when the weather turns. They also boast the rather fabulous Nuxe Spa with a fantastic swimming pool, jacuzzi, hammam and sauna.