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Forget Wimbledon, football championships and the ‘O word’ we can’t mention, the highlight of our sporting calendar is the annual Pierre etVacances summer Petanque party.

This hotly anticipated event features wine, cheese and a fiercely fought Petanque contest, which is always guaranteed to bring out the competitive nature in all our lovely travel partners and francophile friends.

Getting into the French spirit: the Pierre & Vacances team

Here, the lovely Elodie from our team gives you a glimpse behind the scenes of organising our summer party, from choosing the wine and cheese in Calais, to hightailing it to a Parisian themed bar when the British weather threatened to spoil our fun! 

‘At 7am the day before the party I took the ferry from Dover with P&O Ferries (thank you to Daniel Acarnley for organising!) and went to Calais to buy all the French food and booze needed for our summer event.

On the ferry!

‘A short hour and a half later we were in Calais and decided to buy the drink first, white and red wine from “Calais à vin”. They had a huge range, so of course we had to try a few – to be sure we made the right decision of course!

What to choose?!

‘The day of the event came and all eyes were firmly glued to the weather forecast. Last year’s event was bathed in glorious sunshine, but sadly this year the weather was not on our side, with heavy rain and strong winds howling down on our little gazebo – not ideal conditions for playing Petanque on the beach!

Fun on Brighton beach

‘However, being the true sport and Petanque enthusiasts that we are, we still managed a small competition with the help of the Brighton Petanque Club Association – with a few people holding our gazebos down…

Le chic Paris House, Brighton

‘After the short competition and a fast “aperitif”, everyone sheltered from the storm in our local chic French bar “The Paris House” to continue the party in drier conditions.

French goodies…

‘Martyn Summers and Ian Burgess won the hotly contested Petanque competition, and to reward their dedication they each received a basket full of French local produce such as the famous Saucisson from Ardèche, a bottle of Sancerre and paté.’

A very happy man

Someone didn’t read the dress code…

Inspired by our Francophile fun? For Love France week we’re giving away two limited edition Pierre & Vacances Petanque sets over on our Facebook page!

Limited edition petanque set!

And thank you to everyone who braved the British weather and came along, the Paris House Brighton for taking us in at the last minute, and to KBC PR & Marketing Team for their contribution to the event.


Love France Week – Limousin insider’s guide

July 30, 2012 3:00 pm
posted by Rebecca

Ever wondered where you can really get away from it all in France? Look no further than lovely Limousin. The region is one of the most sparsely populated spots in France, and if you’re a history buff, you’ll find plenty to keep you entertained.

We’ve asked the people who know best, the Limousin tourist board, for their top tips on things to see and do:

There are many excellent restaurants in Limousin but for some authentic fare, head to one of the region’s Auberge de Pays where you can be sure to sample some local food.

Limousin knows exactly how to take ad­vantage of the flavours of its local pro­duce : beef, truffles, blueberries, walnuts, chestnuts, Golden Delicious apples and mushrooms. Traditional specialities to try include: gale­tous fourrés (thick buckwheat pancakes), potée limousine (pork hot-pot from the Limousin region prepared with cabbage and root vegetables), ceps, Saint-Yrieix Madeleines, Saint-Léonard marzipans, Creuse hazelnut cakes, Corrèze liquors and of course the amazing Clafoutis – cherry desert.

If you are looking to try some local tipple, try one of the yummy beers produced in one of Limousin’s micro breweries.

Limousin’s blessed with natural wonders including the Lac de Vassivières, one of France’s largest lakes in the heart of the region, and the  Plateau de Millevaches  national park. Its also a region rich with  historical sites like the Santiago de Compostella pilgrim’s walking route, the Château de Chalus where Richard the Lionheart spent his final hours and the martyr village of Oradour sur Glane destroyed by the Nazis in World War II.

Most people don’t know but… Two French Presidents are from Limousin Jacques Chirac who has his own museum in the region and current French President François Hollande, who is from Tulle.

The Impressionists’ Valley inspired many of the movement’s most renowned painters including Monet. Take a trip around Crozant to see the sites which inspired them.

The Château de Boussac is one of the region’s most iconic sites. Writer George Sand famously stayed there a few times and discovered the renowned unicorn tapestry

To check out some of Limousin’s best views over the Dordogne Valley  you can find a spot near the Pierre & Vacances Residence Les Belle Rives in Argentat.

Brive la Gaillarde has got a fantastic market, making it a great stop for a spot of gastro shopping. Limoges has got the largest concentration of boutiques in the area, it is also the Porcelain capital of France, so definitely worth a stop for any shopping outing.

Terra Aventura, Limousin’s version of geocaching, is a great way to entertain kids. Available for free on your sat nav or smart phone this gigantic treasure hunt will sure keep the kids amused!

The best place to enjoy the local nightlife are la Place Denis Dussoubs, the Place de la Cité and and the rue Charles Michel in Limoges, aptly nicknamed “thirst street”!

Local trivia/fun facts:

–   Two French President, Jacques Chirac and Francois Hollande are from Limousin

–   Renowned French patisseries Madeleine and Clafoutis are from Limousin

Enter Love France Week for your chance to win one of 10 goodie bags from Limousin.


Love France Week – a guide to French wine

July 27, 2012 11:02 am
posted by Sarah

Along with good food, sandy beaches, stripey t-shirts and a jauntily placed beret, nothing says France like a good glass of wine. So our friends at Calais Wine Superstore have given us a case of six bottles of Chateau Les Terrasses de Bouey Bordeaux to give away as part of Love France week [you can enter on our Facebook page!].

But do you know your Bordeaux from your Burgundy, or your Claret from your Chardonnay?! Well Calais Wines Superstores’ Marketing Manager Ash Dharan is here to explain what makes a good glass of vin blanc or rouge and what to sup it with….

It’s fair to say that no other country is as associated with wine as our Gallic neighbours.  Whether it’s premium claret, a crisp rosé or sticky Sauternes, France has all your wine needs covered.  Here’s a rundown of the main wine producing regions in France.  But there are no rules when it comes to food and wine matching, so be sure to experiment!

Bordeaux Wines

Arguably the most famous wine growing region in the world, Bordeaux reds (clarets) fetch eye-watering prices in auctions.  Yet you don’t have to sell a kidney to enjoy good claret.  Try the Chateau des Leotins 2009 or Les Caleches de Lanessan Haut Médoc 2005. Pair with steak, rich lamb dishes or any other red meat.  Or serve Roquefort and walnuts with a Sauternes Caprice de Bastor Lamontagne 2004.

Pierre & Vacances’ Lacanau Holiday Village in the south-west of France will give you and your family the perfect base to discover the vineyards of Bordeaux.

Burgundy Wines

The most terroir-conscious of the French wine-growing regions!  Almost all wine from Burgundy goes by the sub-region in which it was produced e.g Pouilly Fuissé, Chablis, Côte d’Or, Maconnais.

Try the Mâcon Lugny Cave de Lugny 2009 with grilled, lightly spiced chicken or splurge on lobster thermidor accompanied by a Meursault Clos du Cromin Chartron et Trebuchet 2009.

Burgundy reds are an ideal partner for boeuf bourguignon (a regional specialty) as well as cheeses like brie or cantal.  They partner game very well too – serve up venison or duck with Maranges 1er Cru Les Clos Roussots 2008.

Côtes du Rhône Wines

Northern Rhône wines go very well with pâté and charcuterie as well as slow roasted lamb.  For exceptional value, try the Cave de Tain l’Hermitage Syrah 2009.  Southern Rhône reds accompany moussaka, cassoulets and shepherd’s pie brilliantly! I’d recommend Anne Delaroche Chateauneuf du Pape 2011.

Explore Rhône’s countryside and vineyards from Pierre & Vacances’ range of self catering accommodation on the French Riviera!

Provence Wines

Provence wines are intensely aromatic and change immensely when consumed with food as opposed to by themselves.  Take the Côte de Provence Rose Les Marinelles 2010 which is light enough to be drunk alone but can stand up to aioli and rouille which makes it a perfect accompaniment to seafood appetisers.

Experience Provence’s beautiful countryside [and wine!] from Pierre & Vacances’ family friendly Pont Royal en Provence Holiday Village.

Alsace Wines

Alsatian wines are influenced by Germany, and this is the only region in France that produces varietal wines [wines made primarily from a single named grape variety named on their label].  Aromatic wines are a match made in heaven for aromatic food such as Thai and Indian – try the Wolfberger Gewurztraminer 2010 with your next takeaway.  Or the Domaine Lowe Clos des Freres Bruderbach Riesling 2007  with pork and apple sauce!

Pierre & Vacances’ Residence Le Clos d’Eguisheim is the perfect place to explore the pretty Alsace and Lorraine regions in North East France.

Loire Valley Wines

The home of Sauvignon Blanc and Chenin Blanc as well as Muscadet, wines from this region are perfect accompaniments to seafood.  Try the Muscadet Sèvre et Maine sur Lie Marie Louise 2009 with some moules marinière and the Pouilly Fumé Le Mont Fleuri 2011 with oily fish such as mackerel or trout.

Red wine lovers can find comfort in a Chinon Les Gravières d’Amador Abbé de Turpenay 2010, served lightly chilled at a picnic.

Languedoc-Roussillon Wines

This is the single biggest wine producing region in the world – it produces more wine every year than the whole of the USA!  There is a huge choice available and Languedoc wines are often more approachable and fruit-forward than traditional French AOCs [Appellation d’origine Contrôlée – the French certification granted to certain French geographical produces].

Lamb shanks or hard cheese would work very well with the Chateau de Fournas Corbières while chicken kiev or chicken cordon bleu could be accompanied by Bessière Chardonnay.

As well as the vineyards and countryside, savour the beautiful beaches of the Languedoc region on the Mediterranean coast from Pierre & Vacances’ range of self-catering accommodation in the area.

The Calais Wine Superstore is a British-owned, independent wine shop, if you’re passing through Calais, come and experience their tasting zone – try up to 70 wines for free everyday! Or, if you want to pre-order online, they’ll have it ready for collection so you can make the most of your holiday! To find out more about these wines, please visit