As late summer descends P&O Ferries have drawn up a few recommendations for getaways to France this August and September. The commemoration services for the centenary of World War I continue so be aware that some events will make it difficult to find accommodation. This goes double for the areas around the major sites of the conflict and traffic will be busy close specific services and ceremonies.
Let us first remind you that this will be your last chance to get to the gardens at the estate of Chaumont-sur-Loire castle. Thirty landscape artists have made the gardens around the chateau a picturesque scene indeed but the true skill of their craft shines given the clever way in which the landscapes appeal to the eye throughout the year. The onset of autumn means these gardens will be in transition from the bright colours of June and July to a verdant fruition, welcoming the oncoming harvest.
This year’s garden festival has the theme of nature. The crowds it has drawn vary from professional horticulturalists to nature lovers and those looking for ideas for their own gardens. There is more to it than an idle stroll, it has been described as an ‘open-air contemporary landscape art museum’. The gardens at Chaumont-sur-Loire have been bedecked with sculptures and other works which blend nature and art giving the gardens an almost Shakespearian feel – faery like. This is complemented come dusk as the gardens illuminate from thousands of LEDs to truly transport you to an ethereal plane.
Guided tours are available until late September, if you wish to get an all-encompassing understanding of just what is trying to be accomplished in Loire. The Loire valley on it’s own is an area of outstanding natural beauty if you wish to appreciate man’s attempt at a natural garden then you can easily find settings to juxtapose it with by straying beyond Chaumont-sur-Loire’s borders.
For more on the Loire valley click here
Time is running short to make bookings for Lille’s long anticipated Flea Market. It will be open to all on the last weekend of August Saturday 31st to September 1st open from 2PM to 11PM. The flea market at Lille is steeped in tradition dating back to medieval times when valets were granted permission to sell off their masters cast off clothes and unwanted belongings.
The market has since grown to record breaking proportions. Last year welcomed over one million visitors. Lille is made in to a pedestrian zone with a 100km space open for people to sell their wares. It’s not just a large garage sale, though members of the public are welcome to turn a profit – craftsman from around France flock to the market to set up. You’ll be able to purchase anything from clothing to home made soap. France is famed for its gastronomy so of course there will be plenty to tantalise your taste buds. If you’re interested in the local traditions then the custom is to window shop over a plateful of Moules-frites that is steamed mussels and chips to you and me. Naturally there will be plenty of alternatives if that isn’t to your liking France is, after all, a country of cheeses, brasseries and of course wine.
One good tip is to pick up a Pass’Braderie for just 4.70 euro giving you access to all public transport over the two day period. As we mentioned Lille becomes a pedestrian haunt so it is advised to plan ahead with public transport.
On a different note entirely; if you’d rather go farther afield and want to do something a bit eccentric then the town of Agen in the south of France could have something right up your alley. From the 29th-31st August they are the proud hosts of the Big Prune Show. To celebrate the tasting of the first prunes of the year. French gastronomy has a very proud tradition but if you frequent France for it’s cheese and wines why not sample the prunes this time. C’mon they’re good for you!
This has been an annual event since 2005 and assuredly has a great family atmosphere along with a gourmet market concerts and regional produce.
This time of year also brings the wine harvest. If you fancy yourself a bit of a connoisseur then the last major tours of the year are available between October and November. To avoid disappointment book ahead. Of course there is never really any shortage of wine for tasting in France but it does make a fantastic trip to see the vineyards whilst laden with grapes.
To take a more mainstream trip this autumn a family holiday to Disneyland Paris is sure to keep you on your toes. From October 1st to November 2nd the park will be going all out for Halloween. The streets will be littered with pumpkins – if you’re sensitive to the shade of orange then it may be best to take sunglasses. The villains will be taking pride of place as the most haunting time of year draws nigh but there’ll be plenty of chances to catch all your favourites in parades and lots of costumes to bring a spooky atmosphere to the park.
The Musical Water Show at Versailles will be closing come October 26th so this is your last chance to get there. A truly transportive experience the vast gardens and many statues and fountains of Versailles have been given backing music. The baroque stylings of Andre Rousset will give you a unique stirring as you strut the gardens of Versailles – one couldn’t be blamed for daydreaming of joining the aristocratic elite of days gone by.
Book your P&O Ferry from Dover to Calais now a 90 minute ferry runs 46 times a day from England to France.