Short break France

A short break in France, or a long weekend, is a great way to escape from work for a while and recharge the batteries. From most places in Europe a short break in France is both easy and practical, and needn't cost too much. Here are a couple of hints to get you started...

Note: we have a special section dedicated to booking a short break in Paris.

1. Many of the destinations listed in the Holiday Ideas section of this site are perfect for a short break. Many are close to budget airline airports, and have been deliberately chosen because there is a lot to see and do in a small area.

2. Gites are often available all year around, and almost always in spring and autumn. Even if not specifically mentioned, many gite owners will give a significant reduction for short break stays of less than a week outside high season - outside the summer months there are lots of unfilled gites, and owners who would like to fill them, so it doesn't hurt to ask. No one will be offended.

3. Getting cheap flights is often necessary to justify travelling to the south of France for 2 - 4 days. You can check flights at our travel page. It is probably easiest to set aside an evening, then (a) choose a destination, (b) check flights are available at a reasonable cost, then (c) search for cheap accommodation. Outside high season cheap accommodation will almost always be available, but flights may be already booked up. Car hire should then be arranged if necessary.

4. Hotels are available in all regions, and often at very good prices outside high season. Find your low cost flight first, then look at our hotels section to find a hotel for your short break.

Remember, cheap flights and full price accommodation will almost always cost less in total than full price flights and reduced price accommodation.

Whenever possible, try and organise your short break in France a few weeks before your planned holiday dates, to ensure maximum choice and best prices. But if you prefer to make a last-minute get-away that will still be straightforward - an hour on the internet (and perhaps a couple of telephone calls) on a Thursday evening and you should be ready to set off on Saturday morning (or even Friday morning if you try hard).

As a very rough indication, I have had a look at the cost of a short break to Monpazier, in the south of the Dordogne region, in April. Flights are available for about £40 return (taxes included), car hire would cost perhaps £60 for three days, and a short stay in a gite could be had for £100. Hence total price for three days for two people of about £240 (350 euros).

Now that is a bargain, and allows a few pounds left over for a trip to a restaurant. And you can recoup part of the cost if you lug a few bottles of wine home with you on the plane.

Take a short break in France? What are you waiting for!