Alternative France – vacations that escape the tourist trail

Travel advice

Alternative France – vacations that escape the tourist trail

Even to the most frequent visitor, France has much to offer. Sick of bus tours where everyone is herded into the same souvenir shops? Here are a few alternative French vacations that will take you off the beaten track and into the heart of the French culture.

Photography_holiday_France_bridgePhotography holiday in Dordogne, France

Walk off the tourist trail and immerse yourself in the verdant patchwork of valleys, forests, flowing rivers and bustling markets of Dordogne. Your photography tutor Gareth and attentive host Lila will be your guides. Discover perfect shoot locations with Gareth. Savour delicious Dordogne specialties from Lila’s kitchen. Warm climate, warmer hospitality. Skills and memories that last for a lifetime.

Click here to find out more about Gareth, whose passion for the arts led him from a life on the stage to one behind the lens.

Cookery_holiday_Bordeaux_market_visitsCookery holiday in Bordeaux, France

Nothing immerses you in food culture more than sampling local food prepared by an attentive host. No, wait. Scratch that. Learning to cook the local dishes for yourself beats that hands down.

Meet Marlene, our chef in Bordeaux. Visit producers in the Lot-et-Garonne region. Cook.

Staying with Marlene in the tastefully restored French farmhouse that is her home will give you the skills and insight into local life to cook homely French dishes. You don’t get this from just any run-of-the-mill vacation.

Horse_riding_and_wine_tasting___Horse riding and wine tasting holiday Bordeaux, in France

I remember having my head bitten off once for even daring to wonder how a Pinot Noir would taste with coke. Like a Vodka coke, you know. Guess not. The French people are extremely proud of their wines. There is the right way to appreciate each type of French wine, and then there are all the other ways. Coke clearly falls within the latter category.

Go learn all about Madiran wines from your host Charles. Your hostess Margaretha will have you exploring the region by horseback in no time. Stay in their home, a 19th century manor house set in 7 acres of grounds. Charles cooks delicious 3 course dinners each evening. Margaretha gives you insider advice on the best places around town.

“We felt included like friends and family from the moment we arrived.” – find out more about Peter’s and his daughter’s recent horse riding and wine tasting vacation here. This is certainly a holiday for the discerning few.

Perfume_making_holiday_France_lavender_viewsPerfume making holiday in Grasse, France

Everyone visits Paris, the capital of France. But not everyone gets to visit Grasse, the perfume capital.

Imagine rolling fields of lavender, jasmine, mimosa, orange blossoms, violets…

Imagine putting some of these scents in a bottle to take home. Sue did.

“I am sitting at home back in Australia and the perfume is filling the house and reminding me of our trip.”

Painting holiday in Languedoc, FrancePainting holiday in Languedoc, France

France is beautiful. With inspiration all around, it’s no wonder that the country has produced such painters as Renoir and Fragonard. Admiring Monet’s Water Lilies covering the walls of Musée de l’Orangerie is great. But being inspired by the beautiful French countryside to create your own paintings is even better.

Experience local life under the guidance of drawing tutor David. Bring scenes from France home to hang on your living room wall. Feel like a Monet.


Feeling inspired? Visit for more alternative holiday ideas. Bring home something other than boxes of chocolates shaped like the Eiffel Tower from your next trip to France.


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