Useful Websites and Information for Travel in France ... and beyond!

Hire cars, lease cars, train and bus connections, local flights, VISA requirements, Paris apartmentsSurvival French, Travel Insurance, SIM CARDS for your mobile and more.
We have done the hard work of researching the web for you.
See below for OUR choice of extremely useful websites and pertinent information.

Self-Catered Apartments Cottages and Villas in France

French Cottages not only supplies high quality rental accommodations in France's best locations but will also assist you to plan your whole European trip in many other ways. This webpage itself is but one example. Consider the idea of booking your entire French holiday with us using our villages as hub bases in each region.

PARIS Apartments

We suggest that if you think you may also visit rural France, then you should consider booking these weeks with French Cottages first, then top and tail Paris around those weeks. Here's why... it enables you to get back to Paris on the Friday, then stay the odd days till your flight leaves the following week. This saves worrying about missing your flight as you will already be close to Paris CDG AIRPORT. 

GLOBAL CARS Hire and Lease

Excellent car hire website based in Sydney. You can arrange all types of hire cars as well as lease cars (Renault Eurodrive, Peugeot Open Europe, Citroen) from this company. Always organise your hire car in advance whenever possible.For pickup and return centres for lease deals with Renault see
CLICK OR TAP HERE
Information about licences and international driving permits.
CLICK OR TAP HERE

SNCF - OUI
TGV fast trains

There are many websites for booking trains in France but this one is not only in English but it actually works! Moreover, it also accepts foreign credit cards and even PayPal. We found the prices on this site the lowest - lower even than the French version OUIGO which is supposed to be the budget booking site. You have to laugh sometimes!

FLIGHTS in EUROPE made easier

SKYSCANNER HAS A WONDERFUL INTERACTIVE MAP THAT MAKE CHOOSING YOUR FLIGHT A DODDLE
Excellent interactive map and website for finding flights in and out of France.
Another tip for finding suitable flights is simply to look up the departure or destination airport website on Google.
You can then usually find what routes are flown by which airlines as well as times and fares. 
BUDGET AIRLINE WEBSITES
EASY JET
RYAN AIR
SOME AIRPORT WEBSITES
DORDOGNE (BERGERAC)
LOIRE VALLEY (TOURS)
PROVENCE (MONTPELLIER)
BASQUEPYRENEES (BIARRITZ)

EDGARD BUS network in Provence (French)

The EDGARD bus network is an efficient and comfortable bus service that connects our village with Avignon and Nîmes several times a day.
Some of the services stop at the new Avignon TGV station, but only in the Summer. Outside of Summer you need to catch the bus at the Central Station. There is a shuttle bus between the TGV station and the central station. You should be able to book your ticket from Paris right through to the central station. Nîmes has more frequent services, especially in the afternoon so taking the TGV to Nîmes is really the best option, not Avignon, if you won't have a car.

TRAVEL Insurance

We strongly recommend that you take out travel-insurance well in advance of your trip: that way your insurance company will pay you a refund of the full amount in the event of unavoidable cancellation of any services you have booked. It is not cheaper the later you leave it. Be sure to check the policy details if you decide to use your credit card company's insurance coverage; many are excellent but there can be circumstances that nullify your coverage if you are not vigilant.
With most self-catered accommodations, insurance is obligatory - you'll find this in their fine print. This is because house insurance in France does not cover foreign guests staying there. What if you burnt their house down...?

TOURIST SIM CARDS

One option is to buy a tourist SIM CARD in advance from this site. When you arrive in France, put it in your mobile phone and away you go. They deliver world-wide, which is a big plus.
You need to make sure that the phone has been previously
unlocked by the Telco you are with. All companies MUST unlock your phone by law so don't take 'non' for an answer!

Most French supermarkets sell cheap SIM cards, just like back home. SEE FOR EXAMPLE

https://www.reglomobile.fr/

OR VISIT AN E.LECLERC SUPERMARKET once you arrive and purchase one on the spot.

VISAS and the Schengen Calculator

STAYING OVER 90 DAYS in EUROPE? READ THIS!
For reasons hard to understand, countries in the European zone don't want you to have a long holiday and spend more money with them!
It never occurred to the bureaucrats that the world is really quite large and that Australia, New Zealand and such countries are not just a quick dash over the Channel. We like to have a good, long, well-earned holiday after making such a long journey and really see the rich variety on offer in France and Europe generally. So if you are one of these travellers and plan to stay over 90 days, even by one day, check out this calculator.

FRENCH LESSONS Australia

Travelling in a French-speaking country is a must-do, whether it is for its culture, food, people, monuments or landscapes. With this Online Course for Travellers you will learn all the basics you need to know abroad: from the booking of a room to the ordering of food in a restaurant. Thanks to this online course, you can even learn travel key sentences from your tablet or laptop, whenever you have time for it. Check about some extra vocabulary while you stand at the top of the Eiffel Tower or quickly look at how to order a drink in a Quebec bar! Enjoy the most of your trip in a French-speaking country and jump into a hassle-free experience!

ON THE FOOD trail in Provence

IMAGINE YOUR PERFECT DAY!
CUSTOM DESIGNED ITINERARIES, JUST FOR YOU
With sufficient lead time, the sky's the limit with Winery Plus Platinum tours to the best vineyards in the southern Rhone, Provence and Languedoc. Private, exclusive visits and tastings, fabulous cooking classes, fine Michelin starred restaurants and even a catered lunch in the vineyard; whatever your fancy, we will do our best to satisfy your wishes. Also, they offer fully private regular tours if you prefer, for a supplement of 40€ per person. If you are staying with FRENCH COTTAGES then private at-home cooking classes can also be arranged with enough notice.

SURVIVAL FRENCH for travellers

French Lessons Australia offer a brilliant on-line course to learn some basic French for your forthcoming trip.
But you can get your feet wet now by visiting our Travellers' Survival French page right on this website. Learn a few basic words and phrases then visit French Lessons Australia to go in a little deeper. It could become a life-long hobby!

A few of the most common words needed:
Bonjour = Hello
Au-revoir = Good-bye
S'il vous plaît = Please
Merci = Thank you
Parlez-vous Anglais = Do you speak English?
Je suis Australien = I am Australian (man saying this)

FOOD, WINE & CYCLING in the South of FRANCE

It is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best, since you have to sweat up the hills and coast down them.
Thus you remember them as they actually are.
~ Ernest Hemingway


CYCLING AROUND OUR VILLAGES
There are many opportunities in and around all our villages for cycling. Each hub village is in undulating and interestingly varied landscape. Bikes can be hired in all four of our locations on a casual basis.

Latest information for bicycle hire can be found out from
the Tourist office in all our villages.

See this blog by a past guest for first hand reports of what you can expect
(click here)
CYCLING IN OUR VILLAGES
or, if you after a more elaborate tour organised by this excellent Australian company, visit their website now.

Australian
PARIS BLOG SITE 

This informative and entertaining blog site has many fascinating articles about what to see or visit in Paris and... beyond!

Topics range from the Paris Flea Market at St Ouen and other locations in rural France, to the Viaduct des Arts in the 12th Arrondissement, to the covered passages in central Paris to Gardens worth visiting in and around the capital and much, much more. Whet your appetite for your next trip to France!

Read the latest article here:

THE VIADUC DES ARTS—ARTISANS’ PRECINCT & ELEVATED LINEAR GARDEN OASIS
or
PLACE DES VOSGES
THROUGH THE SEASONS
One of the best-loved outdoor spaces where Parisians like to hang out at any time of year is the elegant Place des Vosges, in the heart of the famous Marais district.

ON TO ITALY?
STAY AT Villa Bencista FIESOLE Florence

We discovered this gem of a place over 25 years ago and have returned there faithfully every year - like migratory birds!
So much better that staying in Florence itself, Villa Bencista is perched on the hillside of Fiesole overlooking the entire city. You just jump on the number 7 bus which passes by every 20 minutes or so
(leaving your car in Bencista's free carpark), explore Florence by day then escape the madding crowds by returning in the early evening for a wine or two on the beautiful and tranquil terrace. There are excellent restaurants in
nearby Fiesole where you will enjoy some tantilizing Tuscan cuisine.
It is a unique place - family run and old-fashioned in the best sense by the wonderfully kind Simone family and their equally wonderful staff.

Just go!
Mention David Hitchins and Bryan Stark from French Cottages referred you.

Complete Tours of France
(self-cater)

Many of our guests, like Lesley and Neville, experienced this revelation:
that they could actually create a wonderfully diverse and memorable French itinerary by simply going from one of our cottages in one hub
to the one in the next hub village. So simple!

If you look at where our hub villages are located, you will see that as bases for exploration, they actually cover a large portion of France.
Yet they are still within a pleasant and interesting day’s drive or train ride from each other so you can move from one to the next on changeover day.

A deeper cultural experience than Canal Boat or Bus Tours, self-catered itineraries
are actually much less 'hard work' and generally much cheaper at the end of the day.

Read more about it by clicking the button below.

Survival French for Travellers

The Importance of Speaking (just a little) French! ("juste un peu").
Learn some simple French expressions before you go and be assured of a warm reception!

Discover the Real France with French Cottages

Discover the Real France
with French Cottages Holidays

Your resource for organising the Best French Travel
Itinerary You’ll Ever Experience.

Address

759 Rathdowne Street
North Carlton 3054
Victoria
Australia

Contacts

Email: stay@frenchcottages.com                          
Phone: +61 (3) 8658 0799


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AUSTRALIAN BUSINESS NUMBER 66 304 051 155