Autumn is a lovely time to visit France when the beaches and attractions are less crowded with good weather often lasting long in to October. There’s plenty of delicious food and wine to sample during the autumn season and the countryside is particularly beautiful with changing colours and leaves.

Here are our top destinations to visit on your autumn holiday in France.

The Loire Valley

The Loire Valley is the perfect choice for an autumn break to visit one of the many impressive chateaux that will be quieter and even more stunning under the colours of autumn. A must-see is the spectacular Chateau de Chambord, the largest in the Loire Valley. Originally built as a hunting lodge by Francois I in the 16th Century, the chateau is surrounded by forests and is at its best in the autumn so don’t forget your camera!

The Loire is famous for its wine and autumn is harvest time, so why not take a vineyard tour to see the grapes being picked, perhaps enjoy a tasting and buy some wine to take home as a souvenir?

The Pyrenees

The Pyrenees landscape offers dramatic and beautiful scenery in autumn. Whether you stay in the foothills or ascend to the high peaks, the views and photography opportunities are amazing; the forests, heather and bracken set the countryside on fire with autumn colours that contrast beautifully with the snowy peaks and vivid blue autumn skies.

The weather in the Pyrenees region is usually still mild in autumn offering perfect conditions for hiking, mountain biking and climbing, so the best thing to do is get out there and explore – you never know what wildlife or vistas you might discover! If you need a focus, Gavernie Falls is well worth a visit; it’s the highest waterfall in France! Or head for the peak over Montségur for great views over this pretty historic village.

The gastronomy of the region is perfect for an autumn holiday and you could even go foraging for apples and pears, nuts and wild mushrooms if you know what to look for, or visit the local markets to buy up these seasonal treats instead.

Brittany

Just a short hop across The Channel, Brittany is the perfect place for a short autumn break in France. Finistère is a particularly good choice with the dramatic coastline and magical inland forests offering the full experience of nature in autumn.

Enjoy spectacular sunsets, deserted beaches and delicious local food – it’s the season for cider with apples harvested and pressed to make ‘cidre bouche’ – look out for tours, tastings and celebrations at local producers during your stay.

Try walking the ‘Lighthouse path’ – there are 23 lighthouses lining the coast between Brest and Les Abers and each has a fascinating tale to discover. The exciting views of the seas that made these lighthouses necessary are a stunning backdrop to your route. Or visit the Huelgoat forest with its mysterious giant rock formations and stunning autumn leaves, all steeped in myths and legends.

Holiday France Direct has a fabulous selection of properties available for your autumn break, with 20% discounts available on Brittany Ferries car and passenger fares. For more information or to book please visit www.holidayfrancedirect.co.uk

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