For your next trip to France, why not stay in a property that is a real talking point? Quirky architecture, an amazing history, a unique location..these qualities add interest and fun to your holiday. What’s more, they make for great memories, along with fascinating stories and photos with which to regale your friends and family when you return.

Here’s our selection of some quirky, unusual and beautiful holiday properties. They are in locations across France and all are available to book through French Connections.

Canal du Midi Barge

The wooden barge ‘Lodela’ was originally a commercial vessel used in northern France from the 1930s and in 2005 it was completely restored to create very comfortable accommodation. Today it is moored on the beautiful Canal du Midi in southern France, close to the medeival city of Carcassonne, and is available as a holiday let.

Lodela boasts a sitting room, kitchen diner and three double bedrooms. There’s a shady terrace on the deck with a view of the canal and a small private garden on the bank. Close to the barge there is a lock, typical of the Midi canal, where visitors can discover the history and operation of this listed World Heritage site. Recommended for adults and children over seven who can swim.

Visit the Barge Lodela profile.

Dordogne Pigeonnier

Le Tondu is a small estate in beautiful, rolling Dordogne countryside, close to the hamlet of Naussannes. Until the current owners  bought the property, it was home to self-sufficient peasant farmers leading a rural lifestyle that has virtually disappeared. Then, the distinctive Pigeonnier building was full of chickens. Now it is a beautifully restored stone Perigordian cottage with its own garden – all loaded with charm, originality and character.

The Pigeonnier  features on the ground floor a  dining area which flows into an open- plan fully equipped kitchen. The double bedroom is in the tower and there is a laundry and shower/bath. Outside is a seating  area under the eaves. This property is for adults only and friendly pets are welcome.

Visit the Pigeonnier profile here.

Maine-et-Loire Watermill gite

Le Vieux Moulin gite is in the grounds of an old water mill in Maine-et-Loire. The location is superbly romantic, tranquil and secluded, on a small island between the mill stream and the River Thouet. There are panoramic views over the surrounding countryside and regular sightings of kingfishers, herons, deer and other wildlife.

The gite has been created in a building that was once a restaurant and space for local dances. Now, after major renovation work, it offers guests an enormous lounge with conservatory and French doors to a balcony, along with modern kitchen, bedroom and bathroom. Outside, there is a balcony and a small boat and canoe for use by guests when the river is not in flood. Fishing is available from the riverbank and there is a purpose built riverside deck for fishing or simply relaxing by the water.

Visit the Watermill profile here.

Champagne-Ardenne Hunting lodge

The centuries old six hectare estate of Villers at Villers-en-Argonne lies in the heart of the Argonne forest, close to Sainte Menehould in Champagne-Ardenne. This is the east of champagne country, an area that is relatively undiscovered by tourism and yet offers glorious countryside with rolling hills and forests and is a paradise for nature and wildlife. There’s also bargain, quality champagne direct from local producers, along with great value restaurants.

The hunting lodge is in the grounds of the estate, with exclusive access to the park and a covered swimming pool. The two adjacent gites can be rented as a whole or separately, one with three bedrooms and the other with two.

Visit the Hunting Lodge profile here.

Petit Loir Chateau cottage

The Comte & Comtesse de Vanssay are twentieth generation owners of the elegant Château de la Barre in the secluded Petit Loir valley, between Chartres and Tours, close to Loire valley castles and gardens. This historic château is set in 100 acres of parkland and has its own chapel, flower garden, pond with swans, woods and 16th Century fortifications.

The chateau offers bed and breakfast in elegant rooms and in its grounds are two beautiful cottages to rent for holidays, combining history with modern comfort. They feature stone fireplaces, 16th century oak beams, a mix of antique and modern furniture and luxurious touches like a jacuzzi bath and walk-in shower.

Visit the Chateau profile here. 

All these properties are available through French Connections, as well many more fantastic holiday rentals.

Tel: 014580 819303

All images by French Connections

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