When we think of Provence, images of fields of brightly coloured lavender flanked by rolling hillsides with quaint villages perched at the zenith, are never far away.
Comprising of the Languedoc and Dordogne regions that boast an incredibly diverse landscape of gorges, meadows, vineyards, beaches, cities and ancient villages, the South West of France is simply made for being in the great outdoors.
The beguiling towns of Brittany are littered with quirky customs, interesting sites, beautiful architecture and unmissable markets where locals and visitors flock to week-in-week-out, to pick up fresh produce and unique items they wouldn’t find anywhere else.
Brittany’s Côte de Granit Rose is famous for its beautiful, romantically-coloured rocks that possess a pretty, pink hue that never fails to ignite wonderment in all who visit this remarkable part of the coast.
If you’re looking for an Easter with a difference this year for all the family to enjoy, then look no further than France. This culturally-diverse nation clings onto unique traditions and customs all year round and none more so than at Easter.
With the sun soaring overhead, the temperatures warming up nicely and colourful festivals taking place in almost every city, town and village, Easter is a wonderful time to be on the Algarve.
At Eastertime, fairs are put on across the region, where you can sample gastronomic delights unique to the region, such as almonds covered in chocolate or sugar and traditional ‘folares’, sweet or savoury Easter bread topped with a hardboiled egg still in its shell.
In the traditional Algarve town of Tavira, an annual Triumphal Procession takes place on Palm Sunday. The colourful procession starts at the church and makes its way through the streets, parading past throngs of onlookers, until it eventually finishes back at the church.
Holy Week is celebrated with deep Catholic significance across the whole of the Algarve. Religious ceremonies are re-enacted, including the crucifixion of Jesus Christ on Good Friday, the ascension to Heaven on Holy Saturday and the Resurrection on Easter Sunday.
The Festas das Tochas Floridas – Flower Torches – is celebrated each Easter Sunday in the town of Sao Bras de Alportel. The streets of this characterful town are carpeted in flowers and petals displayed in intricate patterns.
The region’s bustling city of Faro is an enchanting place to be at Easter when the Carnation Revolution is celebrated every year. On April 25, 1974, the peaceful revolution marked Portugal’s liberation from a 40-year dictatorship.
This emotional festival involves locals singing Grandola Vila Morena, the song originally sung by the leftist folk singer Zeco Afonso.
With such vibrant, traditional, unique and meaningful events, carnivals and festivals held across the whole of the region, Easter is the perfect time to experience the Algarve at its most authentic, traditional and enchanting.
In the verdant lands of the Dordogne in south-west France, you are spoilt for choice when it comes to visiting quaint and traditional towns and villages, with fascinating architecture and sites of interest. One such town goes by the name of Sarlat-la-Canéda, which can only be described as a ‘must-see’ town of the Dordogne.
Hailed as ‘the Tuscany of France’, the region of Tarn, nestled amidst the beauty of South West France, is one of the country’s best-kept secrets. Despite the unique scenic beauty and fabulous tranquillity of Tarn, there’s plenty to do in this verdant region to keep prone-to-boredom teenagers entertained.
With Christmas fast approaching, it’s a good idea to head to the shops early and get some Christmas shopping done and dusted. If you’re looking for some more unusual gifts this year and want an excuse to escape overseas and experience a different culture, why not jump on a boat or plane and make your way to Brittany?
Castelnau-de-Lévis is a pretty village in the Tarn department of southern France, to the west of the ancient city of Albi.