Of course, you’re not the only family looking for that dream holiday villa in the south of France. Each year, thousands turn on their computers in search of that dream villa with sweeping views over the Med, or that quirky but beautifully-renovated farmhouse nestled in a field of lavender. If you’re searching for villas in the Languedoc-Roussillon region, then you ought to bear some basic realities in mind to ensure you don’t waste time barking up the wrong tree. The reality won’t always match up with your expectations. So here are our top 2 tips to bear in mind when searching for holiday villas in the south of France:
1:The coast can be over-rated: South of France villas overlooking the Mediterranean may sound like a dream come true - but search for one and you’ll come up against two basic problems. In the Provence / Côte d’Azur region, a villa overlooking the sea will be hugely expensive. They tend to be the preserve of the super-rich, so your budget may well beat you back into the hinterlands of Provence. That said, the south of France villa you end up in will probably be very lovely - but a sea view it will very likely not have. In the Languedoc-Roussillon region of the south of France, you’ll come up against a very different problem. Unlike the romantic undulating coast of the Côte d’Azur, most of Languedoc’s coastline is straight, flat and built-up. And much of it isn’t built-up in a nice way. Lots of cheap holiday blocks hurriedly built in the 70s and 80s line sections of the coast, looking out over crowded beaches. There are some exceptions - Banyuls, Collioure, Leucate, Gruissan, Bages, Marseillan - but holiday villas overlooking the sea in each of these are as rare as hen’s teeth. So if you are looking for a lovely holiday villa in the south of France’s Languedoc region, you might instead want to look 20-30 minutes in from the coast. You’ll be amongst rolling vineyards and traditional wine-making villages, with nicer views, less traffic and away from the cheap-and-nasty tourist shops and restaurants that blight the beaches.
2: Avoid July and August: Those of you with families will probably be looking to rent a holiday villa in the south of France in mid summer. If you can come earlier or later than July and August, we’d highly recommend it. The millions of holiday-makers that descend on the south of France in July and August transform this otherwise sleepy and relaxed region into one enormous, angry traffic jam. Even Languedoc’s famously huge beaches end up feeling crowded, and getting anywhere from your holiday villa, finding a parking spot or securing a table for lunch can be frustratingly difficult. The weather is also at its hottest at this time of year, with temperatures reaching the high 30’s or even low 40’s. Yes, it’s buzzy and there’s a party atmosphere - but you’ll find there’s almost as much going on in June and September, yet with half the crowds. May is also a great option for renting a holiday villa in the south of France - the countryside is full of flowers and the sea is just about warm enough to swim in. October is also a good choice - the crowds really have died away by then, and you’ll have all the beaches, restaurants and tourist sights all to yourself. A warm calm descends on the whole area - it really is a wonderful time to be in the south of France - with temperatures in the mid-to-high 20s.