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Our little black book of enchanting places


PREVIEW OF THE FRANCE SHOW 2015 by Maggie O'Sullivan

Posted in DESTINATIONS By Maggie O'Sullivan

France welcomed more than 80 million foreign visitors in 2013, making it the most popular holiday destination on the planet. But does it sit back on its laurels, basking in its record-beating popularity? Mais non. The France Show 2015, which takes starts this Friday at Olympia and runs until Sunday, is set to be one of the biggest and best yet.

Here’s where you will find us:Wine-tasting
Not surprisingly, these guided wine seminars are always popular. The spotlight this year will be on Bordeaux. Look, learn … and sip.

French Property Exhibition
This if the first time the show has had a property auction. 60 properties, ranging from cottages to ski chalets, will go under the hammer. In addition, there will be expert-led seminars, offering advice to potential buyers, free language seminars, and a plethora of French estate agents on hand to tempt us with their glossy pictures of châteaux, gîtes and Riviera apartments.
Flavours of France Lunch
After the demonstrations, we’re bound to be hungry. Another new offering for 2015 is this tour of French gastronomy in one meal. Cheese from Normandy, ham from Bayonne, saucisson from Lyon, Provençal olives, a tart from Lorraine and lentils from le Puys … we can hardly wait.

Flavours of France Theatre
On stage this year will be Guy Wolley, chef and former chocolatier at The Savoy, Michel Lemoine of Bistro La Barrique in Bath, and Franck Raymond of Augustine’s Kitchen in London. We probably won’t be recreating any of it at home, but we will certainly enjoy watching the chefs demonstrating some of the classic French dishes and exploding a few myths about French cuisine.
French Market
We’ll spend at least an hour browsing the stalls of artisan bread, cheese, charcuterie, patisserie, jams, oils and more. Perhaps we'll knock up some of those classic French dishes after all.

Holiday ideas
The show hosts representatives from most of the French tourist boards. One stand we'll definitely visit is Brittany to find out more about Lake Guerlédan. The man-made lake is being drained for the first time in 30 years this summer, and we’re promised it will reveal a lost landscape of canal locks, tow paths and slate mines, flooded when the lake was first created over 80 years ago. It could be the last time the landscape is revealed as repairs will be carried out to make it unnecessary to drain it again for a long time. Just one reason among hundreds for heading to France this summer.

Tickets cost £12 in advance/£16 on the door. Further information, 01242 264777; The France Show 

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