Where the Experts Holiday: Eve Middleton, France Magazine

What do you like to do on holiday?

Anything that involves seeing the country behind the holiday brochures – but this doesn’t have to mean lots of earnest sightseeing! Understanding what makes a country tick is a key to having a good holiday, as it means that you can fully appreciate your surroundings.

Where did you last travel?

It was Fontainebleau, just outside Paris. The enormous forest was where the kings of France used to hunt when they were away from the political business in the capital – the stunning Château de Fontainebleau, which originally began life as a hunting lodge, stands in the center of the forest as a testament to France’s history.

Do you know where you’re going next?

To Megève, in the Haute-Savoie département that forms part of the Rhône-Alpes region. It’s known as a ski resort but we’ll be trying a little of everything to get an overview of what Megève has to offer, including dog-sledding and a tour around the peak of Mont Blanc in a small airplane.

Of all the places you’ve been to, what was your favorite and why?

Probably a small village called Ars-en-Ré. It’s one of ten villages on the Île de Ré in the Atlantic off the coast of the Charente-Maritime département. Not only is it beautiful, but the majority of people get around on bicycles as the island is flat, so it’s very peaceful and there are very few cars.

Which destination do you wish to travel to but haven’t been there yet?

Probably the Camargue in southern France; it has wide open skies and a feeling of space. The spectacular wetlands are home to flamingoes and wild horses. It really is a completely unique place.

In your own area, what would you recommend tourists see that isn’t in the travel guides?

Cheltenham is a very elegant town, and there’s a lot going on here. It depends on when you want to visit – the Cheltenham Festivals (Literature, Music, Jazz, and Science) take place year-round, as do the horse races at Cheltenham racecourse. Cheltenham Art Gallery is free and has one of the country’s most comprehensive collection of pieces from the Arts and Crafts movement

How do you plan a vacation?

It depends – sometimes it’s a friend’s suggestion, or sometimes it’s after researching articles for FRANCE Magazine that inspire me.

Where do you see tourism in 10 years time?

I think there’ll still be the same level of interest – even though the French and the British have had an often fractious relationship there’s still a deep-held affection for our Gallic neighbors across the Channel.
Eve Middleton will be attending The France Show at Earls Court 14-16 January

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