France a deux

OWe would like to spend 10 days in France this autumn, perhaps in two areas, to sample the lifestyle (wine, gastronomy, golf and spas). Could you recommend an operator that can make flexible arrangements and offer a good selection of accommodation in Champagne or Bordeaux, or on the French Riviera?

Geoffrey, via e-mail

A Surprisingly few companies offer such arrangements in France.

French Expressions (020 7431 1312; www.expressionsholidays. is the leading specialist, with the widest choice of good hotels (about 100 in all) in most parts of the country.

You could also try Castaways (01737 816500; www.castaways., which has taken over the programme of 36

Classic question: Where should we stay in Prague?

OWe are looking for a top-quality hotel in the centre of Prague for a three-day break in October. Which would you recommend?

A Low airfares from the UK, lively nightlife, cheap beer and bargain prices in general have turned Prague into a party town at weekends. It probably won’t disturb you too much, even in the popular Old Town. But if you want to be sure of more peaceful surroundings, the best place to stay is the Mala Strana district, a short walk from the centre. The following are three of the best hotels in the area. The Aria (00 420 225

334111;; doubles from €195), which opened last year, was converted from an old printing-house and has a musical theme. The Golden Wheel (00 420 257 535490; is another recent opening, converted from a baroque building near the castle. It has stylish, modern doubles from €160. Finally, U Pava (00 420 257 533360;; doubles from £130) on Kampa Island is decorated with stained glass and colourful murals, and has some splendidly extravagant bedrooms. Check the website to make sure the decor is to your taste.

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characterful hotels and chateaux formerly offered by Unicorn Holidays. It has options in all three areas you mention. Alternatively, city-break specialist Kirker Holidays (0870 112 3333; has also begun to branch out into regional hotels and has a good, if small, selection in the south. Finally, Abercrombie & Kent (0845 070 0612; www. also has a small selection of luxury hotels in Provence and Bordeaux in its Europe & Beyond’ brochure. All four operators offer flexible, tailor-made, fly-drive or self-drive arrangements.

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