The sun, the sand, the sea and a luxuriously tanned manservant called Jacques to attend to your every need; a villa in the south of France is the perfect antidote to the on-again-off-again English weather. There are plenty of extravagant properties complete with Drawing Room, Dining Room, Snooker Room Sitting Room and Conservatory should you wish to vacation Wallis and Edward style. There is of course the expected swimming pool, tennis court and seven or so bedrooms.

Although this kind of vacation luxury sounds heavenly, it will most definitely leave a rather large dent in your pocketbook…. particularly if you opt for the manservant. Luckily France offers a large assortment of more humble properties to fit almost any budget.

It may seen obvious, but French villas are generally located in the southernmost part of the country. They are intended for sunny holidays and usually have a balcony or patio. Unless you rent a mansion-style villa, the property will be self-catering. There isn’t much that can beat taking your morning coffee whilst watching the waves roll in.

Like most French accommodation, the price and quality vary greatly and can depend on location and season. Villas can be arranged in a mews-style complex overlooking a shared pool or courtyard, which is ideal if a large group is vacationing together. That way, each family can have their privacy at night but are still able to join up for an evening barbeque. Those of you who have a more intimate holiday in mind, perhaps for a special anniversary, will perhaps be more comfortable in a completely secluded beachfront property complete with a private path down to the sea.

Villas can be booked through a large agency, much like you would book a hotel or directly through the owner. If you book through an agency, the properties are likely to match the company’s countrywide standards of décor and cleanliness. This way you can book a property anywhere in the country and be fairly sure of what you will find when you arrive.

Those after an extra-large dose of rustic charm may have better luck booking straight through the owner. Small, independent owners tend to have more of their personality invested in the villa and are usually more sympathetic the period feature of the villa. What you may lose in amenities, you will most certainly gain in character.