PV-Holidays’ A-Z Guide to France: Competition winner announced
Pierre & Vacances fans recently submitted their top family friendly France tips to our Facebook page to be in with a chance to win a holiday to one of our 12 Pierre & Vacances Resorts in France..
After much deliberation, we have finally selected our winning entry for the best French child friendly visitor attraction, thing to do or place to eat.
Congratulations to Michelle Carter who gave us much food for thought with these top France family travel tips:
Don’t think that you have to leave Paris out of your vacation because you are travelling with children. The City of love also has plenty for your children to do to.
Make sure your visit includes the Cite des Sciences et de L’Industrie. This is the largest science museum in Europe. Also make sure you visit the planetarium and IMAX theatre on site.
We visited during the summer and the kids love the Jardin D’Acclimatation. This is a huge park that has a Chinese teahouse, as well as movie and puppet theatres.
We never did decide who enjoyed France Miniature more, the kids or us. It is a HUGE park that has the miniature version of all the popular attractions that France has to offer.
Of course there is always Disneyland Paris although personally we preferred to travel a little out of the city, only about 20 miles, and spend the day at Parc Asterix. They boast the biggest wooden rollercoaster in Europe!
Complementary ferry crossings with our competition partner P&O Ferries go to our extremely worthy runners up:
Ester James, Rosemary Davidson, Toni Quandt, Karolyn Holden, Jo Kitchen, Scott Jenkins, Edward McBride, Sarah Whittington, Michelle Watson and Liz Cole.
Thanks to everyone who entered. Not only will the winner receive a holiday to France, but all top tippers will have their entry included in our new Pierre & Vacances Google Map.
Find out more about the map and our pick of top family attractions in France here.
We had so many great suggestions that we thought we would put together a round up of our favourite France family holiday tips from our Facebook friends.
Best French attractions for families:
- Take the family to the Palace of Versailles. The kids will love the mazes,and going on a horse and carriage ride. Mum and Dad can explore the beautiful palace, it is just stunning. The view from the steps overlooking the gardens is wonderful and you can imagine the royal families strolling round them, all those years ago.there is so much to see ,it is a magical place that none of you will never forget.
- A visit to the Haribo museum. Sweetie heaven! Kids and sweet toothed adults will enjoy it. Reasonable entrance fees too.
- Go to Futuroscope! It is the most thrilling experience, the rides suit all ages and there is so much to do. We were there from 10 am til 10 pm! The water park in the middle is so refreshing after a long day so don’t forget the swimming costumes and towels. The light show over the lakes at the end of the day brought me to tears. You must go if you can!
- Go to Futurescope Park in Poitiers in the South of France. The rides are fun and educational and the buildings are beautiful! There are rides for all ages and the restaurants are top notch. You can experience both French and international fine dining!
- Paris can be very expensive for families but a great place that is inexpensive to take your teenage children to is the catacombes beneath Paris. These are not suitable for younger children as they are lined with skeletons of people who died during the plague but older children find this fascinating. It is very macabre which will suit most teenagers and it is also very reasonably priced. Good exercise too as the catacombs stretch for miles!
- Take your kids (especially school age) to the Catacombs of Paris as it is fascinating and a perfect activity for families who aren’t faint of heart. You will love the spooky winding tunnels and spiral staircase. They might even learn a little too!!
- Disneyland Paris, it might be a cliche, but the staff there go out of their way to ensure that all children really do have a fab time.
- Nausicaa in Bologne full of interactive educational learning for whole family.
- Nausicaa aquarium in Boulogne is definately worth a visit, all the family will love it. If you buy your tickets online before you go you can also get a worthwhile discount. It is on the seafront, so a walk on the beach afterwards is lovely too.
- We loved Nausicaa in Boulogne. The sounds and sights are relaxing,magical and exciting all at the same time. Perfect for families with children of any age or no children at all.
- Jardin du luxembourg is the perfect place to take the children in central Paris, there is always something going on, and it is so beautiful in all seasons.
- In the south of France near Narbonne, there is a fantastic safari / zoo, you can take the kids and drive around in your car to see all the animals. There is also a nice area to walk round with plenty of animals to see. It is called the Sigean Reserve.
- Kids get fed up with sight seeing and walking around ‘another boring hill-top village’. Marineland is a fantastic day out they will never forget. Located close to Antibes, Marineland offers a number of water slides and pools to splash around in as well as dolphin, killer whale and sea lion displays.
Historical French attractions and chateaux
- There are plenty of family friendly activities such as camping, skiing and theme parks. We enjoyed Chateau Des Ormes in Brittany on our last trip.
- My tip is for anyone visiting the beautiful Cote d’Emeraude in Brittany. Don’t miss the stunning Fort La Latte, a partially ruined 13th century castle with some amazingly spooky chambers and towers. The stunning fortified medieval castle, dramatically perched on a sheer drop of razor-sharp cliffs and reached via a beautiful, winding footpath – a treat in itself – is where my two boys managed to get right to the top of the highest turret for a stunning view of Cap Fréhel, while their mother gibbered incoherently and begged them to get down!
- We visited Chateau Fontainebleau with our one year old baby daughter. It was absolutely wonderful. We adored the imposing chateau, with its high ceilings and stunning artwork, and she loved the baby friendly acoustics and space to practice her walking skills. Outside, the Oval courtyard, was perfect for a stroll in the fresh air with the buggy and the beautiful parklands were perfect for relaxed picnicking with fresh baguette and cheese. Our daughter loves picnics! It might not be the first place to consider for ‘family friendly’ fun, but Fontainebleau is a true gem of France, and its beauty is accessible to visitors of all ages.
Activities and areas
- We stayed near the river in Amboise. In our weeks stay we saw a hot air balloon festival, and an enormous family bike ride (there must have been 200 cyclists !) which culminated in an evening festival in the town with fireworks and amazing giant puppets.
- Find a French beach that is safe and ideal for family friendly vacation. For example, Brittany has many excellent beaches. On the Riviera, the Port de Crouton Plage beach in Juan-les-Pins, is in a protected bay with fine sand and shallow water. It is perfect for kids. Similarly, Villefranche-sur-Mer and Menton are both quaint and colourful towns with child-friendly beaches. They are a little less ‘party’ focussed and more natural resorts.
- Stop off at Le Touquet – it’s really fabulous for children – there’s a beautiful large sandy beach, upon which you’d be forgiven for thinking you’d been teleported to Santa Monica…and, a little off the beaten track, but perhaps best of all (at least according to our 3 year old daughter) is the pony riding in the forest, which was just wonderful – to be let loose with a pony for half an hour, was a delight and certainly not something you’d get to do in England, with all our crazy health and safety laws!
- Anywhere in the Pyrenees! In the winter there is skiing, snowboarding, snow shoeing or just lazing in the hot spas. In the summer there is walking, canoeing, caving, canyoning and much, much more! It is fantastic for families because there is so much to do and no chance of kids getting bored. It’s just a shame that the British public hardly know of the Pyrenees!
- We love Brittany. The children love the way you can cycle down the lanes and visit hystorical places such as st Micheal, Kids thrive on re-enacting historical figures, places like Versailles are amazing places to let your childens imaginations run wild.
- Go Skiing together, check out the family-friendly restaurants and visit the museums and historic attractions.
- Family skiing trip to Les Arcs good fun for all.
In car entertainment and tips for driving in France with the family:
- As long as the kids are old enough to read I find a checklist of things to spot on the way written in French – sort of travel bingo with a small themed treat for the winner. We’ve played this using cameras too – each child had to take a photo of each item or place name on the list. They learn a bit of French and have something to look for on the journey which helps to stop the “are we there yet” moaning!
- Don’t ignore the motorway rest stops, because unlike Britan’s dour stops, the French ones are always in nice locations with play areas for the kids and lots of green space for them to run around in and have picnics. They always seem to have a great selection of places to eat.
- When travelling to the desination, take lots of toys, books etc. to keep the kids happy in the back. You could make up a moving treasure hunt for them while they’re in the back of the car – for example, how many blue cars can they spot, sunflowers in the fields. And keep to the smaller roads so you can make frequent stops!
- I found the best way to keep children entertained on long journeys was investing in a personal DVD player. The kids were kept amused and this made the trip so much more enjoyable and stress free for the whole travelling family.
- Ensure that you’ve got a ‘goody bag’ for the younger (and older) passengers to keep them occupied on the journey. When they’re starting to create havoc, pull it out and it’ll keep them quieter. Yes, the older ones too! Just don’t use the return journey ones too early.
- Drive to France, making sure you leave an enormous space in your boot to fill with gorgeous food and drink to bring home with you.
Go native – encourage the kids to engage in French culture
- Try and get everyone to learn a little of the language, it makes shopping and eating out so much more fun, and we’ve always found the French respond well to kids who try.
- I think it’s lovely for children to share in the festivals and explore traditional and modern local events. French people love festivals and they often have events going on throughout the summer so it’s worth getting away from the pool and join in the fun with local people.
- Buy your children a French language book before you go to France, they’ll have so much fun trying to learn the lingo, and it’s educational too.
- Try and learn a few basic phrases as it will not only be very useful but it will teach your children the importance of learning the local language to communicate with people whilst on foreign soil.
- Teach your children some basic French e.g. please and thank you!
- Take the time to pick up a local guidebook. We found our one when visiting Disneyland Paris, worth its weight in gold for finding child friendly places to eat, and places to visit that the children would enjoy.
Food glorious French food
- Crémerie-Restaurant Polidor — One of the most popular restaurants on the Left Bank,Paris, this reasonably priced dining room is so family friendly, it calls its food cuisine familiale. This might be the best place to introduce your child to bistro food.
- Try the donuts from the beach sellers they are devine!
- Eat your main meal at lunchtime, the restaurants are quieter and the kids are more likely to eat more. It’s good to get off the beach over lunchtime when the sun is at its strongest.
Thanks again for all the brilliant entries.
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