Archive for the ‘Family France’ Category
If your kids have been inspired to get active this summer by watching team GB’s triumphs at the Olympics, you can road-test their enthusiasm for multiple sports at Pierre & Vacances’ Holiday Villages.
Holidays at Pierre & Vacances’ car-free resorts open up a world of activities, with many included in your booking price - meaning your little ones can sample all manner of sporting fun and find the event or activity they enjoy best, before committing to expensive lessons or equipment.
Tennis – Lessons for children aged 5 up as well as adults are offered on the Pierre & Vacances Holiday Village courts for budding tennis champions. And since sing pong or ‘whiff whaff’ has come home, according to Mayor Boris Johnson, table tennis is also available for those who enjoy the more diminutive game.
Swimming – Not just pools but water parks galore available for children of all ages from water babies to competitive juniors perfecting their freestyle.
Biking – Cycling in the French countryside is the perfect way to enjoy the scenery. Your aspiring Bradley Wigginses can stage their very own Tour de France with cycle hire available at all of Pierre & Vacances’ Holiday Villages.
Sailing - Another activity at which we Brits excel, sailing (plus kayaking and windsurfing) is available at Holiday Villages in coastal regions. If the children are not quite ready to take to the water, they can even try their hand at sand yachting on-site.
Volleyball - With beach volleyball teams set to get the nation’s pulses racing this summer, kids can hone their skills at any of the Pierre & Vacances Holiday Villages. Other available team sports in resorts include football and basketball.
Trapeze & Circus Skills – Not everyone is interested in competitive sports; creative kids can also join in the active fun with flying trapeze lessons, juggling and other circus skills.
Pierre & Vacances’ 15 Holiday Villages are located throughout the most popular beauty spots in France, Spain and the French Antilles. For further information or to book, visit PV-Holidays.com or call 0870 0267 144
There’s still time to snap up the last few apartments in Pierre & Vacances Holiday Villages for Summer 2012. Deals can be found from just €86 (around £67) per person per week.
Ever wondered where you can really get away from it all in France? Look no further than lovely Limousin. The region is one of the most sparsely populated spots in France, and if you’re a history buff, you’ll find plenty to keep you entertained.
We’ve asked the people who know best, the Limousin tourist board, for their top tips on things to see and do:
There are many excellent restaurants in Limousin but for some authentic fare, head to one of the region’s Auberge de Pays where you can be sure to sample some local food.
Limousin knows exactly how to take advantage of the flavours of its local produce : beef, truffles, blueberries, walnuts, chestnuts, Golden Delicious apples and mushrooms. Traditional specialities to try include: galetous fourrés (thick buckwheat pancakes), potée limousine (pork hot-pot from the Limousin region prepared with cabbage and root vegetables), ceps, Saint-Yrieix Madeleines, Saint-Léonard marzipans, Creuse hazelnut cakes, Corrèze liquors and of course the amazing Clafoutis – cherry desert.
If you are looking to try some local tipple, try one of the yummy beers produced in one of Limousin’s micro breweries.
Limousin’s blessed with natural wonders including the Lac de Vassivières, one of France’s largest lakes in the heart of the region, and the Plateau de Millevaches national park. Its also a region rich with historical sites like the Santiago de Compostella pilgrim’s walking route, the Château de Chalus where Richard the Lionheart spent his final hours and the martyr village of Oradour sur Glane destroyed by the Nazis in World War II.
Most people don’t know but… Two French Presidents are from Limousin Jacques Chirac who has his own museum in the region and current French President François Hollande, who is from Tulle.
The Impressionists’ Valley inspired many of the movement’s most renowned painters including Monet. Take a trip around Crozant to see the sites which inspired them.
The Château de Boussac is one of the region’s most iconic sites. Writer George Sand famously stayed there a few times and discovered the renowned unicorn tapestry
To check out some of Limousin’s best views over the Dordogne Valley you can find a spot near the Pierre & Vacances Residence Les Belle Rives in Argentat.
Brive la Gaillarde has got a fantastic market, making it a great stop for a spot of gastro shopping. Limoges has got the largest concentration of boutiques in the area, it is also the Porcelain capital of France, so definitely worth a stop for any shopping outing.
Terra Aventura, Limousin’s version of geocaching, is a great way to entertain kids. Available for free on your sat nav or smart phone this gigantic treasure hunt will sure keep the kids amused!
The best place to enjoy the local nightlife are la Place Denis Dussoubs, the Place de la Cité and and the rue Charles Michel in Limoges, aptly nicknamed “thirst street”!
Local trivia/fun facts:
- Two French President, Jacques Chirac and Francois Hollande are from Limousin
- Renowned French patisseries Madeleine and Clafoutis are from Limousin
Enter Love France Week for your chance to win one of 10 goodie bags from Limousin.
Kicking off our Love France Week is a fabulous hamper of amazing goodies to give away from our friends at Ardèche Tourism.
Looking at the mouthwatering regional treats got us thinking – if you want to see, taste and experience the best of the Ardèche region, what shouldn’t you miss?
We asked Lucile Clara from Ardèche Tourism for the low-down on her recommended things to see and do – from a local’s point of view – here’s what she told us:
Bistrots de Pays which are scattered all over Southern Ardèche are the best way to experience local gastronomy at moderate prices.
If you want to try a truly local treat from the Ardèche, try a Castagnou – a kir-like aperitif made from local chestnut liqueur and local white wine such as a Chardonnay or Viognier. You should also try any of the Rhône Wines produced in Ardèche, one of the most renowned ones being St Joseph
If you want to take something home that truly represents the Ardèche region, shop around for anything chestnut based including chestnut purée to make yummy desserts once in the UK or marrons glacés which are candied chestnuts and one of the area’s most renowned specialites. You could also try Picodon (a local goat’s cheese)
You really shouldn’t miss the Pont d’Arc. It is an amazing natural stone arch, carved out of the rocks in the Ardèche Gorges Nature Reserve.
Most people don’t know but… The World’s oldest painted cave is in the Ardèche. Discovered in 1994, la Grotte Chauvet Pont d’Arc will unveil its secrets when it is opened to the public in two years’ time, so watch this space!
The best beach? There are many but best ones include Mazet Plage in Berrias et Casteljau or Pont du Diable in Thueyts.
Best viewing spot? Mont Gerbier de Jonc which is the source of the Loire River and offers fabulous views of the Rhone Valley, the Cevennes and the Alps.
Do not miss Ardèche’s “Villages de Caractère”, which are small villages with traditional houses nestled in the rock. Some of the best examples are Balazuc and Labeaume. I’d also reccomend a canoeing trip in the Ardèche Gorges – a must when you are in the area and this is usually done with a guide.
If you’re visiting with the familiy, children always love caves so why not take them to the impressive Aven d’Orgnac. Renowned as one of the largest in the world, this cave is like an “underground cathedral” sure to be a hit with the little ones.
For nightlife, spend an evening on the terrace at the Pierre & Vacances Le Rouret centre with a good wine from the Ardèche, goat’s cheese and local delicatessen!
Finally, here are some interesting facts about the Ardèche region:
- 1st producer of chestnuts and wild raspberries in France
- The Chauvet Pont d’Arc Cave (as mentioned above) which features the oldest drawings in the world.
- The 1st hot air balloon invented by the Montgolfier brothers in Annonay
- The longest French river takes its sources in Ardèche: the Loire, at Mont Gerbier de Jonc
- 6,000 km of walking paths/tracks throughout the area!
If you’re a diehard fan of our blog you might be keenly anticipating Nick’s annual write up about his family holiday to one of our Pierre & Vacances Holiday Villages in France. Well, it’s here!
Not a diehard fan of this blog? You will be! And then why not try a visit to Pierre & Vacances’ Normandy Garden holiday village in France yourself – and see why Nick and his family loved it!
We decided on Normandy Garden as we wanted a June half-term break to France, not far from Calais, but with lots to do inside as the weather forecast was rubbish. Normandy Garden sells itself as an all-weather holiday park. So Normandy Garden it was.
A ferry to France
Our littles ones, aged 5 and 3, still love the ferry, so we booked a return ferry crossing with DFDS Seaways who have just started running crossings with LD Lines ships on the Dover-Calais route. Though we were late (again!) DFDS very kindly found us a place on the next boat and the journey was excellent. The kids loved the soft play area and we had a bite to eat from the cafe which offers hearty French and English cuisine at a reasonable price.
From Calais the journey to Normandy Garden is relatively straightforward, and between 2.5 and 3 hours with only a few small toll charges to pay. We all got very excited about the breathtaking journey over the Pont de Normandie bridge.
Normandy Garden Holiday Village Review
When we arrived at Normandy Garden the staff were very welcome and checking in was very quick. Fortunately the mini-market is right next to reception so we were able to grab a few essentials before heading to our house. We had reserved one of their new two bedroom VIP houses. It was lovely.
Both modern and stylish with a bit of Normandy charm thrown in. We particularly loved the spacious modern shower room and the special touches like the DVD player and the Senseo coffee machine (no mess!). Plus there were lovely views of the villages from our terrace.
If the kids had their way we wouldn’t have left the village. Number one on the daily list was the heated swimming pool ‘aqua’ complex with large central pool, lazy river, a choice of hot tubs, a great paddling area for little ones, and two outdoor pools with sunbathing area.
Number two was the hugh indoor playarea – perfect for the Normandy weather. Also in the village is a football pitch, tennis courts, table tennis, outdoor play area, crazy golf and a petanque terrain. You can hire bikes and horse riding is nearby.
Our youngest wanted to try the children’s club so we booked them both in for a session with three other English girls and they had a lovely time. We didn’t eat in the restaurant this time but there is a fab takeaway service where you can order pizza, roast chicken or kids meals and take them back to the apartment.
Things to do with the kids in Normandy
When we did manage to get them out and about in Normandy we enjoyed Trouville and Deauville. We found the Trouville beach to have more for the children to do, including an aquarium which unfortunately was closed for lunch when we tried to get in. The nearest resort to Normandy Garden is Villiers Sur Mer which is a lovely little resort with a choice of restaurants and ice cream stalls.
We also spoke to other families in the village with older children who had made the most of visits to Normandy Landing beaches, D-Day events and nearby Bayeaux. Which all seemed to go down very well with the kids and the adults!