Archive for the ‘France for Kids’ Category
This week we were delighted to learn that the home of Pierre et Vacances’ first residence back in 1978 has been nominated as Best Family Resort! The nomination from 2012 World Snow Awards – from Ski and Snowboard Magazine – will be judged a panel of industry experts with winners announced on Friday November 2, 2012 during the annual Ski and Snowboard Show in Earls Court, London. The event will mark the 25th anniversary of the Ski & Snowboard magazine.
It’s well deserved honour in our view, and for good reason too. Avoriaz has always led innovation in the Alps and this winter season is no exception.
Here are our top 10 reasons why Avoriaz should win!
1. It is 100 per cent snow-sure: Avoriaz is a 100 per cent snow-sure resort located at 1,800m. It has ski in, ski out access from every single residence and hotel to 650km of groomed pistes within the Les Portes du Soleil ski region.
2. Unsurpassed facilities for children: Learn to ski and child care facilities within the village are unsurpassed. It boasts Des Enfants and Ecole des Parents childcare and no less than five ski schools including the Avoriaz Alpine Ski School. With lessons in English by native English speaking instructors and an integrated nursery accepting babies from three months, the Avoriaz Alpine Ski School allows children between aged three and five to combine their nursery stay with Villages des Enfants ski lessons.
Avoriaz’s new Learn to Snowboard program uses a teaching method adapted to young children which is totally unique in Europe: From 15th December in the centre of the resort, at the very heart of the Village des Enfants’ giant learning area, Burton will open “Riglet Park”, a snowy play zone designed to introduce children from 3 years old to snowboarding.
3. Innovative & exhilarating ski area: The resort ski area is both engaging and innovative with dedicated ‘learning areas’ plus the Avoriaz Snozone encompassing five snowparks and Snowcross areas – including the award winning Burton Le Stash, Lil Stash and Burton Kids Parkway, all served by a state of the art lift system with large family-friendly fast chairlifts.
4. Completely car-free sustainable resort: A car free resort where the taxis are horse drawn sleighs and sustainable initiatives are at the heart of every project.
5. Great transport links: Avoriaz offers great rail and air transport links to the UK with quick resort transfer times thanks to its location just 90 minutes from Geneva airport and 45 mins from Cluses train station.
6. Affordable and flexible lift pass options: Lift pass offers in Avoriaz are available in various flexible options including kids’ rates for under 16s, youth passes for 16 – 19 years old, seniors at 65+, a 5 hour pass, park- and stash-only passes and points cards, and 10 per cent off family pass discounts. These offer significant savings; for instance, a six-day Portes de Soleil pass for two adults and two kids aged 5 – 15 would cost €710 individually or €560 for the family. In December and April special offer lift passes add access to the Aquariaz water park and free kids passes on selected dates.
7. Accommodation suited to varying budgets and party sizes: Avoriaz boasts a wide range of accommodation options. These range from basic, budget four-person Maeva studios on the one hand, to luxury spacious Pierre & Vacances Premium properties. At the premium end two and thee-bedroom apartments, hotel style service is coupled with spa and indoor leisure facilities.
Over 500 quality spacious new apartments have recently been added, designed to meet growing demand from families and groups who want to go on holiday with grandparents and friends. The new Crozats residence, for example, offers connecting apartments, ideal for groups looking to come together at meal times, while offering privacy at other times during the trip. Further family friendly hotel options are also available.
8. All-season entertainment programme: A lively calendar of in-resort events takes place in Avoriaz throughout each season. From fireworks and visits from Santa for kids at Christmas to the February ‘Carnaval’ with torchlight descents and colourful street art, live music from rock to jazz, international DJ acts and cabaret, an exhilarating programme is designed to thrill and entertain.
9. A host of ‘alternative’ snow-related activities: Opportunities for non skiers or for those who simply want to try something new in the mountains abound in Avoriaz. Night sledging, a ‘safe sledging’ run, snowshoe walks, dog sledging, skating and even free fall parachuting are among the many options!
AND SAVING THE BEST TILL LAST!!!
10. The brand new Aquariaz: The first ever ski resort water park! Designed by the team at Center Parcs, this is a state-of-the-art aquatic paradise with enough to keep all ages happy. Note this French water park is swim-shorts friendly – but if you want to ‘go French’ and wear Speedos, that’s OK too!
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 et Vacances Holiday Villages.
Holidays at Pierre et 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 pierreetvacances.com/gb-en 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.
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!
Book Normandy Garden online or by calling 0870 0267 145.
Pierre & Vacances is offering up to 40 per cent off its range of self-catering accommodation all over France and Spain booked before 2 July 2012.
From Seaside holidays and mountain escapes to city breaks and short breaks to the sun, the offer includes a wide selection of dates including the school holidays, and also features the popular family-friendly Holiday Villages in a range of sunny locations: Belle Dune, Cap Esterel, Port-Bourgenay and Port du Crouesty.
So whether you want a fun family break to beautiful Brittany, to explore the sparkling seas of the South of France with a self-catering base or enjoy the sun in the Spanish Costa Del Sol, there’s a holiday deal for you!