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"Great place to stay with children…"
As a family we enjoy visiting different places from one year to the next. We have not visited a place in two successive years previously. However we enjoyed our stay at La Garenne so much in 2012 that we thought we must stay there again this year. We stayed in July 2012 for two weeks and had glorious weather occasion interrupted by watching parts of the Olympics taking place in the UK. This year we again had glorious weather for the full two weeks in August.
Our hosts Dorte and Richard our lovely people. They live on site and are always available if you need help or are looking for ideas for things to do on a particular day or you just fancy a chat about life in France. There are so many great things do in that part of France, lovely towns to visit, lazy canoe trips down the river, tennis, amazing swimming complexes etc. The gites surround a large garden. You quickly realise that the other families are very friendly and that the children play and form friendships. People look out for each other and each others children. This allows parents to relax and enjoy the peaceful surroundings, only having to keep one eye on the kids instead of two.
The gites themselves are generously sized and finished to a high standard, each with its unique style and layout. They are well equipped and very comfortable to stay in. We would heartily recommend La Garenne to people with similar interest.
Andrea, Duncan and Daniel (aged 7)Read moreLess
3 people found this review helpful.
"A perfect family holiday to have fun & relax!…"
There simply could not be a better place to relax on holiday with your children. Dorte & Richard are the perfect hosts and have a wonderful plot filled with elegantly rustic gites, great play equipment for the children, all set in very safe surroundings. Their accommodation is well placed to either relax and enjoy the facilities or to venture out and visit nearby beaches, zoos, historic and picturesque villages, towns & islands. A week was simply not long enough!Read moreLess
4 people found this review helpful.
"Fantatic family location, rustic France mingled with child friendly location…"
We had a fantastic holiday in La Garenne. Dorte and Richard made us feel very welcome and it was really like a home from home but in a beautiful location with stunning views of the local French countryside.
Our gite was very rustic but had all the facilities we needed to enjoy a brilliant holiday. My kids (aged 10, 8 and 5) loved La Garenne, they made some good friends and enjoyed the full use of the gardens to play football, table tennis, play on the swings and in the swimming pool and the fact my husband and I could sit outside our gite and watch them was terrific. As La Garenne is off the main road, it is really safe and the children could play without us having to worry that they were in any danger.
The introductory barbeque was a great way to get to know the other families staying at La Garenne and the kids club is a must to take some time out as parents and explore the surrounding area.Read moreLess
2 people found this review helpful.
"Great choice for a relaxing family holiday in rural France.…"
We spent 2 weeks at La Garenne in July and can highly recommend it. The setting is beautiful, with the gites renovated to a very high standard. Dorte and Richard are very friendly and welcoming and took care of us faultlessly. The set up of the gites lends itself to allowing the kids to make friends, play with each and have fun in a safe and picturesque setting. The pool is a perfect size and depth for young kids. The gites are set in rolling French hills filled with wheat and sunflower fields, which is great for walks in the evening. There are local attractions and also Dorte and Richard are very knowledgeable about recommending local places to visit for the afternoon or for a full day. We would highly recommend this to any parents with young kids looking for a relaxing and safe holiday in a beautiful setting.Read moreLess
"A Fantastic Holiday with Two Small Children…"
We have just returned from a stay at La Garenne and it was everything I hoped it would be. We have a 3 yo and an 8 mo and were looking for somewhere to relax where our 3 yo could have some friends to play with and where we would have some grown ups to chat to.
Our DD1 was able to go out to play in the garden freely, it is gated and they are perfectly safe. The trampoline is in the front garden and it looked new. It is not fenced but I would need to watch her on it anyway. She did of course play on it while other parents were watching so I didn't need to be with her constantly. However you could sit on the chairs there and have a beer and a chat with the other parents so it wasn't a chore.
We stayed in Jardin, a two bed all on one level gite, which was nicely decorated, with a super shower, large bath and plenty of hot water. Fridge was a bit small but we had everything we needed. Our neighbours did buy a potato masher, we managed without one.
The pool is heated and cleaned everyday. It was a bit chilly as they haven't had the normal weather there this year. But once in, it was fine. The toddler pool was lovely and warm.
Our DD1 did the kids club which was a nice break for us and she have a lovely time. She also did the ceramic painting which is cute if a bit of a mess. We got the arrival meal which was lovely and plentiful, fed the girls it the next day too. The BBQ was really nice but we didn't get the food delivery as I don't eat meat and it chicken. However, those that did said it was delicious.
Dorte and Richard have created a lovely friendly atmosphere where grown-ups spent the evenings drinking wine in each others gites or patios which meant I had a nose around each one. Two haven't been renovated but they are perfectly nice and I would recommend staying in Maison Belle which is huge. La Grange has a spiral staircase so I would avoid it if you have to carry children up and down.
Would be better if you could walk to the village for bread and supplies but it's an easy drive and the supermarket is large.
Would definitely recommend if you have little children 8 and under.Read moreLess
"Great concept but needs more work…"
Really great idea and this place could be amazing... but our gite was not very well equipped and the decor was tired (the newer ones looked better) There was no fan and even though it was 35 degrees, we were made to feel like getting one was a massive effort. We had to supervise the children very closely as the garden wasn't gated and the trampoline was old, delapidated and had no safety net. Given it is billed as being so family friendly, little things like no proper curtains on west facing windows in the children's bedroom were quite annoying.
On the upside, we met some lovely people and the food delivered to the gite was lovely.
On the website this place looks gorgeous and I think it could easily become what it promises with a bit more work.Read moreLess
3 people found this review helpful.
"Beautiful setting, great for all the family!…"
We have 2 children (5yrs and 2yrs) and we spent a lovely week in La Grange gite at La Garenne in July 2012. We were looking for a holiday in which the children would be happy and safe and also somewhere we could relax so we spent a lot of time researching options. La Garenne seemed like the perfect place and I was very keen (and quite anxious) to see if the holiday would meet our high expectations. I am delighted to say that it certainly met all our expectations!
Communication during research, booking and on arrival with Dorte was very good – always on hand to answer queries and help with any local information we required to make our stay most enjoyable.
On arrival we were slightly early, so spent the time, in the middle of sunflower fields and vineyards, exploring the gardens and stretching our legs from the car journey. Our children were immediately at ease at the setting which put our minds at rest. Our gite was perfect, spacious, clean and comfortable. The local supermarket is 10mins drive and has everything you need.
We took advantage of Dorte’s homemade cooking one evening and had a beautiful meal when the children were safely in bed after another fun-filled day. We also attended the welcome BBQ to meet the other families staying at La Garenne which was a lovely evening and the children enjoyed painting pottery one afternoon in the garden.
There are many places to see around the area but it is equally relaxing to stay at La Garenne while the children play in the garden or splash around in the pool.
All in all a great holiday where Dorte and Richard both made us feel very welcome and most importantly of all for us, we had a relaxing time – something we never thought possible with 2 young children on holiday!
We are definitely hoping to book to go back again next summer, I would highly recommend La Garenne to any family.Read moreLess
3 people found this review helpful.
"Brilliant family centred holiday in beautiful setting…"
La Garenne is a great setup - the six gites surround an enclosed pool area and grassed play area, with loads of toys and bikes available for everyone to play with. There's another field out front for football and the trampoline - great for older kids to get away while younger ones get to bed. The beautiful rural setting is very peaceful and safe. Hosts Richard and Dorte are brilliant - fun, helpful, easygoing. The extras are well thought through, and the welcome BBQ in particular was great fun for both adults and kids. Families can mix but not on top of each other, fabulous for kids to have so many playmates. We stayed in La Rosier, which was comfortably 'country' in style - others have been modernised and looked very swish but ours perfectly comfortable, although heat without fans or AC was tough on the kids - Dorte helped us out with a fan which made a huge difference. Only drawback for us was distance from the beach - an hour or more, and quite a few family days out / towns to visit 45mins plus drive. So for us, with little kids who can't swim or arent entertained in a paddling pool for long, and cant go on bike rides we found ourselves often needing to drive further than ideal for an outing, although we did enjoy some trips within 20-30 mins too, and particularly for a week there is plenty. Overall it was the best solution we've found so far for balancing a villa-style holiday with access at 'home' to fun for the kids and therefore a bit more time off for us without full on club type environments. I would thoroughly recommend la garenne and I hope we get back. Thanks Richard and Dorte for a great holiday.Read moreLess
1 person found this review helpful.
"A great way of holidaying…"
Having never done the gite/shared facilities holiday before, we were so very happy with the concept and the accommodation provided at La Garenne. With 2 boisterous boys, this is the first holiday that has allowed me to leave them to their own devices while I relaxed with a book!
The shared gardens and pool meant all the kids interacted and played together and the welcome BBQ in particular was a great ice breaker for all. I would definitely recommend!Read moreLess
2 people found this review helpful.
"A bit tired…"
i booked to stay at La Garenne based on the reviews on this site. I couldn't take the holiday in the end, so I gave it to my sister. She has similar tastes to mine (quite discerning, but not too picky) and she was quite disappointed by La Garenne. She found broken tiles in the gite, broken toys outside and a murky, cold pool. They liked the setting but found the distance to travel to other amenities further than advised.Read moreLess
4 people found this review helpful.
"This year we will be taking our second holiday at…"
This year we will be taking our second holiday at La Garenne and this time we will be staying for two weeks which believe me rarely happens but we had such a good time last year that we've taken the plunge.
Our accommodation was spotlessy clean on arrival and Dorte & Richard couldn't have been more helpful. (Dorte even offered to come and find us when we got lost - technical hitch with the sat nav)!
Our children aged 3 & 18 months loved playing in the garden after breakfast it was shoes on and straight outside, yes some of the toys are looking a bit tired but the children didn't care. I think as parents we want everything to be bright and shiny but for the children it's just an adventure.
I would advise on taking Dorte up on the offer of home cooked food delivered to your door it's the perfect solution to not going out but not needing to cook.
I am surprised to see negative reviews about La Garenne and I think it's unfair of people to complain about needing to take your own towels, you are aware of this before you book and if you don't like it don't go. Some of the families when we stayed had purchased towels from the local supermarket with a view to leaving them behind if they couldn't fit them into thier suitcases on departure, So there is always a solution if space tight.
Overall I would recommend La Garenne for a stress free & relaxing family holiday.Read moreLess
3 people found this review helpful.
"Just browsing Mumsnet and I am extremely surprised at some…"
Just browsing Mumsnet and I am extremely surprised at some of the negative comments for La Garenne.
We are very much looking forward to spending 2 weeks at La Garenne in August. This will be our 3rd visit in three years.
Our children aged 10 and 3 are in their element at La Garenne and are always reluctant to leave the large garden and pool to go on day trips! (of which there are plenty.) It is an extremely safe enviroment where both children and parents alike, can relax and enjoy their holiday in an idyllic location.
On all of our visits we have found our Gite to be immaculately clean, very comfortable, and well equipt.
Dorte and Richard are the perfect hosts in every way, available and knowledgable to help and advise, with nothing being too much trouble.
We cannot fault this place.Read moreLess
"La Garenne is in rural France but not too far…"
La Garenne is in rural France but not too far away from anywhere and we had great fun exploring.
The gites are all different and all are very well equipped with outdoor space and bbqs. For chill out time, if it was too hot to be out (or too wet) we were able to borrow dvds to watch.
Our 2 children, 9 and 2.5 had a great time and made so many new friends. Kids are kids and don't really take too much notice of their surroundings but we always knew they were safe and they were as happy just to be out in the open as much as they were.
Everyone who we met at La Garenne were repeat visitors and some have booked to return again. We had a fantastic holiday at La Garenne in August last year. So much so that we booked to stay in slightly larger accommodation this August.
Dorte and Richard made us all so welcome and went out of their way to make sure my dietary requirements were fulfilled at the welcome bbq - well worth the money!
I am suprised at some of the comments I have seen on this website about the accommodation and feel that to score this so low is in my opinion highly unjustified.Read moreLess
"A very disappointing holiday (made worse by the weather admittedly)…"
A very disappointing holiday (made worse by the weather admittedly) but the accommodation was disappointing to say the least. I booked our holiday based on the reviews on this site. 2 families travelled with 4 children & stayed in 2 gites. Ours was run down & the furniture tired (it was the cheapest but not that cheap). The kitchen was falling apart with broken cupboards, the equipment had bits missing & we had to keep borrowing even basic things (like a chopping board and colander) from the neighbouring gite. The communal garden is littered with a selection of broken toys & a very dangerous trampoline with exposed rusty springs & no safety nets. The swimming pool was only uncovered once during our stay & we had to ask. The owners are pleasant enough, but their priorities seem to be going out for a run rather than ensuring their guests are happy no one even showed us around our gite on arrival! To top it all you have to take your own towels - if you are travelling with kids, you have enough paraphernalia to carry without having to pack towels!Read moreLess
2 people found this review helpful.
"Having read such rave reviews about La Garenne (which influenced…"
Having read such rave reviews about La Garenne (which influenced our decision to stay there) and not wanting to be negative, I would like to add just a few thoughts from the perspective of someone staying there with younger children.
We spent a week at the gite this September and did have a great time. Dorte and Richard are lovely and couldn't have been more welcoming. Dorte's home-cooked food was great and we made use of her culinary wizardry on more than one occasion.
The complex itself however left us a bit disappointed. Yes the gites were nicely done and the garden is walled and a safe place to play. Our main gripe though was the condition of the equipment. We hadnn't brought any toys with us as the reviews suggested we didn't need to. Yet the toddler swing was broken and couldn't be used; the Little Tikes car was broken and most of the toys in the garden were old and in need of repair. The trampoline doesn't have a net around which might be ok for slightly older children but was a bit of a worry for those of us with little ones who were desperate to bounce.
So yes - La Garenne is a lovely place in a very rural area of France. But if you have children of toddler age, it may well not live up to expectation. You'll certainly need to take some things to play with.Read moreLess
5 people found this review helpful.
"We have just returned from a fantastic fortnight at La…"
We have just returned from a fantastic fortnight at La Garenne.
The setting is perfect, the gites are gorgeous stone cottages that look like they could be a film set for a period drama and the interiors are great too and mix practicality with french style to get effect.
Dorte and Richard are great hosts always on hand to offer advice on where to go for a good meal or the following days weather forecast.
The best part really though was the child friendly environment. We could let out 7 and 5 year olds wander off in a really safe idyllic setting and when they're given that freedom we get a little bit of freedom too!
Many thanks Dorte and Richard!
Julie, Nelle and Charlie's mumRead moreLess
"La Garenne really fulfilled our expectations in providing an extremely…"
La Garenne really fulfilled our expectations in providing an extremely enjoyable and relaxing holiday for us and our 6 year old son. The layout and facilities were highly suited to us all being able to let our son have a degree of freedom in playing with the many toys and on the play equipment, either on his own or with the many new friends he met. 'A watchful eye' from us was easy to maintain given the open layout and exterior seating and it really is hard to remember previous years where we have felt 'on alert' all day.
The 'gite' we had was fantastic, very open, light and roomy and it was a pleasure to cook and eat either inside or out. The welcome BBQ was delightful and delicious and a good ice-breaker for all. We also took advantage of the option of delicious 3-course dinners, cooked and delivered by our hosts. The location in Ferrieres is peacefull and idyllic but the ample shops and attractions are still so easy to reach.
Many thanks to Dorte and Richard for a wonderful holiday - all three of us are now big fans and will certainly be back.Read moreLess
"Our 2nd holiday at La Garenne with our 3.5 years…"
Our 2nd holiday at La Garenne with our 3.5 years old. Amazing place! The gites are spacious, very nicely decorated and have dishwasher, coffee maker, big fridge/freezer, TV & DVD. The facilities for the children are out of this world: slides, swings, bikes, skate boards, balloons, trampoline, toys for all ages, swimming pool & baby pool, books, DVDs. We did not bring a toy with us - absolutely no need. Dorte (the owner) runs a kids club once a week & babysits in the evening. Together with her husband they organise a BBQ once a week with all the guests and she prepares delicious home-made meals twice a week so it's heaven for the parents.
So much to do & see in Charentes for both kids & adults: islands (Re & Aix), beaches, aquarium, zoo, castles, distilleries, etc... We have now spent 3 weeks there over 2 years and we still feel we haven't done it all. We will have to go back and it will be at La Garenne - no doubt about it!Read moreLess
"We spent two weeks at the beginning of June 2011…"
We spent two weeks at the beginning of June 2011 at La Garenne with our three boys aged 1,4 and 7. Our kids really enjoyed playing with all the other children and our four year old is still talking about trying to do a playdate with his new best friend from Edinburgh.
If you want to get out and about there is plenty to do within an hour or two's ddrive. Dorte, Richard and their boys make everyone very welcome and the weekly BBQ is a highlight.Read moreLess
"Just returned from a fantastic week at La Garenne. Our…"
Just returned from a fantastic week at La Garenne. Our gite was wonderfully spacious and comfortable with all the self catering equipment we needed, even down to the cot, steriliser and high chair for our 8 month old.
Our four year old has had the time of her life, meeting new friends, playing on the climbing frame and swing ropes in the garden as well as jumping in and out of the main pool and heated toddler pool all in a safely gated area.
It felt so relaxed (which I didn't expect with a baby in tow) and we could happily sit looking out onto the garden, watching the kids play either from the table and sun loungers outside our gite, or when sitting on the huge playmat with toys provided on the lawn.
The welcome bbq was such a lovely way to meet the families in the other gites and Dorte and Richard were brilliant hosts as they cooked, answered all our questions and also gave us loads of information about the places to visit and what would or wouldn't be of interest to our children.
Dorte and Richard have really thought about their clientele. They made us feel so welcome and their love of the area really shows. I would definitely recommend La Garenne for a great holiday.Read moreLess