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FRANCE 2015 Ideas please!

(31 Posts)
twinsmum1 Thu 01-Jan-15 17:20:19

Hi all, happy new year!
Ok, I am looking to book our Summer Holiday 2015 to France. Last year we went to the Loire and the weather was rubbish! Although we did like the chateaus.
This year, we are wanting some guaranteed sunshine and somewhere picturesque with markets, beaches, and some really nice sightseeing. Travelling with 2 children and 70 year old Mum. We will be driving from Channel Tunnel.
Anyone been to Lot? Dordogne?
Any recommendations or direct links to gites/villas that you have been to would be gratefully received.
Thanks so much, Cate X x X

Dordogne is lovely, we've done it a few times, although like your our summer 2014 weather was a bit grim, so this year we're heading to Canada.

We've stayed in some lovely places, if your children are young, then this place is wonderful [www.lepavillondestagnan.com/en/] . Accomodation is ok, but the main selling point are the shared facilities, plus it's within walking distance ( just) to a great restaurant. Or another location is to base yourself near Sarlat which is a very scenic old town.

Loads of stuff to do in the Dordogne , I do have another post somewhere with a list, will see if I can dig it out. however you aren't guaranteed sunshine - we've been 4 times and we've had good weather 3 times and okayish weather the last time, so hopefully last year was just a blip. Good thing about the dordogne is there are things to do even if it's not so sunny, but canoeing in the drizzle is not so much fun !

twinsmum1 Thu 01-Jan-15 17:53:10

Thanks rookie, this is really helpful. Would love to see your list if you can find it. Much appreciated, will check out your suggestions. :-)

Here you go twinsmum1. It's quite an old list, so if you let me know your twin's ages then I'll see if I can think of anything. Le Table d'erillac is the restaurant very close to Le Pavillon de St Agnan, we were staying nowhere near it this year, but did a 45 min journey each way for our dinner one evening and it was worth it. Chez Nous used to have a lot of nice properties :

Anyway lovely things to do in the Dordogne:

Velorail - you would need to ring up and book in French, as for a tourist experience they don't seem to be very organised, but it's great fun
www.veloraildefrance.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=17&Itemid=38

www.france4families.com/dordogne/RegionsDordogneChateauxCastelnaud.htm
DS loved Castlenaud as its a very authentic castle, plus it has a very nice cafe opposite which does great salads and crepes. Beynac castle is also a fun experience.

www.gouffre-de-padirac.com/
This is a lot better than the website would have you believe as it involves walking down into the deep cave and then going on a boat trip. It is very popular so try to arrive early and do not eat in the closest restaurant like we did as it is overpriced and not very nice. Our friends also did caves with crystals but I can't remember the name of them.

www.mumsnet.com/Talk/general_advice_tips/991463-Can-anyone-recommend-fun-things-to-do-with-children-in
Some great recommendations on this thread, although after having visited Jacquo park I would give it a miss, the water park bit was good, but all the rides seemed a bit rickety and the animals very sad. Canoeing or a boat trip is an excellent way to soak up the scenery although DS did claim to get bored on the boat trip.

www.tripadvisor.co.uk/Restaurant_Review-g425001-d1385843-Reviews-La_Table_d_Erillac-Hautefort_Dordogne_Region_Aquitaine.html
This restaurant is absolutely brilliant if you happen to visit Chateau Hautefort. We stumbled upon it because the first year we went we were staying close. Very child friendly, reasonable prices and amazing food, we didn't find anywhere half as nice in Sarlat to eat. Sarlat itself is lovely in the evening, there is usually entertainment, there was a band and a contortionist when we were there and DS had a brilliant time watching it all, also you can get free samples of all the liqueurs in the shops - do not buy truffle liqueur like my husband as it is foul.
They are very fond of anything relating to duck gizzards or foie gras, sadly I don't like that but managed to find enough to eat.

There is also meant to be riversides that are done up like beaches, but as it was so hot when we were there we didn't make it to one.

There are certain things I would avoid, we made the mistake of going to a museum involving prehistoric digging and bears, it turned out to be someone's back garden that they had excavated and some really sad bears pounding around a dreadful looking area that for some reason he had acquired, we were the only visitors and yet the tour guide refused to adapt the hour long presentation to tailor to the needs of a rather bored 4 year old. There is also the copy of the prehistoric paintings, this may have been fantastic, but I didn't get to see it as they started tutting the minute DS arrived on the tour so DS and I left before he could make any noise. They don't seem as child friendly in the historic properties as The National Trust and I would keep away from guided tours if possible as they tend to be long and tedious even for adults.

twinsmum1 Thu 01-Jan-15 18:26:30

Wow,thank you. This is great. Will have a good look through tonight. My twins will be 7.

Branleuse Thu 01-Jan-15 18:32:16

last years summer in france was unusual weather. You run that risk all over. They had a great early summer and a late one, but august was disappointing
Usually much much warmer, but if you go south east to ardeche or provence i think its more likely to be hot, although dordogne would usually be hot too, so who knows. We were in the languedoc and had rain
g

Branleuse Thu 01-Jan-15 18:34:50

but the year before and we were right in the north and it was 33degrees.
France is still seasonal so you get the risk more than in some countries, I hope people arent put off by last summer,

Methe Thu 01-Jan-15 18:41:55

We went to the dordogne last July and the weather was really bad - chilly, thunderstorms, rain, wind and cloud. We stayed with canvas near Sarlat and despite the weather had such a good time we are going back this year.

As Rookie says there is loads to too and Gauffre de Padirac was a definite highlight. Another favourite was Rocamadour which we kinds of stumbled apron by accident. We were lucky enough to be there at the same time as a group of people doing a pilgrimage and they were signing as they walked and it was absolutely beautiful and something we all felt blessed to see.

We weren't that impressed with Sarlat although everyone seems to rave about it.

I'm going to Il De Re with my Mum and the kids in May half term too.. I'd love to know if anyone's been there?

We went to France for the first time in 2013 and are all hooked.

Thing is branleuse the weather is a bit of a double edged sword ( hope I have the right expression there !). We like the Dordogne because generally the temperature during the summer school holiday is a lot more tolerable than the Med or most other holiday destinations, oh and also there are direct flights from Edinburgh.

Actually I just thought of an amazing thing we did last year which was the Rouffignac caves. We went on a mini train ( which DS age 8 at the time loved) into caves to see original cave paintings, it was absolutely astounding and to my mind much better than going to Lascaux II to see imitiations. It does get busy so you need to get there fairly early to book your slot.

twinsmum1 Thu 01-Jan-15 18:53:37

Sounds fab, can you remember the names of any other accommodation you stayed in rookietherednosereindeer?

twinsmum1 Thu 01-Jan-15 18:54:47

Methe, I too also fancy Ile de Re so would be interested to hear about that too x

We've stayed in a big villa, but that's 6 bed so not good for yourselves, one place that was nice but the English owners were so intrusive it would really put me off recommending it to you and this one www.lesgrangesmontignac.com/ which was pretty basic, but well located as you could walk into the village and just about to the mini golf.

legoqueen Fri 02-Jan-15 13:42:38

Methe I've been to the Ile de Re & it is idyllic. We've stayed twice in Saint Martin & once in St Marie de re. The island is really unspoilt, lovely beaches - you'll have a wonderful time.

uggmum Fri 02-Jan-15 16:04:21

We are heading South, we have booked a villa in the hills overlooking the bay of St Tropez.

You can get a direct train from St Pancras to Avignon during the summer months. We hire a car at Avignon and drive down to the coast. This could be a good option if you want to avoid a long drive.

The town we are staying at is Les Issambres, typical french town, shops, restaurants, good sandy beach.

We are renting thru, www.provacances.co.uk

twinsmum1 Fri 02-Jan-15 17:05:12

Hi all, I am starting to find this holiday search stressful! Think I have found somewhere near Sarlat in Dordogne but it is £1600 per week. Can't seem to find anywhere cheaper than that.

We will be driving from Calais, have you guys got any recommendations as to where we can stop off for a weeks holiday on our way to Sarlat? So have one week in one place and another week in Sarlat.

I think I should maybe incorporate some beach into the holiday for the kids but would be open to suggestions. Thank you for all your help

SPent about 5 hours trawling the internet today. :-s

HettyD Fri 02-Jan-15 17:22:54

Hi, totally agree with Dordogne recommendations, if you want to camp I recommend les paradis which is in the vezere valley, an offshoot of Dordogne - lots to do, my boys love canoeing, there is a dinosaur park with a high wire course for kids, boys loved Le roc Christophe which is a recreation of Stone Age living in the valley, sarlat market is tues/sat and v busy but lovely, lots of castles if the weather isn't as fab as usual...we are going back this year (5th time) and have rented an amazing gite through chez nous 'les lavandes' near les bugues. As for stopping on the way- Poitier has a science park place that is apparently fab, we have stopped at chambord before but weather is patchy, this year we are going to vendee first for some beach. Hope this helps, enjoy!!

twinsmum1 - £1600 is a lot for a week at the Dordogne, we generally pay around £800 - £100 for a 2 bed during school holiday time. How many bedrooms are you looking for and what facilities? I'm out tonight, but if I can escape from Monopoly playing duty tomorrow (DS is now addicted) I'll see if I can find anything.

twinsmum1 Fri 02-Jan-15 17:48:01

HettyD, we can't camp as taking my Mum and she wants a bit of luxury. I love the look of your gite. Where do you stay in the vendee on your way? Thanks so much

twinsmum1 Fri 02-Jan-15 17:49:44

rookie, I am looking for somewhere which sleeps 5. For me, hubby, twins and mother. £800 would be ideal. Thanks for all your help x x

Ah ok we go in July which is slightly cheaper, but here's some ideas :

www.tripadvisor.co.uk/VacationRentalReview-g196508-d6497256-Le_Petit_Duc-Sarlat_la_Caneda_Dordogne_Aquitaine.html about �1000
during school holidays and has availability
www.tripadvisor.co.uk/VacationRentalReview-g196508-d2528496-Bahn_Thim-Sarlat_la_Caneda_Dordogne_Aquitaine.html - this one looks like it is �900 all year round for a week
www.tripadvisor.co.uk/VacationRentalReview-g196508-d2142728-Villa_La_Peyriere_124_Central_Sarlat-Sarlat_la_Caneda_Dordogne_Aquitaine.html - this one is from �585 but don't know during high season.

A tip if you are renting privately is to ask for a discount - this may work if they haven't got many rentals already, or conversely if yours is the last week they want to fill. May or may not work - worst they can say is no.

Rivercam Fri 02-Jan-15 18:37:22

We went to Dinan last year, in Brittany, staying in a gite in Lehon, a very pretty village. The area is lovely. I'd recommend it.

HettyD Sun 04-Jan-15 11:34:39

Hi, I have to admit the Gite is FAR more civilised!! Is c£1600 but sleeps 8+ and is gorgeous, lots of space, pool etc. We went there 2yrs ago and cannot wait to return!!
In the vendee we are usually around LesSables D'ollonne (sp.??!!) but I have heard amazing things about the Ile de re and Ile d'oleron...
If your looking for gites Brittany ferries do a package of ferry and accommodation, leaflet through my door yesterday. To be honest our biggest problem is ferries, there are lots of gorgeous gites around and if you pay in euros you should get a good rate at the moment!! But ferries in school holidays are already pretty booked (certainly Caen/Cherbourg routes)
Hope this helps, enjoy!!

TurnOverTheTv Sun 04-Jan-15 11:42:17

We go to Avignon, we get the Eurostar straight through, and hire a car in Avignon. We normally stay near L'isle Sur La Sorgue which is beautiful, lots of things to see and do. We've stayed here 3 times and it's fab
http://levieuxmoulindecrillon.fr/en

twinsmum1 Mon 05-Jan-15 20:09:29

Thanks so much for all your help guys.
I have spent the past 4 days looking and finally have it all booked and sorted. 1 week on the La Rochelle Coast near Ile d'oleron etc, and then 1 week in Dordogne near Sarlat. Found it difficult finding somewhere on the coast that would let the villa out for just a week. Only 8 months to wait now!! Will definitely take all your tips with me on holiday x

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