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France - La Rochelle, Dordogne etc - recommendations with young children

(6 Posts)
jassinkernow Tue 16-Aug-11 07:25:08

Would be hugely grateful for your advice/tips on good areas of Western France for a week's holiday at Easter with young children (ages 2 - 5). Planning an (extended) family holiday somewhere there next year and assuming that, as we won't be able to bank on the weather, we'll need some good stuff to do - zoos/animals/parks/etc etc. If anyone wants to throw in a recommendation of a large (11 people) villa to rent so much the better!
Thanks for any suggestions

frenchfancy Tue 16-Aug-11 14:53:46

The Vendée is pretty good at that time of year. If you go to the south Véndée you can do a trip to La Rochelle as well (brilliant aquarium).

Try this one:

jassinkernow Tue 16-Aug-11 15:43:32

Thanks - looks just the sort of thing we're after. We've been to La rochelle aquarium a couple of years ago and thought it was great, stayed in lovely gites south of La Rochelle, but too small for this time sadly...

TennisFan Wed 17-Aug-11 14:26:19

We stayed here this summer - there are gites of varying sizes so you could be all together, or have a bit of privacy if that's your thing.
The English owners are really lovely and helpful
Gite near La Rochelle

jassinkernow Mon 22-Aug-11 17:03:08

Thank you!

rookiemater Sat 27-Aug-11 17:10:33

Hi here is a cut and paste of an email I sent to someone re 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
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.
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.
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
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 DSarrived on the tour soDSand 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 a dults.

If you google La Pavillon de st agnan there is a 6 bedroom villa that has loads of things for young children to do. they organise pony rides and have a play barn, plus bicycles and scooters for the children to go round the gardens. We stayed in one of the smaller apartments but got a tour of the big villa.

I'm not sure what the weather would be like at Easter a bit hit or miss I would think.

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