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Driving from Scotland with teenagers, where has lots to do in France?

(22 Posts)
ssd Thu 20-Mar-14 10:07:09

We have looked and looked at flying to Spain but I really don't fancy it, trouble is we have a tight budget but kids who get bored sitting around in the sun. Is there anywhere in France anyone would recommend? Not a euro camp thing they aren't great joiner iners?.

rookiemater Sat 22-Mar-14 16:07:40

We love the Dordogne and think this summer will be our fifth time of going.
There's loads to do and the weather is generally just right - find Spain, Italy etc too hot in the summer holidays.

There are caves and castles, canoeing trips and lots of pretty places to wander round. Not sure if teens would enjoy that, but you probably will. Most of the gites have pools so you have the option of doing that as well and price wise our gite is cheaper than the same week in a eurocamp caravan and is within walking distance of a lovely village with boat trips, mini golf and a market fair.

PortofinoRevisited Sat 22-Mar-14 17:52:47

I just came to post the same thing. Dordogne is fabulous. We stayed here but sure what availability is like for this summer. This year we are going here in the Ardeches, followed by here in the Jura - for the same reason that dd doesn't want to veg by the pool - and want lots of stuff to do - she loves that tree climbing/on a wire stuff.

I personally wouldn't discount Eurocamp type stuff - clubs are not obligatory. My second link is a Canvas Family Activity site so there is plenty for everyone to get stuck into, or not, according to your mood.

rookiemater Sat 22-Mar-14 17:56:14

OOH Le Banquet looks nice Portofino.
We are spending the first week this summer at la Rochelle sharing with friends and the second week staying here I don't know what it's like, but the location is ace, Montignac is a great village with things to do.

PortofinoRevisited Sat 22-Mar-14 18:58:17

We stayed near La Rochelle last year. Wouldn't recommend the Gites particularly, but lots to do. Trips to Ile de Re and Ile de Aix, Palmyre Zoo, the oysterbeds etc Lots of lovely seafood and beurre sale.

PortofinoRevisited Sat 22-Mar-14 18:59:00

La Rochelle is lovely - and the aquarium is great - though go early!

PortofinoRevisited Sat 22-Mar-14 19:02:32

Ooh yes - Montignac is home to Lascaux II. There is a great Dino parc up the road. Would recommend the caves at Rouffignac - little train that takes you to see real cave paintings. Les Eyzies and the Musee de prehistoire is worth a visit. And Sarlat - for the market - though go very early to get parked.

rookiemater Sat 22-Mar-14 19:04:37

Ah we haven't done the Dino parc yet or Rouffignac so I'll put those on the list - we love Sarlat.

DH was a bit meh about la Rochelle - it's a holiday with friends and my friend was particularly keen to go there, so it's good to know that there is lots to do.

DottyDot Sat 22-Mar-14 19:07:48

Portofino I think I'm going to become your stalker - that Chalain campsite in the Jura looks amazing grin

PortofinoRevisited Sat 22-Mar-14 19:11:43

grin Dd's favourite thing was Parc Vertig'O in Aytre, near La Rochelle. Accrobranche type thing. The Jura campsite has one of those on site! Plus segway rides in the countryside. I do worry a little about the weather...

zipzap Sat 22-Mar-14 19:30:04

If you want a one night stop off that's interesting and reasonably close to Calais if you want to split the journey up, Ypres (more commonly known as iepers now) is interesting.

Even my young dc were fascinated by the Menin Gate memorial, the town is typically Flemish and although mostly rebuilt after the 1st world war, still all looks very old and is nice to wander around. Timely too, as this is 100th anniversary of ww1 - might be extra commemorative stuff on...

We got a good price on a family room just off the main square in a novotel. There was a delicious reasonable bakery over the road we used for breakfast rather than pay the inflated breakfast prices the hotel was charging to recoup money on the cheap room price!

DottyDot Sun 23-Mar-14 14:56:33

Do you think you'd need a car if staying in any of the places linked? We'll be training/flying rather than driving, probably. Dp won't drive abroad and although I have done in the past, would rather not!

princessalbert Sun 23-Mar-14 15:03:58

Our teens are not into activities .. However in most places there are inland man made lake resorts - with pedaloes, boating, swimming.

When we went to the Dordogne there ar e loads of companies renting out canoes. You go down river and the company picks you up and drives you back to your car afterwards.

My favourite area is the Poitou Charente - I have seen canoing facilities available there too.

It's long drive down for you- we come form W Yorks - but the trick is to make the drive part of your holiday. Plan a night or two overnighting in a town of interest - such as Rouen or Le Mans - or Paris even. We have done all those. It just makes the trip more interesting and doesn't need you to do too much motoring in one day.

rookiemater Sun 23-Mar-14 15:12:25

Hi Dottydot, I think you'd struggle if you were going to the Dordogne and didn't have your own car, it's quite a big area.

Having said that there are great train links to the major areas and this link here shows some of the bus routes and the writer seems to reckon that it is possible to get round by public transport. Your French would need to be quite good to figure it out I reckon as whilst the tourist areas of the Dordogne are very Englishified, I don't suppose transport routes will be as much.

DottyDot Sun 23-Mar-14 16:41:13

thanks and sorry to hijack the thread which is about driving! I've got another thread going so will get back on that one grin

rookiemater Sun 23-Mar-14 17:17:33

Sounds like a plan dottydot

zipzap Mon 24-Mar-14 12:51:32

have you looked on the website? It's brilliant for all sorts of info about travelling around the world by train...

PetiteRaleuse Mon 24-Mar-14 13:00:40

The Jura is amazing and I can recommend the Chalain site portofino linked to. I stayed in a sc chalet above the lake, off the campsite but wandered down for a look and to walk the dog by the lake. The area is similar to the lake district - lakes, mountains, caves, mountain biking, with fabulous food and a nicer climate. It gets busy in the summer but nothing compared to the coast ( or the Lake district actually) and it is such a wild area you will always be able to get away from it all. I could go on about it all day actually. It's stunning.

PortofinoRevisited Mon 24-Mar-14 18:52:58

Good to hear, Petite. I am really looking forward to it.

PetiteRaleuse Mon 24-Mar-14 19:01:21

There is a village very close. Doué iirc or something like it, at the other end of the lake. Brilliant restaurant serving really really delicious meat. Can look up the name if you like.

PetiteRaleuse Mon 24-Mar-14 19:09:23

Doucier is the village and this is the restaurant :

soorplooms Sun 30-Mar-14 11:21:07

We went to Lac de Chalain with two other families some years ago. The weather was atrocious the first week and we squelched around in mud, we could easily have been in the Lake District! The second week the others went home and we stayed on and enjoyed glorious sunshine and had a lovely day-trip into Switzerland. Just be prepared for rain but it is a lovely area, you also get to see the Laughing Cow factory!
We have happy memories of Montignac and Les Eyzies from when the children were very small, I am getting quite nostalgic thinking of all the French camping holidays, we did Brittany , the Vendee and the Ardeche as well over the years.

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