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South of France - Things to do in the rain?

5 replies

MotherofOne · 01/05/2002 14:50

We're off to the Cote d'Azur on Saturday for two weeks in a villa with two 2.5 yr old toddlers.
Dh has just reported that the long range weather forecast looks decidedly grey, cloudy and possibly even wet! (Not the pool-side sunbathing holiday I imagined then......)
Anyone been and have days out/ things to do tips? We're close enough to get to Nice, Cannes, Antibes, Grasse etc....

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bells2 · 01/05/2002 15:23

I haven't really been there with children and my memory is a little hazy but there is certainly lots to do beyond sunbathing. If they are boys and like cars, there is a National Car Museum near Nice (signposted on the Autoroute and around 10 miles west of the Airport). Other than that, all the hilltop villages such as St Paul de Vence, Eze, Gorbio etc etc are worth a visit. Also, beyond Grasse, place like Moustiers make a nice day trip and of course you could always go to places in Provence (Aix is an especially lovely town while Menerbes and so on are also accessible). There is the perfume factory in Grasse but not sure there is much there to interest toddlers.

There is also a very good market at Ventimiglia on the Italian border every Friday (I think). If you don't mind a 2hour+ drive, you could always go to Genoa and Portofino. The back streets of Genoa are fascinating.

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Janus · 01/05/2002 22:03

We were just outside of Grasse last year. Mougins, hilltop, beautiful, beautiful, village is worth a visit. As I remember, the parking is all on the outside of the village so the centre is very calm and you could let your toddlers out, keeping an eye out for the odd car. The village is wonderful and full of little cafes, bars, art shops, etc to stop off and get a drink. Of course, they all love children so you can actually relax a little.
Antibes too is lovely, especially in the old walled village and good for a walk around, again cars have to go very slow and seemed to be non-existent so you could let your toddlers out and keep a good look out for cars. Partner has just told me Antibes has a very good aquarium too (although he went when he was 10 !! but he thinks is still there).
Cannes has the lovely seafront to walk along and, last year, had a bit of an old-fashioned merry-go-round, etc.
We are heading to St Tropez later this month, villa style with friends too, so do let me know what you do get up to if the weather is bad as mine will be coming up to 2 and would be good to have a back-up should the weather turn poo!

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Janus · 01/05/2002 22:07

Oooh, forget to say, my MIL completely raved about the markets bells2 mentioned in Italy, and I'm pretty sure she said it was on a Friday too. She insisted we went but we didn't get round to it but may be worth a trip if weather dull? I have a book on the Cote d'Azur somewhere so if you want to go to the market then let me know and I'll look it up in there to check on that day.

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Tinker · 01/05/2002 22:13

Oh yes, Genoa is fantastic. Went in Feb with my 5 year old. There's harbour with a little ferry (free for kids), funiculaire (I'm sure I've spelt that incorrectly) railways, a huge aquarium and something called Citta del Bambini. Would have gone to that but a strange woman kept trying to coax my daughter to go with her so had to make an excuse!

I love Genoa - want to move there. Now.

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Janus · 02/05/2002 14:51

Right, just got my guidebook out:
4kms east of Antibes on the RN7 is Marineland, an outdoor marine park and entertainment complex staging shows with performing whales, dolphines and sealions. Other attractions include Aquasplash (with giant waterslides), a Provencal-style farm, a butterfly farm and the ubiquitous crazy golf.
Sounds good to me! No bloody info on when open or cost but I would think this is the start of the season.
Salon-de-Provence has the Chateau and Zoo de la Barben, huge gardens and an adjoining zoo (which they say is popular), this is 11km east of Salon on D572/D22 tel 04 90 55 19 12, open 10-6, costs about £5 each.
There is also a zoo at Cap-Ferrat, 117 bd du Geneeral de Gaulle, tel 04 93 01 45 90, open 9.30 to 7.30 from April, again about £5.
Also, apparently Lonely Planet do a 'with children' guide, maybe a quick phone call to the local bookshop to see if they have and I would definitely buy this if they do.
Enjoy your hols, whatever the weather!

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