If you’re thinking about taking a family holiday abroad, then France is a great option. Holidays in France offer just about every type of holiday you can think of, and there’s something to suit every family. With historic towns, stunning coastlines, majestic mountains and gorgeous countryside, France is full of little holiday gems.
One of the big attractions of France is how close it is to the UK and therefore how easy it is to get there. You can fly there easily and cheaply with budget airlines such as Easyjet or Ryanair, or take the Eurostar to a multitude of destinations. And, if you want to take the car there are ferries or the Eurotunnel. And many of the holiday companies we work with, such as Thomas Cook, Tui, Canvas Holidays and Eurocamp will also help you book your entire journey, which really takes the hassle out of travelling.
So, what are some of the different types of family holiday you can take in France? Let’s have a look at some in more detail.
France has an amazing variety of coastline to choose from and is the perfect choice for a family beach holiday. Probably the most famous coastline is that of the Côte d’Azur and Provençal, with the famous resorts of Nice and St Tropez. Whilst perfect for a visit, St Tropez’s ultra-famous, three-mile Pampelonne beach is expensive and Nice’s beaches are all pebbles. Venture away from the resorts by a few miles and you’ll have your pick of beautiful, sandy beaches to choose from. One of the best family beach holiday resorts is Cavalaire-sur-Mer, with gorgeous beaches and a host of water sports to try out, such as kayaking, snorkelling, canoeing and diving. Or you could take a trip to Porquerolles Island, off Hyères, with remote eucalyptus lined beaches perfect for paddling in. Across the River Rhône is the Languedoc-Roussillon region, where the coast becomes flat and provides endless opportunities for family holidays. Near Le Grau du Roi you’ll find the 11-mile long Espiguette beach, with space for absolutely everybody!
To the west, you’ll find the bracing Basque and Aquitaine coasts. The bracing Atlantic rollers make this a wonderful spot for surfing mad youngsters, with Biarritz offering plenty of lessons to get them started. Beaches are backed by sand dunes, including Pyla (the great sand dune) which you can climb up if you’re feeling active! The surrounding forests offer fantastic opportunities for cycling and exploring. Further north, the Vendée region provides huge, safe beaches that are extremely popular with campers.
As the coast becomes full of headlands and cliffs, you will have entered Brittany. The coast turns wider here, but kids will adore playing in the numerous rock pools that dot the beaches. In the city of Brest, you’ll find Océanopolis, one of France’s two best sea centres – full of marine life that’s sure to enchant the family. Next, into Normandy with sailing schools, horse riding, quaint promenades, shallow waters and the stunning Mont St-Michel to explore.
So, whether you want to relax and play on the sand or get out on the water and try some water sports, there’s a family beach holiday in France to suit you.
Many French campsites have direct access, or are near to beaches and are one of the best ways to explore the coastline. Try companies such as Canvas Holidays, Eurocamp, Al Fresco or Siblu for some good family deals. Club Med have holiday villages on the Atlantic Coast, or visit Booking.com for recommendations on hotels and guesthouses.
Think of France and theme parks and you’ll almost certainly think of Disneyland Paris. Disney is all encompassing, with a mix of everything – exciting rides for teenagers and adults, with gentler rides for toddlers and younger children, plus the chance for them to meet their favourite Disney characters. Disney has its group of hotels on site, and partner hotels and guesthouses nearby. Alternatively, you’ll find Canvas Holidays and Eurocamp campsites within an hour’s drive of the park.
But Disneyland isn’t the only theme park in France. Futurescope is located between the Loire Valley and the Vendee and is best described as a combination of the Science Museum and Thorpe Park. It’s well known for its fantastic evening shows, including one from the world famous Cirque du Soleil. Parc Asterix is located an hour from Paris, with fun Asterix themed rides and a quirky French style. Or for something entirely different, try Puy du Fou in the Vendee. Puy du Fou is made up of a series of live action shows recreating historical events, from Roman gladiators to King Arthur. All these parks are located along or near major tourist routes, meaning that they’re an easy day out from major locations.
City Breaks may not be the first thing that springs to mind when you’re looking to book a family holiday, but they can offer a fun and alternative family holiday. The obvious choice is Paris, of course. The Pompidou Centre has special sessions for teenagers, art workshops for children and the Galerie des Enfants with interactive playful exhibits for kids aged 3-10. Jardin du Luxembourg has fantastic playgrounds and the Grand Bassin duck pond, where children can hire vintage wooden toy boats and manoeuvre them across the water with long sticks. See the city with a family-friendly bike tour or stroll along Les Berges de Seine, a scenic stretch of the river with climbing frames, hopscotch, board games and seasonal pop-up play apparatus. If you want to stay in Paris with the family, your best bet is to look for an apartment – try Paris Perfect, who are a well-respected rental agency.
Of course, there are plenty of other cities to explore in France. Montpellier in the South of France is a beautiful medieval city with graceful squares and a close proximity to the beach. Strasbourg is a fairytale city, full of Alsace history and charm. Or take a trip to Nantes, the capital of the western Loire, where you can ride a 40-foot diesel driven elephant!
France is, in many ways, a giant outdoor playground that’s perfect for your kids to run around in and burn off some steam. If you’ve got an active holiday, then there are tons of activities to keep you busy. Consider staying at a Eurocamp or Canvas Holidays campsite, as they have lots of facilities and activities on site, with a large range of sporting activities to try out.
There are varied activities to try out in France. Why not go horse riding in the Seine Valley, where more than 20 farms and guesthouses along Normandy’s riding trails offer accommodation for both horse and rider. The Breton coast is a perfect place to learn to sail or try your hand at sand yachting. Head to the Roya Valley in Provence if you fancy a spot of rafting or canyoning. The Ardeche region of south-east France is perfect for kayaking through gorges, or even having a go at zip-lining. Tree top adventure parks are also becoming popular in France, so why not have a go at swinging through the trees?
For something entirely different you can book a skiing holiday in the French Alps. The Family Ski Company, Mark Warner and Neilson all specialise in skiing with the kids, and will help you plan your entire itinerary.
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