It can be quite difficult trying to find a holiday which suits the whole family on a budget that doesn’t quite stretch to the Caribbean. The kids want fun, the adults want culture and history, and the one thing you all agree on is SUN! You may fancy a change from the other more obvious European destinations so why not consider France?
France has a lot to offer us Brits when it comes to choosing somewhere for a holiday. From city breaks, to beaches to rolling hills there is plenty to choose from, and all within such easy reach you can drive there if you wish. So let’s have a look at just a few options available to us.
Normandy is a region of France practically on our doorstep. Just a short hop over the English Channel, it is most famous for the D-Day landing and Battle of Normandy in WW2. This year, Normandy will be celebrating the 70th anniversary of these events with region wide ceremonies, street parades, fireworks and re-enactments. For the horse lovers among you, Normandy is also hosting the World Equestrian Games at the end of August. This area of France is certainly a must for historians – packed full of medieval architecture from the time of William the Conqueror, Churches and Abbeys, museums, Chateaux and manor houses. As well as all the Medieval and WW2 history surrounding Normandy, there are beautiful parks and gardens to enjoy – including some of the scenery made famous by Artists such as Turner, Monet and Sisley.
Paris is an obvious choice for a city break. The capital of France is within easy reach of England by plane and Eurostar, or if you like to let someone else do the driving coach trips are always widely available. There are the world renowned landmarks such as the Eiffel Tower and Arc de Triomphe to see, as well the Louvre to investigate. Paris is known as a romantic city with many small independent bars and cafes lining the streets. Boasting over 400 parks and gardens, Paris is the most wooded capital in Europe so it is easy to escape the city smog for a more peaceful time if you wish. Paris is full of museums and art galleries showcasing some of the world’s greatest paintings and sculptures. If you have children in tow, there is a zoo, aquariums and a natural history museum. Of course if you are taking kids an obvious choice would be a short journey from the city centre to Disneyland Paris.
Every child dreams of visiting Disneyland once in their lifetime and Paris is in far easier reach than Florida. Packed with rides, shows, shops and Disney characters you can visit the ultimate theme park for a day or a short stay, with several hotels available to choose from. There is so much to see and do in Paris you are spoilt for choice.
The French Alps
It wouldn’t be worth talking about France without mentioning the possibility of a skiing holiday in the Alps. The Alps offer plenty of skiing opportunities to both beginners and intrepid skiers alike. The season runs from approximately December to March with the obvious Christmas/New Year and school half term breaks being extremely busy. If you are wanting a quieter time January and March are good months to opt for. There are numerous resorts to choose from, depending on your requirements. Morzine in the north has good facilities for beginners and families including a children only ski run. La Chapelle d’Abondance and Les Carroz near Flaine are also popular resorts for families with children. Les Trois Vallees is the largest ski area in the world accessible with one ski pass. This means that there are more than enough slopes for the experienced skier with 335 downhill pistes. This area includes Courchevel which is reputedly one of the most upmarket resorts boasting a collection of Michelin starred restaurants. Skiing is certainly not for everyone, but worth considering for people wanting a completely different holiday.
The South of France
The South of France is where you are most likely to find the sun and the best beaches in France. Including the world famous resorts such as St Tropez and Cannes, the Mediterranean Sea provides a perfect turquoise backdrop for a beach holiday. This well known area gets very busy during summer months but with such a wonderful combination of beaches, towns, history and architecture this is sure to be a place the whole family will love. The heavily built up coastline around St Tropez and Cannes is very expensive, but the Languedoc region is a more reasonable option with quieter but equally as beautiful beaches. This area also has lots of life with plenty of bars and restaurants to choose from. Head inland slightly from the coast and you have the Pyrenees with their vineyards, slopes and Cathar Castles to explore – more Middle Ages history which France is filled with.
As you can see, France has something for everyone, but if you prefer to stay at home England is packed full of its own history and culture with stunning areas of natural beauty such as the Lake District and the Yorkshire Dales. Why not be clever and enjoy the best of both worlds – don’t forget the Tour de France is starting in Yorkshire this July passing through Leeds, Harrogate, York and Sheffield. This way you can enjoy a world famous French event from the beauty of Yorkshire!