French family holidays: from babies to teens

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How do you choose a family holiday in France that’s right for your kids? 

You could look at the country region by region and hope for the best. Or you could take the expert advice of Summer France and know for sure that everything, from accommodation to activities, is going to match your kids’ ages and stages exactly. It’s not a hard choice, is it? So, here’s where Summer France thinks you should go on  your French family holiday this year, and which of their fantastic properties work best for your family: whether you’re travelling with a new baby or several picky teens in tow…

beach french family holiday

Best for babies : Cayeux-sur-Mer, Picardy Coast, Northern France

If you’re planning a holiday with baby this summer, think about the north coast of France. It’s always a popular choice for young families because of the fast and frequent ferry crossings from Dover to Calais. But the enormous Atlantic beaches, sweet seaside towns and warm (rather than unbearably hot) weather appeals just as much as travel practicalities.

Cayeux-sur-Mer sits west of Calais and hits a baby-friendly note right off by having one of world’s longest boardwalks. Reaching more than two kilometres, it’s perfect for buggies and trimmed with cute beach huts and fabulous ocean views. Sunny weather and safe streets make strolling around town just as pleasant. Plus, tempting cafés and shops offer the best excuse to park up and take it even easier, as often as you like.

Recommended for babies

  • Just over an hour’s drive west of Calais.
  • Large beach with baby changing and summer lifeguards.
  • Close to historic resorts like Le Touquet and Boulogne-sur-Mer.
  • Seal watching at neighbouring Hourdel.
  • Gentle baby-size journeys on La Baie de Somme’s Belle Epoque steam train.
  • Family-friendly cafés and restaurants in the compact town centre. 

Where to stay

Résidence Les Terrasses de la Plage is just opposite the beach in Cayeux-sur-Mer: great for early morning and evening strolls along the boardwalk, and long, lazy days by the sea.

  • Self-catering studio, one and two-bedroom apartments with sea views.
  • Baby-friendly indoor swimming pool, children’s play area, sun terraces, fitness room.
  • Laundry room, indoor parking.
  • Close to supermarket and local shops.
  • Cots available, free WIFI in reception, WIFI available in apartments.
  • All apartments are pet-friendly.

A week at the Residence Les Terrasses de la Plage, commencing the 12th May, costs £66.50 per person for a family of four, staying in a one-bedroomed apartment.

Find out more about Résidence Les Terrasses with Summer France

beach french family holiday

Best for toddlers: Saint-Jean-de-Monts, Vendée, Western France

With its long Atlantic coast, romantic forests and Pay de la Loire heritage, Vendée is ideal for family holidays. It’s west-central France, so you can expect delightfully warm and sunny weather and no shortage of beautiful beaches to make the most of it with toddlers.

Saint-Jean-de-Monts sits on the Vendée coast, less than 90-minutes drive south of Nantes. It’s a perfectly sized resort for younger kids, and Grande Plage and Plage des Demoiselles have brilliant paddling potential. Mix days by the sea with days in the countryside and you’ll find everything from historic villages to easy woodland walks, châteaux and nature reserves, all within toddler-friendly driving distance. 

Recommended for toddlers

  • Less than 90 minutes south of Nantes Atlantique Airport.
  • Eight kilometres of safe, sandy, family-friendly beaches.
  • Less than 20% of the 250km long Vendée coastline is developed.
  • Buggy-friendly walking, and family cycling around Marais de Breton.
  • Close to Les Sables d’Olonne: historic seaside resort linked to the Vendée Globe.
  • Children’s activities, playparks and beach parks in Saint-Jean-de-Monts.

Where to stay

Le Domaine de Vertmarines is set in 16-acres of protected parkland just south of Saint-Jean-de-Monts. Beaches are minutes away, but each villa has a private pool too: heaven for little first-time swimmers.

  • Two, three and four-bedroom family villas with private gardens and pools.
  • Fully equipped kitchen; separate living room; family bathroom.
  • Washing machine, bed linen and towels, toiletries.
  • Reception with free WIFI; parkland; sun terraces; laundry facilities.
  • Cot rental available.
  • All villas are pet friendly.

Seven nights in a three bedroom villa costs from £129 per person, per week. Based on a family of six.

Les Mas de Saint Hilaire is surrounded by a 600ha pine forest, close to lively Saint-Jean-de-Monts and its glorious, family-friendly beaches. 

  • One and two-bedroom cottages, with sun terrace and gardens.
  • Fully equipped kitchen; separate living/dining room; family bathroom.
  • Bed linen and towels, toiletries.
  • Reception with free WIFI; laundry room; communal swimming pool.
  • Cot rental available.
  • All cottages are pet friendly.

Seven nights in a two-bedroom cottage, with mezzanine, costs from £46.50 per person, per week. Based on a family of six.

Find out more about Les Mas de Saint Hilaire and Le Domaine de Vertmarines with Summer France

horseriding french family holiday

Best for under 10s: Lac du Val-Joly, Northern France

Northern France is fantastic for active holidays with under 10s this summer. You can rely on the weather to be warm and sunny, but not too hot. Which is good news since adventures on the edge of the Lac du Val-Joly, the largest lake in Northern France, are non-stop. Indeed, there’s so much on offer visitors need not return to their car until it’s time to leave. Guest can make use of the ‘PassJoly’ activities pass, which comprise of sailing, cycling, horse riding, trampolining, golf, wind surfing, swimming and kayaking and much more.

And if the sun doesn’t make an appearance, kids can always head indoors for the thrill of rides, slides and swimming pools at Aquatica Park or check out the fresh-water aquarium that houses 50 species of local fish.

Recommended for under 10s

  • Less than two hour’s drive from Lille, Reims or Brussels.
  • Water sports and sailing on Lac du Val-Joly: the largest lake in northern France.
  • Cycling, horse riding, archery, karting, hiking, mini-golf in Avesnois National Park.
  • One outdoor pools, two indoor pools, slides and chutes at Aquatica Park.
  • Val-Joly Aquarium with more than 50 species of freshwater fish.
  • Hiking and family picnics in Nostrimont Forest.

Where to stay

Les Cottages de Val-Joly sits lakeside on Lac du Val-Joly in the heart of Avesnoise National Park. 

  • Studio, one and two-bedroom cottages with private terraces and lake views.
  • Fully equipped kitchen; separate living room; family bathroom.
  • Five resort restaurants, grocery store. Easy driving distance to supermarket.
  • Reception with free WIFI; indoor pool and playground.
  • Bike rental, and WIFI available in cottages.
  • All cottages are pet friendly.

A week in Les Cottages de Valjoly, commencing the 2nd June, costs £71.50 per person for a family of four, staying in a one-bedroomed cottage.

Find out more about Les Cottages de Val-Joly with Summer France

cycling french family holiday

Best for tweens: Moliets-et-Maa, Landes Coast, South West France

Pretty Moliets-et-Maa is a heavenly resort for tweens. It sits on the Atlantic between Biarritz and Bassin d’Arcachon on the Landes Coast, where beaches are simply too big to ever get crowded.

Wannabe surfers can look forward to world-class waves and lots of learning from the best schools in France. On dry land there’s everything from treetop adventure parks to fabulous nature reserves. Bikes are the area’s preferred mode of transport, so you’ll find hundreds of kilometres of dedicated cycle paths. And, if you have a tween urban-adventurer in tow, Bordeaux and San Sebastian are both less than two hour’s drive from Moliets-et-Maa. 

Recommended for tweens

  • Just over an hour’s drive north of Biarritz Airport.
  • Vast, Atlantic beaches and fantastic surf schools.
  • An hour’s drive from Dune du Pilat: Europe’s largest sand dune.
  • Fun family road trips to Bordeaux and San Sebastian.
  • Safe cycling on dedicated cycle paths all along the Landes Coast.
  • Woodland walks in fabulous Landes’ pine forests.

Where to stay

Villas La Prade sits surrounded by pines on the edge of Moliets Golf Course, minutes from Moliets-et-Maa and Atlantic beaches.

  • Two, three, four and five-bedroom family villas.
  • Private swimming pool, gardens and sun terrace.   
  • Fully equipped kitchen, separate living room with fireplace.
  • Free WIFI, and satellite TV in all villas.
  • Bathroom with spa bath, and shower.
  • Close to local golf course, and several good restaurants.
  • All cottages are pet friendly.

A week at the Villas La Prade, commencing the 19th May, costs £176.50 per person for a family of four, staying in a two-bedroomed villa with TV included and a private swimming pool.

Luxurious Villas la Clairière aux Chevreuils are set against a backdrop of magnificent Landes forest, close to Atlantic beaches, and within minutes of Moliets Golf Course and Moliets-et-Maa.

  • Three and four-bedroom luxury villas with private pools in woodland setting.
  • Secluded, private gardens, outdoor terrace and plancha grill.
  • Fully equipped kitchen, living room with fireplace.
  • Free WIFI, and satellite TV. Free bread and pastries delivered on the first morning.
  • Complimentary toiletries, bed linen and towels, mid and end of stay cleaning.
  • Bathroom and separate shower room.
  • All villas are pet friendly.

Seven nights in a four-bedroom villa with mezzanine, costs £114 per person for a family of eight (total £912), staying in a three-bedroomed villa with premium service included and a private swimming pool.

Find out more about Villas la Clairière aux Chevreuils and  Villas La Prade with Summer France

treetops french family holiday

Best for teens: Flaine, Haute-Savoie, French Alps

Teens might seem like the pickiest travellers, but the trick is to find them a great resort, add heaps of exciting activities and give them some space. Flaine has all of that down to a fine art, and not just during ski season. It’s an equally good choice for older kids in summer, when the Alps are up for anything from water rafting to mountain biking, climbing, hiking, road cycling and general all-round adventuring.

Plus, Flaine is family-friendly and very safe, so you can let teens off the leash a little, which they’ll love. 

Recommended for teens

  • Less than two hour’s drive from Geneva or Chambery Airports.
  • Fast lift system for hiking and biking in the mountains.
  • Flaine Summer Pass, included for Summer France clients, is great for family activities.  Including: Bumper Ball, Accro-bungee, Tennis, Archery, Bouncy Castles, Giant Trampoline, Laser Rifle, Table Tennis, Free hiring of sports equipment such as balls and pétanque, badminton as well as kite, juggling and circus workshops, barbecues and themed parties.
  • Centre Culturel has free concerts and events during August.
  • Just over an hour from the impressive Mont Blanc and Aiguilles de Midi at Chamonix and beaches on Lake Annecy.
  • Resort sporting facilities include tennis and archery.

Where to stay

Three star Résidence Les Terrasses de Veret with an indoor pool, plus all apartments have satellite TV and WIFI is also available. 

  • One, two and three-bedroom family apartments.
  • Fully equipped kitchen, separate living room, balcony with views over Flaine.
  • Bed linen, towels and end of stay cleaning included.
  • Indoor pool, sauna, jacuzzi, sun terrace and lounge with fireplace in residence.
  • Centrally located in the resort.
  • Reception with English speaking staff and free WIFI.

A week at Les Terrasses de Veret, commencing the 2nd July, costs £55.25 per person for a family of four, staying in a one-bedroomed apartment with access to the indoor swimming pool.

Find out more about Résidence Les Terrasses de Veret with Summer France

Summer France has more than 30 family properties in some of the loveliest French regions, so if haven’t spotted your ideal and age-appropriate holiday yet, have a look at the alternative Summer France options for 2018.    

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