Exciting ways to explore France as a family
- Mums Tips
- Travel with kids
- Published on Friday, 21 April 2023 16:20
- Last Updated on 21 April 2023
- Monica Costa
- 0 Comments
As one of our closest neighbours, France always makes an excellent option for a holiday or even just a short trip. It’s easy to get there, whether by car, train, or plane, and it offers different regions and cities with a variety of things to do. Any family can find fun in France, from outdoor enthusiasts to foodies. There’s even everything for every budget, whether you want to keep things cheap or you’re willing to splash out on something a little more costly. You can choose any way you like to explore France, and you won’t run out of things to see and do. Take a look at some of these fun suggestions for holidays and activities to find your perfect French getaway.
Take a Day Trip
Trips to France don’t need to be long holidays. It’s so close, especially if you live in London or anywhere in the south of England, that day trips can be pretty easy. Of course, day trips aren’t for everyone, particularly if you find travelling stressful. But if everyone is happy to pile into the car or take a train for a few hours, it’s easy to get there and back within a day and still have plenty of time for fun in between. You can go out for lunch, do a bit of shopping, or explore Paris, Lille, or Calais (depending on your method of travel and choice of destination).
One of the biggest draws for families is Disneyland Paris. Disney has great family appeal, it’s easy to get to, and it can create a really memorable experience for everyone. You can choose to stay within the park or nearby, and there are options for exploring other activities too. Disneyland Paris isn’t quite in Paris, but it’s not too far away, at just a little over 30km from the city. As well as the Disneyland Park, there’s also Walt Disney Studios available for you to explore. You can choose from lots of different accommodation and dining options, and there are some great shows to see too.
If your family enjoys theme parks but you’re not sure if Disneyland is for you, you could try some other options in France. There are some interesting choices too, so everyone can find a park they enjoy. One option is Puy du Fou, a historical theme park in Les Epesses, about an hour from Nantes airport. If you’re looking for a good show, this park will definitely leave an impression. But if you would prefer to stick close to Paris, there are theme parks and leisure parks such as FlyView Paris, Parc Asterix, and Aquaboulevard de Paris that all offer family fun.
Get to Know Paris Proper
Disneyland isn’t really in Paris, but the city itself can be just as exciting. Paris is easy to reach with the Eurostar, or you could choose to drive there if you feel like it. There’s lots to see and do, and you can get around on the metro, using other public transport, or by foot. So where should you go if you’re looking for fun for all the family? Of course, you could go sightseeing and check out the Eiffel Tower and other famous landmarks. Luxembourg Gardens are a good choice for a stroll or a picnic, while a boat ride down the Seine could create some great memories too. Booking a tour of the city is a good way to see a lot in a short time.
Try Some Winter Fun
France is excellent for visiting at any time of year. If you’re thinking about a winter holiday, there are plenty of incredible places to visit and things to do. Skiing holidays in France are obviously a popular option, and they’re the sort of holiday that your kids won’t stop talking about. Don’t worry if you’ve never been skiing before, because it’s easy to book some lessons. You could have the kids join a group of other children while you have your own lessons, or you could hire an instructor to teach the whole family.
There are many other things you could do during the winter, in addition to skiing. Other winter sports such as snowboarding, tobogganing, snowshoeing, and ice skating could all be activities that you find in France. You can pick a winter resort, or you might prefer to visit somewhere that’s a bit more of a hidden secret. Some popular ski resorts include Val d’Isere, Val Thorens, Courchevel, Les Deux Alpes, and Chamonix. If you’d prefer not to be so active, you can find cosy chalets and cabins that are ideal for a family holiday during the winter.
Get Active in the Summer
There’s a lot to do in France during the summer for active families too. The ski resorts become great places for hiking and walking, and you can also discover many other places to visit and things to do. A walking holiday or a cycling holiday are both excellent choices in the spring and summer and even right into autumn. If you want the challenge of climbing some mountains, both the Alps and the Pyrenees give you plenty of opportunities. The Dordogne is a fantastic region for walking holidays, and it’s great for family cycling holidays too.
Another excellent way to get active during the summer is to try out some canoeing. Some of the most popular rivers to canoe and kayak include the Loire, Vienne, and the Dordogne. Paddling can be a really family-friendly activity that even your dog could join in with. Or if you want a water-based challenge of a different kind, you could consider a canal boat trip. It can also be physically challenging, especially when you need to go through locks and moor your boat. The Canal du Midi is a popular choice for these kinds of trips, but there are other locations for barge cruises too.
Camping is often an affordable way to go on a family holiday, no matter which country you choose to do it in. If you don’t much feel like camping at home, heading to France can be a good way to guarantee better weather. You will find that there are many family-friendly campsites that offer different accommodation options. You could pitch your tent or bring your own caravan, but there is also often the option to hire a static caravan or find glamping options that offer a little more comfort than a standard tent.
Where you choose to camp might depend on what you’re looking for in terms of location and available activities. You might be looking for somewhere close to a lake or beach, or with easy access to day trips nearby. Or it might be important to you that there are lots of facilities and activities to keep everyone happy and occupied for the whole holiday.
Head to the Beach
A beach holiday can be a great pick if you want to keep the whole family happy. And a trip to the beach in France can be a little different to visiting the beach at home. You can find that many French seaside towns have amazing history, great food, and lots of things to do. But where are the best places to visit if you’re looking for sun, sea, and sand? You can find great beaches and resorts in several of France’s regions, although many people head south for the best beaches. In Provence, Cannes, and Saint-Tropez attract the well-heeled, but other popular places include La Croix-Valmer and the family-friendly Cavalaire-sur-Mer.
Try Some Watersports
Another thing to do if you’re heading to the beach, or perhaps considering a water or lake-based holiday, is to try out some watersports. These are obviously best considered in the summer months. Apart from boating holidays and canoeing, you could try out waterskiing, rafting, surfing, and more. Some activities are fun for all the family, while others are better for families with older children.
Explore Castles and History
History lovers are in luck when visiting France because the country has it in spades. And it doesn’t need to be boring for the kids, who can find a lot to get excited about. Castles are always a good option to start with if you want to get everyone interested in your historical holiday. There are castles all over France, but some of the regions with the most include the Loire, Alsace, and Occitania. Many of France’s castles really are spectacular and have that fairytale look that everyone will love.
Indulge in French Food
The food in France is one of the best reasons to visit for many people. Not only is there plenty of delicious food but there are also many places where it’s easy to get an affordable meal. Getting the set menu, or menu du jour, is often a cheap way to have your lunch while exploring French towns and villages. But be careful if your kids are fussy, as you can’t expect to find fish fingers or chicken nuggets on every menu.
There’s so much fun to be had on a family trip to France, wherever you decide to go. Every style of travel is available so you can find your perfect holiday.
Monica Costa founded London Mums in September 2006 after her son Diego’s birth together with a group of mothers who felt the need of meeting up regularly to share the challenges and joys of motherhood in metropolitan and multicultural London. London Mums is the FREE and independent peer support group for mums and mumpreneurs based in London https://londonmumsmagazine.com and you can connect on Twitter @londonmums