There is very little that brings more dread to a parent than the prospect of a family holiday away. Not only can holidays be extremely pricey for a family, but the long flights and stresses of travelling with children is usually enough to put parents off leaving the country, who instead opt for a staycation or avoid any holidays at all.
Yet this can be a real shame, as for many of us, the family holidays we experienced as children are some of our fondest memories. So, before you say no to a dreaded vacation, why not consider somewhere a little closer to home? France is just a short flight from the UK, with many airlines offering budget flights to many of the most popular areas. Even better, France is home to some quirky and alternative accommodation options, that will make far more magical memories for the kids than any hotel room could. Here are just five of my favourite quirky accommodation options in France:
Is there anything more magical to children than sleeping in a treehouse? Whether it’s in a favourite book, cartoon or film, it’s very common for characters to have a secret den or treehouse, making them very exciting for kids.
Located in Loire Valley, Fisherman Treehouse is suitable for all ages, although you may want to be careful with younger children, as it is located 6m high within the treetops accessible via some steep steps. And for safety reasons, pregnant women aren’t allowed to use the tree house. The house itself features a large double bed as well as a hammock, which the kids will surely adore. There is also a small kitchenette, perfect for preparing meals for the children, and a bathroom so you won’t need to worry about any midnight trips to the loo.
BUBBLE UNDER THE STARS
If you’ve ever wanted to experience what it would be like to live in a snow globe, then a Bubble under the stars in a pine forest within Allauch should be on your bucket list. This unusual accommodation allows you to get up close and personal with nature – all while safely protected in your own bubble – meaning you’ll be able to fall asleep watching the stars.
Best for small families, each bubble can hold two adults and an additional child over the age of 6, children younger are not allowed. Packages include a French breakfast, and it’s also possible to order dinner (main and dessert) for an additional €17 per person.
Just 15 minutes from Marseille, you’ll be able to spend your days exploring local tourist hot spots such as the Notre-Dame de la Garde.
STAY IN A SNAIL
Especially wonderful for small children, this cottage shaped like a snail in Dienné, is sure to capture the imagination of kids and adults alike. Equipped with a double, twin, sofa and pull-out bed, this quirky cottage can sleep up to 6 and is pet friendly for those wanting to bring the dog. The snail house has its own bathroom, kitchen and the owners can supply cots or high chairs to those who need them.
Situated in a large glamping site, there are plenty of activities for everyone to enjoy including archery, swimming pools and bike rental. The accommodation is also near the Futuroscope Theme Park.
GANDALF HOBBIT HOUSE
Perfect for children – and adults! – who love the Lord of the Rings trilogy, this 15th century Bellac property is split into two fantasy-themed properties – the Gandalf House and Hobbit House, which can be booked together or separately. The Gandalf house holds 8 people while the Hobbit house holds 7 guests. Both homes are equipped with all the amenities a family could need, and dogs are welcome.
There’s plenty to keep the kids entertained in the neighbouring Limousin, with an open-air swimming pool and tennis courts just 10 minutes away, as well as loads of restaurants and bars. Walking up the Blond Mountains also makes for a wonderful family day out for older kids.
MEDIEVAL CASTLES AND CHATEAUS
For many children, watching Disney films like Cinderella and Beauty and the Beast makes them dream about staying in their own castle like a prince or princess. Well, that dream could become a reality if you choose to take a trip to the Dordogne, which is home to over 1000 castles, many of which are available to rent.
Types of rentals vary from full castles housing large groups to renting rooms in a castle much like a hotel, so there’s plenty of options to suit all situations. If you want a castle to yourself, invite the grandparents and/or aunts and uncles too, to make a big family holiday. Your children will absolutely adore the magic of feeling like royalty for the weekend.