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AndyRoo

Recommendations for France?

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So, we've discussed it and we're thinking of taking the niece and nephew to France for a week.

I'm trying to match this criteria: somewhere near a lake or with a bit of culture that will suit the adults in the party, but also somewhere that we can do easy day trips by train and maybe take the kids to a theme park or something.

Does such a place exist?

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Do you do camping? When our kids were little we stayed here or somewhere like it. That was about 15 years ago but we had a great holiday. Eurocamp holidays or similar companies are easy and fun. I think we did the Asterix park from here but I can't quite remember. https://www.eurocamp.co.uk/campsites/paris/pa012-la-croix-du-vieux-pont/ataglance.html

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Posted (edited)

We go camping, but both of us are too afraid to drive in France - or anywhere it's the 'wrong' side of the road, to be honest. I'm sure we'd be fine as we're both safe drivers, but we're just too cowardly. I'll have a look at this, though - thank you. We have also discussed going camping in Cornwall, but we'd like to go somewhere they haven't been before.

The original plan was to base ourself somewhere like Lyon and then do day trips out to Switzerland and Italy but, of course, courtesy of Brexit we have absolutely no idea whether that will be allowed, so we're looking at other alternatives that don't mean crossing any other borders. As I don't fly that's the only thing we can really do until we know what is happening. C'est la vie.

 

Edited by AndyRoo

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Have a look at Eurostar, they go to Avignon in the summer. 

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It's a big Country with a very poor public transport system compared to England  AndyRoo, so really you need to be in a City unless you are driving. Our holidays in France consisted of long drives between camp sites stopping at places of interest on the way. Tourist info is very good throughout France; even small villages have tourist offices and web sites. So I suggest picking a city based on what's available of interest to you in it. Toulouse, Lyon, Bordeaux size places, although Poitier surprised me in a recent TV programme. You can get flights to the big cities and won't need a visa for France after any Brexit, unless you wish to be here over 3 months.

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2 hours ago, Beantree said:

It's a big Country with a very poor public transport system compared to England  AndyRoo, so really you need to be in a City unless you are driving. Our holidays in France consisted of long drives between camp sites stopping at places of interest on the way. Tourist info is very good throughout France; even small villages have tourist offices and web sites. So I suggest picking a city based on what's available of interest to you in it. Toulouse, Lyon, Bordeaux size places, although Poitier surprised me in a recent TV programme. You can get flights to the big cities and won't need a visa for France after any Brexit, unless you wish to be here over 3 months.

Really? I've always found France pretty easy to get round by train when I've been before - unless I'm going to somewhere really small.

If we stayed in a city, I guess it would be one of the more southern ones. We just like the idea of being somewhere slightly more peaceful where we can relax after a day with the kids.

3 hours ago, Ursula123 said:

Have a look at Eurostar, they go to Avignon in the summer. 

I'll have a look, Thanks. Is there a lot to do down that way?

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Are you set on France AndyRoo? We went to Bruges for three days last Feb with our two (aged 10 and 13) on Eurostar and, although you do have to change trains in Brussels, it was pretty straightforward. There's plenty of chocolate in Bruges! Also The Historium is fab and boat trips on the canals. Not sure how old you N and N are? 

Otherwise Paris?

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If we are thinking out of the box: what about Essen, Germany?

it is fairly close to Moviepark (like disneyland of Nickelodeon) and Essen itself has very interesting cultural attractions. They have remodelled a lot of the old industrial sites into theatres and art exhibitions. (No lake though)

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2 hours ago, soapdragon said:

Are you set on France AndyRoo? We went to Bruges for three days last Feb with our two (aged 10 and 13) on Eurostar and, although you do have to change trains in Brussels, it was pretty straightforward. There's plenty of chocolate in Bruges! Also The Historium is fab and boat trips on the canals. Not sure how old you N and N are? 

Otherwise Paris?

I like Brugge, but I don't think it'd keep them occupied for a week. When we went, we stayed for 3 days and found we thought that was enough. They're 5 and 8, so their attention spans aren't that long. And they also happen to be pretty hyperactive.

I think they've already been to Paris, though I'd need to double check. Really I wanted to do a bit of sightseeing outside of the usual big places, but there needs to be stuff that will appeal to everyone. They'll enjoy looking round old castles or going to the beach etc. for a day or two, but after that we'd need to do something like a zoo or theme park to keep them from getting too restless!! :/

1 hour ago, Cat tails said:

If we are thinking out of the box: what about Essen, Germany?

it is fairly close to Moviepark (like disneyland of Nickelodeon) and Essen itself has very interesting cultural attractions. They have remodelled a lot of the old industrial sites into theatres and art exhibitions. (No lake though)

Ooooh, no! I lived and worked in Essen for a bit, I'm not sure I want to go back anytime soon. I'd have office related flashbacks. lol

I did think about Berlin - but I think the kids would find the better part of 2 days on a train unbearable. I'm already planning what travel games and colouring books etc. that I can buy them, just so we get something that looks like peace and quiet to all the other travellers. lol

That or I'll have to subtly pour Night Nurse into their juice and hope they don't realise until they're falling off to sleep. :)

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:lol:

Never been to Berlin, but never been disappointed by a large German city either. 

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9 minutes ago, Cat tails said:

:lol:

Never been to Berlin, but never been disappointed by a large German city either. 

I've only been to a few of the cities, but quite a lot of the smaller towns are nice. I love Rüdesheim am Rhein, for instance. But again - I think I need something more for them to do. We did discuss maybe going to Europapark, but it's quite pricey over the holidays!

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If they like castles what about Carcasonne? Not sure if you can get there by train though!

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If you decide to give driving yourselves a go this is a beautiful, straight, quiet route down the coast. Lots of exciting places to walk the children especially Cap de Gris Nez. The town Wimereux has tons of hotels and holiday homes. There are lots of places to take children, theme parks and aquariums, deep, dark, damp tunnels from WW11 and of course so much amazing beach all the way down. Lots of people whizz down the motorway but they're missing a treat. https://www.thegoodlifefrance.com/the-beautiful-scenic-road-of-the-opal-coast/

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2 hours ago, soapdragon said:

If they like castles what about Carcasonne? Not sure if you can get there by train though!

I've never heard of that, so I'll investigate now - thank you. :)

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1 hour ago, patsylabrador said:

If you decide to give driving yourselves a go this is a beautiful, straight, quiet route down the coast. Lots of exciting places to walk the children especially Cap de Gris Nez. The town Wimereux has tons of hotels and holiday homes. There are lots of places to take children, theme parks and aquariums, deep, dark, damp tunnels from WW11 and of course so much amazing beach all the way down. Lots of people whizz down the motorway but they're missing a treat. https://www.thegoodlifefrance.com/the-beautiful-scenic-road-of-the-opal-coast/

I'll investigate the place. I've never heard of it, thank you. We're definitely not brave enough. The Brother-in-law has told us he'd be happy to drive... the problem is he drives like a maniac, and I feel even more unnerved by that prospect than driving myself, so you never know. We'd have to hire a van if we went, though. There's now 6 of us to consider, apparently. It spiralled quickly.

The idea of travelling through the scenery appeals. I actually genuinely do enjoy going by train because I at least see a lot of the place as we pass through. A lot more satisfying than flying, even discounting my fear of flying.

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There is a train running along the coast of Belgium in summer. A colleague used it last year, when he was walking the whole lenght of the Belgium coast!

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Ryanair fly to Carcassonne from East Midlands, May to October if I remember correctly. It's a flight I have taken many times. The old town is fortified by a double wall which was restored in the 1930's and inside is mainly new shops. Don't know much about the surrounding area but it is a popular Brit residence, possibly because of the airport service (smallest airport I've ever seen).

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If you headed down Poitier way there is Futuroscope which is a decent sized theme park. I haven't been there but apparently it is quite good. We normally pass it on the drive down South.

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Puy de Fou theme park in the Vendee is also very interesting with several re enactments of historical events during day. Sounds boring but great fun. We have only driven in France so no help on public transport. Would you consider hiring van with the three or four drivers driving then you could conquer your fears. Driving especially on toll roads is very easy.

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5 hours ago, Beantree said:

Ryanair fly to Carcassonne from East Midlands, May to October if I remember correctly. It's a flight I have taken many times. The old town is fortified by a double wall which was restored in the 1930's and inside is mainly new shops. Don't know much about the surrounding area but it is a popular Brit residence, possibly because of the airport service (smallest airport I've ever seen).

It sounds like a lovely place, but you've a better chance of being struck by lightning than getting me on a plane. My phobia is absolutely horrendous. I panic just thinking about it.

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Even experience flyers get nervous over the Carcassonne airspace AndyRoo. The area is notorious for strong winds and I've had a few frights myself. Once the plane hit the runway so hard it bounced back up into the air and had to re-approach the runway for a second bone shuddering landing. Then there was the time the crosswind was so bad we were descending towards the airport building, then at the last moment the plane slewed sideways and hit the centre of the runway! The wind gets worse in Winter so perhaps that's why the service stops?

Think there is a train service from Toulouse to Carcassonne. So you can go TGV most of the way now.

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4 hours ago, Beantree said:

Even experience flyers get nervous over the Carcassonne airspace AndyRoo. The area is notorious for strong winds and I've had a few frights myself. Once the plane hit the runway so hard it bounced back up into the air and had to re-approach the runway for a second bone shuddering landing. Then there was the time the crosswind was so bad we were descending towards the airport building, then at the last moment the plane slewed sideways and hit the centre of the runway! The wind gets worse in Winter so perhaps that's why the service stops?

Think there is a train service from Toulouse to Carcassonne. So you can go TGV most of the way now.

Well thanks for those nightmares. lol

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Puy du Fou is on my bucket list - I need to see the bird/falconry displays! The grand finale or whatever it's called looks amazing. @mostin and a few other Omleteers have been a couple of times and highly recommend

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16 hours ago, Grandmashazzie said:

Puy de Fou theme park in the Vendee is also very interesting with several re enactments of historical events during day. Sounds boring but great fun. We have only driven in France so no help on public transport. Would you consider hiring van with the three or four drivers driving then you could conquer your fears. Driving especially on toll roads is very easy.

Thanks GS. I'll Google that one and see what it sounds like! :)

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Okay, so we've narrowed it down to being somewhere we can get to directly from from Paris - and ideally not more than a couple of hours, as I think the kids would start to lose their minds after that. Any ideas?

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