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Family highlights of the Dordogne and Normandy, France

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D and I have chosen the place for our Summer family holiday: France. The countryside, the cheese, the language, the wine….we both grew up with regular doses of fresh Gallic air, and on breakfasts of croissants with chocolat chaud. It’s been too long since we visited.

This year we’re off to the family-friendly Loire Valley, which I’ll be writing about after our trip. In the past, we’ve also visited other regions – Normandy, and the Dordogne – which have plenty to keep all the family happy. Here are some of their highlights.

Normandy

Normandy

Normandy is full of beautiful half-timbered houses like this, where we stayed in 2010

Normandy is perfect for kids. It’s close to the UK, and is home to several stunning beaches. A top attraction is Mont Saint-Michel, an island about a kilometre off the coastline. When the tide is out, you can walk across to this picturesque town, which has justifiably been given World Heritage Site status by UNESCO.

Then there’s the Bayeaux Tapestry, a 70-cm long embroidered cloth showing events leading up to the Norman conquest of England. It dates back to pre-1476, and is a must-see for any history buffs, old or young.

This part of France is a top destination for horseriding enthusiasts, especially in Calvados, where you can trek through lush countryside.

For Mum and Dad, there’s the Route du Cidre, a 25-mile tourist trail through beautiful Pays D’Auge orchards, taking in cider farms reknowned for their high-quality (and very reasonably priced) produce.

Perfect for a tiny bit of (civilised) carousing, when the kids are safely tucked up in bed….

Dordogne

Dordogne

scorching heat – but you can see the storm clouds gathering

It’s the Dordogne’s magnificent weather that make it a safe bet for a glorious summer holiday. Even if you do get the odd thunderstorm, it’s likely to be exciting, dramatic, and over in a flash.

The Dordogne is reknowned for its fine cuisine. Although one of its major exports, foie gras, isn’t to everyone’s taste, there’s plenty in the way of truffles, strawberries and (of course) wine to bring a smile to most people’s faces.

There is tons for children to do in the Dordogne. Bergerac Aquapark is set in 2 hectares at the end of the Dordogne river, with 4 pools and water slides. The town of Le Bugue and its nearby attraction, Jaquou Park, boasts an aquarium, a reconstructed village from the 1900s, an animal park and another aqua park. The region seems to delight in its history; as well as castles (1001 of them, apparently) and Romanesque churches, holidaymakers can also visit Prehisto Park at Les Eyzies, to play at being cavemen.

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Where would you go in France, if you had the chance?

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21 Comments

  • Helen @ PeaklePie
    May 27, 2015 at 7:28 am

    Oh that looks super! We love Normandy & Brittany & hope to visit next year!

    Reply
  • Sonia
    May 27, 2015 at 7:38 am

    My MIL lives in Brittany so we have been there and explored quite a lot, I just love everything about France. I just love the look of the cottage you stayed in at Normandy, just so beautiful!

    Reply
  • Sam Thurley
    May 27, 2015 at 9:56 am

    We love France but have never been here, looks so gorgeous too. Great post xxx

    Reply
  • Helen Gandy
    May 27, 2015 at 10:20 am

    Oh I love France so much, we go to the Dordogne and usually Normandy every year, I can’t tell you how much I love it there 🙂

    Helen X

    Reply
  • lisa prince
    May 27, 2015 at 11:14 am

    oh that does look lovely , wish i was there

    Reply
  • Hollie
    May 27, 2015 at 3:39 pm

    oh this looks so lovely. I could do with a trip away.

    Reply
  • Cass@frugalfamily
    May 27, 2015 at 6:17 pm

    We’re considering France this year as we’ve never been with the kids for a holiday – your photos are lovely x x

    Reply
  • tanya
    May 27, 2015 at 6:18 pm

    I remember going to Normandy as a child with my family, seeing the bayeux tapestry and visiting mont san Michel. It was fab.

    Reply
  • mellissa williams
    May 27, 2015 at 7:41 pm

    I love Paris, would like to explore France more. You have some lovely photos here.

    Reply
  • Michelle Twin Mum
    May 27, 2015 at 9:25 pm

    I’ve not taken the kids abroad yet, I really need tok get them some passports but it all ends up so expensive! Mich x

    Reply
  • Bex @ The Mummy Adventure
    May 27, 2015 at 9:33 pm

    I have been to France so many times, but we always seem to go to the same areas, I would love to explore more and Normandy looks beautiful

    Reply
  • Charly Dove
    May 27, 2015 at 10:00 pm

    Oh how lovely – French holiday fun and the wine! We’ve not been to France for ages as it goes, we must get back there again. POD would love it I’m sure. You’ll have an absolute ball x

    Reply
  • Sarah Bailey
    May 27, 2015 at 10:19 pm

    France is such a lovely country, I have only made it to a couple of place would love to see more. x

    Reply
  • Izzie Anderton
    May 28, 2015 at 2:35 pm

    Can’t beat France for gorgeous food, fabulous scenery and all that wine! I think I’d quite like to return to Cannes as we haven’t visited since before the kids were born.
    Wishing you a brilliant holiday Nell – bon voyage x

    Reply
    • Nell
      May 28, 2015 at 6:02 pm

      Thank you Izzie! I’ve never been to Cannes but a good friend of mine has just come back from the film festival there, which sounds amazing.

      Reply
  • Stephs Two Girls
    May 28, 2015 at 7:27 pm

    I do love France, had a couple of brilliant holidays there! Sure you’ll have a lovely summer holiday x

    Reply
  • Jaime Oliver
    May 28, 2015 at 9:58 pm

    France is on our radar too .. we are thinking of going next year now though

    Reply
  • Globalmouse
    May 30, 2015 at 12:45 pm

    That looks gorgeous – especially that pool and the Normandy house.

    Reply
  • Michelle
    June 1, 2015 at 7:11 pm

    Normandy looks lovely, I’d definitely like to go there one day xx

    Reply
  • Laura
    June 3, 2015 at 5:34 am

    I’ve only ever been to Paris and would like to explore the rest of France. Dordogne sounds ideal for my family as I know my children would love the aqua parks.

    Reply
  • VaiChin @RamblingThroughParenthood
    June 6, 2015 at 12:02 pm

    I would so love to visit France with my little one. You have just given me some food for thought!

    Reply

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