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France with Kids

I am planning a trip with another mom and our kids, that's 2 adults with 3 kids under 4! We are looking for some local/expert advice to guide our planning.

We will be staying for about a month, we will try to rent an apartment. We plan to be there in Jan-Feb (2014). We are all accustomed to cold and that is not a worry for us.

We do not want to use a car, we are searching for a small city or large town on a major rail line.

We do want a nice walkable city center with plenty of places to stay and eat, markets, etc. and easy train access to a major city (by that I mean, I'd like to be within an hour of Paris, Strasbourg, Nantes, or similar.)

I'm not attached to a particular area of France, we are studying French with our toddlers and I'd really like to find somewhere our kids will enjoy, and somewhere we adults can get a taste of normal French life- off of the main tourist track.

As an example: I have looked at Dinan- I like the size and the city looks like fun, though it looks like it might take a few connections to get to another city- and that's not so good for us.

If you recommend a place to us, can you also include anything particularly kid-friendly you know of in that location? And if you happen to have a recommendation for a place to stay- I'd be interested to hear about it.

Thank you very much, in advance, for your help.

Stefanie

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