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Do we need another place or is Paris and the Loire Valley enough for a 14 day holiday for a family with small children

Do we need another place or is Paris and the Loire Valley enough for a 14 day holiday for a family with small children

Mar 1st, 2007, 02:43 AM
  #1  
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Do we need another place or is Paris and the Loire Valley enough for a 14 day holiday for a family with small children

Hi there, We are planning to leave on March 28th and will be in Paris for 5 nights followed by the Loire Valley. Since this trip is quite sudden, I haven't had very much time to plan. Have been struggling with the hotels in Paris since there are so many choices and it is such a large city so location is key. I think I am tending towards the Pavillon de le Reine. At the Loire, I have narrowed down to Amboise as a base but I am wondering if we need another base or another area since we will have about 12 days in that area.

Our kids are 3 and 7 and we will be driving. Please let me know if we need more time in Paris or if we need to consider another destination/base in addition to Amboise and Paris. Museums are of little interest unless there are some child freindly ones in Paris.

Appreciate your responses.
Deepa is offline  
Mar 1st, 2007, 03:18 AM
  #2  
 
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I love visiting the Loire Valley, but I am not sure it is a particularly attractive destination for young children. Yes, there are some things for them: they might be amused by troglodyte habitations (once!) and there is a zoo in Doue-la-Fontaine. It's a fairly general pattern in France that there are children's playgrounds in all sorts of places, if they (and you) like that sort of thing.

A great deal depends on the children, and what they like.
Padraig is offline  
Mar 1st, 2007, 04:38 AM
  #3  
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Thanks for your reply Padraig. We live in Hong Kong (a concrete jungle) so the kids are quite happy even with small towns and villages, gardens and ofcourse the chateaux (castles for them). Play grounds are always winners. I'm just not sure if we need more than say 5-6 days based in Amboise. We do not like to drive out more than an hour each way for day-trips.

Also, in Paris we would stay an additonal day and do the Euro Disney. Which brings me to another question - should we stay at a hotel at Disney or day trip from Paris?
Deepa is offline  
Mar 1st, 2007, 06:01 AM
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I've not gone to Disney but I've seen comments by others that staying overnight is worthwhile...

With two young children your five days in Paris is likely a good amount of time.

I suggest you look at www.vrbo.com for a home rental in the Loire so you can spread out more. I believe there is also a home rental agency called Gites de France that you might google.
amwosu is offline  
Mar 1st, 2007, 06:41 AM
  #5  
tod
 
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Hi Deepa - I see in my 'EyeWitness Guide To Paris' there is a very good section on "Children's Paris" (page 360) so maybe it would help you quite a lot with choices if you got hold of a copy. It covers Museums for kids, Parks, Zoos and adventure playgrounds, theme parks, indoor swimming pools and even a 24-hour child Emergency helpline (Enfance et Partage, Tel;43 55 85 85)which can also be used for adults.
If I were taking kids to EuroDisney I think I would spend a night there.

About the Loire:
We stayed a night in Tours before starting on our journey through the valley. We LOVED the Chateau at Azay-le-Rideau which the children would find boring but the grounds are lovely.
I think from Amboise you can do very nice day trips but if I were to choose one other town to stay in, it would be Saumur. We saw two Troglodyte caves which have subterranean mushroom/snail farms but it may be slightly daunting for children with the low-lighting, tunnel walls etc. The one has a great restaurant deep inside.

Don't miss the most beautiful little town of Candes-St-Martin ( I've been back twice!).
tod is offline  
Mar 1st, 2007, 06:50 AM
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Definitely spend a night at Disney. Travelling to and from your hotel in Paris would eat into too much of your day (and energy!).
highflyer is offline  
Mar 1st, 2007, 07:24 AM
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For the children, the chateau at Ussé might have special appeal. It is claimed to be the Sleeping Beauty's castle, and part of the tour is themed on that.

Like tod, I also very much like Saumur. There is a military riding school there, which might interest you and the children.
Padraig is offline  
Mar 1st, 2007, 08:34 AM
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Try the Latin Quarter for a hotel. Its South of Notre Damme and is on the RER in from the airport so easy to get to and find your way around. we stayed next to the Musee de la Moyen Age recently and found lots to do all around including swings and seesaws plus access to the larger gardens.

I would add a day in Paris. The Loire is over 1000km long so you will never see it all.

I suggest a nice child friendly hotel or gite is the answer with garden to play. Auuming you will drive around then lots to see. Mushroom farms in the old quarries, troglydite homes and March Hhhm doesn ot sound like a kids place to me. You need an adventure like mountain bike riding or walking. There is a great Zoo on Le Loir just north of La Loire around La Fleche.

bilboburgler is offline  
Mar 1st, 2007, 02:00 PM
  #9  
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Thank you all for your very useful replies. I will explore a hotel at Disney. What do you all think of the hotel in Paris - the Pavillon de le Reine? I have managed to get a suite there with buffet breakfast (which is important)and I did a lot of research and the Marias seems to be the most charming location in Paris and also well located to do most other things.We would of course like to be close to some gardens / parks etc.

I think I will add another base for Loire at Saumur. At Amboise I will try to book the Le Manior de Minimes which is also highly recommended here at Fdors.
Deepa is offline  
Mar 1st, 2007, 03:03 PM
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Pavillon de la Reine is a charming hotel with helpful staff. It has a plus for small children- it is set back from the main road around Place de Vosges with a grass and courtyard area as part of the hotel area (no direct access to the street without going through a door). A small,but rare isolated play space right at your door. Of course the Place itself is just across the street and full of room to run. In Saumur, there is the French Equestrian Training program. They offered tours of the stables and grounds when we were there several summers ago and it would appeal to many children and was low key. They also have riding shows periodically that could be quite exciting depending on the interests and attention spans of the children. I'm recalling that in the Loire Valley there is also a small zoo-(oops see that this has been mentioned) but it was a good diversion for chateau weary kids. It does seem somewhat weather dependent and may have only been open seasonally. Read about each of the chateaux and there may be some that will appeal particularly to your children in addition to the Sleeping Beauty one in Usse. Some 7 years are captivated by knights, prisons, dungeons so they can bear with other aspects of the visit. On a good day, there are lots of places for a spontaneous picnic. Enjoy your trip.
sep620 is offline  
Mar 1st, 2007, 04:32 PM
  #11  
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Thank you for your reply. I am feeling better about having booked the Pavillon de le Reine. In the Loire, I am considering a hotel which is looks very nice a Relais and Chateaux property- the Domaine Hauts de Loire and another for Saumur -the Anne d Anjou. Ideally we would negotiate for a half-board arrangement in these places.
Deepa is offline  
Mar 1st, 2007, 06:31 PM
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Deepa,

We are planning a similar trip with our kids for the summer. I would be interested in your final plans and how they worked out.
spinesrgn is offline  
Mar 2nd, 2007, 03:22 AM
  #13  
tod
 
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Deepa- We spent one night in the Hotel Anne D'Anjou and were offered an enormous room on the lst floor(one up from ground) with a balcony looking at the river. (It's the room you see in all the brochures) but other folks arrived and had booked a garden room with either interleading rooms or two seperate rooms were each parent would sleep with a child.
Be advised however! The hotel had not received the couples email and had not kept the room available!! So, keep a fax or print out handy for when you arrive.
The hotel is on the main road into town but the traffice at night was non-existant. Right behind the hotel looming over you is the turreted Chateau de Saumur. When we went it was under repair and not really worth a visit inside, but the view over Saumur is gorgeous.
We also did a little champagne boat ride up the Loire and it was fun. There is a huge bridge spanning the river and lovely to walk across and see the kayaks shooting rapids below.

If you miss out at the AnneD'Anjou(3 stars but quite posh) there is also:
Hotel Loire (3 stars)
Hotel Clos Des Benedictins (3 star)
I have a list of 2 stars as well if you want them.
Three stars in Saumur is like 4 stars in Paris.

I'm sure you will take a walk around Tours. Lovely facade on the railway station and right opposite a very unusual fountain! The Cathedral St.Gatien is magnificent but don't miss going right next door and in the garden you will be able to marvel at the most enormous Cedar of Lebanon which has branches so long they are kept up on props of wood. It's really very very old!
tod is offline  
Mar 2nd, 2007, 03:54 AM
  #14  
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Thanks for your reply Tod. Yes, we will go to Tours since we will be quite close to it although it seems to be the least liked of all the towns in the area. Your description of the garden and the tree however sound wonderful!

On the hotels, have you heard/stayed at the Chateau de Rocochette nearby?
Deepa is offline  
Mar 2nd, 2007, 08:41 AM
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We stayed at the Chateau de Rochecotte with our two children during the summer of 2000. It is a beautiful site, set back from all main roads with interesting walks to take on the grounds. We liked the accommodations very much and found the staff friendly and helpful. The breakfast was fine. I try not to be locked into dinners at lodgings (especially when the children were younger, but also to avoid the loss of flexibility) and we did not happen to eat dinner at the Chateau. Hopefully, you'll hear from someone who has been there more recently, but it was a lovely place to stay with a somewhat central location to touring the Loire Valley area (though itself isolated from a town center). We stayed there for several days and drove to our destinations.
sep620 is offline  
Mar 2nd, 2007, 09:51 AM
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Here are my thoughts, having had 3 kids of my own and now having grandchildren 3 & 5. Plus, we've spent time in all the places you mention (except Disney). The Loire Valley might be interesting for kids for a while, but, to me, most of the attractions that have been mentioned are aimed more at adults. Unless you have marvelous weather (unlikely at this time of year) and can just take the kids to parks and walk around in small town squares day after day, you & they will be bored.

Have you thought about seeing if you can get a cheap flight or take the TGV to the south of France, where the weather should be warmer, for part of your trip. Rent a gite there with some garden space so the kids can run around and so you can have a kitchen with facilities. Do you really want to have to take the kids out for every meal for 14 days? Here is a link that might interest you. It's on family friendly things to do in Provence.

http://www.slowtrav.com/france/prove...s_children.htm
julies is offline  
Mar 2nd, 2007, 10:17 AM
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Had another quick thought for you. When you decide where you plan to go, see if you can buy a Hachette guide to the vicinity. They typically are very easy to use and would probably be a quick way to discover things that you would never think of on your own that your kids might like.
julies is offline  
Mar 2nd, 2007, 05:45 PM
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Thanks for letting me know that you liked the Rochecotte. For us, we do like to dinner at the hotel we stay since we are all early risers and by about 6 pm the kids are ready to wind down and we like coming back to home base, bathe them and proabably inform the restaurnat about what they will eat, have dinner by 7 pm and then pretty much call it a day.

Julies, I am not familiar with a Hachette guide. What is it?
Deepa is offline  
Mar 2nd, 2007, 07:12 PM
  #19  
tod
 
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Sorry Deepa, I have not stayed or heard of Chateau de Rocochette but I see someone else has been able to help on that one.

On my first trip to the Loire Valley(a walking tour) we also stayed at Hotel Du Grand Monarque in Azay for one night.
This gave us the opportunity to see the light display at the Chateau in the evening and also visit it during the day.
Another overnight stop was at the Abbey of Fontevraud which is housed in the former St.Lazare Priory.
Our last night was at the wonderful Hostelliere du Prieure in Chenehutte-les-Tuffeaux, which has about 18 rooms in the 10th-16thC former priory - (an enormous chateau-looking building) and there are also pretty garden rooms. We had the latter. The restaurant is fabulous and the view over the Loire just lovely.
tod is offline  
Mar 2nd, 2007, 07:40 PM
  #20  
 
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Hachette is the name of a French guidebook company (they have English versions). They publish them on the various regions.
julies is offline  

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