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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 3rd, 2007, 01:32 AM
Join Date: Jun 2006
Posts: 946
We spent two weeks just in Paris last fall with a 5 year old ( she turned 6 there) and had a blast. You check out our trip report about Paris and France on our website for ideas:


We have been to the Loire , but not with our child, so I can not speak about that part. I do think Provence is wonderful for kids and agree the weather would probably be much better.

But I don't think I would want to do more than 2 places in that time. I think apt or home rentals actually often work out better with kids and are less expensive.

Don't miss Bois de Bologne and the many awesome parks in Paris. I would probably spend more time in Paris,because it is so enriching for kids and you have to do it slower when traveling with kids.

We really loved Giverny and it is just a day trip from Paris.I am not sure what it would be like tho at this time of year.

You will have a wonderful time!

WTnow is offline  
Mar 3rd, 2007, 02:36 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
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I'm in a small minority, but we didn't enjoy Amboise as much as other Fodorites. I would not want to spend 12 days there.
We really enjoy the western Loire area. Angers makes a good base for a family with children your age. Right next to the Mercure Angers Centre hotel (which has underground parking) is the Jardin des Plantes, a beautiful park with a small children's petting zoo (bunnies, goats) and parrots plus a children's play area. Just up the street is another park with a carousel and there are always lots of children around there. Across the river is a large park where they could run around and explore. A short drive away is Le Lion d'Angers, home to the French national stud farm, so if you kids like horses, that's a fun day trip.
The weather in late March in Angers and around should be mild and pleasant, if not actually warm (although it might be warm). However, it's not a bad idea to consider heading farther south for a few days.

On the down side, Angers doesn't have any upscale hotels in the class of Pavillon de la Reine. Their hotels are either pleasant but fairly simple 2 or 3 stars. And the Mercure I mentioned above, while in a beautiful location and with wonderful staff, has bland rooms. Spacious, comfortable, practical, but not stylish.
BTilke is offline  
Mar 3rd, 2007, 04:36 AM
Join Date: Feb 2006
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Hi, Deepa,

Herer's two more ideas specifically for your kids -

Instead of/as well as disney, Parc Asterix - it's just south of disney, you can stay there, and it's a really french theme park, based on the asterix books.

In the western Loire, near Cholet [you could easily get there in a day from saumur] the "puy de fou". this is a wonderful day out for adults and kids, telling the story fo the area from Romans times [go and see the chariot racing and the christians fed to the loins!] through battles with the fefidious english, to more modern times.

THere is also a wonderful "son et lumiere" type show some evenings, which is very popoular with the french.

A third idea - a little further south at Poitiers is "Futuroscope" - a modern french science-based themempark, perhaps more interesting for older kids.

Good luck!

regards, Ann
annhig is offline  
Mar 3rd, 2007, 04:49 AM
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Puy du Fou doesn't open this year until April 18th, ao that puts it out of the OP's schedule, except perhaps for the very last day of their trip.

For travelers to the area later in the year, it is definitely worth a visit. And esp. for anyone who'll be there in mid-September; on Sept. 15 there an amazing fireworks display is planned.
BTilke is offline  
Mar 3rd, 2007, 05:39 AM
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a less expensive option in Onzain is chateau des tertres. You can check is website is

near Villarndry is a wet cave in which objects are put to be calcified in few months. that might be interesting - it was for me.

With that number of days in the area, i would also stay in the western Loire for a few days
bigtyke is offline  
Mar 3rd, 2007, 06:03 AM
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Posts: 149
Thank you all for your wonderful suggestions!

We are now staying at the Domain le Hauts des Loire which I am quite excited about. They have an availabilty in their carraige house (two adjoining rooms)which I hope will be as nice as the main house. The reason I am switiching is also because the Manoir des Minimes does not provide dinner which is quite important to us since we do not want to have the hassel of looking for a new restaurant everyday for dinner with the kids and we can even specify in the mornings what we need for the kids for the evening meal.

Tra laa.... now that all the hotels are done and I have copied all of Degas walking tours of Paris - I am all set to research my shopping prospects - read 'toile fabric' and flea market type things and some sweet smelling things...
Deepa is offline  
Mar 3rd, 2007, 06:18 AM
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Forgot to mention - we do now have 2 bases in Loire - first for 6 nights in Onzain and then for 4 nights at the Chateau Rochecotte between Tours and Angers along with 5 nights in Paris at the Pavillon de le Reine. The Asterix park sounds wonderful! My husband and I grew up reading Astrix comics and would love to go there!
Deepa is offline  
Mar 3rd, 2007, 06:40 AM
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 76
Nobody ever mentions Parc Mini-Chateaux. It opens April 7th and is just on the outskirts of Amboise. It is perfect for children because it reproduces virtually all of the major chateaux of the region in miniature, in an outdoor park. You can walk around and see which ones look most interesting, then go see them in real life. There is also an aquarium in a separate area. I was very impressed. (But I'm a sucker for things like this.)


If I were a kid I think I would like the castle-type chateaux best - Langlois and Angers come to mind, especially Angers, as being very impressive.

Someone mentioned the caves in the area which sounds like a good idea to me as well.

From Angers it is an hour's drive to Le Mans and the automobile museum which is open all year round.
derekflint is offline  
Mar 3rd, 2007, 04:03 PM
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Derek, the parc mini chateax looks wonderful and I'm sure the kids will love it. We check out on April 9th, so we will go visit on the last day. Thanks for your very useful suggestion.

If any of you know any place for me to buy very french fabrics in Loire or even in Paris (altho I assume Loire will be cheaper), please let me know.
Deepa is offline  
Mar 4th, 2007, 05:47 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
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The mini-chateau park is fun, but we thought it was a little overpriced. One nice thing about it is if you're trying to determine which chateaux to visit, then looking at the models may help you decide.
P.S. A general note, in case you weren't aware, parking lot signs for "autocar" parking means bus parking areas, not car parking.
BTilke is offline  
Mar 4th, 2007, 06:07 AM
Join Date: Feb 2006
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Hi, deepa - your planning seems to be going well.

I don't remember a fabric shop specifically, but there is very good shopping in Saumur, and of course Tours is a proper town/city where the inhabitants must neeed fabric. Whether they will be better than the department stores of Paris is a moot point!

regards, ann
annhig is offline  
Mar 7th, 2007, 07:29 AM
Join Date: Mar 2004
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Deepa - If you're looking for fabrics go directly to Re de Steinkerque. It leads up towards the Sacre Coeur from Anvers metro stop. The street is dedicated to fabric & haberdashery.
I'm in the fabric business and found an impressive range there.
What I did find quite by accident in a "On Sale" basket standing on the sidewalk was French-style lace gloves. They only went halfway down the fingers and looked just fabulous!
tod is offline  
Mar 7th, 2007, 03:43 PM
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Thanks a ton Ton, looks like I'm all set for the fabric and kitchen supplies shopping. Now all I need is some interesting antique markets to be in shopping heaven....
Deepa is offline  

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