Family trip to France with kids

Old Mar 4th, 2015, 05:39 PM
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Family trip to France with kids

We are a family of five with teens/preteens planning to go to France this July. We want to spend 4 days in Paris then go somewhere that is a little more scenic/less rural. I was thinking Provence but didn't know if there is enough to keep the kids interested. We were also thinking of going to the Alps (and seeing Bern and/ or Zurich) or Cannes but both of those seem very expensive. Any advice would be great!
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Old Mar 4th, 2015, 06:03 PM
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It would be helpful to know how many days you'll be in France. Also, is this your/their first time? (If so, 4 days would not be enough for a first time to Paris, IMO.) And interests? I think some kids would love exploring Provence... I'm sure many here have taken their kids there. My girls (9 and 12 now), when given the choice of places they wanted to see in France. They both wanted to see Paris and the Loire, for seeing Chateaux. We did that 2 years ago, and spent 10 days in Paris and a week in the Loire. We're going back in a few months, and both girls asked us to add a few *more* days in Paris and a few more days in the Loire to our itinerary.
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Old Mar 4th, 2015, 06:23 PM
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We have about 10 days in France. They are 10, 13, 17.
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Old Mar 4th, 2015, 06:31 PM
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What are the kids interests? I think they'd like Provence. They would probably enjoy seeing the Roman ruins there. I agree about the châteaux in the Loire too. I went there when I was 17 and loved it.
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Old Mar 4th, 2015, 06:41 PM
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I think the Dordogne area would also have a lot to offer. The prehistoric caves are well worth visiting, there is canoeing on the river, castle visits, etc.
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Old Mar 4th, 2015, 08:12 PM
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When we took our then-12-yo DS to France, we debated between Provence and the Dordogne. (Us grownups had been to both places.) We ended up going to the Dordogne, because it has more of what interests us - many old castles (not so much palaces, like in the Loire), prehistoric cave paintings, plus very beautiful and great food. DS liked it very much!
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Old Mar 4th, 2015, 10:05 PM
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It depends on what your kids like. My kids like to keep active, hike, swim, cycle, shop and eat. They would be bored stiff by Roman ruins, hours in art galleries or visits to vineyards. They are perfectly happy on a train but hate being in a car. Not saying that's good or bad - just the way it is. What do your kids like? That would help us advise. We've visited both Provence and the Swiss Alps with the kids.
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Old Mar 5th, 2015, 01:32 AM
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If you want hiking and canoeing then the Tarn valley is the place to go (also you could recreate Travels with a Donkey) and see the Millau bridge.

If you want sailing then maybe Pampol or one of the Brittany small ports with a sailing school (no reason why they should not learn to sail in French)

If you want bike riding and sailing then Ile de Re and La Rochelle would be wonderful

If you want Disney .... bah.
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Old Mar 5th, 2015, 03:42 AM
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Sometimes kids need to be led to be interested in things. What about Amsterdam--easy to get to from Paris. What about Normandy--interesting architecture, cider, and the Beaches. I love Provence but it is food and "texture" in a way. Beaches for being beaches (as in Cannes) are better in the US.
Switzerland will be expensive.
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Old Mar 5th, 2015, 04:03 AM
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I would add another day to Paris.

With 10 days total, do you want to eat up a lot of time traveling?

It will take, door to door, maybe 5-7 hours to get down to the Dordogne or Provence. Would you plan to return to Paris to fly home? If flying to the States you can get direct flights out of Nice, possibly Marseilles, but otherwise it's fly, train or drive back to Paris.

I would consider the Loire Valley for 2-3 days or if you're more city types, Amsterdam is a good suggestion or Nice with day trips along the coast or up into the hills, very good and very reasonable local train and bus options.

Switzerland can be very costly, very beautiful, if you add this to Paris, plan to fly back out of Zurich, for example.

July is very busy so I would firm up plans very soon.
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Old Mar 5th, 2015, 06:06 AM
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>>>(also you could recreate Travels with a Donkey)
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Old Mar 5th, 2015, 06:31 AM
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Paris I re-read it every year, when you visit the area there is a Modestine by every hayrick
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Old Mar 5th, 2015, 06:38 AM
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"They would be bored stiff by Roman ruins,"

I don't know the quality of those Roman ruins. HOwever, if they are good enough, they bring out the kids' imagination -- my kids enjoyed Rome, for example. However, I dragged my famly to the Arènes de Lutèce in Paris and I think they found it underwhelming.
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Old Mar 6th, 2015, 04:44 AM
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Much as I love Provence I don't think it is an ideal place for a family holiday in the summer. Better around the Cote D'Azur with options for swimming etc.

Alternatively you could consider time in the French Alps: for example, around Lake Annecy.

I had a good week with my children (mid-teens at the time) in Morzine: a ski resort, where we played tennis; mountain biked; did some horseriding, whitwater rafting etc. I thought it was a good family activity holiday.
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Old Mar 6th, 2015, 06:08 AM
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"Much as I love Provence I don't think it is an ideal place for a family holiday in the summer"

Place is packed with Hobbits en-famile
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Old Mar 6th, 2015, 09:15 AM
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Are these children so jaded as to not be wowed by seeing things (in person) they have not experienced in the US? Our kids were much the same age and because they all had taken or were taking Latin, we made it a point to see Roman ruins--not just in Rome but in southern France. they were at least "interested".
Do kids always have to have a beach or a pool in a 10 day trip.
Paris and the Loire as the other poster suggested--longer in Paris also, as has been suggested.
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