June in France with 5 year old

Old Jan 22nd, 2024, 05:53 AM
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June in France with 5 year old

Hi everyone! I’d posted last January asking for trip ideas but then we had an illness in the family and I haven’t been on here since…

My husband and I have decided to take our 5 year old to France for a month when Tucson is miserably hot (June) He can only go for 2 weeks but my daughter and I will stay longer.

Originally I considered getting an apartment in Paris for the whole month so we could just have a home base (I love Paris and there’s so much to do) but if we wanted to go to the South of France or something it’s really not a quick side trip…
So now I’m thinking my husband and I can do a little traveling about and then once he leaves maybe best for me to post up somewhere with the kiddo (get an apartment big enough for a couple of friends and family members to visit)
Husband really wants to go to Lyon. My sister wants to come for a bit and she wants to see the Loire Valley. Other than that we are open!
im looking at Brittany, the Bordeaux area or the south coast for access to beaches since we spend most of our days in an arid desert. Definitely need a place with plenty to do to keep a kid entertained.

id love some itinerary help/ recommendations for where to go!

we speak French so language won’t be an issue. Prefer somewhere that won’t be a total shitshow in June

Thanks so much everyone!!!
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Old Jan 22nd, 2024, 07:07 AM
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We've spent well over three years total vacationing in France. Our favorite regions are Provence & the Dordogne. Followed by the Cote d'Azur, Languedoc, and Brittany.

Attached are itineraries for those regions - plus Lyon & the Loire chateaux area.

Stu Dudley
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Dordogne-revised.doc (153.5 KB, 42 views)
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Languedoc-revised.doc (223.5 KB, 56 views)
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Loire Chateaux area.doc (27.5 KB, 25 views)
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Old Jan 22nd, 2024, 07:19 AM
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Brittany
Bordeaux
South coast
June

Bordeaux out to the coast and all the way up to Ile de Re is a magic place of golden sands, small towns, for summer holidays and in June is perfect for families to enjoy, good restaurants, family parks etc
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Old Jan 22nd, 2024, 08:51 AM
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The Bassin d'Arcachon might be a good place for beaches.



Or maybe the Íle de Ré. Does your child ride a bicycle? The Íle de Ré has a bike path completely independent of the roadway.



Last edited by Michael; Jan 22nd, 2024 at 08:54 AM.
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Old Jan 22nd, 2024, 09:51 AM
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Le Pays Catalan gives you easy access to both beach and lush, dramatic mountains all in one spot. As amazing as Provence is, it has a chalkier landscape.
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Old Jan 22nd, 2024, 03:07 PM
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Originally Posted by StuDudley
We've spent well over three years total vacationing in France. Our favorite regions are Provence & the Dordogne. Followed by the Cote d'Azur, Languedoc, and Brittany.

Attached are itineraries for those regions - plus Lyon & the Loire chateaux area.

Stu Dudley
stu thank you so much for all of this excellent info!!!! I can’t wait to read all of your itineraries!!
Given that ALL of these regions look amazing, my questions would be would I be rushing and moving too much to enjoy all of them?
Is one of these regions more or less busy in June? Or are they all busy in summer..?
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Old Jan 22nd, 2024, 03:09 PM
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Originally Posted by shelemm
Le Pays Catalan gives you easy access to both beach and lush, dramatic mountains all in one spot. As amazing as Provence is, it has a chalkier landscape.
thank you so much for this!
what is chalkier landscape? Arid?
my Daughter lives the photos of the lavender fields…do they have those over on the Catalan side?
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Old Jan 22nd, 2024, 03:10 PM
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Originally Posted by Michael
The Bassin d'Arcachon might be a good place for beaches.

https://www.flickr.com/photos/mksfca...7627163616289/

https://www.flickr.com/photos/mksfca...7627163616289/

Or maybe the Íle de Ré. Does your child ride a bicycle? The Íle de Ré has a bike path completely independent of the roadway.

https://www.flickr.com/photos/mksfca...7622845839973/

https://www.flickr.com/photos/mksfca...7622845839973/
tbis looks fantastic!!!!! Is Ile de Re super crowded in summer?
my kid is learning to ride a bike so I could probably get her up to speed Or bring her scooter 🛴
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Old Jan 22nd, 2024, 03:13 PM
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Originally Posted by bilboburgler
Brittany
Bordeaux
South coast
June

Bordeaux out to the coast and all the way up to Ile de Re is a magic place of golden sands, small towns, for summer holidays and in June is perfect for families to enjoy, good restaurants, family parks etc
THIS!! Small towns, good restaurants and parks! Never been to Bordeaux nor Brittany. Something about the Bretagne coast is drawing me…maybe it’s the galettes and cider

Before kiddo, we did go to San Sebastián and up to Saint Jean de Luz which was lovely.

Thank you for your help
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Old Jan 22nd, 2024, 04:38 PM
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"Is Ile de Re super crowded in summer?"

We spent 2 weeks in a gite there the last week of August in about 2015 & the first week of Sept. It was very crowded the first weekend we were there - and then most vacationers departed for home on Sunday. Note that there is a very expensive bridge fee to get to the Ill de Re in Summer, and a slight reduction off-summer. If this was a first time visit - I would go elsewhere. We really enjoyed our visit to the Ill (we still communicate with the proprietor).

For a 3+ week trip, I would visit Provence for 5-6 nights. then head west & spend 2-3 nights in the Gorges du Tarn, 1 night in Carcassonne, 2 nights in the Dordogne region east of the A20, then 5-6 nights in the Dordogne near Sarlat. See the itineraries I attached earlier for more details. Start with the Dordogne itinerary.

You'll see lavender in Provence from about early June on the Valensole Plateau & a few spots near Bonnieux in the Luberon & in the Drome department, and then elsewhere in the Vaucluse department in later June & July. Don't recall ever seeing it the Bouches du Rhone Dept (St Remy area).

Stu Dudley
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Old Jan 22nd, 2024, 07:28 PM
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Originally Posted by Lauren1979
thank you so much for this!
what is chalkier landscape? Arid?
my Daughter lives the photos of the lavender fields…do they have those over on the Catalan side?
Chalkier (like a piece of chalk) means dry and with exposed white limestone rocks. Provence is a region of dazzling beauty, and so many people including myself count it as their favorite region of France. The unique lavender fields are a good example of this. But it mostly feels like a very dry area without lush green forests. In the Catalan Pyrenees, there is so much water everywhere with village after village having natural springs and baths and water running by the streets in little gulleys. Streams are all over. It is a very well watered area.
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Old Jan 22nd, 2024, 11:46 PM
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June is very early in the summer season on Re. Except for the weekends when Parisians come. I'd not go in August.

I've been holidaying in France for 50 years now and like Brittany especially the rock pools on the coast (made of granite so everything is hard) little bays, weather beaten towns. I might look at Quimper or Paimpol as little bases.

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Old Jan 29th, 2024, 08:21 PM
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Originally Posted by bilboburgler
June is very early in the summer season on Re. Except for the weekends when Parisians come. I'd not go in August.

I've been holidaying in France for 50 years now and like Brittany especially the rock pools on the coast (made of granite so everything is hard) little bays, weather beaten towns. I might look at Quimper or Paimpol as little bases.

thank you everyone!!!
im looking at a week in Brittany, a week in Bordeaux area or Pyrenees south of France.
with a few days in Lyon and a few days in the Loire
should I just plan to rent a car for the whole time? I love love taking trains but I wonder with all this moving about and having a 5 year old with us, a car just may be easier/more practical?
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Old Jan 30th, 2024, 05:11 AM
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For me, no hesitation the answer is yes get a car for the whole trip.

Lyon is the outlier here. To go there you will be skipping over Auvergne, sometime called "La France Profonde". An ancient volcanic region of green verdant landscapes punctuated by black lava outcroppings. Also known for its very imposing chateaux like Anjony.

With a 5 year old, I would definitely visit farms. There is an official program called 'Bienvenue a la ferme' which lists farms that provide everything from lodging to meals, activities, visits, and the opportunity to buy direct from the farm.

https://www.bienvenue-a-la-ferme.com/

Also, between the Loire and the Bordeaux area, you can at least stop in a village to see the Marais Poitevin. In the 14th century monks canalised a bay and there is a network of hundreds of canals between which poplar trees have sprouted providing a green canopy. You can have a guide take you out on a barque (flat bottomed boat, think gondola) or try paddling yourself. Arcais is at the heart of this region. It is a thoroughly unique landscape and one of the glories of France.

From Google Maps:





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Old Jan 30th, 2024, 08:32 AM
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Originally Posted by Lauren1979
tbis looks fantastic!!!!! Is Ile de Re super crowded in summer?
my kid is learning to ride a bike so I could probably get her up to speed Or bring her scooter 🛴
Any coastal area will be crowded in the summer.
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Old Jan 30th, 2024, 10:05 AM
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Ile de Re' has Gallets and Cidre.
Also salted caramel stuff
Donkeys wear trousers
What's not to like
Last time I took the bus from the airport, but I've also cycled. The cycle use of the bridge was free, the walking is free, the bridge price is in the bus ticket and the price was low. Cars are just about useless on the Isle but there is an enormous car park on both ends of the bridge so you can dump them, and some towns have a CP at the entrance.
https://www.holidays-iledere.co.uk/p...llage-shuttles
https://www.larochelle.aeroport.fr/e...sports-commun/
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Old Feb 3rd, 2024, 10:42 AM
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Originally Posted by bilboburgler
Ile de Re' has Gallets and Cidre.
Also salted caramel stuff
Donkeys wear trousers
What's not to like
Last time I took the bus from the airport, but I've also cycled. The cycle use of the bridge was free, the walking is free, the bridge price is in the bus ticket and the price was low. Cars are just about useless on the Isle but there is an enormous car park on both ends of the bridge so you can dump them, and some towns have a CP at the entrance.
https://www.holidays-iledere.co.uk/p...llage-shuttles
https://www.larochelle.aeroport.fr/e...sports-commun/

thank you everyone for all this fantastic info!!!!
we are for sure going to get a car for the entire trip. Now we just need to narrow down our destinations! Everywhere you all have mentioned looks absolutely amazing!
where is the best farmers markets, truffles and cheese?? our family is very food-driven 😂

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Old Mar 30th, 2024, 08:41 AM
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Hi all!
we are using miles so we got a ticket home from Paris on July 5.
we’re looking at tickets TO Paris and if we fly into Amsterdam the miles needed are significantly less…
so I’m thinking about this type of itinerary (please tell me if I’m crazy!!)
Tucson to Amsterdam June 14: stay a few nights
June 17: train to Paris and stay 3 nights
June 20: train to Lyon and stay 3 nights
rent a car in Lyon and head towards Provence and stay in a village or two (not sure where) see lavender fields and then throigh Dordogne stay a couple nights, then Loire valley 2 nights in Saumur (have friends there), then to Brittany for the rest of the trip (beach stops along the way)
or maybe best to drive up coast after Dordogne, then Brittany then Loire on way back to Paris? Return car in Paris and fly home on July 5.

is there anything you’d add or delete from this itinerary? Any MUST see beaches or villages between south of France and Brittany?
is adding Amsterdam worth the savings or will it just add stress?
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Old Mar 30th, 2024, 10:12 AM
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I'd really not add Amsterdam

So roughly 3 weeks for you and your kid, and 2 weeks for hubbie.

Saumur is really nice, you might also like Chinon but the castle is best seen from the outside (rather dull inside).

It looks like a long slow drive through the motorways of southern France to me. I never believe a holiday is better because you have seen more things or driven further. In France one of the pleasures is walking with a friend to buy bread and croissant before a slow breakfast, river bathing, sea bathing, lunch, bike riding etc etc. While driving for ages is a bit dull.

But other people like to do other things.
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Old Mar 30th, 2024, 10:18 AM
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Lyon will be dead on Sunday - one of your days there. There are nice museums to visit - but the 5YO would probably not be interested.

The "couple of nights" are really only 1 to 1 1/2 sightseeing days. Not nearly enough for Provence, especially the Dordogne (long drive from Provence), or the Loire.

Stu Dudley
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