A month ago I had great plans. I was going to tell you all about our holiday in splendiferous detail, and carry on and the keep up with the blogging far more regularly than I have since before I started my job. Than what happened? I blinked and a month zipped past, that’s what. So, apologies for my abject failure to write even one sentence on here in over a month. Allow me to make up for it by condensing the rest of our holiday into a few short paragraphs.
The Jura was our first stop, as I have already said. It is a region that attracts a lot of French visitors, who all do lots of energetic outdoorsy type things during the day. Do you know what they do in the evenings? Stay quiet. In a park filled with hundreds of people in mobile homes there was absolute blissful silence after dark.
One of the places we visited was Les Roches de Baume. This is a cave system, with regular tours. The tours are all in French, but they handed out an English translation so I was able to read it in advance. Luckily I understand just enough French, that having read up in advance I could tell the kids things like, ‘This is the owl chamber, because those shapes up in the ceiling look like owl’s eyes,’ at just the right time. I suspect I got more from it than many of the French visitors because the group was so large that I think half the people couldn’t hear what was being said properly.
We headed down South after that, to Frejus and a more lively noisy park with multiple swimming pools and kids clubs. We had planned this based on the children’s choices, which were entirely based on the number and variety of waterslides available. As an advantage there were ‘learn to swim’ and ‘learn to ride a bike’ clubs which would have been brilliant for Mr 6. Sadly those clubs only run in June. We were very disappointed. They didn’t make that at all clear on the website. How silly, to only run clubs like that in term time.
Otherwise, the South of France was sunny and bright and warm, just as you’d expect. There was plenty of relaxing time, books read, swimming and eating in the shade of palm trees.
Having sunned ourselves sufficiently, we went to a holiday park near Chambord in the Loire Valley. Of course we visited chateaux! Chambord is the most amazing chateau. Huge, and beautiful, the rooftop is like a village in its own right. You can walk round the ground floor, thinking that it isn’t really that big – only four main rooms with a turret in each corner and a big cross shaped hallway centred on a spiral staircase between. Then you look up, and along, and realise that your whole house would fit in there twice, quite comfortably. In just the one room.
We also went to Disneyland. We were only a two hour drive away, so we couldn’t not go, could we? The kids enjoyed it. To me it seemed (whisper this) … small. The environment, the setting, the design are all fantastic. The rides themselves seemed a bit limited. The girls did every ride they wanted to, even with the queues. I hadn’t really thought about it in advance, but tally up all the ‘big’ rides and the total number isn’t huge.
The food was also horrendously expensive and quite unimpressive. At lunchtime, we paid 55 Euros for our burger meals, and to make us even less impressed they forgot one of the burgers. By the time we had all our food the only thing warm was the ice lolly. There were other restaurants, but a lot of the prices were out of our range (and our children too fussy to appreciate it). We could have eaten at The Stagg for less, and The Stagg has a Michelin Star. I am glad we went, just so the kids can say they went, but I have no desire to ever return.
Of all the holiday parks we stayed at this last one in the Loire was my favourite. It was the smallest and quietest, but it still had the big old house there. It felt more like staying in the grounds of someone’s house rather than on a big commercial undertaking.
Overall we had a lovely time, seeing three, perhaps four, completely different aspects of France. We all had a bit of the type of holiday we love, despite our hugely differing tastes, which all makes for a fantastic time.