Our last holiday abroad as a family was an interesting affair and we vowed never to do it again, however time has passed and the Great British weather has worn us down enough that we have started researching a holiday in the sun!
This time, we want the perfect family holiday.
We are going into it with a very strict checklist:
We want a relatively short journey.
Sunshine but not unbearably hot.
Somewhere child friendly with a lot of activities and that won’t break the bank.
Although the idea of placing ourselves next to a pool and drinking cocktails for a week is an appealing one, the reality is that with two small children in tow we will more than likely spend time exploring the area and bribing them with ice cream.
Given the fact my children aren’t fans of sleeping past dawn, the idea of four of us sharing one room isn’t appealing. There is also nowhere to escape to in such a small space.
So, after speaking to my friend Anna of Me, Annie Bee and drooling over her recent holiday pics, we are looking at a family holiday to the South of France.
More specifically, we would like to go for a self-catering villa in Southern France in the Provence-Alpes-Cote D’Azur region.
This region looks to have it all; sun, sea, sand and even a bit of scenery in the form of mountains.
Why is the Provence-Alpes-Cote D’Azur region in Southern France perfect for families?
The South of France is only a two hour flight, (and most low cost airlines fly there) absolutely bearable with two small children in tow. We will just download a film or the Cbeebies app onto a tablet, they’ll barely realise they left the ground and other travellers won’t even realise they’re there. In theory.
The Cote D’Azur has a Mediterranean climate and boasts 300 sunny days a year. From April to October the average temperatures are generally a lot warmer than the UK. This means we will be able to travel outside of the school holidays, pick up a really good deal and still get the sunshine we crave!
Choosing a self-catering accommodation will provide a base, we can hire a car and drive to lots of places rather than being stuck in just one location, or relying on public transport. Hopefully our villa will have a pool so we can spend a day ‘at home’ playing in the pool and generally taking it easy without having to worry about bothering other people or fighting for sun loungers.
Self-catering also means that we can hit the many Provencal markets, to buy lots of beautiful, local produce – bread, cheese, fruit and veg to make quick and simple meals at home and avoid any incidents of food poisoning again!
A full home also means the children can also stick to their routine and be in bed on time offering ample opportunity for us to sit on the terrace, drinking wine, watching the sun set and being grown up. Or watching French TV, whatever.
What to do in the Provence-Alpes-Cote D’Azur region in Southern France
The Cote D’Azur coastline is absolutely stunning. Some parts offer huge stretches of white, sandy beach dotted with palm trees, other parts are little coves or bays, almost hidden from the road, with rocks to climb on and rock pools to investigate.
Even the more ‘touristy’ beach areas like Cannes and Frejus are classy affairs. Not a Kiss Me Quick hat in sight. Hopefully we’ll be able to buy a bucket and spade though.
If we choose not to travel coastward we can head inland to explore many little villages and towns.
Being the Mediterranean, many of the restaurants look to be family friendly, offering amazing local cuisine and most restaurants in the area will offer a menu du jour for lunch. A fixed price menu usually offering two courses and a drink for a set price. This will make budgeting a lot easier.
The abundance of vineyards is staggering and research tells me that a VERY good bottle of local wine can be purchased for under five euros a bottle. If I’m feeling particularly confident I may well knock at one of the chateaus to purchase wine direct from the source. They do that!
I will also leave space in my hold luggage…
If the kids have had their fill of beaches, swimming and walking, there looks to be plenty of other things to do.
We can head to St Tropez or Cannes to star spot, gaze into the shop windows at clothes we could never justify spending THAT much on and question who actually has enough money to own one of those massive yachts and wonder why we aren’t friends with them yet.
We may visit Monaco to witness pure, frivolous spending and, of course, step onto one of THE most famous Grand Prix tracks. Carefully.
If the children comply we might even visit the tea room at the Ephrussi de Rothschild Villa and gardens. A very classy affair I believe.
Given the sheer amount of things there are to do in the area, the quality of food and (of course) the cheapness of wine, the Provence-Alpes-Cote D’Azur region in Southern France looks like it would be a great holiday destination for our young family.