Well hello there my lovely readers! For those of you who regularly read my ramblings we are back from our family holiday in France. If you are new here then I am thrilled you decided to pop by! So in case you didn’t know we just spent a month away on our annual family holiday to France. We have gone to the same place in South West France for the past 4 years. Last year I tried to keep up with my blogging whilst I was away, but this year I decided that it was time to just enjoy being on holiday. Now we are back I thought I would share with you what we got up to.
Our Family Holiday in France Activities
Our holiday is no luxury family holiday in France it is very down to earth and simple really. We stay in a cottage which doesn’t have air con or anything super fancy, but is well appointed as far as all of the self catering stuff you need. The one thing that kills us (and yes I know I sound spoilt and ridiculous!) is that you can’t get a decent latte anywhere so we bring our own Nespresso machine (I am not joking!!). Our holiday is basically all about the water. So we spend most of our time at the pool or at the lake. This year as the kids are a bit older we even managed to get all of us out on the lake at the same time and did a full family trip. The boys were in a canoe, the husband was on a paddle board and I was on a larger paddle board with both of the girls on it too. It was so much fun!
My parents came with us for the first two weeks so the boys also took out a pedalo with their Grandad and all the kids spent hours with him making sandcastles or just toppling one another out of rubber rings. Mum and I could often be found reading on the beach whilst this chaos was ensuing.
The Wipe Out Course
One day my parents offered to take the kids out to the beach at Biscarosse which is about a 20 min drive. The beach is stunning there, but there is only a short period during the day that kids can be in the water (Low tide) as it is the Atlantic so can be very rough. The lifeguards there are amazing though as they keep moving people along the beach to ensure safety. At low tide there are these sand banks with calm water so the kids can get into the sea which they loved although they were not impressed by the salt water mum tells me. This left the husband and I with a day to ourselves. We could have laid by the pool or just slept, but no… We decided to go on an adventure so we hired bikes and cycled a 40km round trip to get to the inflatables course on the Biscarosse Lake. It is called Aqua Park. This is like an assault course on water just like the wipeout programme that used to be on TV. I can’t tell you how much fun it was or how exhausted we were afterwards. I was battered and bruised from flying through the air off slides and hitting the water, but it was totally worth it. Such a fun date day and something so different we loved it.
As this part of France is so close to Spain they consider themselves to be Catalan and so there are lots of Spanish influences everywhere; in the food, in the dancing and throughout the culture. The people of the region (Landes) feel that their culture is different so there are lots of references to ‘La Culture Sud’. This can be seen no more so than in the Ferias that happen all over the area in each little town.
This year for the first time we were actually there for Feria and so we got to join in and take the children to see the flower parade as well as attend the family fun day which had loads of inflatables that they could play on, fab food, Sangria and flamenco dancing. What more does a person need right?
If I lived near a nice lake I would totally make this my hobby. I just love it. There is something so peaceful about being out on the water in the middle of a huge lake. I find it super relaxing and it is also quite hard work so awesome for that core and arms too!
This year we bought a season pass for the sailing club so I was able to take a board out everyday. The boys got really good at it too so we could go out for a couple of hours at a time. It was not at all relaxing when the crazy crew were with me, but it was a laugh.
I was determined not to entirely undo all of the good work I had put in over the previous few months so I decided to work out everyday on holiday. I did all kinds of things including my paddle board sessions, HITT work outs, Step classes, Bums and Tums classes, runs with the husband, swimming and bike rides pulling nearly 40 kilos of twin. Of course I put on weight as I also ate whatever I wanted and drank champagne and beer everyday, but it was only 6 pounds which I think is ok after a month of excess. I have already lost 3 pounds since I came home and started eating normally i.e. not consuming croissant everyday for brekkie and a mountain of French Bread for lunch!
Family Bike Ride
One day it looked like it wasn’t going to be quite so hot so we decided to rent bikes and take the kids to a neighbouring town, Gastes. It is about 10kms away and is actually on the same lake just further around. It has a sweet little restaurant with a pretty view and a nice kids playground so off we headed.
We had one of the boys on a tandem with the husband, the other on his own bike and I was pulling the twins in a carriage thingy behind my bike. It was all going swimmingly until the sun burnt off those clouds and the temperature started to climb. We really did have a nice day, but omg the ride back was so hard for me as there was quite a bit of uphill!
Arts and Crafts
One of the things about a longer family holiday is that you can’t be go go go for activities everyday. It would get too expensive and frankly be exhausting. So each year I also bring some arts and crafts activities with us and we do those at the cottage. We just basically have some chill out days where we don’t go anywhere or do much .
This year we made jewellery, did countless drawings, used our Little Brian Paintsticks to do paintings and made flower bunting and a sun dial to boot.
Paris and Versailles
On the way back we stopped for 3 nights in Versailles as the kids were desperate to go up the Eiffel Tower. It was a bit of a whirlwind visit and it was around 34 degrees each day so we did limit the amount of sightseeing as it was just too hot for the kids to be walking around. They did get to go up the Eiffel Tower – right to the very top and they were super excited.
We also visited the Sacre Coeur which is one of my favourite places ever and we went to the Palace of Versailles, but just to the gardens to see the fountains in action. Lets face it little kids don’t want to traipse around palaces so we decided not to put us all through that pain. I will go back on my own at some point as I would like to go in.
Our family holiday in south west France was as usual filled with highs. We laughed a lot and spent loads of time together. I felt like now that the twins are 4 we could do so much more and get out and about so there was even more fun to be had. The weather was mostly fab and certainly never stopped us from doing anything we wanted to do even though there were a couple of cloudy days. Each evening we ate well, drank way too much champers and played Shit Head (Renamed Loser when the kids were playing too). We also got to relax a lot really as the simplicity of life there means there are no chores pretty much. Even when we did have to do some boring stuff we found a way to make it fun… Mum and I spent one afternoon drinking wine and chatting whilst we were ‘apparently’ doing the washing!!
In total I got to read 5 books and that is something that makes me very happy. It was lovely to have some down time and relax.
Times are a bit tricky to say the least with our 8 year old at the moment. I think it is still the whole hormone shift thing, but he would test a saint at times…. He is pushing boundaries and when the mood takes him he is downright rude and really quite mean. It is so unlike him to be that way that it is hard to deal with. This meant that there were some lets just say trying times on holiday.
A family holiday is, in my opinion, unlikely to pass without someone getting irritated with someone else . I won’t go into details as there is no point. There wasn’t anything big, but if you go away with any group of people you are bound to get the hump at some point. Or is that just my family? All in all we had a great time on our family holiday in France and we will for sure be heading back again next year for more fun and games.