I’m about to embark on the arduous and daunting task of booking this year’s Big Abroad Family Summer Holiday. Now I’m aware in the grand scale of things this doesn’t seem that bad, in fact the uninitiated might even say planning a family holiday is a good thing. However, when you’re staring down the barrel of the holiday booking gun armed with limited means and the whole world at your disposal it is indeed a formidable task. Wish me luck.
First World Dilema #1. Where to go?
I’m currently favouring South of France. Good weather, short travel time from UK, food to die for and a culture that thinks wine at lunch time is normal. What’s not to love? It’s also an area I’ve been to in my before children (BC) days. BC I wanted to go on holiday to explore new areas, but nowadays there’s something reassuringly lovely about going back to old familiar. Especially when that is as deliciously lilac scented and sunflower coated as Provence.
BC I spent endless days sunbathing by the pool or browsing Sorgue’s antique markets, long lazy rose soaked lunches at the Zplage Restaurant in Cannes and whiling the evenings in the beautiful traditional Provencial towns of St Paul de Vence or Mougins.
Obviously all these things can be done with toddlers in tow, but, and please note this is said from the romanticised distance of the comfort of my sofa in UK, I’d rather not plonk the little in darling in front of an iPad while I enjoyed a chi chi restaurant. Oh no, I want to embrace all the wonder that comes with travelling with toddlers (told you I was feeling sentimental!). I can’t wait to take Tilda to the beach and let her paddle for the first time in the calm Mediterranean sea, I want to teach her to build her first sandcastle and take her on a boat for the first time as we explore the Cote d’Azur from the water. There really is something quite magical about the south of France and I can’t think of a better place for our family holiday – romanticism aside, it ticks every box.
First World Dilema #2 Where to stay?
In previous years I’ve always been a hotel kind of girl. Who isn’t a fan of someone tidying up after you and a little chocolate on my nicely turned down pillow? I know plenty of people do but I’m having real problems reconciling myself to staying in a hotel with the toddler.
I’ve come to the conclusion that the way I get my fill of luxury without breaking the budget and keeping things toddler friendly is by staying in a villa. It’s a no brainer, an affordable way of staying somewhere amazing and it allows you the space to not have to spend your precious holiday evenings in a dark room, whispering to one another whilst watching Netflix via one earphone each lest you disturb the baby.
I’ve now spent days scouring the internet for the best child friendly villas out there and have concluded that James Villa Holidays have the dreamiest villas of them all. I particularly like wide range of villas in France with pools. Ever the safety conscious I was initially tempted by Villa Joucaline’s gated ‘pool garden’ and that was before I saw the beautiful kitchen and exquisite en suite.
Closer to the seaside the Villa La Sariette is also beautiful. The spectacular view of the Bay of Cannes would keep me occupied for hours.
The other benefit of a villa holiday is that you’re not tied to a hotel restaurant and can sample the spectacular cuisine of the South of France in traditional restaurants. I’m also a fan of browsing local markets to find fresh fromage, fruit et legumes, cooperatives for local wines and the piece de resistance, the joy that is French supermarche. Bon Voyage!
What’s your experience of travelling with a toddler in tow? Any more South of France tips or recomendations?
Disclaimer: This is a collaborative post.