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Top tips for a family holiday in France

France is one of the most popular countries for us Brits to visit. Nice and easy to get to - and with a wealth of options for beautiful areas to visit and places to stay. We've compiled some nuggets of info for families considering visiting France - things to consider to help make your trip a success. Enjoy!

Pictured: Château Les Carrasses

ON HOW BEST TO TRAVEL

  • "Having your own car means you can bring as many suitcases as you need. There is something very appealing to me about being able to load everything into the car next to my front door and not touch it again until I arrive at our destination, no loading in and out of a taxi, checking in, waiting at the carousel, loading into the hire car, then unloading all again an hour later!  To be balanced though, if you get a good deal on the flight and the car hire, flying can be a much cheaper option and if you live further north than Oxford, may well be much quicker.- Wendy, Owner, La Grange du Moulin

ON DRIVING IN FRANCE

  • "France has introduced 'clean air' windscreen stickers as a legal requirement in some of its cities, to identify a vehicle’s emissions levels. British drivers heading to France are advised by the RAC that driving without a French 'clean air' sticker makes them liable for an on-the-spot fine. You can buy one here - they're inexpensive." - Jo, Founder, Away with the Kids
     
  • "Take a red triangle if going by car; most European countries have a law that requires you carry at least one of these with you while driving." - Natalie, Business Manager, Away with the Kids

ON FERRIES

  • "For a ferry crossing have a spare carrier bag to hand - even the calmest sea can cause a wobbly tummy!  Also, don’t be put off if all cabins are booked - we booked seats and our communal cabin was respectfully quiet and everyone managed to rest." - Jo, Founder, Away with the Kids
     
  • "Many of our owners offer discounts on ferries when you book with them - it's definitely worth enquiring about." - Frances, Marketing, Away with the Kids

ON ROAD TRIPS

  • "If you’re doing a road trip and booking on spec as opposed to ahead, check local holidays before you travel - this has a massive impact on the choice of accommodation available." - Donna, Sales, Away with the Kids
     
  • "Check out the Bison Futé website and try and avoid travelling on the black and red days in peak season - otherwise the motorways are fantastic - empty lanes between cities so you can just put the car on cruise control, regular stops, every 20km or so where you can let your active toddler have a run around to burn off energy." - Wendy, Owner, La Grange du Moulin

ON MOBILE PHONES

  • "Make sure you turn off data roaming on your phone to avoid getting stung by roaming charges while abroad." - Natalie, Business Manager, Away with the Kids

ON EATING OUT

  • "Restaurants very often don't have a specific children's menu on display. Don't be put off by this... they make dishes for kids which are from the main menu, just smaller portions." - Marion, Owner, Domaine de la Dolce  
     
  • "If this is your first time to France, you may not be familiar with the importance the French place on 'Le dejeuner' - 'lunch'! Many French restaurants only open at lunchtime and do the majority of their trade at this time, as lunch is the main meal of the day. The 'Menu du Jour' (the menu of the day) is usually the best option as it simply consists of the freshest ingredients on the day!" - Greg, Owner, La Garenne Cottages & Gites

ON HEALTHCARE & TRAVEL INSURANCE

  • "Get a valid European Healthcare Insurance card (E111). This can be obtained from the official website here. Also, you still need travel insurance as well as this! Make sure you buy this in advance." - Frances, Marketing, Away with the Kids

ON BUYING SUPPLIES

  • "France has wonderful markets, however, the stalls pack up abruptly at midday, in time for lunch, so you are better off going earlier rather than later! Most supermarkets are closed on Sunday and if they do open, they only open till midday - so make sure the fridge is stocked up before then!" - Greg, Owner, La Garenne Cottages & Gites
     
  • "Guests of ours stock up on confit de canard and other such delicacies [to take home]" - Wendy, Owner, La Grange du Moulin

ON HOLIDAY ATTIRE

  • "Boys/men need proper trunks to be able to use public swimming pools so purchase before you go to avoid a poolside tantrum/dash to shops on arrival!" - Anna, Reviewer, Away with the Kids
     
  • "There is a rule in France about needing to wear tight swimming trunks and no board shorts in swimming pools. I made my husband adhere to it although no-one else at the pool was - he wasn't very impressed with me!" - Donna, Sales, Away with the Kids

ON WINE

  • "You can't take much back on Ryanair, but you can fill your boot of the car with French wines and the prices are fantastic, just don't expect Cloudy Bay!" - Wendy, Owner, La Grange du Moulin

ON WHAT TO BRING

  • "You might consider taking your own pillows as sometimes (depending on where you stay) you might be provided with odd square cushion sized things which I found impossible to sleep on." - Anna, Reviewer, Away with the Kids
     
  • "Take some cards and travel games. Make sure you know the rules of child friendly card games before you start playing, remembering the rules as you go means a definite loss of momentum!" - Donna, Sales, Away with the Kids
     
  • "Invest in a rash vest to protect your little ones from the sun in the first few days: either pick one up in the UK or Decathlon shops (in France) usually have a good range. Decathlon is also good for buying cheap river shoes should you be planning on staying in an area with safe river swimming." - Darren, Director of Marketing, Château Les Carrasses

If you have any tips to add, do tweet us - we'd love to hear from you!

@awaywiththekids

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