As you may have seen I've just returned from a very lovely holiday to France. We tend to go every year and generally return to the same beautiful area of the Dordogne. This year we also travelled over to La Rochelle to meet our friends and spend 10 days there, it was nice to have a little change. The difference this year is we were travelling with a newborn as well as a tinker of a toddler!
We prefer to drive rather than fly as 1. we (I) pack enough stuff to see us through the end of the world and 2. we like to do a cheeky booze stop on our way home (if we can fit any in!) and 3. It's nice to be in our own car. The journey generally isn't too bad, it takes us a couple of hours to get to Dover, then we split out journey in two and drive a few hours into France and then have an overnight stop. This year we stopped at a place called Chartres, it's roughly 3.5-4 hours into France. We then travelled to the Dordogne the next day, the auto-route's are usually very good in France so we can just shoot down them at a decent speed and get there by the afternoon.
|Just about to set off....late as always!|
I don't really want to ramble on too much, I wrote about my time in the Dordogne last year which you can read about here. I have taken so many pictures this year that it's taken me a while to go through them so thought I would share some of my favourites and just add snippets of information.
We stayed in Gites Lacombe again, we have stayed in various of these gites over the years and know that they are in an ideal position to explore, they are clean and well maintained and have lovely swimming pools.The family that run them are so welcoming and kind too, they are very popular so we have to book up quite early to make sure we get a gite.
We stayed in the Dordogne, near the beautiful market town of Sarlat. We stayed just for a week before heading over to La Rochelle, it kind of felt a bit weird as it went by so quickly and we felt we didn't do half the stuff we would normally but it was a great week and so, so hot!!
Alfie absolutely LOVED the pool as always and was able to really practice his swimming with and without floats and he can now swim a width on his own without any floats! Such a clever boy. Elarna also had her first swimming experience which she seemed to enjoy!
We did alot of BBq'ing, drinking wine and generally trying to unwind (as much as you can with 2 children!). It was so lovely.
We visited La Foret des Singes which we do ever year, it's a monkey forest! I love it, you wander through at your own pace enjoying the beautiful scenery and feed the free roaming monkey's little pieces of popcorn. I love it!
On the same day as monkey forest we also visited the historic town of Rocamadour. Set high up in the hills it is beautiful. I can definitely recommend getting to it via the lift rather than walking as we did one year!
|Stunning views from Rocamadour.|
We ate a load of ice cream......oh and we ate cakes too!! The French cakes are literally to die for! So, so good.
|How could I resist these?!!|
We spent a lazy afternoon by the river with a picnic watching the canoeists go by. My husband took Alfie on the dingy which he loved!! However this was the day that my god awful prickly heat rash started which was not nice!! Thankfully managed to sort it out with some anti-histamines!
|Pure bliss relaxing by the river.|
Then Saturday came and it was time to make our way over to La Rochelle, it took us around 4 hours to get there, we had a few stops on the way before reaching our accommodation. We stayed at the Boutillon Gites which were around 12 miles from La Rochelle centre. The four gites are clean, well maintained and soooo quiet. Unfortunately we were on the other side of the complex to our friends so we had to take it in turns to spend evenings at each other gites but it was not a massive issue. The pool was really nice, it was heated and lovely to swim in, the pool area was gated with an alarm so very safe for the children. There was also a big trampoline which was an absolute winner in Alfie's eyes! There was a very well equipped games room too, it was very much family orientated which was great. Paul, the owner is extremely accommodating and nothing is too much bother for him, I would definitely return to stay there again.
We crammed quite alot in over the 10 days we were there and yes, we ate a lot of ice cream again! We had some lovely lunches out, we sat by the harbour at La Rochelle and had a lovely day at the beach as well as some well needed pool time.
|The only way we could get Alfie to wear his hat was to threaten suncream on his head!|
Alfie had a lovely time with our friends little girl, it made a difference for him to have someone to play with and burn off some energy, they got along very well most of the time!
|Having alot of fun on the beach with Daddy.|
We visited the wonderful aquarium in La Rochelle, it really was fantastic! Alfie was beside himself with excitement, he didn't know where to start! He really just wanted to see the sharks and raced around (with Daddy) to try and find them, needless to say when he did discover them he was captivated.
Adi and I wanted to visit Cognac, I'm not a fan of the stuff to be honest but fancied the trip around a cognac house to see how it's made. We visited Remy Martin and it was a really interesting little visit. It lasted around an hour and 1/4 and the children were actually pretty well behaved, we entertained Alfie with a Kinder Egg and the little train that took us between buildings was a god send. We tasted some Cognac at the end and as much as I'm not a fan there was one particular one that we tasted and with ice it was actually quite palatable!
|Remy Martin Cognac House.|
The Sunday before we left we visited Zoo de la Palmyre, it was a fantastic day out! I love visiting a zoo when in France, their health and safety rules are so much more relaxed that the UK and you can actually get up close and personal to the animals and feed the giraffes and elephants which was so cool! I think the adults had more fun than the children haha. One thing to be aware of is ALL of the toilets other than the disabled are holes in the floor (really thought France might have moved on from this!), I used the disabled loos for this reason!
We decided to leave on the Monday instead of the Tuesday due to all of the strikes happening in Calais, it was a good decision I think as we returned home in good time. The journey to get to our overnight stop the night before our ferry wasn't so great as we got stuck in an almighty traffic jam, then Alfie was travel sick (we think) and projectile vommed three times so we had to make several emergency stops to strip him down and wash his car seat, not good! We then ended up arriving at our hotel late with 2 very cranky children and 2 cranky adults. However, a bubble bath, a takeaway pizza and a bottle of wine did ease the crap journey somewhat!
And that was that, our lovely holiday was over in a flash! The 17 days went by so quickly and we had a really great holiday, so nice I'm already looking to book a break in September somewhere and researching next years, I know, I know I'm very impatient, have to combat the holiday blues somehow!
Have you got your holiday planned or have you already been? Give me some ideas for our next adventure!