Category: France

boy jumping at Puy du Fou

Essential tips for visiting Puy du Fou with kids

We’re not usually ones for theme parks. It’s just not our thing. The queues, the overpriced food and souvenirs, the rush to tick things off, means that a trip to Disney or Alton Towers is way down our list. We’d rather spend the money on an adventure, doing something different.

TraveLynn Family were offered complimentary flights, accommodation, meals and entry tickets to Puy du Fou in exchange for coverage on my social media and this review. These are all my own words and opinions for visiting Puy du Fou with kids.

King Arthur's table rising from lake

King Arthur’s round table rising up through the lake.

But Puy du Fou in the French Vendée, just an hour’s drive from Nantes Airport, is something different. It may have won international theme park awards, but I believe to call it a theme park degrades it. There are no amusement rides at Puy du Fou. This is family outdoor theatre at its best, offering an abundance of historical shows with costumes and special effects fit for Hollywood. In between there are immersive experiences where the historical attention to detail is spot on, and it’s very good value compared to traditional amusement parks (currently 26€ for children and 36€ for adults), and kids under the age of 5 are free!

A weekend spent watching epic battles of knights, vikings and musketeers meant that my boys (aged 4 and 5 at the time) were in their element! For me, the magic was in watching their reactions to each stage show. It honestly brought tears to my eyes. Truly magical.

two boys hugging

Puy du Fou appeals to all ages, but if you are looking to visit Puy du Fou with kids, especially little ones, here are some essential tips to make your visit easier.

1. Get the Puy du Fou Emotion Pass

This is a fast track pass to skip the large queues and allows you entry ten minutes before a show begins, plus priority seating. For only 15€ per person (kids under 5 are free) I would not visit Puy du Fou without it. The queues for some of the bigger shows are huge, especially in the afternoon, and you need to be queuing 30 minutes prior to opening to guarantee a seat if you don’t have an Emotion Pass. Not at all ideal, especially if you’re visiting Puy du Fou with a toddler or young kids.

Note that the Emotion Pass cannot be used for Les Chevaliers de la Table Ronde. This is a very popular show and we advise seeing this early in the day when the park is a little quieter.

Buy your tickets online before you go and you save 15% on the main entry fees.

2. Allow for two full days

One day is really not enough time to get the most out of Puy du Fou. It’s certainly doable, but will make for a very long day feeling like you have to fit everything in. Two full days (staying three nights) allows you to take your time, thus hopefully avoiding any overtired meltdowns with young kids (and parents!)

knight galloping past a castle on a horse

3. Ride the train

It’s a good 20 minutes walk (longer with little ones) to get from one end of the park to the other, and there are a fair few distractions along the way. Allow for plenty of time to get between shows.

There’s a train that runs every twenty minutes; a good way to get from one end of the park to the other, and then make your way back on foot. It also stops at various points within the park.

It’s also worth taking a buggy or camping trolley if visiting Puy du Fou with a toddler or young kids. Although these do need to be left outside the shows. Ensure they’re wearing good hiking boots if, like us, you want them to walk.

4. Plan which shows to go to

Before visiting Puy du Fou with kids, I did worry that my kids (especially my lively 4 year old) would struggle to sit still for the shows. I really did not need to worry whatsoever. The shows are only 30 minutes long on average (some shorter) and as every stage show is such a fantastic spectacle with so much going on (viking ships rising up from underneath a lake, castles turning on their axis, not to mention the intricately choreographed stage combats), my boys were utterly and totally engrossed.

Viking show at Puy du Fou

However, the sheer over-sensory experiences meant that by his fourth show on the first day, our youngest (4 years old) had crashed; though my 5 year old was still wanting more. Aim to just do 3-4 shows in a day if you’re visiting Puy du Fou with young kids, then slot in the immersive shows and period villages in between.

Our favourite shows were

The show times are different every day. Pick up your show schedule and map the night before at your hotel or check the app to plan your day.

bird flying above an open theatre

What to miss with little ones

There are some experiences that are a little frightening for young kids, including Les Amoureux du Verdun and possibly Le Premier Royaume. Instead, I would definitely recommend Le Monde Imaginaire de la Fontaine and Le Grand Carillon. And I don’t recommend watching Le Signe du Triomphe due to the use of wild animals (more on that later).

Cinéscénie, perhaps the best night show in the world, is a spectacle to behold. The sheer scale and special effects alone will blow you away. However, with a 10:30 pm start it was way too late for my boys and is definitely too much after a full day in the main park for little ones. Instead, hubby stayed behind with the boys tucked up in bed, and I went alone. Tickets are booked separately from your main day ticket, and must be booked in advance; it sells out VERY quickly.

5. Talk about the use of wild animals at Puy du Fou

It was not until after booking our trip that I learnt of the use of wild animals at Puy du Fou. I was shocked and saddened to hear this, to the extent I had serious misgivings about visiting Puy du Fou. I had no idea that the use of wild animals for entertainment was still legal in France, but the Le Signe du Triomphe uses lions, a tiger, a hyena and a leopard.

Puy du Fou does some exceptional conservation work for endangered species and their equestrian academy is one of the leading in the world. Animals are indeed very well cared for, but for me it does not sit at all right that wild animals are used in the Gladiator show, and from my understanding they add very little to the story telling.

I spoke to my boys about why I didn’t want to go to the Gladiator show and they both agreed. As a family we have spent almost four months overlanding Africa and seeing wild animals in their natural environment, where they should be. My understanding and hope is that Puy du Fou will catch up with the times and remove these animals from the show.

6. Download the app

There is a Puy Du Fou app that list all the show times that day, as well as voice translations for all the shows. There is good free WiFi across the park. Remember to bring headphones for all the family. We love these CozyPhones Kids Headphones as they don’t keep slipping off.

7. Allow some playground time

To break up the shows and experiences, allow for some time in the playground. We found this gave everyone a nice ‘reset’.

boy on slide at playground

As the playground is situated next to Les Amoureux du Verdun (the WW1 trench experience, not suitable for young kids), us parents took it in turns to visit this whilst the other watched the kids play.

8. Dress to be outside

The majority of shows and experiences are outside and still go on whatever the weather, even torrential rain. Keep an eye on the weather forecast and pack rain jackets in case. We took a rucksack in the park with us to carry jackets and jumpers when not being worn.

In the height of summer it can get very hot, so pack lots of water, sun hats and suncream. There is also a lot of walking, so wear comfortable shoes.

9. Don’t fret about meal times

The food offered in the park is very good and reasonably priced. We dined in Le Bistrot in the Le Bourg period village, and were pleasantly surprised at how speedy the service was; very un-French, but perfect for our impatient boys. Menus are in French but staff speak good English and can advise if you have any dietary requirements.

There are a handful of snack stands throughout the park. But if you’re organised with your own food, head to one of the parks or gardens for a picnic.

The restaurant at our on site accommodation (Citadelle) provided a buffet service, although it doesn’t cater very well for vegetarians and those with more restricted dietary requirements will struggle. Breakfast consists of croissants, fresh breads, fresh juices, a selection of meats and cheese, pancakes, fruits and yogurts. There are strict sittings for meal times, so book ahead.

10. Stay on site

To keep the magic going, there are a range of on site accommodations on offer, with prices currently starting from 61€ per person.

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[AD – press trip] We arrived last night to our home for the weekend – a medieval castle 🏰, but with all the mod cons 😉 The boys were crazy excited about the bunk beds! .. It was a super easy drive from Nantes Airport to get here. Just a one hour drive in our hire car 🚗, well sign posted, and a €6.50 toll. .. Can't wait to explore the park today and check out the shows of @puydufou 🎭 .. .. .. #puydufou #vendee #vendeetourisme #franceFR #francemylove #france_vacations #visitfrance #medievalcastle #fearlessfamtrav #traveljunkies #familytravel #travelingfamily #uktravelblogger #familytravelblogger #beautifuldestinations #europetravel #wanderlustmomblogger #ourtribetravels #passionpassport #mytinyatlas #exploringfamilies #loveyourtimetogether #culturedkids #letthemexplore #travelkids #chateaux #lpkids #lppathfinders

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We stayed in the Citadelle, a medieval castle complete with mod cons such as hot running water, electricity and kids TV channels. Staying in bunk beds of a castle was a definite highlight of the weekend for my boys. All rooms have free WiFi, although there are no tea and coffee making facilities. Nearby parking is available and it’s a 10 minute walk to the main park entry gates.

If you are touring France in a campervan / motorhome, you can stay overnight in the park for 10€. There are water and electricity points, a toilet block, and fresh bread to purchase in the morning.

Getting to Puy du Fou

We visited Puy du Fou as a weekend break from the UK. We flew in to Nantes Airport on a Friday evening, and returned on a Sunday afternoon. From Nantes airport we hired a car and it’s an easy 1 hour drive to Puy du Fou, which is well signposted. When you search for directions on Google Maps (or your in-car GPS) select ‘Avoid tolls’ as the non-tolled route is just as quick as the tolled route.

Want to spend longer in the region?

The Vendée boasts a very impressive coastline with endless sandy beaches and after a couple of full on days at Puy du Fou with kids, a few chilled beach days may be exactly what you need. We stayed previously in the region at a beautiful family friendly cottage with a pool, and thoroughly recommend L’Ecurie Holiday Home.


Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. Should you click to purchase it is at no additional cost to you, but I receive a small commission.

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A family-friendly cottage in the Vendée: L’Ecurie Holiday Home REVIEW
Eurocamp in the Dordogne: Camping Le Port des Limeuil REVIEW
Best Châteaux to visit in the Loire Valley with kids

river beach in France and two boys

Eurocamp in the Dordogne: Camping Le Port des Limeuil REVIEW

I’ve been a Eurocamper since the age of ten. Growing up, Eurocamp was our regular family holiday to France and I fondly remember hot summer days spent exploring grand chateaux, quaint villages, and wine tasting (well watching my parents wine tasting), before heading back to the Eurocamp parc to jump in the pool and join in the kids’ club activities (I still recall choreographing a rather impressive dance routine with my new pals to Take That’s ‘Pray’ for a talent competition). Eurocamp is a tradition I’ve continued since becoming a Mum, and our recent trip to Camping Le Port des Limeuil, a small campsite by the Dordogne River, marks our fourth TraveLynn Family Eurocamp holiday!

TraveLynn Family was offered a complimentary one week stay at Camping Le Port des Limeuil with Eurocamp, in return for coverage on my social media and a blog review. Eurocamp also paid for our return P&O Ferry crossing between Dover and Calais.

Now we’re normally ones for intrepid, independent travel. But once a year, we book in to a Eurocamp holiday in France. This is our chilled holiday week where routine flies out the window and the days flow as freely as the wine. We love the ease of throwing our stuff into a car, catching the ferry across to Calais, and then cruising down the French motorways to arrive at a holiday park where everything is set up for you. Eurocamp was glamping, before glamping became a thing.

Perfect for young families

Beautifully situated at the confluence of the Vézère with the Dordogne River, Camping Le Port des Limeuil is one of the smaller Eurocamp parcs in the region, and we purposefully picked it for its size and location. This leafy parc has a more peaceful vibe than larger parcs nearby, and although it lacks the thrilling spaghetti of waterpark slides, it makes for a more relaxing holiday for parents with young kids.

boy jumping in to swimming pool

Our days always started with a walk to the onsite shop where the boys would practice their French by ordering fresh croissants. These would be gobbled down before mounting their bikes to race around the campsite. There are also two playgrounds on site, complete with trampoline, and of course the swimming pool with slide and toddler pool.

But our favourite spot was down on the pebble beach, wading in the river and throwing stones. It’s an extremely picturesque location and perfect for an afternoon picnic.

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[AD – press trip] When these views are at your campsite @leportdelimeuil 😍 .. We purposely selected a smaller @eurocampholidays parc here in the Dordogne, as we wanted somewhere quieter. This one is so beautiful and peaceful. I think we chose well 👌 .. I've been doing Eurocamp holidays ever since I was about 10 years old. My parents obviously thought they we're a good idea and we've continued the tradition. This is our fourth Eurocamp holiday with the boys! .. Anyone else here a long term #eurocamper ?? 🏕️ .. Wetsuits from @splashaboutuk 💦 .. .. #franceFR @welcometodordognevalley @franceFR #ladordogne #dordogneperigordtourisme #igersdordogne #dordogne #frenchcountry #halfterm #francemylove #visitfrance #jaimelafrance #magnifiquefrance #france_vacations #igfrance #topfrancephoto #beautifuldestinations #fearlessfamtrav #lovelysquares #uktravelblogger #familytravel #showthemtheworld #lppathfinders #ukftb #ourtribetravels #lpkids #loveyourtimetogether #wanderlustmomblogger #travelmadfam #familytravels #snaphappybritmums

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Camping with convenience

This was our first time however, NOT sleeping in a Eurocamp tent. Instead we had a three-bed Espace with outside decking, and we certainly appreciated the sturdier walls with the indecisive May half term weather. Plus with a fully-fitted kitchen, comfy beds, an aircon/heating unit, large sofa, and a hot shower, it’s a home from home.

The spacious outside decking complete with plastic outdoor furniture is perfect for parents to share a bottle of local wine once the kids are asleep and, with the surrounding hedges, our site felt private. Although I was rather envious of the Eurocamp Safari Tents that overlooked the river and boasted a large grassy area (with playground) in front of the pitches for kids to play.

Limeuil

Sitting perfectly across the Dordogne River is picturesque Limeuil, one of the most beautiful villages in France. Cobbled streets wind up through the honey-coloured houses hiding amongst the fortified walls, and narrow alleyways invite you to quaint doorways dressed in colourful bloom.

At the top of the mound is Les Jardins Panoramiques de Limeuil; beautifully designed gardens featuring lots of activities for kids – yoga stretches, watching bees in their hives, nature quizzes, potion making – and the views over the surrounding countryside and back over to the campsite are sublime. Our boys spent hours exploring these gardens, and we mostly had them to ourselves.

Kayaking along the Dordogne River

Adjacent to the campsite, you’ll also find kayak and canoe hire at Aquafun. The river has a steady current, so paddling requires little effort and you can cover a good distance in a short space of time. You can be driven further upstream with the aim of paddling back to the campsite, thus avoiding any exertion working against the flow.

Unfortunately kids under 5 are not allowed to use the kayaks or canoes, and this is the same for all similar companies in the region (we did ask around). However, we found a way around this and it was tremendous fun. A must for anyone visiting the region.

family in kayak on river


Extras to bring

Although Eurocamp provide most of what you need, including linen and beach towels (if you pre book), I do recommend taking a table cloth so meal times feel a bit more ‘French’ and, your pillows from home (the ones provided are rather flat).

Getting there from the UK

We always opt for the Dover-Calais crossing. This is the shortest ferry crossing, although means longer driving in France; but we take advantage of an overnight stopover with family who live close to Dover.

It’s then an eight hour drive from Calais down to the Dordogne. We tend to take the route around Paris, although I know many regular visitors to the region who swear by the route via Rouen to avoid the complicated and often congested Paris ring road system.

We have in the past stopped off in the Loire Valley on the way down. But now the boys are that little bit older and well trained in long road trips, we took on the challenge of driving straight down from Calais. With short regular stops, it was very doable.

Alternatively, you can get the ferry from Portsmouth for a shorter drive, or even fly in to Bergerac and hire a car.

Click here to book this Eurocamp parc.

Have you done a Eurocamp holiday in the Dordogne? I’d love to hear about your experience! Let me know in the comments below.


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family-friendly cottage in Vendée

A family-friendly cottage in the Vendée: L’Ecurie Holiday Home REVIEW

Lying on the beach, with the sun warming my cheeks and the boys digging holes and running around in their underpants, it almost felt like summer. But a step into the Atlantic Ocean for a paddle, quickly reminded me that it was indeed only February.

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It's UNDERPANTS FRIDAY 🙌🎉 .. I really had no idea that it would be so warm here in the #vendée and didn't pack the boys' swimming trunks. So underpants it is! .. Another beach day today and it was 20deg! … and it's FEBRUARY! ☀️ The sea though… NOT AT ALL warm enough for a dip 🏊😂 .. .. .. @maisonlairoux @vendeeholidaycottages @vendeetourisme @francefr .. #vendee #vendeetourisme #france_vacations #fearlessfamtrav #wanderlustmomblogger #familytravel #travelmadfam #kidsgymnastics #rolypoly #lpkids #letthemplay #outdoorsandhappy #beachkids #outdoorsandhappy #lovelysquares #loveyourtimetogether #parenthood_unveiled #parentswhowander #pblogger #mumsofboys #mumlife #uktravelblogger #exploringfamilies #travelwithkids #worldschooling #unschooling #underpants #lpkids #lppathfinders

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But what glorious weather we had in the Vendée for February half term! We only had one cloudy day, and all the others were warm and sunny, with a couple of days up to 20°C. Wonderful.

Avoiding half term air fares

Our visit to the Vendée was rather last minute. I had been keeping an eye on flight prices via Skyscanner, but everywhere was just so expensive, quadruple the price of term time. So instead, we decided to take the Dover/Calais ferry (which was £130 return) and drive to the Vendée on the French Atlantic Coast.

We had previously visited the Dordogne and the Loire, but this was somewhere new! Being February, it was too cold to camp, so we looked for a family friendly cottage in the Vendée. Something quaint and authentic, yet which welcomed families and had something for the kids to do.

So we were absolutely delighted when Annette from Maison Lairoux offered to host us for the week in exchange for this honest review!

Check our our video of our half term holiday in the Vendée with kids.

L’Ecurie Holiday Home at Maison Lairoux

We’ve stayed in places before which we’ve called a home-from-home but L’Ecurie Holiday Home at Maison Lairoux might just be the best example we’ve ever seen. You’ll be greeted by the very friendly and sociable owners (Jason and Annette) who you’ll always find on hand to answer any questions and generally make you feel as if you’re staying at a friend’s house.

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What a fantastic half term week we've had in the sunny Vendée! 🇫🇷 .. Huge thank you to the lovely Annette and Jason from @maisonlairoux #ad for hosting us in their beautiful cottage. It's been the perfect home for home, and the communal games room was a huge hit with my boys 🎲🎱🕹️ .. Swipe right to see more photos of the accommodation 💕. And keep an eye out for my review blog post that will be live next week. .. Now to pack, ready for the long drive home tomorrow 🚗🛳️🇬🇧🚗 .. .. .. @vendeeholidaycottages #vendee #vendeetourisme #france_vacations #igfrance #ig_europa #fearlessfamtrav #wanderlustmomblogger #familytraveler #familyholiday #loveyourtimetogether #travelmadfam #lpkids #lppathfinders #worldschooling #beautifuldestinations #gite #exploringfamilies #gofurther #awesometravelkids #travelfamily #kidtripster #letthemexplore #tmom #mummyblogger #pblogger #uktravelblogger #traveljunkies #ourtribetravels #mytinyatlas

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The cottage is extremely well stocked for families – dishwasher, washing machine, TV, DVD player, open plan dining and living room, two separate bedrooms (one twin room and large one double room, with cot and extra single bed), and a kitchen containing everything (and we mean EVERYTHING) you could ever think of needing during your stay.

There’s a log burner in the living room which makes for a very cosy evening in the winter months, whilst you curl up with a good book and glass of Troussepinette (a fruit liqueur and speciality of the region). For those warm days though, step outside to the patio dining area with views over the wetlands (it’s also a great bird watching spot).

In the communal areas you’ll find an amazing games room containing a pool table, table football, games console, table-tennis, stacks of board games, books, soft toys, beach gear, a costume rack – basically imagine your own toy shop and you’re not far off! The rest of the grounds are well-maintained and provide a perfect space for the little ones to explore whilst the adults enjoy a glass of wine overlooking the expansive views (sunsets are great here).

There is also a very tempting-looking pool, which was closed during our visit in February.  But we were assured it was THE place to relax on a warm summer’s evening. We also enjoyed checking out the herb-garden (help yourself) and there is plenty of space to park your car right outside the front door.

family-friendly cottage in Vendée

Photo credit: Maison Lairoux

The location

The property is situated in the quaint village of Lairoux; very quiet streets to walk around with virtually no traffic, some mid-range walks on your doorstep and 10 minute drive to the nearby town of Luçon (where you’ll find a supermarket and petrol station).

It’s the peace and quiet that we enjoyed, especially after some visits to Eurocamp which, whilst we find very fun, can be quite loud with other kids throughout the day and late into the evening. At L’Ecurie Holiday Home though, the only sounds you’re likely to hear are birds tweeting and the hourly chimes of the adjacent church bells.

family-friendly cottage in Vendée

There is no bakery or convenience store in the village, so ensure you stock up in Luçon at the start of the week. Although the nearby village of Beugné l’Abbé has a bakery selling delicious Pain des Patrons and all butter croissants, and is only 4km away.

What to do in the area

There are some fantastic attractions in the Vendée for kids, such as Puy du Fou, O’Gliss Water Park, Indian Forest Adventure Park, Vendée Aquarium, and Le Château des Aventuriers. Bar the aquarium, however, these places don’t open until at least April, which meant that we were unable to visit them.

But as our regular readers know, we’re not generally ones for theme parks and often prefer to spend our days exploring more natural landscapes. As we were visiting off-season, it meant that we could enjoy the region’s fine beaches and stunning walks away from the crowds. The beaches in particular are what the region is known for.

family-friendly cottage in Vendée

In our cottage, we found a booklet that Annette has put together, detailing their favourite walks and beaches in the area (as well as restaurants and attractions). You really don’t need to do any research before your visit, as all you need is in this booklet.

We tried out a few of the walks and beaches suggested. Our favourite walk was Val de Yon, with large boulders to climb over and streams to jump across (park at La Guinguette de Piquet. Our favourite beach was probably La Faute sur Mer, which is conveniently the closest to the cottage, just a 15 minute drive away. La Terrière and Veillon Plage were a close joint second for beaches.

La Faute sur Mer

A morning in Luçon is also recommended. My boys absolutely loved exploring the pathways, rocks and waterfalls of Jardin Dumaine. There’s also a good playground here. Don’t miss a visit to beautiful Luçon Cathedral.

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Jay was working today, so it was just the boys and I, off on a little adventure to nearby Luçon… 🇫🇷 We spent hours exploring the Jardin Dumaine, getting muddy bums sliding down hills and hiding behind waterfalls, before finding the actual playground. We also had a lovely quiet moment in the beautiful Cathedral. 🇫🇷 And the best bit? We didn't see a single other tourist 😉 .. .. .. @maisonlairoux @vendeeholidaycottages @vendeetourisme #luçon #vendee #vendeetourisme #france_vacations #topfrancephoto #visitfrance #fearlessfamtrav #citybestviews #showthemtheworld #travelmadfam #snaphappybritmums #wanderlustmomblogger #uktravelblogger #familytravelblogger #tmom #loveyourtimetogether #mumsofboys #familytravel #wintersun #capturingchildhood #parenthood_unveiled #europefocus #mummyblogger #pblogger #bbctravel #guardiantravelsnaps #mytinyatlas #lovelysquares #worldschooling #exploringfamilies

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Also, the impressive city of La Rochelle and the trendy island of Île de Ré are only a one hour drive away from the cottage. Allow a day for each.

Getting to the Vendée

There are flights to Nantes and La Rochelle. However, it’s also very easy to take either a ferry or the Eurotunnel and drive. We took the ferry from Dover to Calais. It was then a 6.5 drive to Lairoux, plus an extra hour or so for stops along the way. If you take the overnight ferry to St-Malo, it’s just a three hour drive to Lairoux.

Driving also means no luggage constraints, and a car to get around on holiday. You really do need a car to best explore the Vendée with kids.

Do we recommend L’Ecurie Holiday Home at Maison Lairoux?

If you’re looking for family friendly accommodation in the Vendée that oozes French charm, is in a quiet location, but sociable, and comes with a pool, then I definitely recommend L’Ecurie Holiday Home. We absolutely loved our stay and I particularly appreciated the good insider knowledge that Jason and Annette had of the region.

How to book

Book online at Maison Lairoux. If L’Ecurie Holiday Home is not available, there is also the three-bedroom holiday home, Le Vieux Café, on the same site; equally as beautiful, but has an extra bedroom for larger families or grandparents.

family-friendly cottage in Vendée

Le Vieux Café


family-friendly cottage in Vendée

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Disclaimer: We were invited to stay at L’Ecurie Holiday Home for a one week complimentary stay in return for this honest review and social media coverage. As always, these are all my own words and opinions. 

This post is linked up to #FamilyFriendlyStays

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Loire with kids

Best Châteaux to visit in the Loire Valley with kids

I was dragged around many a châteaux in France by my parents as a child. I remember lots of old rooms with big paintings of men on horses and in all honesty, it was rather dull. All I wanted to do was get back to the campsite to meet up with my new friends and jump in the pool. So why did I return almost thirty(ish) years later to the Loire Valley with kids (my boys aged 3 and 4) to do exactly the same thing?

Loire with kids

Well, with age comes a better appreciation of history and architecture, and I’ve grown to love the French châteaux. Plus, many of the chateaux in the Loire have diversified and there are a few that really cater for families. It’s all about finding the right one. So here are the three best Châteaux to visit in the Loire with kids, according to TraveLynn Family. With these choices you may even find time to admire the architecture and marvel the grounds with a minimal amount of whinging 😉

Château de Cheverny

Kids will love watching the feeding of the hounds at 11:30am each day, before finding the LEGO structures hidden around the rooms of the chateau’s interior. Take a picnic down to the river before finding your way through the maze. If you manage to find your way out, reward yourselves to some home-made ice-cream at Cafe de l’Orangerie.

‘Château de Marlinspike’ in The Adventures of Tintin was based on Cheverny. There’s a permanent Tintin exhibition on site, which may be the closest you get to walking through the comic book. You do have to pay extra to visit however.

Check the Château de Cheverny website for up to date opening time and entry prices. 

Loire with kids

Château du Clos Lucé

This is the place where Leonardo da Vinci spent his final years. It’s not the most architecturally stunning Château in the region, but kids will love playing with Da Vinci’s inventions in the gardens. Head for a wander around the manor before heading to the gardens, as it will help parents explain the inventions when the kids start questioning.

Check the Château du Clos Lucé website for up to date opening time and entry prices. 

Château du Rivau

This is a fairytale castle to ignite imaginations of all ages. The gardens are especially enchanting with giant’s legs walking through the trees, turrets to climb, and a very late white rabbit at the end of a maze. There’s also a garden of potions and be sure to look for the dwarfs hiding in their mushroom houses before venturing to the playground. If you’re visiting during the French school holidays, check the website for kids activities.

Check the Château du Rivau website for up to date opening time and entry prices. 

Where we stayed

A great budget choice for families is Camping Château des Marais, Muides-sur-Loire. We stayed with Canvas Holidays in one of their pre-erected Maxi-tents, which has beds, cooking facilities and dining area (a bit like glamping). The campsite itself is set in the grounds of an old manor house and has a fantastic swimming pool complex with slides galore! There are also playgrounds, an onsite shop and restaurant, as well as kids clubs. What we liked about this campsite, is that it’s not too big, although expect to stay up late as the whole site is lively with families playing until 11pm (but that is pretty standard across France).

How to get there

For us, the easiest way to get to the Loire is to take the ferry from the South of England and drive through Northern France. The Loire is only 4.5 hours from the Calais and 3.5 hours from Le Havre. Alternatively you can fly in to Tours Airport, or even Paris (which is just 2 hours away). We strongly recommend visiting by car as it’s the easiest way to get around (this may mean hiring at the airport and you will need to consider car seats). Otherwise, bikes are a fantastic way to get around as the area is very flat.

The Loire Valley makes for a lovely week-long break. Check out this post for other week-long holiday ideas in Europe. Or if you’re heading to Paris, make sure you check out Chateau de Versailles and what there is to do there with kids.

 

Disclaimer: TraveLynn Family entirely funded this trip and all words and opinions are my own. 

 

Loire with kids

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Where would we be without our trusted Lonely Planet?

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Places to visit in Europe in Summer to avoid the crowds
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A winter weekend in Ghent
Best family eco resorts and accommodations in Europe

 

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