Normandy is a region which offers so much to visitors, young and old alike. Here is a list (in no particular order) of some of our guests’ favourites, all situated within easy distance of all properties:
The Chateau de Vendeuvre
A wonderful chateau to visit, with a fabulous garden. You can skip the interior (and its precious antiques!) and head straight for the magic water garden. Waterfalls, jets and fountains are all triggered as you walk by – the children just love it and it is very cooling option on a hot day.
William the Conqueror’s Castle Falaise
The birthplace of William the Conqueror, and a dream outing for all budding Knights and Princesses. No precious antiques so kids are completely free to let their imaginations run wild. Visitors can borrow ipads, which help reconstruct various rooms and there is a great collection of Knight-related accoutrements in the gift shop.
A back to basics theme park that offers lots of rides for children under 5, but with plenty of choice for older kids too. Conveniently situated just off the Caen ring road, this is a theme park experience at a fraction of the cost of the larger, more commercial sites.
A day at the beach
The Normandy coast is extensive and varied including miles and miles of golden sand. The classic resorts of Deauville, Trouville and Cabourg have been attracting visitors for well over a hundred years and still pull in the crowds today. One of our favourites is the Riva Bella beach just beside the ferry terminal at Ouistreham – acres of sand with ice cream, buckets & spades, pony rides and free easy parking on hand.
A visit to a ‘Vide Grenier’ (Car Boot Sale)
Everyone loves a bargain, and the Vide Greniers, held everywhere in Normandy, are ideal hunting grounds! They are usually held on Sundays, and every village and town has a specific date throughout the season for their sale. It is a great way to explore the area, and a chance to visit small out of the way villages that visitors seldom see. All types of goods are sold – watch out for nice examples of local pottery, old cider bottles, and of course, toys!
A visit to a French Market
There are markets on every day, usually in the morning, crammed full of really fresh local produce – vegetables, salads, fruits – and of course – cheese! Everyone can have fun practising their French, and – be warned! – it is virtually impossible to come away empty handed.
A family picnic
A visit to one of the many markets will furnish you with all the ingredients for a truly scrumptious picnic. The only dilemma is – where to eat your moveable feast! Chateau gardens, the beach, by the side of a shady footpath, in the forest – or simply stay home, and enjoy a picnic on the terrace of your gite!
Les Jeudis du Pin
Normandy is very well known for horses, and the largest National Stud, the Haras du Pin, set up by Louis 14th in 1665, is very close by. Every Thursday afternoon, the horses are displayed by their grooms in the historic courtyard – the quality of the show is simply stunning!
Messing about in the water
All of our properties are situated close to fabulous aquatic centres, which have great facilities for toddlers. The entry fees are much more affordable than in the UK, and there guests have often commented how less busy they are too.
The Miniature Train Museum in Clécy
A must for all Thomas fans. An amazing model train set handed down from a father to son and now on permanent display. There is also a miniature train that offers rides around the grounds. Clécy is in the beautiful Suisse Normande, which is a mecca for all outdoor pursuits. If abseiling or hand-gliding aren’t your thing then, then why not just enjoy a bite to eat on the pontoons on the river and watch the world float by.
Mont St Michel
A great destination for a day trip. The Mont St Michel has been a place of pilgrimage for over 1000 years – there are ancient footpaths all over France (and Europe) which lead here. The monument is beautiful, and can be seen for miles around – make sure you choose a clear day for your visit! Children will love climbing the twisting mediaeval streets to the Abbey at the summit.