Toddler Holiday isn’t just about providing a longer than average list of baby equipment. From the positioning of the car park to the fixtures and fittings, our decision-making is based first and foremost on the needs of young families. Our mission is to provide much more than general holiday accommodation with a few ‘child-friendly’ add-ons – we aim service the very particular requirements of families with children under 5 years old. Whilst older siblings are more than welcome our focus is very much on meeting the needs of families during those challenging first years when just the thought of packing can be enough to put you off ever leaving the house.
How do we operate?
Toddler Holiday is a small group of property owners in Normandy and the Charente Maritime coordinated by Deirdre MacLean, who took over the running of the company from the founder, Sarah Caille, in 2017. We are not an advertising portal listing unknown properties over which we have no control or input. Drawing on over ten years of hands-on experience, we have established a set of core requirements that all Toddler Holiday properties meet. Deirdre works very closely with the owners to ensure that these criteria are met whilst at the same time embracing the individual style and strengths of a place and its owners to create a unique holiday experience.
Meet the Owners:
Each property is individually run and owned and all the owners share the common goal of making your stay as easy and enjoyable as possible. They are available to offer help and advice from booking restaurants and taxis, to regular weather updates, top tourist tips and translation. Your holiday time is precious and we are totally committed to helping you make the most of it.
Founder Toddler Holiday
The Anglo-French Caille family moved to Normandy from London in August 2002. As owner of La Cour aux Bourgeois Sarah created the original Toddler Holiday property and spent ten years welcoming hundreds of families to her gîtes.
In July 2012 the Caille family began a new adventure in Montreal, Canada, and for the next 4 years Sarah continued marketing and promoting Toddler Holiday, which was a great reason to pop over to Normandy a couple of times a year!
In 2017, Sarah handed the Toddler Holiday reins over to Deirdre MacLean, who has lived in Normandy since 2003, and has been working with Toddler Holiday for over 10 years!
Deirdre loves helping our clients chose the best destination for their family holiday, and advising on the many ‘must sees’ in our wonderful region. When she is not busy co-ordinatingToddler Holiday, running her own gîtes, and taking care of her menagerie of animals, she still manages to find time to work one of Normandy’s major visitor destinations, the Haras national du Pin.
Deidre MacLean and Pete Harris
Owners of 4 rue de la Dive
After falling in love with this beautiful property, Deirdre and hubby Pete upped sticks from London and set about the renovation their own house and the creation of two gites. Following her previous incarnation as a set designer Deirdre turned her skills to interior design and she has revelled in bringing the stunning buildings and grounds back to life. Living next door, they are on hand to offer friendly help, advice or sometimes just a glass of wine, to guests.
Laure Rival and Mathieu Boutet
Owners of La Ferme de Longues
Matthieu and Laure are parents to four children – Raphael, Soan, Axel and Lyna. Fed up with the pressures of busy careers and lack of quality time spent with their family they decided to make a radical change. As they are both from Normandy and love the region, the local produce, and the sense of history, it was logical that they stayed in the area. In 2016, on visiting La Ferme de Longues, Laure and Mathieu fell head over heels in love with the property and took it over from previous owners, Nelly and Jacques Letellier.
Laure, Mathieu and family adore their new life and have already refurbished all 3 gites! They have exciting plans to start cultivating organic produce on their land, and guests can enjoy fresh eggs from the resident hens.
Mark and Noëlle Hofman
Owners of Domaine de la Tour
The Franco-Dutch Hofman family fell in love with the tranquil setting and former farm buildings of Domaine de la Tour in 2004 and following extensive renovations opened their doors to the public on 1st of April, 2005. A former entrepreneur in the Netherlands, Mark now works full time at Domaine de la Tour whilst Noëlle divides her time between Domaine de la Tour and her work as a communications trainer. They have son and twin daughters who take their jobs over the years as chief testers and advisors for all play equipment very seriously indeed.
Tim and Vanessa Westacott
Owners of Les Gîtes du Vigneron
Tim and Vanessa Westacott took the plunge and bought their gorgeous propertyin the sunny CharenteMaritime in 2013. Tim moved out to France in 2014, a whole year before Vanessa, to start the renovations – and to start to learn French! Vanessa joined him in 2015, and they now run two business, Les Gîtes du Vigneron and Papillon école de langue.
Tim and Vanessa started welcoming families, with children of all ages, to their little corner of paradise in 2015
Vanessa is a fully qualified French teacher. She taught French to A level for over 30 years, so guests have the opportunity to learn French (or brush up their language skills!) in her on-site classroom.
Tim and Vanessa are happy to offer friendly advice on a host of subjects, from where to find the best beaches to how to find the best tourist attractions, and can organise art classes, cycle hire, tennis, wine and cognac tastings, and much, much more! They really are the perfect holiday hosts.