Usually associated with food, fashion, wine and all things art de vivre, France is also a happy hunting ground to explore with your next of kin. Its family centric plethora of options will meet and surpass your expectations! Here are some absolute must dos that will tick all the boxes for an idyllic family vacay.
Top 5 Essential Experiences:
France is a treasure trove of the great outdoors that include some of the most stupefying alpine landscapes, verdant vineyards, most beautiful villages and its coveted coast line. Get adventurous and choose from:
Rafting – At the foothills of the Mont-Blanc the Arve river in Chamonix, the Gorges du Verdon along the Mediterranean coast and the Gorges de l’Aude in the French Pyrénées which are hotspots for whitewater rafting en famille.
Surfing –The Nouvelle Aquitaine region with its surrounding Atlantic Ocean combined with the surf washed beaches of Biarritz are a surfer’s paradise.
Accrobranche – Incidentally, a French savoir faire! The Ile-de-France region alone offers a slew of tree climbing adventures in its dense forests!
Skiing- For amateurs and experts alike, the Trois Vallées is the most renowned skiing domain including the uber chic Courchevel, chalet country Méribel and the versatile ski resort of Val Thorens! Non-skiers could explore the winter landscape with huskies or experiment with snowshoeing!
You can even take your kids skiing in European summers in Les Deux Alpes open through July! The Alps also offer hiking and trekking trails for summertime family bonding.
Innovators par nature, it was the Montgolfière brothers who engineered the first untethered manned flight in 1783 which led to the hot-air balloon! Choose from landing in the middle of a vineyard or a château to make this truly “Made in France” experience memorable! My vote is for Castle Country Loire Valley – unparalleled for hot air balloon joyrides!
Helicopter rides – Whether you choose to fly over captivating Paris, the azure beaches of the French Riviera, get a hawk’s eye view of the Dunes de Pilat, soar above the sun kissed lavender fields of Provence or get up close and personal with the majestic Mont Blanc, soak in panoramic views of versatile France.
IFLY – Continuing on our flight path, another experience is the iFLY Vill’up - the world’s most beautiful indoor Skydiving experience. 14-m high, this glazed tunnel gives you a first-hand experience of skydiving.
Another Made in France experience is the Airbus factory visit in Toulouse and the Aéroscopia aeronautics museum that houses an exhibit of iconic aircraft from every era including the legendary Concorde.
As parents, we are always looking to “educate” our children while keeping them “engaged”! And France puts forth a repertoire replete with life skills and indulgences!
Always dreamt of your child being a prodigal chef? Le Cordon Bleu offers hand-crafted courses for “Les Petits Cordon Bleu” that teaches them French specialties such as galettes, crêpes and more!
Art– Art lives on in the land of Monet, Picasso and Renoir and no matter where you are in France, you will find an atelier that will inspire a “starry night” on your child’s creative canvas!
One of the finest living heritages of France is of course its language and where
better than France to pursue that passion!
Le Cordon Bleu Paris Atelier © Le Cordon Bleu Paris
The country perfectly preserves the past and embraces the contemporary by bringing to life iconic castles through histopads that gives the curious young globetrotter an immersive face off with France’s rich and historic past!
Include a visit to the Cité des Sciences at Parc de la Villette in Paris, the largest science museum in Europe that includes a planetarium, submarine and dedicated areas for children’s interests.
Cité de la Gastronomie ©Thierry Fournier
Theme Park– The stylish French capital is a hot spot for unlimited family entertainment. Topping the list is of course Disneyland Paris, which has the whole family enthralled with its two parks, over 50 attractions, shows and parades!
Those familiar with the Gauls will enjoy a local experience at the Parc Astérix with its astounding 42 attractions!
Ocean-lovers can head to Nausicaa in Northern France, which is one of the largest aquariums in the world and certainly in Europe!
Down South, head to Marineland in Antibes for a rendezvous with marine life.
Thrill seekers will not run out of inspirations! Further south in the Auvergne Rhône Alpes region, Vulcania the “European Park of Volcanism” awaits with eruptive explorations for you to embark on!
While the list is endless, I hope that this “avant gout” has built an appetite for a feast of family expeditions to France in the future!
Disneyland Paris ©Disney