Tag Archives: Visiting France with Children

Chamonix, Annecy, and the Alps, Episode 121

Chamonix, Annecy, and the Alps Trip Report with Katie and Nathan

Snowy weather in June at the Aiguile du Midi
Snowy weather in June at the Aiguile du Midi.

In the second installment of my conversation with Katie and Nathan, they tell us about their visit to Chamonix, Annecy, Alps  and also their excursions to the Aiguille du Midi and the Mer de Glace.  Katie and Nathan are from Durham, North Carolina. She’s 26 and a teacher and he’s 29 and a mechanical engineer. They visited France in June 2016.

This is the 2nd part of a 3-part series with Katie and Nathan:

  1. Ep. 120 was on Colmar and Alsace.
  2. Epi. 121 this week is on Chamonix, Annecy, and the Alps.
  3. Ep.  122 next week is going to be on Verdon Gorge, Provence, and Carcassonne.

Hotels Recommended in this Episode: Hôtel Vert in Chamonix, Hôtel du Château in Annecy

Visiting Paris? Find the Best Deals & Reviews at TripAdvisor.

Places Mentioned in this Episode: Kandersteg Alpine Slide, Chamonix, Aiguille du Midi, Mer de Glace, Annecy.

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Trip Report Loire Valley and Dordogne, Episode 82

Loire Valley and DordogneOn today’s episode Matt from Boston tells us how to have a great vacation in France with young children, specifically in the Loire Valley and Dordogne. Matt tells us how he and his wife and daughters spent three and a half weeks touring around France and what their favorite places were. Today we concentrate on their visit of the Loire Valley and the Dordogne, and as it turns out Dordogne WAS one of their favorites!

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Some of the Topics Discussed on the Show

  • Why did they choose France? Why did they choose late spring?
  • Can they speak French? Did that become a problem? How much French do you really need to be comfortable getting around in France?
  • How did they deal with their daughter’s severe food allergy while in France?
  • French Tip of the Week: How do you say “my daughter is allergic to eggs” in French? “Ma fille est allergique aux oeufs”. Just in case, do what Matt did, print out a card in French that you can show to waiters.
  • How did they like the food in France?
  • What is it like driving in France? See Episode 16 for more on that.
  • Why did they skip Paris?
  • What is it like landing in France in the middle of a huge taxi strike?

A Few Navigation Time Stamps

18:00 Matt talks about driving in France, that it was great and that episode 16 on that subject helped him greatly. He found that French people pretty much don’t speed, don’t pass on the right, don’t honk at you when they disagree with your driving choices, he even loved  the roundabouts. Bring a stand-alone GPS such as a Tom-Tom that rely on GPS signal alone and not maps tied to your smart-phone.

24:45 Matt mentions how it’s lovely that there are so many picnic tables in France. You can bring your own food, it’s encouraged!

29:00 What it is like shopping at French grocery stores? Going to the butcher’s and the open-air market. Great bread everywhere, great fruit and vegetables. Annie explains briefly how food distribution works in France.

35:00 Why some freeways are toll roads in France and others are not.

37:00 How you can deal with hot weather in France if your rental home does not have air-conditioning: open everything up at night and close everything, especially shutters, all day. Go swimming. Don’t cook inside, use the barbecue outside!

Places Mentioned on the Show

Château de Chenonceau, Château du Clos Lucé (Leonardo DaVinci), Beynac, Vitrac, Lascaux, Fond de Gaume, La Roque Saint-Christophe, le Gouffre de Padirac, la Fôret des Singes, Castlenaud-la-Chapelle.

Loire Valley and Dordogne
Chenonceau, photo Andrea Schaffer

Matt’s Detailed Itinerary

Wednesday June 24
• Flew from Boston to Paris via Iceland

Thursday June 25
• Arrived at Charles de Gaulle airport during taxi strike, train terminal very busy, missed our TGV reservations
• TGV to Tours in afternoon, picked up rental car in Tours, drove to B&B in La Croix-en-Touraine
• Picnic dinner from food obtained in Blere
• Kids played on the swing set at the B&B

Friday June 26
• Toured the Chateau du Chenonceau in the morning*
• Toured the Chateau du Clos Luce in the afternoon
• Dinner of pasta with sausages from the butcher in Blere

Saturday June 27
• Drove from La Croix-en-Touraine to Beynac (400 km)
• Settled into our gite
• Dinner of roast chicken from butcher in Beynac with potatoes and veggies

Sunday June 28
• Market day in Saint-Cyprien, kids played at the playground in the town center
• Swimming in the Dordogne River at the beach in Vitrac in the afternoon
• Dinner of Toulouse sausage from the butcher and market veggies

Monday June 29
• Toured Grotte de Lascaux II in the morning*
• Toured La Roque Saint-Christopher after lunch
• Toured the Elevage du Bouyssou goose and duck farm in the early evening*
• Dinner of eggs with lardons over greens

Tuesday June 30 (Very Hot Day!)
• Toured the Gouffre de Padirac in the morning*
• Toured La Foret des Singes after lunch*
• Dinner of pork ribs from the Beynac butcher and veggies grilled on the barbeque*

Wednesday July 1 (Very Hot Day!)
• Toured Castlenaud-la-Chapelle in the morning*
• Swimming in the Dordogne River at the beach in Vitrac in the afternoon
• Dinner of pork ribs and Toulouse sausages from the Beynac butcher and veggies grilled on the barbecue

Thursday July 2
• Market day in Domme, toured Domme in the morning
• Canoed the Dordogne River between Vitrac and Beynac after lunch*
• Toured La Roque-Gageac during canoe ride
• Dinner of duck confit from Beynac butcher, eggs, and greens

Friday July 3 (Very Hot Day!)
• Toured Chateau de Beynac in the morning
• Swimming in the Dordogne River at the beach in Vitrac in the afternoon
• Dinner of pork ribs and sausages from the Beynac butcher and veggies grilled on the barbecue

Saturday July 4 (Happy Independence Day!)
• Drove from Beynac to Tarascon (500 km)
• Saw the Canal du Midi at the rest stop along the way
• Settled in to our gite
• Swam in the pool

Loire Valley and Dordogne
Matt and daughter at Clos Lucé



Visiting France with Children Episode 49

Visiting France with Children
Photo Chris Goldberg

Eleven Tips for Visiting France with Children

Today Annie shares with you 11 tips for visiting France with children. Those tips are not place specific but can come in handy anywhere you are. And it’s a New Year, best wishes to all our listeners!
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Carcassonne France, Episode 23

Carcassonne France, Medieval Jewel in the Southwest of France

Carcassonne France

How much do you know about Carcassonne? Are you thinking about going to see it for yourself? I have to encourage that because what a place and what a story!

But be warned: it’s a touristy place. If you go without any preparation, you might be there with bus-loads of other visitors. Listen to this episode where we share all the secrets to a great visit to Carcassonne.

Let’s start with this fact: Carcassonne France is the largest intact medieval walled city in all of Western Europe. It is like walking into a medieval dream. And because it is so stunning visually, it attracts a lot of visitors.

Are terrible crowds in Carcassonne a fatality? No. Choose your day and if you can’t choose the day, at least choose your time. The crowds are only there for a few hours a day.

And, whatever you do, listen to the story of the Cathars and how Raymond Roger Trencavel became a local hero fighting a cruel northerner named Simon de Montfort.The story will make the city come to life for you!

In this episode we also explain how the Walled City fell into disrepair and would have been dismantled were it not for the efforts of Prosper Mérimée and Viollet-le-Duc.

Are you ready for a world-famous local specialty? How about some local wines? It is all in this episode on Carcassonne France.

And if you’re in France with children, we can guarantee that it will awake their imagination and they will want to play knight and damsel. Nothing says that adults can’t do the same.

Oh, and I almost forgot to mention: the walled city of Carcassonne is a UNESCO world heritage site, because there are few places in the world where old stones and history collide so beautifully.

Would you like to tour France with Annie and Elyse? Visit Addicted to France to choose an upcoming tour.

Episode Highlights

  • What is Carcassonne?
  • How big is it?
  • Where Is Carcassonne?
  • Historical Background
  • Roman Times
  • Carcassonne France today, the climate and industry of the modern city
  • Hôtel de la Cité in Carcassonne
  • The Cathars
  • The Count of Toulouse
  • The Cathar Religion Takes Root in Occitania
  • What Is the Cathar Religion?
    • The Cathar Consolamentum
    • Aristocratic Women and the Cathar Movement
    • Cathar Geographical Expansion
    • Simon de Montfort, the Vilain
    • The Crussade Against the Cathars
    • No Water within the Walls
    • Trencavel, the Hero
  • Carcassonne After the Cathars
  • Carcassonne Gets a Second Set of Ramparts
  • The “Lice” in Carcassonne (FYI, nothing to do with head lice!)
  • Carcassonne Becomes Part of the Kingdom of France
  • Carcassonne the Impregnable City
  • The new city of Carcassonne
  • The Walled City Falls to Ruins
  • Prosper Mérimée and Viollet-le-Duc Save Carcassonne
  • 1850 Renovations of Carcassonne
  • Back to the Hotel de la Cité
  • Tips on the Best Way to Visit the Cité de Carcassonne
  • Entrance to the Medieval City of Carcassonne Is Free
  • The Shops in Carcassonne
  • The Secret of the Wall
  • Conclusion

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Carcassonne France