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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- One way to entertain kids is to stay at hotels with a swimming pool, but they’re not necessarily open in June, ask the hotel. July is a safer bet, although if it’s like this year, July had cool rainy weather all over France, so it’s hard to be sure.
- Your basic French hotel does not offer junior suites, you really need to pick your hotels in advance and read up on Trip Advisor for recommendations on hotels that are great for kids. Personally I prefer chain hotels because I can predict what I’m getting.
- Kids get cranky? Give them a snack. France has the best candy in the universe and a cookie/chocolate aisle to die for.
- Don’t be in a hurry. If she wants to climb on that bench for 15 minutes, let her! There are small playgrounds all over. Ask for “Aire de jeux” or “Parc pour enfants”.
- When you get to France, go to a book store or large supermarket and find French coloring books or small toys. It’ll be new and interesting.
- With kids it may be better to sleep in the same hotel for a few nights rather than change hotels daily.
- Involve your kids in planning the trip! Use Google images to see any place that looks interesting, let them tell you what they think.
- If you spend a lot of time in the car, you will see a lot of road signs. Teach them to recognize French road signs and how they’re different from what you see in America. Here are great coloring pages that are designed to teach kids about French road signs: Danger Signs, Forbidden Signs, Information Signs, Intersection Signs.
- Kids usually love anything that have to do with animals (fermes pédagogiques) or boats (there are lots of boating opportunities in the Dordogne for example), or bikes (rent bikes and use protected bike paths).
- Pick the right museum! For instance the Haribot museum in Uzès in the Gard (Provence) is fantastic. The chocolate museum in Biarritz is great, you have doll museums, museum of magic, museums of strange objects. I’ll put a list on joinusinfrance.com.
- There are lots of castles you can visit in France, not all of them make the effort to appeal to kids. Familiscope.fr will give you a list of those that kids love.
Signs that indicate a rest area. This one means you’ll find gas, coffee and light snacks (no sit-down restaurant), there’s a nice view and there are picnic tables available. It doesn’t say there are bathrooms, but anywhere they sell food they have to have bathrooms. The restaurant sign shows a fork and a spoon.