The South of France is a glorious region no matter what kind of holiday you’re after. It’s got the sunny and welcoming Mediterranean climate, some world-class gastronomy and wines (this is France, after all), glitz, glamour and beaches that rival the very best in the Caribbean. Which might make you think the Côte d’Azur is more the kind of place for a grown-up break – and sure, if you’re after romance and a spot of wining and dining there’s few better places to choose. But that’s also overlooking the fact that there’s absolutes tons of opportunities that make it a great destination for a brilliant and memorable family holiday.
To start, there’s the beaches. Everybody loves a day by the seaside, and with incomparable stretches of golden sands like the ones you’ll find at Nice and Villefranche-sur-Mer there’ll be ample time for parents to relax and soak up some rays while the kids amuse themselves with paddling and sandcastles, and everybody’s sure to enjoy the excitement of possibly seeing an A-lister or two if you pay a visit to St Tropez.
Head to the other side of the country and older kids can try their hands at surfing at Biarritz (younger ones might enjoy trying body-boarding too!) and it’s also well worth heading slightly north and climbing the Dune du Pilat near Arcachon Bay. Make sure you take a picnic and you’ll be rewarded with some stunning views of the coast from the top!
But it needn’t all be sand and the smell of the sea. If you’re looking for more exploration, adventure and (don’t tell the kids) even something a little educational, the South of France has plenty to offer too. Why not rent a canoe (it can cost as little as €10 per hour) and head up the Herault river, which has cut a dramatic swathe through the landscape to produce some unforgettable scenery to paddle through.
Alternatively, you could go high-altitude at Accrobranche, found not far from Montagnac. It’s a treetop adventure playground with abseiling, rope bridges and a host of other activities in the middle of a beautiful forest, though it might be a bit of a struggle if you haven’t got a head for heights! Taking the excitement a little closer to ground level, Monpellier Zoo is a great day out (and better yet, free to enter) while the South of France is also home to some of the world’s best Roman ruins – the Site Archeologique de Glanum just south of Avignon is particularly impressive, and is sure to fire up the imagination of the little ones!
And of course, you need a base of operations to head back to after a busy day’s adventure, and if you’re taking the family then a villa is probably your best bet. There’s a host of absolutely amazing villas in the South of France, and their home-from-home feel, handy amenities and surprisingly low cost make them a far better choice than a hotel or bed and breakfast. Better yet, the majority of villas come with pools and expansive outdoor spaces, so if you feel like taking a day out from all that adventuring you’ve got the perfect place to kick back and relax!
It may also be worth looking up to see how much to charter a private jet for your family holiday: it could surprise you and not be as expensive as you imagine. And remember that oftentimes, the actual trip is just as important as the destination and can make or break your experience.
All images in this post are property of Oliver’s Travels