Destination Dupes or Hidden Gems in the South of France for Your Next Family Adventure off the Beaten Track?

Jan 2, 2024

Unveiling Occitania and France’s Best-Kept Secret Destinations 

Destination dupes have become a holiday trend in recent years. Indeed, according to Expedia’s analysis of holiday searches, interest in dupe destinations doubled between August 2022 and August 2023. It’s president, Jon Giselman, told CNBC that in 2024 the trending tactic for holidaymakers will be ‘hidden-gem destinations over tried-and-true tourist hotspots’.

What exactly is a destination dupe? Should you choose one for your next holiday? Which of southern France’s hidden gems could be the ideal destination for your next family adventure?

In A Nutshell

In this article, we explore the rising trend that is ‘destination dupes’ – less-known but equally enchanting travel spots that offer a unique and often more sustainable tourism experience. Focusing on the Occitanie region in Southern France, we introduce you to various hidden gems like Saint-Guilhem-le-Désert and the Rocamadour Cheese Caves, perfect for family adventures off the beaten track.

We also highlight how Country Kids Resort in Occitanie serves as an ideal base, eliminating common drawbacks of lesser-known destinations by offering luxurious amenities, easy accessibility, quality experiences, and peace of mind, making it a part of an unforgettable journey through Southern France.

Diving Into the World of Destination Dupes

Imagine you’ve been dreaming about lounging on the sun-soaked beaches of the Maldives, but then you check the prices and… ouch, right? You might then consider a destination dupe – a hidden ‘twin’ that is less crowded, often more affordable, and waiting to be discovered by intrepid travellers like you.

You get to experience the same vibes – be it beachy, historic, adventurous, or luxurious – without draining your wallet or battling elbow-to-elbow with other tourists. You won’t come back with the same old postcard pictures that have been snapped a million times before, either.

But hold your horses! Before booking a destination dupe to replace your dream destination, you need to be certain it’s going to give you the holiday you want. When all is said and done, Alton Towers is no replacement for Disneyland, is it?

Pros and Cons of Destination Dupes

If you’re considering an alternative, off-the-beaten-track destination to your ideal family holiday destination, you’ll need to assess your preferences and priorities. This list of pros and cons of destination dupes will help you decide:

Pros of Destination Dupes

  • Cost effectiveness

Alternative locations are often less expensive than their more renowned counterparts. You could get similar experiences at a lower cost.

  • Avoid the crowds

Dupes are typically less crowded, meaning you could benefit from a more relaxed and enjoyable experience.

  • Unique experiences

Alternatives to the common holiday destinations offer unique local experiences that you might not discover otherwise.

  • Promoting sustainable tourism

When you visit less popular destinations, you actively help to spread the benefit of the ‘tourist dollar’. This helps smaller local economies to grow, while you get to contribute to more sustainable tourism practices.

  • Environmentally Friendly

Fewer tourists mean reduced environmental impact in these areas.

  • You get a more authentic cultural experience

Places that haven’t yet been commercialised have yet been ‘spoiled’, and you benefit from genuine cultural experiences.

  • Discovering hidden gems

Exploring less-known places can lead to the discovery of hidden gems and unique attractions.

Cons of Destination Dupes

  • Limited Amenities

Dupe destinations might lack the amenities and facilities that are available in more established tourist spots.

  • Accessibility Issues

Some alternative destinations may be harder to reach, lacking convenient transportation or infrastructure.

  • Less Information Available

There might be less information available about these places, making it harder for you to plan your trip.

  • Quality of Experience

The overall quality of experience, including food, accommodation, and activities, might not match that of more established destinations.

5 Hidden Gems in Occitanie

For ‘destination dupes’, you might also read ‘hidden gems’. For this is, in many ways, what they are: locations that provide exceptional experiences away from the well-trodden tourist path. Deep in the south of France, the Occitanie region has some sparkling jewels waiting to be uncovered. Here’s a selection of the best:

  1. Saint-Guilhem-le-Désert

This enchanting medieval village, nestled in the scenic Hérault Gorges, is a true hidden treasure. With its narrow streets, ancient abbey, and tranquil ambiance, it’s perfect for a peaceful getaway. You would be forgiven for believing you are in Girona, one of the most historic and best-loved medieval cities in Spain.

2.     The Grotte du Mas d’Azil

Taking you even further back in time, the Grotte du Mas d’Azil is not just a cave but a prehistoric and geological marvel. A huge, cavernous expanse, approximately 500 meters long, you can walk through its large tunnel and explore the museum that recounts the history of human and geological evolution. It’s like a miniature cross between the Mammoth Cave in America and Lamprechtsofen in Austria.

3.     Rocamadour Cheese Caves

Here’s a unique experience, the caves where the famous Rocamadour cheese is aged. It’s a delight for foodies wanting to explore regional gastronomy.

4.     Peyrepertuse Castle

This stunning hilltop fortress offers incredible views and a fascinating history. It’s less crowded than other famous castles in the region but equally captivating. It may not be intact like Edinburgh Castle, but it has remarkable resemblances – and you could find yourself with the whole castle to yourself.

5.     Marquixanes

Forget the Rockies! Welcome to Marquixanes, an exceptional destination for thrill seekers and adventurers. From fishing to white-water rafting, kayaking, canyoning, hydro speed tubing, climbing, and abseiling, if you’re an adrenaline junkie you’ll love everything this village and its immediate surrounds offer.

Explore the Hidden Gem that is Country Kids

Nestled in the lush, vibrant heart of Occitanie, you’ll find Country Kids. A haven for families and travellers seeking the quintessential French countryside experience, Country Kids isn’t just a place to stay; it’s a gateway to a world of enchantment and ease. It’s within driving distance from all the hidden gems we’ve mentioned above – and perfectly located for you to explore the region at your leisure.

Here’s the best part: Country Kids Resort brilliantly eliminates all the cons typically associated with destination dupes:

  • Worried about limited amenities? Not here. The resort is equipped with everything you need for a luxurious, comfortable stay.
  • Concerned about accessibility? Though Country Kids is ‘in the sticks’ it is easily reachable, ensuring your journey is hassle-free.
  • Often, lesser-known destinations lack comprehensive information, but at Country Kids, you’re provided with all the insights and tips to explore the region like a local. We’ll take care of all your holiday planning for you, too, so you can focus on your family holiday.
  • And let’s talk about quality. At Country Kids, every aspect of your stay is curated to offer the highest standard of experience, from incredible accommodation to gourmet dining options.
  • Safety and security are paramount, ensuring peace of mind throughout your stay. Plus, unlike some off-the-beaten-path locations, you won’t face any issues with over-tourism here. The resort maintains a serene, exclusive atmosphere that allows you to truly unwind and connect with your surroundings, your family, and your fellow guests.

Country Kids Resort isn’t just a place to stay; it’s a part of your journey through Occitanie. It’s where luxury meets adventure, where every day brings a new possibility to explore the unexplored, with incredible family activities available onsite and offsite, and where the charm and beauty of Southern France are right at your fingertips.

Pack your bags and get ready to explore one of the destination dupes that is Country Kids – your perfect base for an unforgettable Occitanie adventure!

Contact Syl or Laure for more information about your next family adventure at Country Kids.

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