Exploring, Learning, and Savouring: A Comprehensive Family Guide to Holidaying in Rural South France
Go to the South of France – holiday in paradise. Isn’t that what they say? With good reason, too.
Rolling hills, lush vineyards, meandering rivers, and golden beaches spread out under azure skies. Gourmet cuisine, medieval villages, artisan markets, and a unique culture beckon you to become immersed in a gentler way of life.
Here is where you’ll find a treasure trove of experiences to create lifelong memories. However, a memorable and stress-free trip doesn’t just happen. With a little forward-thinking, you’ll ensure that your family holiday in the South of France is stress free, and filled with everything you and your kids want it to be – exciting, educational, and relaxing.
Here are our top holiday planning tips to make your South of France holiday one you’ll want to repeat.
Language Prep for Families
Just a few key phrases could help you and your kids integrate like a local. It can be fun to learn a new language. Dive into an interactive app as a family, and learn how to order a coffee or a coke, ask for directions, and tell people your name.
A few short family learning sessions can help give you all confidence to speak the lingo before your departure, and can often prove to be bonding experiences, too.
The Family Culinary Checklist
The French are renowned for their culinary skills, but French food – and the French dining experience – is somewhat alien to ‘outsiders’. The art of dining in France is embedded in etiquette. Each meal can be like a ceremony.
You’ll also find that the French take their time eating. They don’t view it simply as a stop to refuel. It’s an opportunity to connect with friends and family, to relax in each other’s company, and to discuss important matters of the day.
Our tip here is to enjoy the process of ordering and consuming a meal. Take time to become versed in menu options, ensure you understand allergies and dietary restrictions, and open your mind to experiencing the multitude of gastronomic delights offered by Occitanie foods you will love.
Must-Do Family Experiences
In the heart of rural France, you and your kids will have the opportunity to participate in a kaleidoscope of family activities:
- Pony trekking, bike rides and kayaking beckon for those who desire adventure.
- Visit local villages, amazing restaurants, and eclectic markets.
- Spend time by a pool, enjoy a communal barbecue, or play Boules under the shade of a wooded canopy.
There is a plethora of opportunities for children and adults to enjoy new activities, learn new skills, and simply have fun. Here at Country Kids, for example, as well as all of the above, your children will get the opportunity to go camping and cook S’mores, have a relaxing family picnic in nature, spend an evening stargazing (you have to see our night sky to believe it), play football or frisbee with new friends, and more.
You’re never far from historical landmarks, either. And for the adults, how does a relaxing afternoon by the pool, sipping a cocktail, while your kids are off exploring or petting our farm animals sound?
Weather Watch for Young Adventurers
You just know that your kids will become Indiana Jones or Lara Croft when they’re in the wild. The last thing on their minds will be protection from the weather. Which is where your parental duties kick in – sunhats and sunscreen is the order of the day!
When you’re packing, make sure to include weather essentials – including a light rain-proof coat. When you don’t need to worry about the weather, you can focus on crafting memorable moments, every moment of every day.
Transport Tips for Families
Whether travelling by plane, train, or automobile, make sure to make your travel a part of your holiday, and an opportunity for learning. Should you choose a stroller, carrier, or wagon? How can you get your kids involved in route planning? At the airport, how can you make educating children fun and entertaining?
What games or entertainment should you bring with you? Those Kindles and iPads could be a godsend on a long journey, but you’ll find they quickly get put aside with so many screen-free activities available upon arrival.
Accommodation Advice for Families
One of your most important decisions will be your choice of accommodation. As a family, you’ll want space to roam. You’ll need areas for alone time and family interactions. Amenities like kitchens and laundry facilities are not only convenient, but they also enable you to pack less.
For accommodation ideas, check out these:
- The Farm House
- The Chestnut House
- The Old Dairy 1
- The Old Dairy 2
- The Old Dairy 3
- The Old Dairy 4
- The Old Dairy 5
To get the most suitable family accommodation, you’ll need to consider the needs of every family member and book early.
Budgeting Basics for Family Travel
Budgeting for holidays can be an arduous process. Just how much should you allow for activities, food, and drink? Getting your kids involved in this can help you lay the foundations for future financial savvy lives.
Of course, you could remove all budgeting stress by booking fully inclusive, though you’ll need to be sure what this means when you book. Here at Country Kids, our fully inclusive packages cover:
- Arrival food basket
- Two nights’ babysitting services
- Daily housekeeping
- All on-site facilities
- Bespoke family holiday planning service
- All meals
- All our shop items
- All drinks, including alcohol and our wine cellar
- Two off-site activities per family member
- One spa treatment per family member
- And much more
Health and Safety with Kids in Mind
From travel insurance to emergency contact numbers, having everything in place in case of an emergency will give you the peace of mind to make sure you enjoy your holiday in the South of France.
(Tip: Don’t forget your travel First Aid kit!)
Packing Essentials for Families
Travel toys, books, games, nappies, favourite soft toys, wet wipes, snacks, drinks… and with young children, it’s non-ending, isn’t it? You’ve filled two suitcases the size of small houses before you’ve even thought about the ‘non-essentials’ like clothes and toiletries!
Unless, of course, you stay as guests at Country Kids. Sure, you might need to bring a couple of travel toys to keep your kids amused on the journey; but other than that, we have everything you need on site – and all included in our ‘Absolutely Everything’s Included’ packages. You can travel light, knowing you haven’t forgotten a thing!
Local Etiquette and Customs for Families
We French have our own ways of doing things. Learning a few of them before you come away can help you and your children have a more enjoyable experience with the locals. For example, here are a few etiquette norms for dining:
- Never cut bread with a knife at the dinner table – always break it with your fingers.
- Don’t order a steak ‘well done’. You can ask for your steak ‘bien cuit’, but the request will not be received well! Medium rare is most common – ‘À point’.
- Keep your hands on the table!
- Put your bread on the left-hand side of your plate, never on it.
- Be polite, say “S’il vous plaît’ and ‘Mercie’ when being served.
Other customs that you may find a little different, and possibly a little embarrassing, include the kiss on each cheek when greeting someone and drinking tea from a bowl rather than a cup at breakfast. You’ll love the long lunches, though!
The Bottom Line
Your South of France holiday starts a long time before you arrive here. Learning key French phrases and customs will help get you in the mood to experience a different way of life. Being prepared for the weather and making a list of ‘must-do-experiences’ will enhance your enjoyment and ensure you return home with a suitcase of timeless memories.
In the weeks leading up to your holiday, take time to sit down as a family and consider your vacation priorities. You’ll then be fully prepared for a magical time away from home, with each day providing an opportunity to step into a beautiful tapestry of culture, adventure, and learning.
Want a little more help with your preparations? Don’t hesitate to contact Country Kids for the answers to all your questions.