Southern France is made for family holidays. We’re located in Languedoc-Roussillon, a region with more than 740,000 acres of wine. Where there is wine, there are van loads of families with parents, whining, “If only we had a babysitter!” Luckily for you, Country Kids has award-winning creche and childcare programmes that provide daytime activities for your kids. Plus an in-apartment babysitter two nights per week, giving you ample time to sample an acre or two of grapes from some of the region’s finest vineyards. Plus time to rest up the next day.
While the Hérault department is known for old stone buildings, lively markets, Mediterranean beaches and caves of Clamouse and Demoiselles, you may simply prefer to explore Stuart’s fully-stocked wine cave in the shop, which has everything you need for a romantic evening on your private patio after the kids go off to a good night’s sleep.
Whether you’re into caves or candlelight dinners, we make your holiday in France. When you need alone time, we take care of your kids. When your family wants to go hiking, we’ll take care of you in the spa the next morning.
Explore stone villages, historic sites and natural beauty nearby. Contact us to plan your family holiday in France.
Lac de Salagou
This large lake with its own beaches is five minutes from Country Kids. It’s 7 km long and has a perimeter of 28 kms. The earth is a rich red (perfect clay soil for growing grapes). The hillsides are ruffled in texture. In summer the water temperature gets up to 28 degrees. It is a fantastic place to walk, cycle, swim, picnic and explore. Plus there are two water sports centres where some of our activities take place. We have spent many happy hours there with our four kids, climbing the rocks and swimming the inlets while soaking up the sun-drenched scenery.
Within a 45 minute drive are many quiet, somewhat hidden beaches, bustling port towns and lively seaside resorts, including Marseillan Plage, Grau-du-Roi, La Grande Motte and Carnon. During your stay, it’ll be easy to go to the beach for a day or even half a day. We have beach towels, deck chairs and a large beach umbrellas that you can take with you. You can do excursions by boat along the coast, as well. We can recommend the best beaches and restaurants, including oyster bars, for romantic excursions or whole-family outings.
Nearby Towns to Explore
Within a 20-30 minute drive there is antiquing in Pezenas. There is the historic walks and art galleries of Lodeve. There are quaint little cafés for in which to sit and watch the world go by in Clermont L’Herault. All these nearby towns have market days. Octon itself, our closest village with stone buildings and a lively culture, has two cafes, two restaurants and a small supermarket open every morning. During the summer, Octon has a night market once a week. It has a “Village D’Arts et Metiers” with must-see exhibitions.
Within an hour’s drive from the resort you’ll find typical family attractions, such as an aquarium, a Seaquarium, an insect Micropolis, an Aqualand, Velorail (a ride on an old train track through the countryside), a dinosaur park and indoor pools with slides. There is also Mine de Pioch Farrus, which is great fun, as helmets with lights on the front are obligatory for all visitors.
Vineyards and Local Produce
The Languedoc-Roussillon region boasts more than 740,000 acres of vineyards, so you’ll be spoilt for choice. We have our own wine cave at the farm and we hold regular wine tastings. There are also many local producers of cheese, oils, honeys, fruit and vegetables.
Grotte De Labeil
This grotto, complete with underground river, is a great adventure for all ages. There is a 45 minute guided walk through the caves where you will see a range of different types of stalagmites and stalactites. Roquefort cheeses and local wines used to be stored in the cave, which has a constant temperature that’s just right for this purpose. If you’re feeling adventurous, your family can take the “safari” option and go off through the caves with light helmets for an hour alone. We did the guided tour with our three year old twins and they loved it. This is very suitable for all ages.
Grotte de Clamouse
These beautiful caves are known for the huge range of crystallized rocks in them, a unique site in the mineral underground world. There is an underground river and a light and sound show. It is close to St Guilhem le Desert and could be combined with a trip there, but it isn’t recommended for small kids.
St Guilhem le Desert
Listed as one of the “Most Beautiful Villages” in France, this medieval village has a Roman abbey, remains of an 11th century cloister and within castle ruins remains of a 6th century church with tombs. Its quaint streets are filled with little shops and restaurants—a perfect place to wander about with or without the kids. This is a car-free village.
Priory of Grandmont
A remarkable 12th century building with architectural pureness that reflects the spirits of the Grandmont Order of Hermits. The chapel, cloister and monastery are completely preserved and it is set overlooking picturesque landscapes. There is a botanical path where you can walk and visit dolmens from 2000 B.C., as well as other ritual stone structures.
This ancient Templar village is a nationally protected site which dates back to the 12th century. It’s incredibly well preserved and walkable with its small alleyways, shops and restaurants. It can be combined with a visit to the Cirque de Navacelles. This is a car-free village.
Cirque de Moureze
Situated nearby a protected village dating from the middle ages this dolomitic rock formation has been impressively sculpted by elements from rock sediments, deposited by the sea more than 160 million years ago. There are many beautiful walks to explore this area, surrounded by spookily shaped rocks. It is a brilliant place to go with kids of all ages, as they can explore, climb and follow the coloured trail markers—ours love it there. No pushchairs.
There are great markets in the villages and towns around Octon, which itself has a night market throughout the summer. We’ll tell you where to go on a particular day and you’ll be able to sample fresh regional produce, arts and crafts. There is nothing quite like wondering around a French market. If you’re into French food, you’ll love to bring back some delicious cheeses, breads, sausage, fruits and vegetables for a meal.
Further afield, just over an hour’s drive towards the Cote D’Azur, which itself with Nice, Cannes and Antibes is only 4 hours away, you will find the Camargue, famous for its marshlands and wild horses, the subjects of many Claude Monet paintings. The town of Saintes Maries de la Mer, an old gypsy fishing village, is a delightful coastal stop over.
The Walled City of Carcassonne, a UNESCO World Heritage site, is situated on the bank of the river Aude. It is built over the ruins of a former Roman fortress and has 52 towers and two rings of town walls making a total of 3 km of battlements. It has plenty of shops and restaurants. It boasts an outstanding variety of architectural styles. You can visit the castle and take a city tour on a horse and cart. Beware of children though. The shops are full of swords, helmets and shields. You may very well be attacked by a young knight in training.
Canal and River Trips
The famous and beautiful Canal Du Midi runs through this area. The canal is lined with great plane trees, which is an integral part of its image. The canal links the Atlantic and the Mediterranean and follows a most attractive course through locks and basins, elegant brick bridges and reaches of water bordered with plane trees, cypresses and umbrella pines. There are riverboats, river cruises and houseboats for hire. It is also a very popular route for cyclists, as it is on the flat. It starts its course in Toulouse and ends at the Port of Sete, situated on the Mediterranean.
Cote D’Azur and Aix en Provence
A two and a half hour’s drive brings you to Aix-en-Provence and a further two hours brings you to Juan les Pins, Antibes, Nice and Cannes—all picturesque areas with lots to offer you.
Spain and Catalonia
The vibrant city of Barcelona and the Catalonia region of northern Spain awaits within a mornings’ drive or train trip. This area boasts beautiful scenery and quaint historic villages. This is the area where Salvador Dali lived, and his museum can be visited in Figueres, just across the France-Spain border. These visits could be made during your stay or tagged on before you arrive or after your departure. The budget airlines fly from many of these destinations so you could fly in to Montpellier or Nimes and depart from Barcelona or Girona.
There are many other remarkable sites in our area, for example, the Millau Viaduct by British architect Norman Foster.