Category Archives: About

5 Family Fun days in France

Something for everyone, from inflatable fun by the River Loire for younger children, swinging through the forest for all ages in Saumur to an amazing theme park with a trip through the ages for the whole family.

1.     Saumur Forest Adventures

A 5 hectare park where you can follow different games, climb from tree to tree, climb a rope ladder, swing on a pendulum to name just a few. Paintball and Laser games in the forest available too. The routes are graded according to age and there is a special area for the very young climbers.  Perfect for families for a whole day’s entertainment in their parkland.

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Saumur Forest Adventures

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Re-opens for 2017 on April 1st.

2.     Lulu Parc

Lulu Parc is by the River Loire and aimed at younger children, inflatables, bouncy castles, zip wires and rides. The rides and inflatables are graded by height of the children. Next to the park is a ‘ginguette’, the name for an open-air eating place by water, which usually has evening entertainment.

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Lulu Parc

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Quai de la Loire, 37210 Rochecorbon

3.     Lac Rille

The trains at Lac Rille delight young children and parents alike as they run along by the lake. The steam and diesel trains have been beautifully renovated by a team of volunteers. By the lake is also a collection of climbing frames and dens made from natural wood forms, including a chance to make music out of wood.  The café which forms part of the campsite is open to the public and serves excellent ice-cream as well as drinks and snacks.

The area is a stopping off point for migrating birds and on the far side of the lake is a marked nature walk, bird hide and information board.

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 A walk around Lac de Rillé

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4.     Puy de Fou

Something for all ages at Puy de Fou. It was voted the best theme park in the world, but ironically not as well known as some of the bigger names. A tremendous visit  which is bound to catch the imagination of the whole family. It is essential to book in advance. Each event is a huge extravaganza with special effects,  well researched historical content and a dash of artistic licence to complete the performance.

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Puy de Fou Spectacles

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5. Leonardo Da Vinci

Leonardo Da Vinci spent the last three years of his life at Clos Lucé, Amboise, which now houses models of many of his designs. In the grounds are working models of his designs displaying his amazing ingenuity.  It is well worth a visit and, being inter-active is great for children. A video of these amazing machines taken during one of our visits is available here

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Chateau de Clos Lucé

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Just 5 of family fun days out enjoyed by guests at www.frenchholiday.co.uk

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5 Family Friendly Restaurants

Children are welcome in French restaurants but not all children enjoy French food. Here are 5 restaurants which cater well for families with a mixture of French and other cuisines.

1    Crêperie Saint Pierre La Quichenotte

La Quichenotte is tucked away a short way down a passageway by the church in Place St. Pierre in Saumur. A cosy family run restaurant with lovely food (including galettes or a 3 course lunch ,’menu de jour’. It is excellent value. Welcoming staff and English spoken. Galettes, a savoury pancake with a choice of fillings, and crepes with chocolate sauce and ice-cream should keep any youngster happy. Recommended for a stress-free family meal with children or a great refuge after too much shopping!

2 Rue Haute Saint-Pierre, 49400 Saumur

2    Le Panorama

Le Panorama has a magnificent view of the Chateau of Saumur and the River Loire. There is  a large outdoor terrace and indoor seating. The view from the terrace is truly panoramic. It is a good place for either a drink (hot or cold) or a meal.  Friendly owners and a menu in French, delightfully translated into English too. The menu is comprehensive and serving times not restricted to French eating times.  Handy to know if you are with children.

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Le Panorama, Parking Du Château Rue Des Moulins, 49400 Saumur

3    Les Farmers

A very innovative place to eat, ingredients sourced locally as the name implies, and there is a bar.  Run by a  young and lively crew with various entertainment events throughout the season, with some new events planned for the 2017 season. The situation is great for families as it looks over the lake at Hommes. There are five lakes, fishing, swimming in one lake, picnic areas and woodland walks.

Les Farmers is a ‘ginguette’ which is a traditional French concept of somewhere to eat and enjoy music, often by a lake or river.

This short video gives a good idea of what it is all about!

Open seasonally, so check first on their Facebook page.

4    Caves des Marson

Something a bit different. Eat like a trogolodyte in a cave! Fouées, similar to pitta bread, are cooked in a traditional bread oven and served with a variety of fillings, beans, garlic butter, rillette, cheese and Nutella.  At Les Mortiers, we make them in our bread oven  as a change from pizzas. They were originally testers to see if the oven was hot enough to bake bread. There is more on fouées (also know as fouaces) here –  Wikipedia on fouées

Website Caves de Marson

1 rue Henri Fricotelle 49400 ROU MARSON

5    Cafe Le Musée

The  café/bar in Parcay Les Pins serves a very good ‘plat du jour’, as well as snacks and will appeal to children too. The pizza van is there once a week, buy a pizza and the friendly café owners will provide you with cutlery, seating and the change to buy liquid refreshments of all types. There is also a van serving fish and chips once a week, which is particularly loved by the french residents of our village.

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2 Bis Place Jules Desbois, 49390 Parçay-les-Pins

Family friendly restaurants recommended by guests at Frenchholiday

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5 Favourite Restaurants

Five restaurants where the atmosphere is good, the dishes are pleasing to the eye and you can relax  to enjoy your meal easily.. Most of the ingredients are locally sourced and fresh and with a good selection of local wines.

There is no order of preference.  Enjoy!

1.   Vincent Cuisiniere de Campagne

19 Rue de la Galottière, 37140 Ingrandes-de-Touraine

Link to Website

2.    L’Orée du Bois – Le Breille Les Pins

2 Rue Saumuroise, 49390 La Breille-les-Pins

Link to Website

3.    Au Chapeau Rouge – Chinon

49 Place du Général de Gaulle, 37500 Chinon

Link to Website

4.    Les Entrepotes – Chinon

88 Quai Jeanne d’Arc, 37500 Chinon

Website – not known

5.    Le Bouff’tard

4 place 8 mai 1945 37340 Hommes

Website – not known

 

Cointreau or Combier – or both!

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Sun-dried orange peels from the West Indies, local spices from the south of France, alcohol from France’s northwest, and secret ingredients from the Loire Valley – a formula that became the world’s first triple sec. It sounds wonderful. It happened in Saumur and was the inspiration of Jean-Baptiste Combier after countless years experimentation to make the perfect recipe.

Combier orange liqueur was first available in 1834 in Saumur. Cointreau followed 41 years after in nearby Angers. Both Combier at Saumur and Cointreau, near Angers, are situated on the River Loire which was used for a main river for transporting goods, such oranges from the West Indies upwards from the coast and then onward by canal to Paris.

Combier is still in the same premises where Jean-Baptiste Combier and his brother opened a confectionery shop in Rue Saint Nicolas, Saumur,  in 1834. In back of his shop, he developed alcohols and liquors with his still to fill its sweets and chocolates and created the famous “Triple Sec” liqueur.

His dream of inventing something new and original was a great success and was only followed later by Cointreau. It is worth a visit to see the beautiful copper stills, sample some of the huge range of liqueurs made there and come away with a selection of your favourites. Visit Combier

Cut and paste the link below to see a  video about Combier (in French)  with some great photography showing some of their other syrups and liquers too and also what goes in to making their products.

http://tv.bpifrance.fr/Combier-createur-de-saveurs-depuis-1834_v3041.html

To end,  just for fun, here are a few recipes (not cocktails) using Triple Sec, but visit and you will come away with more than Triple Sec.

Margarita Cake

Over the Top French toast made with Triple Sec

Two simple ideas – add Cassis liqueur to home-made ice cream for something quite special or a dash of Combier Fruits of the Forest liqueur makes a fresh fruit salad into something special.

The difference between the two could be the subject of great debate, but far better to spend the time sampling them both with friends. The link below gives a comparison of both drinks.

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Comparison between Combier and Cointreau for Margaritas and Cocktails

Traces of World War 1 from the people of Parcay Les Pins

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A very special exhibition ‘Traces of World War 1’ opens this May,  where the people of Parçay-les-Pins tell their stories by means of objects, images and testimonies. The aim is to show traces of the past to better understand and comprehend how it was.

Parcay Les Pins is very privileged to have a museum of national status in the village centre. It is dedicated to the French sculptor, Jules Desbois, who was born in Parcay Les Pins. He was a friend of Augustus Rodin and Camille Claudel.

‘Traces of the Great War in Parcay Les Pins’ opens on 23rd May until 1st November 2015 at the Musée Jules Desbois, Place d’Eglise, Parcay Les Pins, France.

Website: Musée Jules Desbois

Footnotes:

The museum also contains the very beautiful works of Jules Desbois as well as the, no doubt, very stirring reminiscences which will be part of this exhibition. Do not miss them!

More photos to be added, when available.

What have apes got to do with the need for water safety?

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Our early ancestors spent most of their time adjusting to a damp environment., so much that humans evolved as virtually hairless and young babies can swim instinctively. This is the basis of  the Aquatic Ape Theory.  We think we are more sophisticated now, but out of our normal environment, such as the annual holiday, proximity to water still presents dangers especially for children.

This post contains some tips for water safety and also a very useful link to an interview with Sharon Davies, form British Swimming Champion, where she answers questions about water phobias, teaching youngster to swim and gives some practical advice.

When do accidents happen?

RoSPA found that the majority of incidents happened on the first or last day of a family holiday. Other research highlights early morning or evening as being  the times when children are most at risk, when keen to explore they may easily slip away unnoticed.

A few thoughts to bear in mind.

Commonly people drowning are shown to waving their arms to attract attention. This is not what happens when children drown. Instead, they slip silently under the water and drown quickly.

On holiday where the environment, regulations and routines are different it is wise to supervise younger children closely around water. So, if you stay in a private property –you are the lifeguard and responsible for your children’s safety. 

Test your safety knowledge

If you would like to test either your knowledge or that of your children, here are two quizzes to try.

Key points on Water Safety from ROSPA
Before you go:

  • Check the safety arrangements in advance.
  •  Teach children never to swim alone.
  • Be cautious about booking properties that do not have safety fencing (in France such properties do not comply with the law).
  • Take a first aid course – know how to resuscitate a child.
  • Ask your travel company if the hotel pool has a lifeguard.
  • Actively supervise all young children near water.
  • Choose pools that are fenced with locking gates. 
  • Even if a pool has a lifeguard or alarm – know where your children are, and what they are doing in the water.
  • Let children take swimming classes whilst on holiday – a great way of gaining water confidence and learning essential water safety skills.
  • Inflatables are not a substitute for supervision or swimming ability
Some simple rules for children to learn
  • Never swim alone
  • Do not dive into unknown depths of water, and only jump feet first into water
  • Do not push or jump onto others
  • Know where to get help in an emergency.
Sharon Davies talks to Bristol Netmum about swimming and water safety.
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A useful link:

Graded grains make finer flour – Le Moulin Boutard, Bourgueil

I was kicking myself as I typed the title for this post!  We could never fathom the French system to classify flour and know which one to use and yet the famous catch phrase for a well known UK flour held the answer.

Graded grains make finer flour!

A few years ago  we  met Madame and Monsieur Piaumier, owners of the Moulin Boutard, at a Craft Fair in the grounds of the Chateau at Giseux. Monsieur Piaumier explained the finer the flour the ‘whiter’ it is, the higher the category the nearer it is to the wholemeal flour which we were looking for.

So the flour we use now ranges from Type 55 for making croissants, Type 65 for pizza dough, through to Type 170 for rustic wholemeal bread. We also get rye flour, spelt and a speciality mix of chestnut flour, fig and hazel nut for cookies.

This website gives some good descriptions of the different types.

The Flour Bin – Home and Artisan Bakers Supplies

Through the generations

In the nineteenth century, there were no less than 22 water mills on the River Changeon., but they closed one after the other when industrialised production of flour and bakery goods started to arrive.

The Moulin Boutard was a true water mill until 1956, when it too was mechanised to keep pace with the demands of the market. It is the only mill still operating in the Bourgueil area.

The mill is owned by the Piaumier family, a family with a traditions of seven generations of millers. The family member who will make it the eight generation is currently working in a mill near Tours.

A Short History 

The changes at the Moulin Boutard over the years demonstrate how life changed so much more quickly from the 19th century onwards compared with when it was built by the monks of Bourgueil in the XII century.

1850 – The mill was extended

1928 – Mr. Albert Piaumier became as tenant operator of the mill

1930 – A diesel engine was installed and it is still in operation today,

1957 – The production rate is increased by the modernisation of equipment and it is then possible to mill 300 kg of wheat per hour instead of 100 kg.

1963 – Cleaning equipment and storage is installed.

1966 – A bulk tank is installed for receipt of wheat. This is the first mill equipped with this system in Indre-et-Loire. Also machinery installed for the manufacture of animal feed.

1974, – The son of Albert Piaumier, Paul, bought the Moulin Boutard from Madame Garnier Moreau.

I983 – A major change in the milling equipment increasing throughput up to 10 quintals (ie 100 kg) per hour.

1998 – Moulin Boutard gets organic certification

Graded grains make finer flour

Graded grains make finer flour

Ets Piaumier et Fils, Moulin Boutard, 37140 Bourgueil