Category Archives: Sport

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 Each event is a huge extravaganza with special effects,  well researched historical content and a dash of artistic licence to complete the performance.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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A cycling holiday in the Loire Valley

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This post was going to be about safety and cycling, but there are so many excellent websites dealing with this that my mind switched to options for a cycling holiday in the Loire.  The different nationalities, ages, abilities and ways guests have enjoyed cycling from Les Mortiers is interesting too.

There is a link to a cycling safety website is given below. The site has many other useful links on the subject and worth looking at if you are considering cycling on holiday.

A well seasoned and keen cyclist might look for a specialist offer, where everything is provided,  at a price. However, the region is so well provided for cyclists that, unless you want to spend  every day on the saddle, then being free to pedal as you wish, when you wish and as the weather suits you is a good option.  If your partner or the family do  not share your enthusiasm for a daily ride, then self-catering with cycles provided, or bringing your own, is a good option.

The wide spectrum of people who cycle for instance from our own property is interesting.  Here are a few examples:

  • Keen cyclists from the USA, one family brought their bikes in their suitcases.
  • A father who cycled each morning for the bread with both his children on one bike, one at the front and one at the rear.
  • A family who brought a tag along bike with them, the first we had seen but very popular now.
  • A lady from the Netherlands with a bike with hydraulic brakes.  Mike was in awe!
  • An Estate Agent  from Canada who was privileged to visit Cyfac, a local and highly renowned company making high end cycles and frames for many of the bikes in international races. He was awestruck by the bike he was given to road test
  • A New Zealand girl traveller sponsored on a cycle trip around the world and currently in South America. Her bike was wrapped with inner tubes to mask its value against theft.
  • Guests who have pushed themselves to the limit, not having ridden since childhood and not walking far the next day!
  • An amateur cyclist from the USA who rides like a professional and even helped us put the roof on the new extension to our house!
  • And a family who experienced an exploding tyre whilst they had stopped at Lac Rillé for a picnic! It happened during the excessively hot summer.
  • And, of course, like many of our guests a short cycle in the morning for fresh bread and croissants or  a coffee in the bar.

The countryside, quiet roads and forest routes in Anjou and Touraine are perfect for cycling, whatever your style. The slide show link below has some views from cycle rides around where we live. For the less adventurous a ride to Lac Pincemaille is a pleasant outing with well marked trails through the forests, whereas the more experienced venture to Bourgueil, along the banks of the Loire or as far as Chinon. Information is readily available for the many routes marked around the region. The most famous being the Loire a Velo. We have a library of local cycle routes for our guests including maps for the local area and further afield for the more intrepid or those who carry bikes on their car wishing to cycle a particular route.We have cycles available for your use and a rescue service, if required.

Just for interest, below are some Solex bikes which were for sale at a recent Vide Grenier (car boot sale).

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Cycling around Les Mortiers

A site with some useful guidance about cycling and keeping children safe.

www.frenchholiday.co.uk

 

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: