We’re All Going On A French Summer Holiday…

The phrase ‘family holiday’ is not one that necessarily instils me with excitement.

Some parents have become so entrenched in their family lives that the idea of taking a week off and not dragging their children onto an plane seems like madness.

These poor souls prefer to think that they couldn’t possibly relax with their beloved offspring half a world away, rather than remember the blissful freedom that they had once as younger souls. Now, whilst I don’t want to trample over the precious dreams and memories of honest-to-God happy families, I think it’s really important to keep things in perspective. By all means, a week spent in Disney Land at an eye-watering expense might be a dream come true for your kids, but can you honestly say that you’re gaining an equal amount of enjoyment?

I say all of this as I’m on the cusp of booking a family holiday of my own, although this one won’t take me to the muggy climes of Orlando, Florida. In a bid to create a holiday experience that is equally enjoyable for both kids and parents, I’ve decided that our yearly voyage will take us to Ardeche, France.

You might be wondering how I came to this decision. My children, worldly as they are, had not heard of Ardeche before and were similarly blank face when I told them about the vast natural wonders that litters the countryside there, but it was the activities that you can take part there that I felt they would really chime with. My boys are getting to an age now where they’re eager for adventure. The play parks and slides that were once so thrilling no longer have the same appeal to them, they long for something that they can show off to their friends at school about. Luckily for them there are ample opportunities for canoeing, mountain biking and climbing which should keep them happy for the ten days we’ll be staying there for.

Whilst I know my wife will be a little rueful at not being able to sun herself on a beach on the French Rivera, I will at least be able to placate her with a visit to a local vineyard and multiple trips to idyllic markets to pick up some fresh produce for our dinners. The South of France is a destination that we’ve both visited before as a couple, in our life before children, and by returning to this veritable Eden during the height of Summer I’m hoping we’ll be able to capture some of the care-free spirit of those early holidays.

I know that some parents will be snorting derisively at my attempt to have my cake and eat it too, but I do believe that it’s possible to create a family holiday that can appeal to every member of the family, that doesn’t involved forking out a shed load of money.

Whilst the villa that we’re renting is costing us a few hundred pounds a night, it’s still far cheaper than any ghastly all-inclusive hotel and we’re so close to the local attractions that it’ll be like we’re staying in our very own theme park – minus the screaming children and queues.