Family in the Sun
By Isabelle-Marjorie Tremblay
Right about now, you’re probably dreaming up ways to bribe the inlaws to watch the kids for a week-long getaway to France. Surprise surprise, welcome to a family friendly France.
The Atlantic coast of Northern France is teeming with activities–it’s where the locals go on their family vacations. Here, spotlight on two seaside resorts worth flying the family for: Le Touquet Paris-Plage in Nord-Pas de Calais and La Baule, a nine-kilometer stretch of fine sand on the Guérande Peninsula in South Brittany.
South Brittany"Our pleasure is your pleasure!" Such is the charming motto of the Baulois, who have been welcoming and entertaining vacationers since the late 1800s. Vast sandy playground located along the "Côte de l'Amour" (or the Love Coast), this is where Jacques Brel and his family used to spend vacations. But stay cool, as you may still spot a few stars today… buried neck deep in sand by their little ones, happy as clams at high tide! Ideal for FamiliesVeritable paradise for children, La Baule boasts about ten certified water-sports clubs. Club des Dauphins, for one, is a beach club your kids can attend for a half-day, a day or even a week. Younger kiddies’ beach games include trampoline, racket sports and swimming, while older children get familiar with sailing.Prefer to stay with your clan? Organizing a sailboat ride with the family is as easy as one, two, three. Note that many parts of the beach at La Baule are not only supervised but also fairly flat and accessible with strollers. Perfect for beach babes.
There are two things to consider when travelling with young ones: a welcoming environment for the kids, and proper, easy beach access.Besides the modern, family-ready accommodations, you can also stay in magnificent 20th-century villas. Hôtel Saint-Pierre, for example, is a charming hotel from the 1930s, friendly, comfortable and, most importantly, less than 500 feet to the beach! Not far, sojourn at Hôtel Villa Cap d'Ail, which has gorgeous gardens and family suites only about a 10-minute walk from the town’s central market.Le Touquet Paris-PlageNord-Pas de Calais It’s not Paris-Plage, that faux sandy beach along the River Seine that you’re thinking of. Le Touquet Paris-Plage is an elegant seaside resort in Nord-Pas de Calais, the northernmost region of France. A popular bourgeoisie destination in the 1920s, Le Touquet Paris-Plage is certified "Famille Plus," guaranteeing a warm welcome for groups of all ages.
A Paradise for Sports
Low tide reveals a kilometer-long sandy terrain that is, without a doubt, the Le Touquet trademark, justifying its title of "Sports Paradise." Sand yachting, for example, is a unique activity for children eight years old and up, and it takes only two hours to learn how to ‘race’ gently between dunes and the sea. Five-day courses of two hours daily are available for young adventurers, along with family rides and outings.If you prefer reining a horse to rigging a boat, horseback riding is another spectacular way to discover the area. Big kids can join an equestrian expedition through the sand dunes while little ones as young as two can delight in pony rides.
Prepare to be spoiled in Le Touquet. Hôtel Le Bristol, for one, built in 1927, has about 50 rooms, all family ready. Several suites have two closed rooms, two bathrooms, and enough space for a crib and baby bath, so the whole gang can scrub down before dinner after an action-packed day.
La Baule :
Le Touquet Paris-Plage :