South of France with kids

You will probably agree that planning a road trip while having three kids of different age and interests may be a challenging task. But I´m proud we managed that last summer and now I can present you a family-friendly guide on how to spend 6 days with kids in Provence and Côte d’Azur.

You might´ve read my six-part holiday diary from our holiday last year, but in my today´s post, I´m bringing you a “neatly-folded” summary of these blog posts. Please note that all headlines are clickable and you can get to the thorough description of the place/trip.

 

DAY 1: Safari de Peaugres

We had a great adventure on the first day of our journey. Given that we have never visited any safari before, we didn´t know what to expect in the Safari of Peaugres. But we got the site plan that was fairly clear and the lady at the cash register also explained everything we needed to know. First, we set out on a journey by car and it was quite an experience. Perhaps the biggest was when a big buffalo headed towards our car – probably to protect his flock, which grazed contentedly on the road. In comparison with it looked the bears lying in the grass quite peaceful.

 

 

After the 45 minutes ride “across the continents”, we left the car in the parking lot and went into the second part of the park, which was already a classic ZOO. Here were our kids most excited about the sea lions feeding show and that they could observe the giraffes almost face to face.

 

DAY 2: Le Musée du Bonbon Haribo – Pont Du Gard – Avignon

We couldn´t have missed the visit to the Haribo Museum that you can find in the town of Uzès. Just show me a kid who doesn´t like the Haribo gummy bears? 😉 The museum is divided into several parts and each is devoted to something else. I was definitely surprised how many kinds of candies are actually produced and the kids were amazed when they could “make” their bags with Haribo candies at the end of the tour. After visiting the museum our kids had fun in the adjacent outdoor entertainment area with bouncy castles and other attractions.
Our kids didn´t share my emotions when I – as a lover of ancient Roman monuments – was touching two thousand years old stones of the Pont du Gard. But they were thrilled when they could then bathe in the river flowing underneath an ancient aqueduct from Roman times. In the heat of that day came a refreshing really handy.
“On the bridge of Avignon, We all dance there, we all dance there…” Yes, this famous children’s song is about the bridge of Saint-Benezet, known more as the Pont d’Avignon, whose torso protrudes above the river Rhone. In Avignon, the former seat of the popes, you won´t probably lure your kids with a tour of the papal palace, but they´ll possible like the walk on the terraced gardens, from where they can enjoy wonderful views to the surrounding area. Then reward them with a great lavender ice cream.

DAY 3: Abbaye Notre-Dame de Sénanque – Gordes – Roussillon

 

 

The Cistercian monastery Abbaye Notre-Dame de Sénanque is a “must-see” place if you decide to visit the south of France because the lavender field that surrounds the monastery is perhaps on every postcard from Provence.

 

 

Not far away you can find the pleasant town of Gordes, where the movie A Good Year with Russell Crowe was filmed. We wanted to visit it not only because of the movie but also because this village was in the finals of the competition for the most beautiful villages of France and I think it deserved to win.

 

 

But the best of this day was certainly Roussillon. On the outskirts of this picturesque town, you can find The Ocher Trail. During 30 minutes or 1-hour walk (depends if you choose the shorter or longer trail, but 2yrs old can easily manage the shorter trail) you can enjoy beautifully colored rocks in shades of ocher and your kids will be definitely happy toddling in the ocher dust (so in any case wear white or leather shoes, because you´ll have problems cleaning the ocher dust, but crocs-type sandals will be sufficient). Unfortunately, the trail is not suitable for strollers (due to the number of stairs), so I recommend to take the baby carrier.

DAY 4: Aqualand St.Cyr sur Mer

The fourth day was really relaxing and we took the kids to a water park in the coastal town St.Cyr sur Mer. We bought tickets in advance on-line, since you can save a few euros on admission. After entering the premises, I balked a bit since some of the attractions were definitely designed for grown visitors and there were pretty long queues. But we found a section dedicated to smaller kids, where we spent a pleasant day.

 

DAY 5: Saint-Tropez

Do you remember the gendarme Cruchot from the famous french movie series? When we were on the Côte d’Azur, we couldn´t miss a trip to this famous resort. For me personally, it was a bit disappointing. Not only that upon arrival we had to wait in a long motorcade, but also that the police station, as we know from the famous movie series, no longer exists. The whole square including the building itself has been completely renovated. But you can at least visit the Musem dedicated to this movie, which has been recently opened in the premises.

But that does not mean that Saint-Tropez isn´t worth a visit! Quite the contrary! While walking in the port you can admire magnificent millionaires´ yachts and off the main street crowded with tourists you can explore picturesque corners of the city.

On the way back along the coast, we stopped for a swim in the resort of Le Lavandou.

DAY 6: La Ciotat – Route des Crêtes

We spent our last day on a sandy beach in the aforementioned town St.Cyr sur Mer and in the evening we visited the town of La Ciotat. But first, we headed up a winding road over the city, so called Route des Crêtes, where you can enjoy spectacular views of the national park Calanque, whose cliffs plunge into the azure blue sea.
Evening La Ciotat was then fully throbbing with the holiday atmosphere. Before we headed to the shop with the best ice cream (64 flavors!!!) in the Old Port, we passed along the seaside promenade, where the kids enjoyed themselves several playgrounds.

 

ACCOMMODATION

We found our accommodation through AirBnB – we spent first two nights in the small village of Sauveterre, then we moved to La Cadière d’Azur. Although the historic town of La Cadière d’Azur is charming and definitely worth a walk through its medieval streets (especially at night when they have the magical atmosphere), the next time I´d rather find an accommodation closer to the sea.

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