Family week-end near Paris

22 July 2019

We often imagine that exoticism means long distances, but sometimes a few hours is enough for a getaway not far from Paris! Does getting away from the city without all the fuss sound good to you? With or without a car, by train, or simply by boarding a plane, Little Guest is giving you the keys to planning your family escape near the capital!

 

Mom, are we there yet?!” every time, your young one repeats the same question when the journey seems unending… until you run out of responses during the long hours that remain! Children often prefer short trips, at least as much as their parents are pressed for time. Plus, a short trip means a less stressful trip and more time at your destination!

At less than 2 hours by plane, 3 hours by train and 5 hours by car from the capital, Little Guest is offering you 9 beautiful escapes, some in the countryside, some seaside, and some even outside of the country!

It’s impossible for you to leave the city of lights? A slow life week-end is also possible.

 

EVERYONE IN THE CAR!  (5 HOURS BY CAR MAXIMUM)

A Sunday in the countryside…

Located in the foothills of the main peak, Charente is a region decorated with lakes, forests, and ponds. Numerous small traditional villages invite you to wander and explore their narrow streets. Not far from there, Limoges, a town full of art and history, hides more than a few secrets behind its architecture, which dates back to the Renaissance. In addition to its famous fine porcelain, the town is also renowned for its gourmet offerings. For lovers of good food, don’t miss out on the boudin with chestnuts, a local speciality. To complete the meal, why not visit the prestigious Cognac wineries and taste the spirit that goes by the same name?

In the heart of an exceptional property made up of nearly 1000 hectares of nature, the Château du Domaine des Etangs stands proudly. This vestige left over from the 11th century was completely renovated in a rustic-chic style by the property’s owner. In perfect harmony, the establishment uses noble materials such as oak wood and white stone from the region. Its luxurious mini houses, as well as its vast suites, make it the perfect place for families. The Domaine des enfants, an open-air playground, allows children to play on slides, cabins, and garden trampolines, while the chests in the furnished loft are overflowing with games and colouring books!

By car, it takes 4 and a half hours to reach the Château du Domaine des Étangs. Location.

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The rolling countryside of Charente, an ode to nature 

 

A pause on the côte d’Emeraude

In Saint-Malo, Mont-Saint-Michel bay, the tides and the sea spray open their arms to you! This privateer town, surrounded by tall walls designed by Vauban, tells curious visitors its legends. On the schedule, seaside walks along the Côte d’Emeraude or an adventure on privateer Robert Surcouf’s famous vessel: a true journey through time! For those who prefer to keep their feet on solid ground, numerous little villages decorate the coast: Dinard, Cancale, Cap Fréhel, are perfect to walk around and explore.

The Grand Hôtel des Thermes and its Belle époque facade facing the sea welcomes families for a seaside break. Parents love the thalasso centre and the 14 workshops but on by wellness professionals. The incredibly rejuvenating Sea & Fitness package will help mom and dad recover. Meanwhile, burgeoning pirates can join the hotel’s Baby-club and Kid’s club, which welcomes children from 2 months to 6 years and from 6 years to 12 years respectively.

By car, it takes 4 hours to reach the Grand Hôtel des Thermes. Location

 

Magical Loire Atlantique

Looking for a vacation along the banks of the Loire? From the thousand lakes surrounded by the forest at Brière Regional Natural Park, to the Atlantic Ocean, all while passing through the Guérande salt marshes, the Loire Atlantique region passes by a wide variety of backdrops. In the heart of the region, Nantes, its castles and its gardens, never fails to charm families. The Machines of the Isle of Nantes, a theme park as poetic as it is fantastic, will transport you to a universe worthy of the best Jules Verne novels. To stay in the ambience, children absolutely must take a ride on the marine life carousel… or on the back of the giant articulate elephant: unforgettable!

In a setting worthy of the most fabulous fairy tales, at the foot of a medieval castle and its towers, the Domaine de la Bretesche‘s accommodations are spread out throughout the vast property. A location frozen in time where the old stones meld with slate roofs. Families can choose between vast rooms and suites or independent villas, surrounded by the park’s vegetation. Don’t hesitate to jump into the story of Donkey Skin and have something to drink in the castle’s old stables, the stalls of which have been transformed into a barn. A fairytale universe worthy of Jacques Demy!

By car, it takes 4 hours to reach the Domaine de la Bretesche. Location

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ROLLING DOWN THE TRAIN TRACK (3 HOURS BY TRAIN MAXIMUM)

Provençal adventure

From a young age, we hear about Avignon and its famous bridge. However, the Papal City has plenty of other attractions, in particular its remarkable medieval castle, a symbol of the city’s splendour. On the banks of the Rhone river, don’t forget to check out Barthelasse island, a veritable green lung and the largest river island in France. A great chance for a rural promenade on the water’s edge. The surrounding area opens up on small white stone villages immersed in lavender fields and underlined by the Alpilles.

Within the confines of Baux-de-Provence, somewhere between the cobbled streets and the small Provençal squares, you will find the Domaine de Manville. Restored according to the rules of art, this rural palace offers 30 sumptuously decorated rooms and suites, as well as 9 hotel houses which are perfect for families travelling with children. The decor, both welcoming and contemporary, is made of noble materials: old stones, leather, cashmere… The charming kids-club, located in a caravan, welcomes children older than 4 years old for creative and educational activities.

By train, you can reach Avignon with the TGV in 2 hours and 40 minutes. Location.

 

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The caravan at the Domaine de Manville takes kids on creative and educational adventures! 

 

London, royal destination!

London is a surprising, cosmopolitan city full of energy. To reach this vibrant British capital, Parisians need only 2 hours and 17 minutes on the Eurostar! No more excuse for not stopping by Big Ben, visiting Champollion’s Rosetta Stone at the British Museum, or diving into the heart of London eccentricities in the colourful streets of Camden Town. Children love following in Harry Potter‘s footsteps, whether it be in King’s Cross station or in the Victorian Gallery at Leadenhall Market. Undoubtedly, in the Queen of England’s city, there is something for everyone!

And who hasn’t dreamed of staying just steps from the Queen’s palace, right next to the vibrant heart of the city while still being in the subdued comfort of a palace? Adorned with an opulent red that is also present in the rooms and restaurants, the Rubens at the Palace made the brave choice to bring together modernity with the charm and the splendour of the past.  Families can count on John, the family concierge who can give recommendations, make babysitting reservations, and won’t forget the welcome gift and small games for the children!

By train, you can reach London with the Eurostar in just 2 hours and 17 minutes. Location. 

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Mountains and fine sand in Evian

Lake Geneva is surrounded by mountains and numerous legends. Some say that it’s made out of the tears of an angel charged with watching over the Alps, or in a happier tale, that it was Gargantua’s pool, a giant from Rabelais’ adventures! In any case, its fine sand beaches at the foot of the Alps have charmed more than one traveller. Romantics, athletes, or lovers of the dolce vita, everyone has been seduced by the ancient stones from Yvoir and the fishing ports that stretch along the coast, majestically overlooked by Mont Blanc. The cherry on top: a cultural escape in the sculpture garden by the Fondation Gianadda will give you the chance to see masterpieces by Calder, Nikki de Saint Phalle, as well as Rodin…

Nestled between the summits of the Alps and the calm expanses of Lake Geneva, the Royal Evian hotel epitomizes French luxury. A belle époque palace, it brings together 1900s architecture with contemporary touches, all while pulling in powder blue, their signature colour. Its thermal baths as well as its golf courses, where they host the Evian Championships, are known the world over. In the winter, snowy adventures entice snow sports fans (older than 4 years old) to meet up at the neighbouring Gstaad ski resort or to ski on the Mer de Glace glacier in Chamonix. Evian, an incomparable source of inspiration and relaxation!

By train, you can reach Geneva with the Lyria in 3 hours and 18 minutes. Location.

 

IMMEDIATE DEPARTURE (2 AND A HALF HOURS OF PLANE TRAVEL MAXIMUM)

Dublin, full of colours

We travel to Dublin for the natural beauty of the surrounding area, as well as for the lifestyle in this city that’s as likeable as it is welcoming. After visiting Francis Bacon’s workshop, roam the popular streets of “old Dublin” in Liberties and admire its colourful doors. And there’s surely nothing better than soaking up the unique ambience in the pubs in the lively Temple Bar neighbourhood. Travellers looking for a drink don’t want to miss out on stopping by the Celtic Whiskey Shop, where they offer a large selection of national spirits. Looking for a nature adventure? The Howth cliffs that overhang the Irish sea are well worth the detour, just don’t forget your walking shoes.

Not far from the famous Trinity Collegein the dead centre of the city, the Merrion is soundly based in the historic neighbourhood of the Irish city. Its architecture harkens back to the Georgian style that the 18th-century bourgeoisie was particularly fond of. Truly a country home in the middle of the city, the Merrion offers refined spaces decorated with shades of beige, enhanced even further with a few crystal chandeliers or a work of art from their exceptional collection. Good news for children: in addition to its large pool, the hotel is just 3 minutes walking from the famous Merrion Square playground, which offers numerous games (slides, jump ropes, swings…)! There, you can look for the statue of Oscar Wilde, the famous author and Dublin native.

By plane, you can reach Dublin in 1 hour and 40 minutes. Ryanair, Transavia, Aer Lingus, and Air France are some of the airlines that travel there. Location.

 

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Blue fades to turquoise overseas at the Abi d’Oru bay 

 

Mediterranean calm

Who doesn’t dream of admiring the various shades of blue, the azure sky, the turquoise shallows, or the dark blue in the ocean depths, while seated comfortably on the beach? With its aptly named “Costa Paradiso”, Sardinia is one of those islands that we automatically associate with vacation. Its wild charm is particularly present in the centre of the island, the Supramonte, dotted with granite blocks that cork oaks and silver-leafed olive trees sprout from. The villages brag a joyful colour palette on the building facades:  pistachio green stands next to okra periodically accented with purple… a beautiful mosaic to discover as a family!

Offering a grandiose panorama on the Gulf of Marinella, on the north-east coast of Sardinia, the Abi d’Oru hotel is perfectly nestled against a lush backdrop. From gardens to the beach, without forgetting the rooms themselves, the Mediterranean spirit can be found in even the most minute details. Ancient stones, roman tiles, and loggias give the establishment an authentic spirit. Little guests will have plenty to do like the “Bee Happy” kids club welcomes them free of charge between mid-June and mid-September.  Without a doubt, the Abi d’Or is the perfect peaceful oasis to relax, serenaded by the gentle rhythm of the waves crashing on the beach…

By plane, you can reach Olbia in around 2 hours. Easyjet will fly you there without a layover. Location.

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Lisbon, with fado playing in the streets…

Have you been enticed by the Tagus estuary? As time passes, Lisbon has yet to lose its charm. The streets of the Alfama neighbourhood are permeated with the sugary scent of pastéis de Nata (excellent traditional pastries), and fado music. Frozen in time, the cloister at the Mosteiro dos Jeronimos (Jeronimos Monastery) boasts its beautiful sand-coloured lace-like stonework, which takes on a golden colour when the sun touches it: magical! Children will love climbing the steps of the Belem Tower to watch ships in the port from the crenellated towers, before eating an assortment of tapas!

The Martinhal Cascais, located barely 20 minutes from Lisbon, is the perfect place to stay for families that love ocean adventures just as much as they love exploring the city. Situated on the edge of the Atlantic Ocean, its contemporary and minimalist style blends with the surrounding environment. Good news for families: babies, children, and teenagers will have plenty of fun at the Martinhal Cascais with its 2300sqm of playground! Without even counting the numerous workshops put on by the baby-club and kids-club that will entertain your children with interactive activities, PlayStation and board games.

By plane, you can reach Lisbon in 2 and a half hours. Ryanair, Easy jet, Transavia and Air France are some of the airlines that travel there. Location.

 

Enjoy your family trip! 

Mylene Mylène

Mylène, 28 years old, art lover and travel addict, from Strasbourg, France

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