We’re just back from our little French adventure! Notre aventure française! We’ve wanted to take the kids abroad for such a long time now, to experience something new. It feels strange that we haven’t been abroad (bar Ireland) for 10 years!! That’s nearly the whole time we’ve been married. That first year of marriage saw us going to France and Uganda but bar that, that’s all the action my passport saw before I had to get a new one. And oh! The passport costs! Passports for 4 children is nearly the cost of a holiday! Luckily, sorting out medical insurance was a little easier – I didn’t fancy being stuck in a rural part of France with 4 kids and no medical cover so we got the free European Health Insurance card sorted really quickly. We chose Normandy for our little jaunt. Far enough to be properly France but not too long a journey and there seemed to be lots of lovely things to do in Normandy with kids. We stayed in a gite in the sleepy village of Passais, not too far from Domfront for our holiday.
We found a quaint gite full of French charm- the kids loved the bedroom decor which was quite fairytale chintzy! The girls shared the Salle de rouge, Finlay had a Salle de bleur and we had Salle d’lor and, as you may have guessed- the rooms were full of items in the corresponding colour!
The weather when we arrived was raining and it remained rainy for the first few days. So-much-rain! We were worried it would stay like that all week but the last few days were filled with glorious sunshine!
There were Chateau visits and woodland walks. Visits to a French restaurante with every ice cream flavour under the sun, where the kids were too shy to say merci. There was visits to a man made lake, trips to the French market and l’intermarche where the kids were very excited to discover mini trolleys the perfect size for them! I do remember this being an exciting thing for my brother and sister when we were little. There was munching on gallettes and trips to Le Boulangerie and some super special cakes bought from a Patisserie. When I was little, we visited France often in the Summer and I remember the excitement of trying things we didn’t have at home like croissants and Nutella and Orangina! In some ways it’s a little sad that we can get to have so many multicultural experiences in our own supermarkets these days- things are not that unique to their own countries now. But then again it means you can have more experiences at your own front door.
Before we knew it the week was over. It was the perfect mix of relaxation and outdoor time. It felt like we did nothing and everything all at once. The kids were so sad to leave!
Things to do in Normandy with kids!
If you’re heading to Normandy out of season (we went when it wasn’t the school holidays in France) here’s what we enjoyed doing (in no particular order!)
- Visiting the Market on a Wednesday morning at Saint-Hilaire-Du-Harcouët. Get there early- around 9am to see everything.
- Exploring the woods at Forêt d’Andaine near Bagnoles-de-l’Orne. Huge woods – great for picnics.
- Visiting the magical monastery at St Mont Michel.
- Walking around the lake and having a picnic at La Ferté-Macé recreation centre. In the summer, this is a beach and has lots of water activities.
- Doing the kids woodland walk with play gym and the view from the Medieval Chateau at the Mont at Cerisy-Belle-Étoile at Basse Normandie.