I find myself caught in an interesting place; over the last few years it is possible to have heard me say, in a faux-snobbish way, that I would find it difficult to return to the same place again and again when there are so many amazing places to explore in the world. And yet, when it came to the next stop on our summer road trip, following our time in Guernsey, I automatically found myself drawn to the South-West of France; somewhere we have been numerous times.
But dang if it isn’t just such a beautiful place. Give me rolling countryside, croissants, gorgeous sunshine and €1 bottles of wine every day of the week. Be assured I will snap your hand right off!
For this particular trip we settled on an Airbnb property in Coulonges-Thouarsais, in the Nouvelle-Aquitaine region of France. We weren’t so bothered about being somewhere coastal instead opting for accommodation with a shared swimming pool. The property was a lovely little gite literally in the middle of the French countryside. There were two other cottages on site who shared the pool as well as the owners. Our plan for this part of our road trip was very much R&R; we planned to spend our time chilling by the pool, consuming far too much French bread, ham, cheese and wine (of course) and generally just soaking up the peace and the sun’s rays. And we managed this in abundance.
Although we opted to keep things low-key, there are lots of different things to do in the area. Whether you are looking for family-friendly options or adults-only, active or laidback, you’ll find something to do. There is the theme park of Puy du Fou, plenty of vineyard tours available and even the option to enjoy a husky-pulled sled ride (truly!)
We did venture out into the nearby town of Saumur on one of the days which was beautiful, if a little hot. We couldn’t have known in advance but the weather in France was some of the warmest in a good number of years with most days reaching the mid-40s. It made walking around a little taxing, especially for the kids.
Saumur is a gorgeous medieval town which overlooks the river Loire. We wandered the streets, enjoyed some traditional French food and explored the castle which contains a number of interesting archaeological discoveries. If you are nearby, I’d highly recommend a visit. The walk up to the castle from the town centre features quite a steep hill but there is a little train which will take you up.
Although there was wi-fi in the gite, we made a concerted effort to put our phones down and engage with the kids; we both live such busy lives that we don’t often have the chance to switch off completely and we really tried to make the most of the opportunity to do so.
The kids were also totally taken with the two resident donkeys who lived on the farm. Every single day they were over at the fence visiting with them, feeding them carrots and chattering away. It’s funny the stuff that stand out during a holiday especially with kids but for them this was a real highlight. Funny!
We managed to find the perfect blend of being active and relaxing by the pool which was perfect because the final part of our journey was set to be pretty intense and it was lovely to have that breathing space. I almost wish we’d had more time in the South as it truly is a beautiful place and definitely somewhere I wouldn’t hesitate to return again…snobbery be darned!