Provence, France :
Provence, France: The Ultimate Guide With Kids
Getting to Provence
The Marseille-Provence airport is your best bet into Provence, although Nice is also an option (but can be quite a drive depending on where in Provence you are going). If you are within France or neighboring countries, train is a great option. THE TGV is the fast train that connects Paris and other areas to Provence (Avignon station) . It's a 3 hour ride that is pretty smooth, except that you really have to manage getting on and off if you have a lot of bags. The train can be quite expensive (about USD100 each person each way) so try to book as early as possible. Driving is also possible if you are in the region. Finally, ferries from Corsica and Northern Africa also connect to Marseille. For more details on how to get to Provence, click here.
Where to Stay: La Mas De La Rose
This place is paradise. Not the Disneyworld type of paradise for kids, the wide open fields, deck chairs and pool, 8-room chateau kind of paradise. This exclusive guest house, located deep in the heart of Provence, close to Avignon, is the sort of place you expect to be stuffy and up itself (and to be fair, it costs enough to be so) but instead, La Mas de la Rose is filled with families looking to take a break from their hectic lives and enjoy some R & R together. During our stay 5 out of 8 guests had children and the restaurants in the quaint nearby towns welcomed them as well.
Enjoy a traditional Provençal breakfast with glorious cheeses and breads, hang out by the pool, take in a round of tennis or visit the nearby wineries. For those who want to explore the region, neighboring towns of Eygalieres, Saint Remy de Provence and Baux de Provence have oodles in terms of boutiques and restaurants and are no more than a 20 minute drive away. We found many cute shops for baby decor and toys, typically French and very chic!
Oddities: No high chair. No refrigerator and iron in the room, but common ones available for use.
Highly recommended for a luxurious and relaxing stay in the world renowned region de Provence.
Fun for Kids in Provence
While there aren't a ton of things to do for kids per se, Provence is a warm and child-friendly region. With its slow pace, quaint town and gourmet food, indulging in the good life should be the main thing on the agenda. Here are some of towns we've loved visiting:
San Remy is the largest little village in the area and a drive around will reveal that it is quite popular with tourists. Still it maintains its village charm, offering visitors open-air restaurants and cafes, boutiques and art galleries. Walk around the windy streets here and discover little gems selling artisan chocolates, lavender and handmade goods of all kinds.
Gordes is a beautiful hilltop village about 30 mins from Avignon. Gordes is known for its beauty and views, as well as for being the hometown for many artists over the years. Fun fact: Residents of Gordes are called Gordiens!
Les Baux de Provence:
Known as one of the most beautiful villages in France, Les Baux is home to an immense fortress and 22 other historical monuments that are considered national treasures. The city has been painstakingly restored can only be explored on foot. Here too you will find great restaurants as well as stores selling any number of Provençal souvenirs.
When visiting these places make sure to get there earlier in the am on weekends to avoid having to circle for a parking spot.
Dining with Kids in Provence
Not only are we talking about France, but we are in Provence: the land of herbs and lavender and gourmet cuisine. You can stop at any of the places in the towns above and not be disappointed. Château d'Estoublon was a standout for us. A winery, restaurant, olive oil shop all in one, Château d' Estoublon is a beautiful setting for the whole family to enjoy. While they don't have a kids' menu (only the really touristy places do and I don't recommend them), the waiter was happy to fix up a pasta or divide up a burger for the little ones. The biggest perk? A playground for the kids to visit while the parents enjoy some of Estoublon's delectable wines (don't forget to take some home).
Things to buy in Provence:
Provence is famous for its food and wine. In particular, Provençal herbs and lavender are exports of international repute.
France: General Travel Tips
1. Some of the best cosmetics in the world for kids and adults alike come from France. You will have no problem walking into a pharmacy and finding all you need in terms of toiletries.
2. French bakeries and dairy are still the best in the world, so your child will be well taken care of on a diet of croissants, cheese and yogurt at least.
3. Road signs in France are horrible, so invest in a GPS or risk going around the same roundabout several times just to find a sign that corresponds with the map. Old school is overrated when you are traveling with a child. Further, tolls can be anywhere from one euro to fifty euros depending on how far you are going, so ensure that you always have cash on you. Many toll booths don't have attendants so you can get pretty badly stuck if you are not carrying enough money. Similarly, trolleys at the airport require a one euro coin and some of the smaller airports do not have change machines, leaving you with a nightmare scenario of managing your bags and the stroller and baby.
4. Milk entier is whole milk.
5. In the South of France, "Casino" is the supermarket chain, so don't be confused.
6. The weather even in the summer can be windy, so make sure to pack a sweater or light jacket for yourself and the baby.
7. Language is not a problem in the major cities but French is certainly appreciated.
8. Useful words in French:
* doctor - un docteur
* emergency - un cas d'urgence
* taxi - un taxi
* bathroom - la toilette
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