AD – Penny and family recently visited the Loire as guests of Brittany Ferries and Gites de la Richardiere.
The Loire may make parents think of rivers, chateaus and of wine, but it’s also perfectly possible to entertain kids in this romantic area of central France and tick everyone’s boxes for a relaxing holiday. Our gite at La Richardiere was the perfect base to relax and to explore…
Visit a Chateau
They may look like something a Disney princess would live in, but will kids actually want to visit a chateau? The answer is choose carefully and pick an angle that will appeal, lots of them are very well geared to kids. At the Loire’s most iconic Chateau Chenonceau you can take a boat ride under it’s arches, or how about Chateau Close Luce, the retirement home of Leonardo de Vinci where you can see life-size reproductions of some of the Da Vinci’s inventions. Or for a fun way to see lots of chateaus in one go, try out Mini Chateaux, a park with miniature reproductions of 45 chateaux of the region, including Chambord and Chenonceau.
A family canoe adventure is a wonderful way to experience France’s longest river the Loire, or one of its tributaries, the Cher, Creuse, Indre and the Vienne. Your hosts at Gites de la Richardiere can organise canoeing with a great local firm.
Nature and Animals
Le Parc naturel régional de la Brenne is great for bird watching, wild swimming and nature spotting. The area also has zoos and nature reserves such as Zoo Parc Beauval which has been voted one of the world’s best zoos, our hosts recommend it for it’s well kept animals, clean cages and open air environments and the white tigers and pandas are a highlight too. Haute Touche has Lemurs, Tigers and Red Pandas as well as wide open pathways to ride.
Clic’Lac High Ropes, Tree Nets and Zip Line
Clic’Lac is a really chilled out but beautifully put together high rope, tree top nets and zip line experience by the lake near Loches, which caters brilliantly for all ages. There are seven high rope courses, varying from a small one for 3 years and up to a teen track for 14 years plus, to a zipline across the lake for the properly fearless. We all had a bounce in the treetop nets and also enjoyed the treasure hunt. It’s lovely and shady with picnic tables and hammocks, they sell drinks and ice creams but not much more, so take a picnic.
Visit a market
A French market can be great fun with kids, there are snacks on tap, a chance to practice a bit of French and the opportunity to sample great French food. The market at Loches was excellent for this – our supermarket shop was supplemented by peas on the pod, artichoke, blacked cheesecake, butter biscuits, macarons, cheeses. Afterwards we wandered around the pretty town (pictured above) and explored the chateau dungeons.
Penny and family visited the Loire with Brittany Ferries, sailing from Portsmouth to Caen, and stayed with Gites de la Richardiere in the Southern Loire. La Richardiere offers three gites, a heated outdoor pool and generous gardens with table tennis, badminton, boules and a play area.