An adventure playground in the trees where you can spend up to 3 hours on rope bridges, cargo nets, death slides and even skateboards high above the ground. Choose your own level of difficulty, or just spend time in the cafe below watching others sway, wobble and teeter above you. Fantastic fun for all the family, and the Chateau de Val is well worth a visit on your return to terra firma.
Chateau de Val, Val, nr Bort-les-Orgues in Correze.
I spent a lot of time on the Cote D'Azur as a student and longed to go back but with a young family thought it would be almost impossible to find somewhere suitable and not too expensive.
This wonderful campsite, which we booked through Keycamp, however, proved just the job.
Not far from the glamour of St Tropez, it has everything for the perfect family holiday - including fab swimming pool and even a children's club. Accommodation was great too - we stayed in a really well equipped mobile home under the shade of a lovely forest.
It is a quaint ancient village house which originally consisted of two houses, now merged into one, with outer walls 1,000 years old.
It is an ideal base for travelling to Toulouse, Carcassonne (an ancient city), Narbonne (close to the beach), and taking a day trip to Spain or Andorra.
There are many local places of interest, vineyards you can walk in, abbeys, churches, and sports like sailing at a nearby lake, boating, cycling. There are local restaurants and many adjoining villages. The mountains are 30 minutes' drive away, with wonderful views and picnic spots.
A car is essential, but can be easily hired from Toulouse (EasyJet flies there) or Carcassonne Airport (Ryanair flies there).
1 Rue de Notre Dame, Rieux Minervois, near Carcassonne, Aude, Languedoc, South France.
Tel: 01932 784316
What a find on the drive from Les Baux de Provence to Tarascon. An ancient city with a triumphal arch and cenotaph. The cenotaph is fantastic - so different from the other Roman relics in the area. You can see these two relics any time but the excavations are not open on a Monday.
The basics are in place in a small way - bar with snacks, Hertz, and a newspaper shop. But nothing much opened until 11:00. Hertz opened eventually to take the keys back. If you are catching RyanAir then turning up 90 minutes before flight time should be fine!
The folklore surrounding the city of Cannes and its adjoining islands is
every bit as romantic as the city itself.
Outstretched palm trees lean across the beautiful sea front and the famous Cannes film festival witnesses the arrival of thousands of movie stars and film critics each year. The signature Palm D’Or of the film festival is a reference to the legend of the monk St Honoratus, as according to traditional folklore the monk was praying on the adjoining snake-infested island of Lerins, when God heard his
prayer and instructed him to climb a palm tree while he flooded the land to rid the island of snakes.
Ever since then, the palm tree has been an emblem for the city.
We spent 2 days with Nicole Sarda, a private, licensed guide seeing the D-Day beaches and Caen. At 300 Euros + tip per day, our group of 4 was able to see a week's worth of sites in 2 days. She knows where to go, the unmarked roads, the places to eat and gives the history of each place. She even recommended a hotel where we stayed which is a 15th Century Manoir and not in any tour book. Great personality. Completely fluent in English and French. Lived 15 years in the States. We will hire her again.
I really like the Pompidou Centre as a building. It's so unusual and high-tech it's worth visiting just to walk around the outside. Also home of the Beaubourg Museum. There's always something interesting on there.
Place Georges Pompendeau, Paris 75004.
Telephone: +33 01-44-78-12-33
Open every day from 11am to 10pm, except Tuesdays and May 1.
Prices : 10 euros - Free of charge for under 18s, members, disabled visitors, unemployed people . Proof of status required.
Metro/Bus : M° Rambuteau (lines 11), M° Hôtel de Ville (lines 1 et 11) - RER Châtelet les Halles (lines A et B) - Bus: 21, 29, 38, 47, 58, 69, 70, 72, 74, 75, 76, 81, 85, 96
The Laiterie is a really nice place to go out for good gigs in Strasbourg. A lot of upcoming bands like The Rakes, The Kooks or Razorlight have been there. The ticket prices are between 10 and 15 Euros, depending on the band. The beer prices are very fair as well. A beer from the tap is about 2 euros.
It's near the railway station of Strasbourg
I would recommend this wonderful valley for any keen walking enthusiast. The surroundings are quite simply breathtaking. I had a wonderful holiday in 2006 with a small independant walking company called OutBeak Adventure.
An off-piste ski/snowboard run (guided). The icing on the cake of my favourite resort for snowboarding - Les Arcs. Great views, great powder snow. My first proper off-piste run, and has inspired me to come back for more!
Stay in Peisey Vallandry, and get some ESF lessons and guiding. Don't do the run without a guide and make sure you are given avalanche 'beacons' to wear.
In between Les Arcs and La Plagne.
This is a small, friendly hotel in the Old Town. I am not usually a fan of hotels, I prefer apartments these days, but I needed to pop to Nice for just two days and Villa la Tour was recommended to me. It is right in the Old Town on Rue de la Tour. It has less than 10 rooms and used to be a nunnery until the owners converted it. The lady who runs it used to work at the Negresso and she has customer service sewn up. They have their own website if you need to look them up. A cute and reasonably well-decorated place to stay for a short break.
Rue de la Tour, (near to the bus station at the top of the Old Town)
Mike's an American and French ski-school accredited ski instructor who works out of this fantastic, family orientated, picture postcard resort...lots of great skiing for beginners to more advanced. Amazing setting...think pony and cart rides... ace place!
Vallorcine is a tiny, unspoilt Savoyard village about 20km up the valley from Chamonix and Argentiere, and one of the few remaining 'secret' Alpine resorts. Great because it's easily reached from Geneva, you avoid the crowds of Chamonix, (which is near enough for fun in the evening if desired) but still within reach of Les Grands Montets and La Vallee Blanche.
There's a brand-new fast lift up to Le Tour, which gives great family skiing (reds and blues mainly), but with tricky off-piste for advanced skiers. When we first went there two seasons ago, we walked from our hotel 2km into the centre of the village and didn't pass a single soul on the way. At first it seemed a bit odd, but we soon realised we'd stumbled across a gem – empty, beautiful, with clear non-light-polluted skies at night, a couple of small restaurants and hotels and not much else. Perfect!
Skiing the Agui De Midi on the foot of Mont Blanc is possibly one of the best skiing/boarding experiences that any intermediate or advanced can accomplish.
At the foot of the lift that will bring you back down from this fantastic experience is the South Bar, which I recommend as the best après-ski in the area. The fact that it's a Swedish run bar means that it's full of attractive women and men and there is always quality live music. But best of all is sitting in the downstairs bar watching all the Scandinavians falling and making a fool of themselves whilst coming down the very steep stairs in their ski/board boots. We counted 6 in one hour, one evening. Great fun!
Bottom of the Agui di midi lift station. Go into the Cham Sud apartment area and it's next to Spar supermarket.
This is an olive oil shop and restaurant in the Old Town of Nice. The owner is one of the most enthusiastic we have ever met. We had no idea how much variety there could be in the taste of the oils and how much the different olive oils can bring out the taste of the food. My advocado starter was amazing and my new hubby also loved his goats cheese starter. I had lasagne and he had rabbit for the main course which were great too. And the tiramisu to polish it all all, fantastic. It's such a friendly place, but we would have never had gone if it hadn't been recommended to us by Matt and Gayle at Nice Pebbles who rented our apartment to us. If you're in Nice, you so must go to Olivieria. It's not to be missed.
Rue de Collet, Vieux Nice
Nice Pebbles rents out apartments to holidaymakers. Friendly, fantastic service and superb apartments. As it was our honeymoon there were flowers, champagne and chocolates for our arrival. We also had waffle robes. We stayed in Alexandre Mari, so incredibly special with views of all of Nice. The restaurants they recommended to us were also very very good, especially Oliviera on Rue de Collet in the Old Town.
My money saving idea - lunchtimes on the Alps can cost you between £8 and £25 per day! If you're on a budget ski holiday then make the most of your half-board chalet. 1. drag yourself down to breakfast. 2. add several extra slices of french bread, ham & cheese to your plate 3. create a selection of ham and cheese rolls 4. when no one is looking, take out your serviette and wrap around (discreetly) your freshly made rolls, and hide quickly in a pocket or bag... et voila, enjoy on an uncrowded rock, with a view of your choice... ALL FOR FREE!
Having had more than a few ski holidays with the major holiday companies I wanted something cheaper, and the only alternative I could find was to use the big companies to book self-catering accomodation. Then I discovered the French youth hostel website (FUAJ). Cheap accomodation and the most amazing food - and lots of it! One year I couldn't take a whole week off to go boarding so had a long weekend, something that is much harder to organise through the big companies, who tend to deal only in week-long packages.
I speak a little French while the friends I went with don't, but they didn't find it weird being in a hostel where everyone else was French. Yes, you have to organise your own transport but in my experience more and more people are doing this anyway.
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