With 4 boys and a disabled daughter finding holidays that suited our budget and the wide range of kids needs we spent a lot of time in France for our holidays, usually in Brittany taking an overnight ferry from Portsmouth on a Friday night so we could sleep on the journey, arriving in San Malo with a short car trip to reach our Gite for a week. As our daughter doesn't travel well, doesn't particularly like the beach and wanting to take the boys away for longer and to enable them to have some quality time with us, we opted not to take her on this trip and travelled further a field to spend 2 weeks in Andernos Les Bains in the Bay of Arcachon.
We rented a 3 bed self catering chalet and loaded the car with the bikes and 4 excited boys
aged 5, 9, 12 & 15
11 years on we only have fond and happy memories of this holiday and it is one that the boys talk about often, however for me as I look at the photos I remember the arguing in the car, the fighting over who wasn't sharing a room with whom, the hours spent looking for a child who has stropped off and the afternoon spent at the police station when the 15 year repeatedly splashed a small child by running through the water despite us and the child's dad asking him to play elsewhere until eventually the dad hit him as he ran past for the 100th time.
There was plenty of beach time as well as bike rides round the local area and the kids were dispatched every morning to the local bakery to purchase fresh breads for breakfast.
We had picnics in the day and in the evenings hubby and I took it in turns to prepare dinner while the other supervised the kids at the pool.
One evening whilst I was preparing dinner, hubby took the 3 older boys for a walk and left the youngest with me playing outside.
5yo: Mummy I'm duck
Me: You're a duck 'quack quack'
5yo: No mummy I'm really duck
Me: Yes I know 'quack quack'
5yo: Mummy I'm duck, you know I can't say my S's
Me: Removes child's stuck head from A frame of bench
There were many trips exploring the local area and while hubby took the 3 older boys to the Great Dune of Pyla at 3km long, 500m wide and 100m high, the tallest of it's kind in Europe, to run and slide up and down, I spent the afternoon with the youngest at the local zoo.
We found a local fun fair one evening where the boys spent most of their pocket money.
A day trip into Bordeaux
An afternoon and evening in St Emilion and the boys loved the cellar tours.
Hubby and the older boys spent a morning at Bisc'Aventure for fun in the tree tops and zip wires
And we all spent a day at AquaPark Biscarrosse
My favourite photo of the holiday and in fact probably my favourite photo of our youngest was taken on the beach at Biscarrosse, the waves were pretty fierce and the youngest kept walking up to the shore line then running away squealing as the waves approached him.
This turned out to be our last family holiday in France as the following years we went further a field, to Turkey, Tunisia and America.