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Wednesday 27 April 2016

Languedoc Kids - Top 10 things to do

Thinking of a holiday in Languedoc-Roussillon, South of France with children? 

Languedc family villa holiday

The Languedoc-Roussillon area of France is a great place for family summer holidays. There are plenty of family friendly activities that will entice children away from computer games! Holidays are also about making memories, and what better way to remember your South of France holiday than, canoeing, zip wiring or having fun at the water park!

Here is South France Villas Top 10 list of things to do that kids (and adults!) will love.
Many of these activities are available all year round, and the indoor fun can be a respite from the warm South of France sunshine!

1.    Sigean African safari park-  This safari park is open 365 days of the year and has more than 3500 animals and is spread over 300 hectares, the park is committed to giving the animals a natural environment and to conserve threatened species.  Think of any animal and you will most likely see one  at this park, Cheetahs, Chimpanzee’s, Elephants, Lions and Bears to name but a few.
Part of the park is only accessible by a tour guide and it really is worth the extra cost, as you get to see so much more. 

2.     Acrobranching – A great way for children to get some exercise (and parents!)  Set in spacious woodlands, the courses are at various levels depending upon the age and experience of the child, even 3 or 4  year olds can now have a go! In the summer months they are open late into the evening. Try Beziers aventure and Azimut-aventure (near one of our villas at Portiragnes).

Languedoc Childrens activities   3. Waterparks - Enjoy a day out at one of the many water parks in Languedoc, Aqua-Land have parks in Cap d’Agde, Port Leucate which is near Narbonne, Saint Cyprien (handy if you are staying in one of our Collioure villas), there are lots of slides, wave machines, shops, restaurants, and many allow you to bring your own picnic (make sure you only have plastic bottles though).  
If you are visiting off season, this indoorwater centre in Grau d’agde is open all year round. There is a wonderful little children’s area with a small slide and fun water jets, a pool with massaging bubble chairs, Jacuzzi, 2 large slides, and for the serious swimmers there is a pool dedicated to lengths.**Many of the French water parks do not allow swimming shorts for boys and men, they must be speedos or the tighter fitting shorts.

4.     Beaches – Young children may be happy to play with their buckets and spades, however older ones may wish to have a go on the banana boat, or persuade someone to take them out on a Pedalo!  All the large Languedoc Beach resorts have water sports, beach bars, private beaches and restaurants during the summer months, Vias, Valras, Portiragnes, Leucante, Narbonne, Argeles sur Mer…

Languedoc children friendly
5.    Aquariums - Another activity suitable all year which does not rely in the weather.  There are 2 good aquariums in the Languedoc, one is Montpellier Aquarium, this is the largest in the area and has over 400 species of marine life including sharks, daily events including the staging of storms and hurricanes take place. The Cap d’Agde Aquarium is smaller but worth a visit if you are in the area. You could also go on a short boat trip from the port, there are plenty to choose from. Children will love the ice cream parlours along the port so many flavours to choose from!

6.    Underground Caves and St Guilhem le Désert – The Clamouse Caves offer a welcome break from the South of France sunshine! Spectacular caves with amazing stalactites and stalagmites, tunnels, although not recommended if you are claustrophobic! Children are fascinated as it is really is a unique experience.
St Guilhem itself is one of the busiest tourist attractions in the Herault area of Languedoc, check out the old tree in front of the church and ask your children to see if they can guess how old it is. The UNESCO registered Pont du Diable (translated means Devil’s bridge) is nearby, here you can swim in the river so why not take a picnic, if you are feeling sporty then you could hire a canoe. You will be pleased to know jumping off the bridge has at last been banned!

Languedoc water sports     7. Canoeing - Just 40 minutes inland from the South of France beaches, you can be in the Herault National Park, there are canoe stations in Roquebrun (one of the prettiest villages in Languedoc) and Cessenon sur Orb (Base Reals). Choose from 5km to 32 km depending on your level.  A choice of one or two seater canoes are available, safety equipment is provided, a helmet is not compulsory however it is recommended and are available free of charge.  There are no time restrictions so stop on the way and have a swim in the river or take a picnic (waterproof containers provided). Water and sunscreen are a must too.

8.     Horse-Riding - There are lots of places near to the beaches that have Horse Riding, especially Serignan. It is advisable to book in advance during July and August. Petit Sam Ranch has a good choice of horses and ponies, you can book a trek for an hour, or 2, with a guide and children are allowed from aged 9. For younger children there are pony rides available. During the summer the sand is too hot for the horses, so you will not be riding on the beach or into the sea!

Languedoc holiday with kids
9.     Go-Karting- Our favourite Go-Karting place is Caussiniojouls , 20 minutes north of Beziers, this course really is amazing one of the best we have seen, the staff take safety very seriously. The children’s go-karts are speed restricted and can also be remotely controlled.  For younger children there are 2 place go-karts so they can ride with an adult.  The track alternates between a session for Children and then one for Adults, therefore you do not need to worry about the children racing with fast adults. There is a snack bar, for drinks and Pizza’s, and next door there is a full restaurant

10.  Dinosaur Land – The largest park dedicated to Dinosaurs in Europe. Situated near to Meze and not too far from Pezenas, the park is great for young children especially if they have been learning about Dinosaurs at school.   There is a picnic area and a café onsite and souvenir shop.

We have a great collection of family holiday villas to rent in the Languedoc area of Southern France, if you are fed up with trawling through websites looking for the right villa, why not give us a call and let us plan your holiday as you would plan your own!

Languedoc beach holidayLanguedoc villa holiday

Tuesday 5 April 2016

Marrakech, Morocco.

Marrakech has recently been voted 3rd place in Trip Advisor's Top 25 destinations to visit in the world. Morocco really does offer something for everybody, Authenticity, Culture, Sunshine, Architecture, Shopping, Relaxation, Beaches, Mountains, Walking, Gastronomy…

Marrakech is now easily accessible and offers excellent value for money. Many of the low cost airlines are flying here from local airports around the UK and Europe. Easy-Jet have flights from just over £100 return from Gatwick in April 2016. With a flight time of around 3 and a half hours one could even fly to Morocco for a long weekend.

Luxury riad marrakech
Marrakech holiday villa
Holiday villas or Riads as they are called in Morocco offer the best experience for a trip to Marrakech. The majority of riads come with their own housekeeper included in the cost, a truly great way of experiencing traditional and authentic Moroccan food, freshly prepared for you after a day exploring or relaxing by the pool.  One may think it is a little extravagant having your own housekeeper, however it need not be expensive as you can rent a Moroccan villa from just over 1500 Euros per week and it can sleep 8 people!

Luxury Moroccan Villa

If you are thinking of renting a villa or riad in Morocco, you could choose to be near to the Medina (central Marrakech) on a development with a shared pool, or an exclusive, luxury designer villa, South France Villas has one that sleeps 10 people in the most beautiful suites, has an indoor/outdoor pool, own housekeeper, car included and costs only 500 euro each for a week!  Modern, Traditional we can find you the right holiday villa.

Moroccan villa break
Moroccan breakast served in your villa
Modern Morocco has been heavily influenced by 
European visitors, luxury boutiques, modern trendy restaurants and bars can now to found amongst the traditional Moroccan cafés. Here you can see the elders chatting, playing cards and smoking whilst drinking a strong coffee or a mint tea.  

On your last day sit outside the Café Poste and take a moment to relive your favourite memories of your stay in Marrakech.

Marrakech by night
On holiday in Marrakech one must visit the 
souks (enormous market) on arriving at the huge square you will find official guides who will show you around for a small cost, otherwise it is extremely likely that you will get lost, and hold your children's hand as many of the stalls look the same so it is not easy to find your way around, very good fun though as it is almost like being in a maze! The guides will take you to their friends stalls, but do always check the stalls next door, and you must haggle every time as they really do expect you to. Leather goods, kaftans, jewellery and of course a magic carpet are all excellent buys. Be prepared to sit down and drink some mint tea with the shop keeper and let them practice their English. The food market is not for the faint hearted with live chickens etc for sale.

marrakech holiday
Marjolle Gardens
A visit to the Jardin Marjolle should also be added to your agenda, It is one of the most visited places in Morocco. Yves Saint Laurent and his life partner Pierre Bergé bought the gardens and the villa in 1980 to save them from being sold and turned into a hotel. The gardens were transformed and they decided to move to Morocco and lived in the villa. Following Yves’s passing his ashes were scattered in the rose garden and a memorial was built in his honour. The exotic gardens cover over 2 acres, with ponds, streams and fountains that create a haven of serenity.

Atlas mountains marrakech
Walking in the Atlas mountains

The Atlas Mountains offer an escape from the heat should you be visiting Marrakech in the summer months, the scenery is breath-taking. If you don’t fancy driving there are plenty of excursions or your housekeeper will be able to arrange a driver for you. Many of the riads include a car or a driver and they can collect you from the airport so you don't have to worry about finding your way around when you first arrive in Marrakech.

The South France Villas' team have visited Marrakech, so please do not hesitate to contact us for any further information on renting a villa in Morocco, and let us plan your holiday as you would plan your own.

Authentic Marrakech
Not recommended!
marrakesh luxury villa
Super luxury villa in Marrakech

Marrakesh villa holiday
One of the food stalls