Our French Holiday – Part One Chabanais

September 2, 2017

You may have already spotted on my Instagram that this year we spent a good part of our summer in France. This was our first holiday abroad with the boys and actually the longest time we’ve ever been away even before children. We decided to drive and went over on the ferry from Newhaven to Dieppe, we stayed a night in Dieppe before driving down to Charentes. The first week there we stayed with my mum and her partner and the second week we went out to camp on the coast. I’ll probably do a few posts about the things we got up to there, the drive and what it’s like camping with kids in France but I thought I’d share our video from the first week and a few photos too.

I was pretty nervous about the drive and the ferry but it was all fine, the boys did brilliantly with both and I wouldn’t let it put you off travelling to France or anywhere in Europe. We had plenty of snacks, magazines, colouring as well as travel sickness pills for me and the kids! It all went pretty smoothly really. The first night we stayed over in Dieppe as it’s a long drive down to Chabanais. We were booked into such a lovely hotel, Chambres d’hôtes Atypik and I would highly recommend it. The rooms were beautiful and we had such a nice welcome from Isabelle and Laurent despite our very broken French!

It was a long old drive down to my Mums but the Autoroute was brilliant to drive on. It was so nice to arrive and be greeted by my Mum running out the house to give us all a hug and the boys were so excited to see her. She welcomed us with cake and prosecco and we had a few chilled days in house and garden with a little explore of the town. Lots of lazy mornings, good food and lovely company was just what we needed to recover from the travelling. We went out to play petanque, I became obsessed with taking photos of French houses and we spent an evening wine tasting to discover the wine champion – my husband won in the end although I very nearly beat him! It was nice to just slow down and spend time together, even better to be with my Mum and my brother also joined us for the better part of the week.

While we were there we visited Rochechourt for the Night Market, Rochefoucauld Chateau, Oradour-sur-glane and we spent a glorious day at a lake where we couldn’t drag the boys out of the water. I have quite a few more photos so will possibly share them in other posts. Everywhere you go is full of history with old chateaus, churches and cobbled streets. The people were so welcoming and even tolerated our terrible attempts to speak French. It’s so family friendly and wherever you go children are welcomed and even expected. I loved being able to show our boys somewhere new and they absorbed it all happily – the French way of life definitely suited them with all the time outdoors, the warm weather, spotting lizards and insects and a bedtime way, way past what they’re used to! 

The last few days were so amazingly hot that we let the boys spend the days in the paddling pool and we had a relaxed BBQ on a sunny evening, the best way to end our first week in France before heading of camping in Fouras. There are so many little moments we’ll always remember and I hope the boys will always have some fantastic memories of their first big holiday.

Check out our Youtube video of the first week of our French holiday.

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  • Karen (Stopping At Two)

    It sounds so wonderful. We have driven to Paris but that was before kids. The length of that kind of journey with the girls does worry me. It’s reassuring to see that the boys coped with the journey. All your photos are wonderful and I can’t wait to read more about your holiday x

    September 2, 2017 at 8:51 pm Reply
    • hayleyfromhome

      Going there was much better than coming back and honestly driving in France is the easy bit! I think I maybe should have given the kids more credit, I was so nervous about it but they were amazing xx

      September 14, 2017 at 10:39 am Reply
  • Notmyyearoff

    Ah it looks SO good and I love your video. Your mums garden looks humoungous and that chateau is just so French and magical. I would never think of France as a v kiddie friendly place but it looks like you all really loved it!

    September 3, 2017 at 11:46 am Reply
    • hayleyfromhome

      I think it’s similar to most of Europe, they just accept kids everywhere, whatever you’re doing! They seem so much more relaxed about that than we are, they are big on families! We did love it!

      September 14, 2017 at 10:40 am Reply
  • Vick Bruce

    Looks like all the Smiths had an amazing time in France. It must have been lovely enjoying the long Summer evenings with your Mum & the boys. You certainly had fantastic weather, I bet the boys are wondering what this awful British weather is after all that glorious French sunshine.

    September 3, 2017 at 1:15 pm Reply
    • hayleyfromhome

      It was a bit of a shock to come home, we were so used to being in summer clothes and not having to take coats everywhere! We absolutely loved it 🙂

      September 14, 2017 at 10:42 am Reply
  • Gail

    Your holiday looks fab Hayley and what amazing weather! Love the little video too, it looks like you had a lovely family time xx

    September 5, 2017 at 5:51 pm Reply
  • Tracey Williams

    It must have been amazing to spend so much time away this summer, and to also catch up with your mum. Love your video capturing all the memories of the boys xx

    September 8, 2017 at 7:16 pm Reply
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