Our family holiday in Normandy at La Mare Chappey

Last May half term I went to La Mare Chappey in Normandy with my family, hubby and two kids. The area is beautiful and I highly recommend you think about Normandy for your next family holiday, the beaches are lovely and there is so much history to explore, there really is something for everyone. Here’s a little insight to how we got on… Mel x

 

Intro

We had a wonderful week in Normandy for May Half Term 2018. We left home Friday afternoon & drove via the Euro tunnel & arrived at La Mare Chappey late in the evening. Even though we were arriving late, Audrey was around to greet us which was lovely. We awoke to beautiful views of countryside & pretty stone barns the following morning.

La Mare Chappey is perfectly situated to give you the best of the countryside and coast. Located close to a small village in the unspoilt & tranquil Normandy countryside and only 25 minutes to some wonderful beaches.

Accommodation

There are four child-friendly holiday cottages and an apartment within the complex. We stayed in a 2-bedroom cottage (Bumpkin) which was a good size. Every cottage has Wi-Fi, sky TV, DVD player, heating & toys. The kitchen was well equipped including a dishwasher and coffee machine and included on our arrival were the breakfast essentials of bread, milk & cheese, which meant we didn’t have to dash to the supermarket 😊

The cottage is a converted barn and so the bedrooms had high vaulted ceilings. The second bedroom (twin room) was large enough to accommodate 2 cots. There were also 2 bathrooms. The downstairs was open plan with doors leading onto the patio, which had a great view of the gardens, play equipment & pool. The patio had a BBQ, table & chairs and a sun canopy.

There is a separate laundry room which can be used at anytime and is free of charge.

Bistro & bar on site – food can be chosen & ordered in advance from a menu that is emailed to guests. There is a weekly BBQ in the Bistro which is a great way to meet other families.

Grounds

The grounds are really well maintained by Geoff. The cottages sit around a central courtyard, which has a lovely water fountain with tables & chairs to sit and relax. The buildings are made from traditional stone and are very pretty. There is a large lawn area for ball games, plus another area with lots of play equipment, also a hot tub and the swimming pool.

Play

There is loads within the complex to keep the kids busy. The pool was wonderful, fenced off with plenty of chairs, sunbeds & umbrellas and really warm (heated to 28). We swam every day. There are swings, slides, a Wendy house, large trampoline, basketball net, football net and lots of space to generally run around and play outdoor games. The indoor play room was also very well equipped and my two enjoyed the table football and air hockey.

The bouncy castle was put up every afternoon/early evening. The grounds were very safe & secure, we were able to sit on our patio and watch the kids play.

Personal favs further affield

We all loved Carteret Beach, miles and miles of soft sand with lovely warm turquoise sea.

We walked & paddled for hours, there is a café & ice cream kiosk on the beach – the adults were able to have a beer while the kids had an ice cream, perfect 😊

The light house at Barneville – Carteret was good fun to climb and the view was amazing.

Out and about

Briquebec Market on a Monday – beautiful French village with cobbled streets.

Sainte -Mere-Eglise and the Airbourne Museum.

City de la Mer in Cherbourg – great museum with a deep aquarium (deepest in Europe!), La Redoutable – a huge nuclear submarine which you can explore and the baggage hall for the Titanic in the original huge art deco transatlantic liner terminal.

Food

We had fab weather & BBQ’d in our garden every day 😊

Basse Normandie – Lower Normandy

Lower Normandy

Lower Normandy

It might only be a hop across the channel but Lower Normandy offers a wonderful destination for families seeking an authentic French escape: rolling fields, picture-postcard views, gorgeous traditional child-friendly cottages and miles and miles of empty golden sands makes it the perfect location for a break all year-round.

If you think a French holiday is just too much travelling for a young family to cope with think again. Long gone are the ferries of your youth and the school French exchange – today’s boats are like cruise ships and your holiday starts the moment you step aboard. There are lots of cruise companies now giving you ample choice. I know lots of people use Brittany Ferries and love travelling by boat, apparently you can choose from soft play areas to on-board magicians, cinemas and silver-service restaurants to keep the whole family entertained. And once you land you can be unpacking your suitcase within a half-hour of disembarking – no time for the kids to get bored in the back or need to stop for a loo break.  It’s easy to stick to sleep and feeding routines and everyone arrives feeling relaxed and ready to go. Or why not explore on a train – Euro Star, or even fly (London City Fly to Deauville is one option but there are others – visit Normandy Tourism – how to get there page

Lower Normandy is a wonderful combination of coast and countryside. From chic resorts like Deauville to traditional small coastal towns you can experience glity Parisian glamour or low-key authenticly French escapes. Feast in Michelin-starred restaurants or munch on moules-frites at a beach-side bistro, Lower Normandy is renowned for its gastronomic delights and artisanal cooking.

The weather in Lower Normandy is similar to that of the UK although often a few degrees warmer and somewhat drier. Summers are pleasant and you can avoid the searing heat of the south or mid regions where being outside in the afternoon is often impossible. The road network is also fantastically efficient and you can escape the huge traffic jams that build up all around the southern half of the country throughout the summer.

Arrmanches Beaches

Arrmanches Beaches

So once you are there what to do? Hitting one of the many beaches is obviously a must and this can be done year round. Bundle up in the autumn and enjoy a bracing stroll or sandcastle-building competition without having to chase the kids around with sunblock. Or relax in the un-crowded sunshine even at the height of the summer season. The beaches are safe, clean and well-managed and you can nearly always park very nearby for free. In summer there are several lidos and inflatables are often installed on the beach along with pony rides and go-karting.

circuit-vert-image-accueil

Rhino at Cerza Zoo

All kids will particularly love Festyland a theme park that has plenty of rides for little ones as well as a few for adventurous parents. Cerza Zoo is a world class safari park where you can admire the animals from the safety of a little train and feed the animals in the petting park.

Other ideas of things to do are:

Lots of farmer’s markets

Cider route – through the orchards and you can pick up cider made on the premises and Calvados – the local apple brandy.

Bayeux – beautiful city and home to the Bayeux Tapestry.

Chateau de Vendeuvre  with its Magic Water Garden – beautiful gardens with secret water jets that are activated as you pass by.

Chateau de Falaise – a wonderful castle for all budding knights and princesses to explore.