For those that have never explored this amazingly varied coastline... you'll never forget that moment that you crest the hills that line the Med... to be met with that dazzlingly alluring blue of the Mediterranean Sea.... so even after seeing it numerous times across our Year in Europe (350+ days and counting in our trusty Adria motorhome...) we're still in awe!
For those that are familiar with places such as St Tropez or Cannes... you'll know the glitz and glamour that goes with these destinations... but push on a little outside of these areas and you'll turn up 'gems' such as Frejus or Théoule sur Mer.... these off the 'beaten tracks' destinations also have the added benefit of the truly stunning backdrop of the 'Fôret Dominale de l'Estérel' but offer almost deserted 'coves and bays' that provide the perfect opportunity to grab another family adventure... snorkelling!
With the need to push on due to our intention to circumnavigate France... we've descended south into both the Aude region of France and then into the Arles region to see the famed Carmargue region..
Having left the Dordogne following a fantastic family experience on the Dordogne River, we've headed the 3hrs or so south towards Carcassonne... a settlement since pre-Roman times, its been around since the Neolithic Period..... a fortified settlement surrounded by fertile vineyards, a site so important to both the Romans (for its strategic importance) and UNESCO (for its continuing world heritage status)
Having left Carcassonne with both girls still reeling in awe... we've decided to try and blow their minds in this most natural of environments...the Camargue (an area of over 360 sq miles)... jam packed full of marshy fields followed by mimosa tree lined roads between fields of black bulls.... not to mention the pink flamingos and wild horses.... so all the perfect ingredients for our girls!!!
Sarlat is famed for its foodie reputation & being the capital of the Perigord Noir... one of the famous Perigord regions mentioned in our blog post from our visit in August... But we've never set foot in Sarlat until now... venturing into places such as La Roque Gageac.. Yet this veritable treasure chest for foodies is one that instantly captured all of our hearts.... and stomachs!
With our travels across Europe allowing us the opportunity to compare and contrast some amazing places.... from the Dalmatian Coastline in Croatia to the very heart of Spain in Andalusia.. we'd rank Ile de Re pretty high alongside these amazing destinations...
Maybe its the miles of endless family friendly cycle paths or the smell of fresh fruit from the morning markets in each of the 10 idyllic villages... villages that dramatically alter across the island offering endless afternoons of exploring... just perfect for young children!
In the 344 days on our European road trip so far, we've tried to find new interesting opportunities to both challenge, inspire and educate our children.... Searching for novel ways to learn topics that can sometimes feel staid and boring in a classroom... So where better to learn than in the greatest outdoor classroom of them all... this time learning about ecosystems, environmental geography and learning a new skill that challenged us all - SUP paddle boarding!!
Ever fancied educating your kids whilst journeying around Europe... well we've taken the plunge and enjoyed every minute...with experiences like this (on Ile de Re) making all the difference!!
Normandy D-Day Landings - Juno Beach Centre provides a thought provoking but family friendly experience!
Turning left at Calais, we opted to visit the captivating city of Bruges on the day it celebrates its liberation towards the end of the second world war. The liberation on the 12th of September in 1944 is now celebrated by almost every house flying Bruges's iconic flag (red and white stripes with a blue dragon)
However Bruges' history goes much further back than 1944 with a past of riches and woes to match any city in Europe!!
Having visited Ypres with the fantastic Salient Tours in April, we were always going to return to Ypres... but this time with grandparents accompanying both girls. It was their first visit to the powerful reminders of the sacrifices of so many people during the Great War... a very moving day as we toured the Menin Gate, Tyne Cot Cemetery and In Flanders Field Museum..
With time to spare we've headed northwards towards North Yorkshire and Northumberland on the NE coast to grab some time on our second favourite coastline in the UK (behind Holkham in Norfolk)
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