In praise of holiday villages

Vin QuatreMore by luck than judgement, this week we’ve ended up in a holiday village-type place in the Dordogne near Bergerac. I say this because, given the choice and with money no object, we’d probably generally choose something a bit more secluded. But then again, as we live in near-perfect isolation most of the year, having other people around now and again is a bit of a novelty.

And do you know what? It’s actually working out really well. Toby and Livi are now 11 and nearly 9, and since we’ve got here, they’ve teamed up with a little posse of other kids and we have barely seen them. It is shockingly hot here at the moment and yesterday afternoon I dragged us all out to see some chateau or other, basically because I thought it would probably have really thick walls and I could stand in a nice cool cellar for a while (it had and I did.) But Livi and Toby were just desperate to get back to their game of hide and seek I had so meanly interrupted.

Last week we were in Biarritz which was fabulous – so glitzy and different from the rural Ariege where I live. It’s always fun to go to the beach and I have to say I am missing our air-conditioned apartment dreadfully (did I mention it is hot?) but Livi and Toby were stuck with us all the time apart from the odd game of football on the beach with another kid or shared body board in the sea. It’s kind of nice that here they can be a bit more free-range. It reminds me a bit of my 70s childhood camping holidays where children roamed in packs while the adults smoked, wore flares and swapped wives (probably), except without the indignity of camping.

It was Bastille Day yesterday – a day on which France celebrates winning a battle against itself as one of my Facebook friends pointed out – so we went out for dinner at a gorgeous restaurant Vin Quatre in Bergerac old town (thanks to Sam Brick for the recommendation) and then watched the fireworks on the quay. Fabulous.

About catherinecooper

Journalist and author specialising in travel with children. I write for several national publications and am author of Travelling with Children: A Parent's Guide. You can see some of my articles at www.catherinecooper.net
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