Last updated: 09:00 AM ET, Fri October 02 2015

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  • Sam Schuler | October 2, 2015 9:00 AM ET

    5 Popular Family-Friendly Destinations in France

    5 Popular Family-Friendly Destinations in France

    Planning a vacation that’s relaxing, family-friendly, and international can seem like the ultimate hat trick. Fortunately, France’s world-class hospitality industry makes holidays simple for travelers of all ages, from the classical beauty of Paris to the rugged southern countryside.


    Paris is such a developed tourist destination that it’s hard to get culture shock, making it an ideal first trip overseas for young travelers. Even small children will recognize the Eiffel Tower and enjoy seeing it up close. Thanks to "The Hunchback of Notre Dame," Paris’ most beloved cathedral will also pique the kids’ interest. Breaking out the indoor voices and exploring the chapel while imagining which corners Quasimodo might be found in, is a surefire way of keeping young minds entertained during sightseeing. As an added bonus, children under 18 get free admission. Parents can continue keeping costs down with free kids’ admission at the Musee d’Orsay and the Louvre. If anybody senses suffering morale, there’s always a patisserie just around the corner with delectable sweet treats.

    Loire Valley

    Got a Disney Princess fan? Head just south of Paris to the Loire Valley, home to France’s most famous chateaux. Tours makes a phenomenal basecamp for exploring the region, and Auto Europe makes arranging a car rental in France convenient and affordable. Chateau de Chambord is just one of the fairy tale-worthy sites nearby that will keep the whole family enchanted for hours. The Renaissance castle’s famous double helix staircase is said to have been designed by Leonardo da Vinci – a name sure to be familiar to even the youngest art fans.


    What elementary school art class doesn’t admire the works of Vincent Van Gogh? A tour of Provence will escort families along the 19th century painter’s footsteps. Van Gogh’s famous residency in Arles makes it a natural starting point, and if you’re hoping to maximize your time, consider booking a one way car rental – the perfect way to open up the rest of this delightfully rustic region to family exploration. Historic Avignon and the pebble beaches along the Cote d’Azur are both nearby.


    What says family fun more than a summer road trip? Piling the kids in a rental car from Auto Europe can help the fam get off the beaten path and into the heart of the French countryside. Highlights of a journey through the southern region of Aveyron include charming medieval villages like Conques and the Millau Viaduct, one of the world’s tallest bridges. When everybody’s tired of driving, renting a kayak or canoe to paddle down the River Tarn makes for a fun, active afternoon.


    Skiing in the Alps might sound a touch too cosmopolitan for the average diaper-bag-toting crowd, but places like Hotel Les Grands Montets do their darnedest to keep the whole family smiling. This particular mountain lodge features a kids’ game room, plus a close proximity to both the slopes and the village, replete with dining and shopping for all ages. Between open, safe spaces and the atmosphere’s cool factor, it’s got everybody covered from tots to teens.

    Wherever you plan to travel during the coming year, consider France: a country which offers families the perfect balance of history, culture and fun!

    Danielle Bricker contributed to this story.


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Sam Schuler Europe by Car

Sam Schuler Sam Schuler is a travel writer, photographer, graphic artist and a member of Auto Europe's marketing team in Portland, Maine. An Oregon native, Sam has enjoyed trips to France, Italy, Bermuda, and Mexico on multiple occasions. Sam continues to draw creative inspiration from his travels, documenting many of them in a variety of mediums, including travel blog writing and photographic exposes.
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