From bivouac-ing to bread-making….there’s something for everyone on a family activity break in France


Brave enough for whitewater canoeing through a spectacular gorge and abseiling under a plunging waterfall? If not, how about gentler pursuits such as bread-making, cider-tasting and sunset beach walks?

Whether you’re seeking high-adrenaline thrills or a more relaxed holiday, a new family activity holiday company aims to offer something for everyone from tots to teens – and their parents.

Three action-packed summer holidays based in different regions of France are available from Family Adventure Holidays (01273-803030; Prices (excluding travel) start at just £295 per adult and £245 per child for seven nights’ full board with all activities.

Families can choose between a fun-packed, all-inclusive holiday based at a chateau in Normandy; a high-octane watersports holiday on the Mediterranean coast; or a week’s adventure in the Ardeche where the highlight is the thrilling descent of the Ardeche gorge by canoe.  All activities are led by professionally-qualified English-speaking instructors and holidays also include outings and evening entertainment with camp fires, quizzes and barbecues. Nothing is compulsory and there is a flexible choice of activities and accommodation, with the emphasis on making friends and having fun together.

Available through the summer – from July 19 to September 13 – the three holidays represent the first dedicated family programme from the Sussex-based, ABTA-bonded team behind Family Adventure Holidays who have been successfully arranging activity trips for school groups for more than 20 years.

For families with younger children, the Normandy Adventure Holiday is a great-value, all-inclusive week based at a 200-year-old chateau near Avranches and the coast. Included are more than 20 activities for all ages – from canoeing and climbing to biking and bread-making – plus accommodation, all meals and drinks. Activities are tailored to different age groups, with pursuits such as clay pigeon-shooting and cider-tasting for parents. Prices start at £295* per adult and child aged 16 and over, and £245 per child aged 6-15, with under-6s free from August 30-September 13. Prices for the remainder of the summer are £345 per adult and child aged 16 and over, £295 per child aged 6-15, and £95 for 2-5s. Accommodation is in ensuite family rooms.

*Early-booking offer! Book by the end of January to receive a 15% discount on all dates, reducing the lead-in price to just £250 per adult and £208 per child for an all-inclusive week.

Based at a four-star family-run campsite at Argeles sur Mer on the Mediterranean coast, the French Mediterranean Watersports holiday features windsurfing, sailing, kayaking, whitewater rafting, canyoning, snorkelling and paddle-boarding. Back on dry land there are beach activities, plus mountain treks and wine tours for the grown-ups. Accommodation is self-catering in mobile homes, with barbecues and packed lunches provided on some days. Prices remain the same throughout the summer, with a week costing £496 for adults, £386 for children aged 8-15 (under-eights are welcome but cannot participate in activities).

For real adrenaline-junkies the Ardeche Adventure for families with children aged eight years and over promises a thrilling two-day whitewater canoe descent of the Ardeche gorge, with an overnight bivouac in the heart of the gorge. Also on the activity menu are kayaking, climbing, abseiling, weaselling in the limestone cliffs, and a high ropes course among the pine forests of Villefort.

Accommodation is self-catering in mobile homes on a three-star campsite set among vineyards in the low mountains of the Cervenne, near Lablachere. A barbecue and breakfast is provided on the bivouac night. Price is £438 per week for adults and children, apart from the last week, beginning September 6, when it drops to £398.

Prices do not include travel.

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