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Where would you base a family with small children?

Australia
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Where would you base a family with small children?

Hi

we are an Australian family having afew months in France kicking of on the French Riviera on the 19 August for two weeks.

Our children will be almost 4 and 6 we are debating between:

Nice (central apartment, walk to shops, restaurants and beach)

Cap D'Ail (in a villa with ocean views and a pool.)

Villefranche-sur-Mer: (in an apartment walking distance to beach and restaurants)

Beaulieu-Sur-Mer (in an apartment walking to the beach etc)

Or somewhere else?

We are mainly wanting to eat, go to the beach, relax, swim, explore the area slowly and see if we would like to stay a month or more next year.

We are also debating on hiring a car or not, would each area make a difference to this?

Thanks

C

Edited: 6:31 pm, December 14, 2012
Vancouver, Canada
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1. Re: Where would you base a family with small children?

August is REALLY busy for the Cote d'Azur. Not only with international tourists, but many French nationals take their vacations in August and head to the beaches. So be prepared...

You have some real disparity...Villefranche is very small (7,000) and lovely. It would be very easy to manage with small kids although it certainly has it's share of hills. Something to note when choosing an aparrtment.

Nice is a small city (the 5th largest in France)...lots to do, but busy. You need to cross 8 lanes of traffic to get to the beach.

The villa on Cap d'Ail sounds good with the pool,. Any visits to the beach need to be a walk or transit on the Cote d'Azur in August. Parking is literally impossible.

A car is really a pain in the butt in the Cote d'Azur in August...take transit.

Beaulieu is also lovely. Have you thought of Antibes? It's big enough that there is lots to do...but not as big as Nice. I'd consider it...

David.

Louisville, Kentucky
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2. Re: Where would you base a family with small children?

I'm a mom of a thirty year old, but I can put myself in your place. I've traveled to the Cote d'Azur annually since 2000, and as a "been there, done that" mom of a (what was then) 4 and 6 year old, I like Cannes...and here's why:

1) The beach is sandy and big, and kids like that. Yes, it may be man made, but it works and IMO, it's the "softest" beach in the Riviera. There don't seem to issue with currents in Cannes as there are in some other resorts with deep shelving;

2) There are restaurants on the beach level and surrounding a park that faces the historic harbor. These are places where parents can let their kids "roam" a bit while enjoying parental "down" time. I've seen families do this in this part of Cannes, and I can't say it's common in ocean view settings in other part of the Cote D'Azur;

3) Iles des Lerins has "kids" written all over them, and here are links to how you can visit the islands by ferry:

http://www.trans-cote-azur.com/

abbayedelerins.com/cannesilesdelerins/…

One island is where you will find the fort where the "Man in the Iron Mask" was allegedly imprisoned and the other houses an abbey. Both are what I would describe a "eco settings" and kids can run; and

4) Transportation is an easy walk from most anywhere you stay in the area of Le Croisette, also known a "La Banane" (the Banana) because of its shape. This part of Cannes is relatively flat, and access to the train station and bus stalls is a convenient walk. Do a Google "Walking Maps" search from the places you are considering to the "Gare (and the address of a place you are considering). I agree with datthecoast that driving and parking along the coast may not be your favorite thing to do.

Look at this boutique hotel and see if you can find something that works. Villa d'Estelle has a pool, and that's a good thing with young children:

http://www.villadestelle.com/

I've seen a studio here, and it's a place we will choose when we return to the Cote d'Azur in retirement. Villa d'Estelle is in a good location, and you can have either a (sideways) ocean view or a view of the church courtyard where Napoleon (allegedly, again) spending his first night after returning from exile. Both are good.

This is me and what I would choose in your circumstances, but you will know what works best for your family.

Edited: 12:26 am, December 15, 2012
Antibes, France
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3. Re: Where would you base a family with small children?

I would respectfully suggest that the locations you mention are eminently suitable for any adult's dream holiday. But far less of interest to a 4 to 6 year old! I am afraid this may apply to much of the Riviera so you will have to compromise.

But, never fear, from personal experience my grandchildren have not found Antibes wanting in terms of playgrounds full of local kids, the little train that goes to Juan les Pins, access to Marineland Park , 3 beaches , sandy as well as pebbly , ( and all you pebble haters - they love playing with the pebbles. Not to mention about half dozen artisinal ice cream makers at last count. And 50 plus restaurants for the adults - all child friendly too.

If you locate yourself near the coastal rail line you won't need a car to get to Cannes, Nice, Villefranche, Monaco etc . Hire one if you want to visit the perched villages and more remote parts of the back country.

Ed

Melbourne, Australia
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4. Re: Where would you base a family with small children?

cottages4you.co.uk/cottages/cagnes-sur-mer-w… I stayed in this 2 bedroom apartment for 3 weeks. The second bedroom has two bunks - would they be suitable for your littlies? Anwyay have a look at the website - I still dream of this place. Cagnes-sur-Mer is just a marvellous place to stay. This apartment is in a gated community, with a big pool, opposite the sea. It's still a village. If I could rave about it for about an hour, I would and could. The beach is rocky and while lots of French littlies were paddling, I found getting out of the sea a bit difficult, so I stuck to our lovely big pool. I walked daily along the beach, which has lots of little cafes, boulangeries, etc. I had a car because I like to drive around and I could park near the compound's back gate. I'm not sure I would like to be getting buses and trains with 2 littlies, but then I've never tried it. If you rent a car, you would have to also hire littlies' seats, of course. I would think this would be easier cause if you go on a longish day trip, you could strap them in and they could sleep while you drive home. If you would like to see photos I can (hopefully) send them.

Australia
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5. Re: Where would you base a family with small children?

Thankyou all so much, we have contacted owners of apartments in Cannes and Antibes, so it depends on availability and choice between these. We will be there for the whole of September.

C

Vancouver, Canada
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6. Re: Where would you base a family with small children?

Carl....I think it is a good move to shift your visit from August to September....IMO you will enjoy it more!

Let us know what else we can do to help.

Manchester, United...
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7. Re: Where would you base a family with small children?

Do English families holiday there? Have only one 9 year old so a holiday without pals for him would be a nightmare!

8. Re: Where would you base a family with small children?

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