The more unusual a hotel, the more fun for kids and Europe – particularly France – is fertile hunting ground for novel and often quite insane places to stay.
French châteaux don’t come much more atmospheric than this property sleeping up to 10 in the Pas-de-Calais, a short drive from the northern ferry ports of France. Focal points include an open fireplace and vast floor-to-ceiling windows in the double-height main living room; a mezzanine dining room with a long table like something out of a movie set; and a pool table and library. In summer you can dine on the terrace in front of the château, or enjoy a picnic in the five acres of gardens, which include a small lake.
Bring the kids to stay at one of these three wild and very cheesy apartments in the flea-market district La Porte de Clignancourt, Paris. In Le Loft (for up to 5), kids can sleep in a Citroen 2CV; Le Studio (for 3) takes the moon as inspiration and is largely silver; L’Appart (up to 5) has rooms so blindingly pink you’ll need to sleep in sunglasses, plus a Haribo boy full of sweets.
This delightful clock tower sleeping 4 (children must be 12+), located not far north of Angers in the Pays de la Loire, is part of an imposing château but has its own entrance and small garden as well as access to (and views over) the castle parkland. Some of the Loire Valley’s other châteaux are within easy reach.
Moulin de la Salmonière
Sleeping 15-22, this restored watermill in the Morbihan region of southern Brittany comes complete with a turning mill wheel. There’s an indoor pool, sauna and billiards room, and the large grounds include lawns, two small lakes and a stream with private fishing. Family-friendly sandy beaches and resorts are within a 25min drive.
Le Prince NoirThis wonderful and utterly unique cave-like former artist’s dwelling in Les Baux de Provence in the South of France offers B&B in three rooms for up to 5. The views over the ruined medieval castle and surrounds define the word ‘breathtaking’.
Les Alicourt Resort Treehouses
There is something wonderful about waking up (and going to sleep) in a tree house and these ones in the Loire Valley are very special. Situated in 30 acres of prime forest, which is part of a larger 60 hectare top-rate resort, these tree houses are beautifully made and very peaceful (except for the squealing of excited children) you are provided with candles and torches and breakfast is hauled up by rope. Tree houses sleep from 2-6
Themed around the writings of Jules Verne, this lovely, but barmy apartment in Nantes has rooms based on souvenirs from his imaginary journeys. The main bedroom is a packing case, there are magic mirrors and trick ladders and all sorts of amusing things to intrigue and delight the kids. Other Jules Verne inspired apartments also available…
Airstream Europe Retro Airstream Park
In the foothills of the Pyrenees, two retired circus folk have set up a wonderful, whimsical retro retreat with ten beautiful Airstream trailers and acres of space to enjoy this very special camping spot. Each Airstream has its own garden attached and comes fully equipped with genuine (but updated) fittings. Glamping done perfectly.
- Many more reasons to holiday in the Loire Valley France (frenchdreamcottages.com)
- A Glimpse of Castles in the Loire Valley (ramonamarshall49.wordpress.com)
- Châteaux in the Loire Valley (ournomadiclife.com)
- Vacances de Toussaint (jjfrance.wordpress.com)
- France’s Top 10 Châteaux in Loire Valley (closetoeighty.wordpress.com)
- 7 Unique Family Accommodations Around the World (alloverthemap.net)
- Hotels Vs Luxury Villas (luxurytravelfair.wordpress.com)