I’m so looking forward to our annual family hols this summer. We are travelling back to the Lot et Garonne region of south west France; one of our favourite destinations.
We are going back to what I consider to be one of the most perfect campsites we’ve ever been to, not because it has lots of activities , or an amazing restaurant , or entertainments - for precisely the opposite reason! It is small, friendly, and beautiful.
It’s called La Parenthese les ormes and it is my children favourite place on the planet! The campsite is in the trees, in the bowl of a valley. The communal spaces are all very stylish with painted wooden furniture in driftwood tones and the bar and restaurant have big communal tables serving simple and delicious food. The kids love it because they always make masses of friends and have total freedom to potter around on their bikes. if Boden did camping I think it would be like this!
There is a market each day, in one or other of the Bastide towns which pepper this region. We pootle off in the morning to the market, select something fresh and delicious to eat for the day, pick up some local wine, stop for a coffee and maybe a pastry and then come back to the campsite and relax for the rest of the day lying in the hammock and reading or swimming.
There are also lots of vide greniers (car boot/ brocante type things) where you can sometimes pick up a bargain - I’m still annoyed with myself that I didn’t bring back the 2 lovely big white soup tureens I found last time ! i’ve added a little link here , so that if you are off to France in the summer, you can search vide greniers by area.
In the evenings the Bastide towns come alive again with the lovely Marche Nocturnes, where local farmers come and set up in the square and cook local specialities such as duck, and vineyards set up stands selling their wine. It took me a few attempts to work out that the French families all take their cutlery, crockery and wine glasses with them! So now we join in and sit at long communal tables chattering to French families, Dutch families and English families, while the children dance along to whichever band is providing the evening entertainment!
More often than not we will head to the beach for a few days on our way home, and our favourite destination for this is Ile de Re. it has lovely clean beaches and you can cycle everywhere. The food is pretty great too - especially if you are a seafood lover! Oysters, moules frites and chilled white wine! Ile de Re is a design lovers dream, because everywhere you go you will see pretty white houses with soft pastel chalky coloured shutters, and masses of hollyhocks everywhere .
I love my garden here in Gloucestershire and love visiting other gardens at home and abroad, my favourites in France that we have visited are the amazing gardens at Villandry, in the Loire valley, Monet’s Garden at Giverney (My top tip for this one, would be too book advance on line , we queued for hours to get in and had very annoyed kids by the time we got in). Also, the gorgeous gardens of Marqueyssac in the Dordogne .
Wherever you head off to on your travels this summer, whether it is home or abroad enjoy it!
You can follow our travels on Instagram here .