Summer in the Loire

Buy end of term teacher’s gifts.  Check

Attend speech day for J.   Check

Attend speech day for E.  Check

Read end of term report for J.  Check

Attend parent’s evening for E.  Check

Stare at contents of J’s school bedroom piled on floor in kid’s playroom for two weeks.   Check

Stare at contents of E’s locker in boot of car for two days.  Check

That will be the end of term then, and time to start thinking about going on holiday.   I am telling you, this holiday cannot come quickly enough.

For the past few years we have snuck off to Barbados, thanks to the generosity of my parents who lend us their beautiful villa for three weeks (I know, three weeks in the Caribbean.   I hate me too).    This year however we have decided to stay closer to home and have rented a holiday home in France.  In the Loire.  Don’t you know.

Mr B found it online after doing some research and before you could say “moules et frites” it was booked.   Seven bedrooms so various mates are coming out to join us.   It is all shaping up to be a bit idyllic.  Grounds.  A stream.  A pool.   A fully equipped kitchen and most importantly of all: wi-fi.   No holiday home is complete without wifi these days.  I like to say that it is because the teens are addicted to the web but we all know that’s a lie and it is for me.

Within walking distance of a village with shops selling nothing but cheese and bread.

And wine.  And where I can buy copies of Le Monde and pretend to read them whilst sipping Ricard in the village square and people will look at me and think “gosh, how chic and intelligent is she?”

When in reality I will be paying £4.50 for yesterday’s Daily Telegraph and flashing my “never see the light of day” legs under my “were fashionable eight years ago” denim shorts.

We have decided we are not going to our usual route of Dover/Calais.  I say “usual”.   We have done it twice for a day out in Calais that mostly involves buying cheese and eating lunch.    For this trip, however, we have decided to do the slightly longer route of Portsmouth to Caen and let the Ferry take the strain for a large chunk of it.   As beautiful as driving through France is it means being without wifi and in a confined space with three members of my family for ten hours.  Somebody will die.   Brittany Ferries are therefore going to help me avoid a murder charge and deliver us much closer to the Loire.

I have bought a guide book for the area


And I am even learning French, though why, I don’t know.  Mr B’s degree is in modern languages and everything I pronounce grates on his ears I am sure, so I won’t bother.

Learning French

So my question is, what do you know of the area and what do we need to do?  Have you been there?  Are there places we HAVE to go visit?  Please tell me, I would love to go and explore places recommended by other people.

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  • We took Brittany Ferries from Plymouth – Roscoff recently and it went really well. It was an overnight ferry and I was terrified that we would all get sea sick. But we got on at 9 pm and off 7 am and it was quite an adventure. Good luck on your hols, can’t wait to read about them. x

  • Oh there’s LOADS to see in the area, I live here, you can come see me 😉 We always go Portsmouth – Caen too.
    It depends where exactly you are, but Fougeres is a lovely place to visit, it has a very old chateau that you can go round and it hosts exhibitions too now I think.
    Lots of gardens and other chateaus knocking around too, and of course all the quaint little villages.

  • All you really need to know: Cremant De Loire… You can thank me later! Ps. It is truly beautiful, have a wonderful time! 🙂 xx

  • I hope you have a wonderful holiday T, I’m afraid I know nothing of the area as I’ve never (should I admit this) holidayed in France! Mich x

  • Oh haha, I’ve been wondering about getting some of those flash sticks – I think when Tom is just a year or two older and can read more proficiently they’ll be a great idea for him.

    But more importantly, hurrah for your holiday! Sounds like you will all be having a well deserved break, love the idea of letting the ferry do most of the work (having only just survived a few family holidays driving through France myself, I think you are very wise). Enjoy that ricard, Madame Barrow xxx

  • I have been to France a few times but never to this area, so I have no tips on where to go but I look forward to hearing all of yours when you get back!
    Sounds like a perfect holiday. Enjoy your break, it is well deserved! I am not sure my marriage is strong enough to survive 10-hours in the car together… an hour & a half to my parents is pushing it 🙂

  • Have a lovely time. I have not been but have done Ferries that are longer to cut the driving down and it is well worth it.

  • I want to come with you – just to hear you ordering in French! 😉 LOVE France. You’ll have the most amazing – and well deserved – break. And ferries were always such a part of my childhood holidays to Europe – nothing beats that full english breakfast as the *klaxon* to start your holiday xx

  • What a lovely sounding holiday, and so completely deserved by all of you too. I hope you have an amazing time.

  • I have no wise words to offer, I have never been to the area but I’m so impressed that you are learning French so you can make the most of your holiday.

  • Never been there but it sounds like the place to be for us in couple of years. now you enjoy my dear you deserve it

  • I’m so jealous of you right now – you’ve just described my idea of holiday heaven! I’ve never been on a holiday to France other than breaks to Paris and Disney but I’d love to go!