Considering a trip to France for your 2017 summer holiday with the kids? Check out our list of the best family holiday destinations for a perfect summer holiday...
Côte de Granit Rose
Pretty seaside towns? Check. Incredible beaches? Check. Looks like Mars? Check. The Côte de Granit Rose (Pink Granite Coast in English) is an extraordinary stretch of coastline that looks like it landed from another world. What better place for imaginative kids to explore?
They'll love playing amongst the unusual rock formations made of the pink granite that gives the coast its name. It changes hue in different light and some of the formations have earned themselves names including Napoleon's hat at Trestraou Beach. The beach at Ploumanac'h is not to be missed - it even has an island with a fairy tale chateau.
For those who love the great outdoors, Finistère is the perfect adventure playground. Home to the Armorique Regional Natural Park that covers the Monts d'Arrée and the Crozon Peninsula, a holiday in Finistère is one for those who love their landscape on the wild side.
The Monts d'Arrée form a spiky granite spine across the department and are crisscrossed with hiking and horseriding trails. Craggy coves litter the coastline, lighted by lots of lighthouses to warn ships of the dangerous rocks. Many of the lighthouses are open to the public so they're a great point to stop off at as you walk along the coastal path. And they make a pretty view if you're out on the water in a kayak.
Gulf of Morbihan
In southern Brittany, the Gulf of Morbihan is a beautiful inland sea filled with lots of tiny islands, many of which are home to colonies of birds and some, such as Gavrinis, feature neolithic burial chambers. Picturesque Belle-Ile is not far away. The largest island off Brittany's coast, it has pretty walks and cycle routes, nearly 60 beaches and a climate that is likened to the Mediterranean.
On the mainland, why not fuel their imaginations with a visit to Carnac to see the world-famous stones? These huge alignments are over 6000 years old with nearly 3000 standing stones in total. No one really knows why they were built but one legend suggests that they are legions of Roman soldiers turned to stone by the wizard Merlin!
You can arrive straight into Le Havre on our route from Portsmouth. This wonderful port city celebrate its 500th anniversary this year and is going to town with its celebrations. Throughout the summer, there's lots going on in the city including arts installations, concerts, parades and from 6 to 9 July, the Royal de Luxe theatre company will be returning with their giant marionettes - a sight you definitely don't want to miss!
Le Havre is the first step on the Alabaster Coast , France's equivalent of the White Cliffs of Dover, which goes all the way up to Le Treport. The stunning cliffs at Etretat have been immortalised countless times as this stretch of coastline inspired a whole generation of painters who became the impressionists - Monet, Boudin, Renoir et al all painted here. Go kayaking or sailing to appreciate the view of the cliffs from another perspective.
Normandy's capital city, Rouen, is also in Seine-Maritime and its historic quarter is filled with half-timber houses and the impressive Gothic cathedral. The city is also known as the place where Joan of Arc was sentenced and executed and you can discover all about her life at the multimedia Historial Jeanne d'Arc and at the Panorama XXL, where you can see just how the city would have looked in Joan's day.
Think Calvados; think apples.This is cider-making country so expect orchards of trees laden with juicy apples in reds and greens as you explore this pretty countryside. One of the best ways to explore the rural landscape is on horseback - Normandy is famous for its horses too.
Discover some thrilling history at William the Conqueror's Château de Caen and with a visit to see the Bayeux Tapestry, which depicts the events of the Norman Conquest in 1066. Summertime means lots of medieval fairs at the chateaux in the area so be sure to catch one to see jousting knights and traditional craftmaking.
There's also some more modern history with four of the five D-Day beaches along Calvados' coastline. The fifth, Utah Beach, is just west of the border with Manche. Beautiful beaches today that are great for spending the day building sandcastles, they also evoke memories of that bygone time and you'll find many relics such as German bunkers and countless war memorials.The area has many fantastic museums and most offer information and activities for children.
La Suisse Normande
Translated as Norman Switzerland, this area is in the Orne Valley, south of Caen. It gets its name from the gorgeous wild greenery and dramatic gorges that make it a favourite with sports enthusiasts. Canoeing, angling, hiking, mountain biking and rock climbing are just some of the outdoor sports you can get up to in this beautiful area of Normandy.
Hike up to the Roche d'Oëtre, one of the best viewpoints in the region, and you'll enjoy a panoramic view of the woods below. See if you can spot the profile of a human face in the rocks and then head back down to the Rouvre river that flows through an enchanting valley.
The Loire Valley
The Garden of France. And it's a nickname that is well-earned. The Middle Loire roughly corresponds to the section of the Loire Valley that is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the Anjou, Saumur and Touraine wine regions. Famed for the flourishing flora of its flat plains and the beautiful chateaux dotted throughout the landscape, visiting the Loire Valley is like stepping into a fairy tale. And the best way to explore is by bicycle.
Take your pick of the incredible chateaux. Perhaps the austere Château d'Angers will feed the vivid imagination of a dashing young knight or the picturesque Château d'Azay-le-Rideau will conjure magical dreams for a princess? Your tour continues underground for a very different kind of dwelling - troglodyte caves! Hewn from the soft tuffeau stone that was quarried to make the chateaux above, the caves at Goupillières and Rochemenier were lived in for centuries.
Why recommend wine country for a family holiday? Because its beautiful and there's so much to do! The department of Gironde encompasses the wine regions of Bordeaux and Médoc but also the section of the Atlantic Coast that includes Arcachon Bay and the Dune du Pilat.
Needless to say, the countryside filled with vineyards, and wineries inside centuries-old chateaux, is quaint and colourful with majestic castles hidden away amongst the trees. And the coastline here is great for beach lovers and surfers. The coast's real piéce de resistance is the Dune du Pilat, the largest sand dune in Europe. Climb right up to the top (there's a set of stairs) and admire the fantastic views of the horizon.
Where are you planning to go for your summer holiday with the family in 2017? Let us know in the comments below.