Family Vacation around France - Vendée, Chamonix, Provence
Well to say this blog post has come out a bit later than expected is a bit of an understatement.. but that being said its better later than never right! And despite my loonnnggg process to get this up it has been a really fun one for me to look back on now because this trip really was absolutely fantastic. It was a reminder of just how much France truly has to offer as a travel destination.
This year's family vacation took place in a few different regions of France and was a blast.
It all started with my parents arrival in Paris. We took the train off to Pays de la Loire to spend a few days with my boyfriend's (now fiancé hehe) family in their beautiful country home. My sister and her boyfriend arrived a bit later, but we all enjoyed the pool, the horses, puppies, and the epic night show at Puy de Fou. If you haven’t heard of Puy de Fou, it’s a history based amusement park in Vendée and in the summer they have a night show that starts after dark and is absolutely spectacular. I didn't take any photos or videos, but I highly encourage you to go if you're in the area (plus you can download an app and listen to the show in your chosen language). I know it sounds a bit kitsch when described, but really its spectacular.. and no its not like those Renaissance Fairs we all went to as kids, its way cooler haha. We also did the canoe tour through the Marais Poitevin and stopped to visit the Abbaye de Maillezais.
After a lovely time with our two families together, my boyfriend and I and my family were off to Chamonix. We were fearful we would be trapped in the rain the entire time, but it turned out to be perfect weather. The mornings were clear and warm and then by the time we got back to the Airbnb to chill for the night and have dinner it was stormy outside and cozy just like you want a mountain vacation to be.
On our first morning we were out of the house around 8:30 and headed straight to the Aiguille du Midi. The line for tickets was already long, but luckily for us, a woman came around asking if there was anyone who was going to buy a Multipass. That was us! We jumped out of the line and followed her straight to automatic ticket machines where for 91 euros each we got our 3 day unlimited pass. This pass was SO worth the cost, and obviously you should just go straight to those ticket machines and avoid the line. The Aiguille du Midi gondola alone is 60 bucks and we used the pass every day, multiple times a day some days.
After that was sorted we headed up to the Aiguille du Midi, there is a halfway point but we went all the way up to the top first to enjoy the spectacular views from 3,842m elevation. It was crazy! The altitude was so high that it immediately affected a few members of my family a little bit (light headed, legs feeling heavy), but boy those views are worth it.
After our time at the top we headed down to the halfway point for a snack and a little exploration. Photos just don’t do this place justice.
We headed down into town afterwards for lunch and then up to the Parc animalier de Merlet. The goal was to see the wild mountain goats with the huge horns, but unfortunately we didn't see any, but did see some more eye popping views so well worth it!
Day two we woke up early again and headed to the glacier train. We hopped right on since it was early and headed towards the glacier. This was beautiful of course and a great experience, fun to walk through the ice tunnel.. but it was pretty sad to see just how much the glacier has disappeared even within the last 30 years… global warming is terrifyingly real..
After the train we headed into town center and did a little shopping and walking around.
On day 3 we decided to hike to Lac Blanc. We took the easy way out and took the 2 gondolas up and then walked across (Flégère gondola and Index lift). We got lucky and spotted a little marmot on the way too. But really this hike is incredible, the views are just breathtaking at every single step.
We enjoyed our last family meal in Chamonix back at the airbnb and then the next day we were off to the next part of our trip. My sister and her boyfriend, Jeff, headed off to Switzerland, while Lambert and my parents and I were off to Provence.
We were making the drive down, so we decided to stop in Annecy for lunch. I have been dying to see this gorgeous lake town for so long so making a stop here was ideal.
When we arrived at our airbnb in Roussillon we were wowed yet again. It was a tiny little house in the middle of all the fields with maybe 2 or 3 neighbors. This region of France is just gorgeous. The lavender fields were long gone by this time in August but I would enjoy these landscapes any time of the year.
Our provence portion of the trip was more relaxed. We spent our days wandering around the gorgeous tiny historic towns in the region.
Roussillon, the town where our airbnb was, was a favorite. It is gorgeous and home to a delicious restaurant called Le Piquebaure (I travel mostly for food haha). It was so delicious... but anyways, look at how picturesque this town is?!
We of course had to visit the famous Gordes and the Abbaye Notre Dame de Sénanques (which you’ve probably seen the post cards of it when its full of lavender.
We also stopped in Goult, which was so tiny and cute and we loved because it was completely empty. Next up was Lacoste, which was gorgeous with a castle perched right on top.
One day we wanted to head to the coast so we drove to one of my favorite coastal towns, Cassis. My dad and I being the only two to not get sea sick went off to see the Calanques on a short 45 minute tour (the wind was strong that day so the longer tours were not available).
The last little town we stopped in was a surprise. We actually drove past it on our way to Cassis and knew we wanted to stop on the way back home. It was the adorable town of Limourin. This town has the SO MUCH character and is one of the cutest little French towns I've been to, and the added bonus of the castle was the cherry on top.
And just like that the trip was over... ending vacation is always hard but luckily my parents and I had one day left in Paris to soften the blow before they returned home and I went back to work. Summer ending is always sad but luckily I love autumn season so bring on the changing leaves!!