Last-minute breaks to France for February half term

Domaine de Fontenille in Lauris, Vaucluse (c)

Domaine de Fontenille in Lauris, Vaucluse (c) - Credit: Archant

If you’re looking for a family adventure for the half term holidays, there are plenty of exciting escapes in France which are still available

The interior of Chalet Caribou in Val Thorens

The interior of Chalet Caribou in Val Thorens - Credit: Archant

Stay in a hotel in Provence

Domaine de Fontenille is a beautiful, classic chateau with 18 rooms, manicured grounds and a large outdoor pool. There’s also a pampering spa with lots of high tech equipment, a hammam and yoga sessions.

Located in Lauris, the hotel accommodates children of all ages, so everyone is welcome from tiny tots to teens. Although there is no crèche or kids club, there are lovely on-site activities and babysitters can be booked.

Kids can explore the custom-designed ‘Children’s House’ (a former dovecote now stocked with games and toys). Older children might find a tour around the kitchen gardens interesting, where the chef will teach them how to harvest fruit and vegetables.

Domaine de Fontenille also has a paddock of donkeys, who are very docile and amenable to petting. Both restaurants have children’s menus.

Rates during half term are from £156 a night, not including breakfast. Guests who book through Mr & Mrs Smith receive a free wine-tasting session, a bottle of wine in your room and 10 per cent off spa treatments.

Sailboat GIBSEA 92 9.5m is moored in Lorient, Brittany and is available through Click&Boat

Sailboat GIBSEA 92 9.5m is moored in Lorient, Brittany and is available through Click&Boat - Credit: Archant

Go skiing in the French Alps

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There’s still time to book a half term ski holiday with older children who will be blown away by the epic mountain scenery of Val Thorens.

High altitude, high quality and cosy, homely surroundings, with a roaring log fire and squishy leather sofas, make Chalet Caribou a great choice for families looking for excellent skiing, plenty of après ski and the luxury of a sauna and indoor pool in the neighbouring residence.

Chalet Caribou accommodates up to eight guests in four cosy rooms and the chalet-style apartment works well when a family takes it over, due to its shared facilities and communal areas.

Departing on 16 February Ski Beat has a saving of £100pp (was £1,399pp, now £1,299pp) for a week’s stay including cooked breakfast, home-made cakes with afternoon tea, three-course evening meals with wine, return Gatwick flights (Manchester + £20pp) and transfers.

The beaches of north France are within easy reach with a self-drive holiday with Brittany Ferries

The beaches of north France are within easy reach with a self-drive holiday with Brittany Ferries - Credit: Archant

Charter a yacht in Brittany

According to Click&Boat, an increasing number of British families are choosing boating in France for their spring half term holiday. The company has seen an increase of 140% over the last two years in bookings by British renters from mid-February to mid-March, when most schools in the UK are out for one or two weeks.

Edouard Gorioux, co-founder of Click&Boat, said: “Boating is the perfect option for a family holiday in late winter or early spring.

“Parents enjoy decompressing and spending some time outdoors with family, while kids learn the ropes of sailing.”

There are still plenty of boats available to hire through Click&Boat in February and March which can be picked up around the coast of Brittany in France. Not far from Cornwall, Brittany is proud of its own language, culture and not to mention crêpes, biscuits and cider. With a luxurious sailboat, visitors can discover the remote gems of this Celtic corner of France - Vendée, Quiberon, Belle-Île, Houat and Yeu. Sailboat GIBSEA 92, in Lorient, Brittany, is available during half term from £71 a day.

Bellevue villa overlooks the Lot valley

Bellevue villa overlooks the Lot valley - Credit: Archant

Rent a gîte in Normandy

If you love nature, why not book a stay in La Houssaye, a charming detached wood-beamed gîte in the heart of a forest, near Bernay in Normandy, which is surrounded by wildlife including deer and red squirrels?

The property has an attractive living room with beams, sofa bed and a kitchen with lovely views through the trees.

There is one attic bedroom which has three single beds, two of which could be pushed together to make a king size double for mum and dad. Take time out from the busy day to day routine, with lovely relaxing walks in the forest.

Brittany Ferries is offering a holiday to La Houssaye, including ferry and accommodation, from £463 for a week. There are plenty of gîtes to choose from in Normandy if you have a larger party too, including the three-bedroom Le Grand Celland, near Avranches, which sleeps five, or Cerisy la Salle, near Coutances, which has two bedrooms and is an easy drive to the magical island of Mont-St-Michel.

Book a villa in Aveyron

Holidays are all about getting together with family and this impressive villa in Aveyron has plenty of room for all generations.

The five-star home, overlooking the small medieval town of Sainte-Eulalie-d’Olt and the river Lot, sleeps up to 10 people in five bedrooms and also has three bathrooms.

The peaceful property is surrounded by trees, perfect for some tree climbing and has an adventure park. There is also a children’s playground and a petanque area.

If you’re feeling adventurous, take a stroll to the 15th-century château and 11th-century church in Sainte-Eulalie-d’Olt which is one of Les Plus Beaux Villages de France or visit one of the castles in the area such as Belcastel on the banks of the river Aveyron and La Couvertoirade which is one of the most beautiful villages in France. It is also only 30 minutes from the Gorges du Tarn.

Bellevue villa is available to book for £154 a night through HomeAway. __________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

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