Last May we had our first proper family holiday, it was quite ambitious looking back, flying to Nice and hiring a vintage camper van and attempting to camp and put up tents with a then three and one year old. Basing the whole holiday concept on the nostalgic memories Michael and I had when we backpacked for 6 months and hired a campervan in Australia. Fifteen years later this was a whole different ball game!
At the moment we are thinking and starting to plan adventures for this year and I realised I didn’t share this story here. These are some of my favourite images of Eden & Haven and whilst we didn’t have the experiences and create the memories I expected, this week turned out to be incredible in a soft, gentle and simple way.
I had imagined they would both leap into the water, who could resist the theme parks that France seem so good at and they would become water babes in the space of a few days, the reality was that neither would go near the water without tears and pure fear that even talking about going to the pool was just too upsetting. I thought we’d travel far further and see far more than we did but baby seats in a vintage camper turn out to be incredibly uncomfortable and neither would last more than an hour. As for Gigi, our stunning van for the week, well, she can barely get to 50 miles an hour, so that really limited our itinerary.
Then there was the fact of cramming us all in and actually sleeping in the van, even with an awning to add a little indoor / outdoor space. Michael and I realised very quickly this wasn’t going to feel safe or be fun. So we upgraded our van plot to a chalet, complete with our own shower room and simple kitchen. We stayed at two sites instead of three and settled into a simpler routine, the guys filling up buckets of gravel instead of water and traveling mainly on the promise of ice cream and keeping our journeys shorter. We still managed to visit some beautiful places and we still explored just in a far more realistic way.
The highlight was finding a vineyard where we parked up and had intended to just let them stretch their legs for a minute or two before getting back to the campsite, but no one minded our presence and we ended up running around the beautiful vines for a good few hours. It was wonderful.
So, really this is a reminder to me that the effort of planning is worth it and if you have any specific suggestions for holidays with a now 4 and 2 year old I’d be really grateful to hear.
I’ve added the links of where we stayed and visited at the end of this post.
We hired Gigi from 69 Campers, we paid extra for them to collect and return us to Nice airport. Whilst Gigi was beautiful she’s tough to drive, especially when negotiating the steep, narrow roads up to the perched villages and she’s not great at 3 point turns. My lowest moment was getting stuck in a dead end and doing what felt like a 450 point turn, there might have been tears at that point too….
We visited the Perched Village of Eze
and spent the day at Chateau La Napoule