After our camping trip (albeit a very luxurious way to camp) we wanted our next family adventure to have a shower within our space, not a 10 minute walk away. Also with 2 under 5s we find self catering easier and more flexible so hunting through the internet I found this place and immediately fell in love with the French charm, the quiet location and blissful plans formed in my mind of picnicking on nearby beaches, visiting enchanting French villages and eating a years supply of proper croissants, ok mainly pain au chocolates, but either way, without feeling guilty because, how can you not when in France?
Maison Meneac is in the little village of Meneac, that has a well stocked shop for your essentials to get you going and fresh baguettes and pastries each morning to start the day. There’s also a chemist and the pizza place was recommended but opened at 7pm, early I’m sure, in French terms but too late for us.
We all fell in love with the house, just by driving up to it and then entering the kitchen, we were just truly delighted. It’s a mix of farmhouse, French charm and English convenience (there’s CBeebies).
The kitchen has all the appliances you need for a holiday and plenty more if you fancied being fancy. There are beautiful wooden floors, those thick, solid, stone walls that create almost shafts of deep light that made everything a little mysterious and added some drama.
There’s so much more than we expected, games to play, books to read, a piano to experiment on, it was really easy to keep everyone entertained.
Haven still sleeps in a cot (which the house provided) and one of the bedrooms is a twin/childs room, normally we’d split them up for the night as H still wakes up every so often but they insisted on sharing and we could hear Eden telling Havey ‘bedtime stories’ and Havey saying ‘er Bubba (that’s what she calls him) I’m tired now, no more talking’ and he saying ‘But Havey! I’ve just got to tell you about…..’
It was one of the loveliest things about this holiday, just how close they became, proper best friends by the end of it.
In each of the four bedrooms there are picnic blankets and hampers and the owner Simon – who I spoke to before we arrived – recommended, Lac au Duc an idyllic sounding lake with a sandy man-made beach, he suggested we grab a picnic blanket or two, stop off at the Carrefour, that’s 5 mins before the beach, stock up on cheese, bread and wine (we got water and buckets and spades) and spend the day, there’s also ice cream.
We spent our first day there and yes it was idyllic, just a 25 minute drive from the house, a perfect start.
Next, we ventured further afield (just over an hours drive) hearing about this incredible sounding photo exhibition in La Gacilly. The whole town is covered in photos. I didn’t imagine it to be so vast, and the effort is so inspiring, buildings are covered in billboard sized photos, the surrounding fields, alley ways, empty buildings are all part of this wonderfully, meandering outdoor exhibition.
There was a trip to Dinan. But this was our melt-down day. Eden forgot his teddy and 30mins of him wailing in the back about TEDDDDDD-EEEEEEEEE. Drove us all insane so as we arrived we almost just headed straight back but forced ourselves through a grumpy stomp around, found some food and headed home because still the wail continued for TEDDDDD-EEEEEEEE from what I glimpsed it’s a beautiful interesting town…
A beach day was needed so we headed to Dinard. (about 1hr 20min drive) Here we fell in love, a vast sweeping expanse of golden, clean, soft sand. Eden loves building sand castles, H loves transferring water from one vessel to another and then pretty much doing whatever E is doing. The day was overcast but that really doesn’t matter when you are 2 & 4 and with a quiet beach they just loved having all this space to run and play, it was magical. We set up quite near to a French man and his boy who were making a sand replica of Rome’s Colosseum, I think they must have started at first light, he had tools, equipment and proper shovels. At one point he asked me to guard it whilst he went to get a sandwich and the responsibility was almost too much, too many children running just a little too close. Anyway this opened up E’s imagination to building his own, we had to hunt for a shovel in the local shops as our Lightening McQueen spade was not quite up to the task.
Ours looked nothing like our French friends or the one the Romans made.
But we made a really big hole.
We returned to Dinard a few times, on Sunday there is a large Brocante (vintage/antique/flea market) around the indoor food market, 5 mins walk from the beach front. I had a lovely little wander whilst the guys found and devoured giant pain au raisins.
What was lovely was returning to our borrowed home each night, after a big day out exploring, it was so nice to come back, spill out of the car, sandy, tired and beach-swept. Make dinner with the local produce that we had picked up, relax in the lounge, either drawing, reading or watching a little tv, before filling up the slipper bath and tucking those two up in their own room. Aside from ‘The Day we forgot Teddy’ this was one of our most memorable times together.
Our trip was booked through Oliver’s Travels and whilst we paid for our own stay entirely, we teamed up with Oliver’s Travels to share our experience here. All words and thoughts my own. I’d love to hear your own family holidays recommendations as I’m eager to make new plans!