Self Catering Family Holidays in France – how WE do it.
Back in the early summer, the husband and I took a glance at the calendar and realised we had a gap in work commitments in August. Looking out of the window at yet ANOTHER wet and windy May day, we decided to hell with the bank balance, this year we were going to get some SUNSHINE. So when www.HomeAway.co.uk got in touch to ask if we’d like to work with them on Self Catering Family Holidays in France, I think I left some of their fingernails intact as I snapped at their arm. but not much.
It’s a task and a half – there are THOUSANDS of properties in there. But – and this is THE biggest most important factor when hunting for a self catering property online – HomeAway have an excellent search system. So having established where we wanted to go (Aquitaine – far enough for reliable sunshine and warmth, but still do-able in a day from the Cherbourg ferry), we totally made it easy for ourselves. Narrowing down the options fast, we kept it simple:
- Two weeks
- August (that’s less than three months away)
- sleeps 6
- Takes dog
- Private swimming pool
- Quiet, rural and secluded location.
- Oh, and we wanted to take the two weeks Wednesday-Wednesday to fit around diary commitments.
(See? Not demanding at ALL. *sigh*)
Once we’d listed all of that, we honestly didn’t think we had a hope.
Who the hell manages to get an August holiday starting midweek at pretty late notice? Unbelievably, HomeAway managed to come up trumps – finding us not just one but a CHOICE of properties that fitted exactly what we were after.
I know, we couldn’t believe it either.
But they did – and at the back end of the school holidays we found ourselves starting our road trip down to the Lot et Garonne, to the chosen house just outside the pretty town of Duras (an hour inland from Bordeaux, in case you’re wondering). It’s not on HomeAway any more, sadly – the owner has opted to live there full time.
The house was beautiful – exactly what we needed. Not the highest height of luxury – but with the dog and four children, we really didn’t want it to be! There was lots of space, a great garden, a FABULOUS pool, nicely cool areas for the heat of the day and the most beautiful balcony on which to eat every meal, and while away the evening hours playing cards and watching the stars come out.
The area itself couldn’t have been better either – Duras is a pretty town, just big enough to have everything you need, but not so large as to feel ‘big’. Market Day was brilliant, the Night Food Market was wonderful (bring your own plates!) and the town just too pretty to not want to explore it all.
Bordeaux was only an hour away – we went for a day, fell in love and cannot wait to go back and explore it more. We took the evening City Bus Tour which was a fantastic way to see the hidden sights, and appreciate the beauty of the unique city.
We simply spent two weeks… loafing. We did. This was the first time in over 13 years that I had the ability to just STOP on holiday and relax. The children are old enough now to not ne-e-e-d me dancing attendance, they could all swim confidently so did not need my presence at their side in the pool – lounging with book at the edge was perfectly adequate supervision – and as we had a totally secure property to ourselves, there was no worry about strangers.
So we swam, we ate, we napped, we read, we played… and we didn’t do very much else at all.
Thank you HomeAway – it was sheer utter heaven.