Friday 16 August 2013

Holiday Review: La Mare Chappey via Baby Friendly Boltholes

This has been a couple of weeks in the post but we seemed to have returned from holiday and hit the ground running in "get stuff done" mode but I had to share a review of the place we went on holiday because it seriously was a special little find!

Our holiday mission statement was to make things easy enough with a toddler that it still felt like a holiday for us whilst taking the opportunity of getting away to see somewhere new. We wanted warmth to enjoy the outdoors but we didn't want to be too hot to run around after the small one. We also wanted separate rooms from said small one and living space to chill out in the evening.

Going with my first piece of criteria ("make things easy enough with a toddler") I checked out the aptly named Baby Friendly Boltholes who do exactly what they say on the tin (and explained in more depth here). Factoring in budget (£1000 for a week we initially set), distance from home (6-8 hour max) and facilities (we wanted a pool) we found this place...

So the set up: 4 self-catering cottages (or Gites) in repurposed barns on the grounds of a beautiful refurbished manor house. Additional facilities on the grounds include a brand new heated and fenced swimming pool, jacuzzi, a playground (tramploine, swings, slides, wendy house, see-saw etc), an indoor "play barn" (ball pools, wendy house, table tennis etc), a bistro and/or the in-house dining brought to your door, wifi, pretty courtyard area and bouncy castle everyday from 5:00pm. The cottages all had different sized sleeping accommodation but the premise was the across the board; very clean, comfortable living with everything, and I mean EVERYTHING, you could need for a week with a baby. From a fully loaded kitchen complete with all the appliances you could ask for, children's crockery and cutlery, to highchairs, stair gates and toys to cots with clean mattresses and sheets. Also every cottage had it's own outdoor area with dining furniture and shade and 3/4 of the cottages look out over the playground for older children who might be capable with being left to it.

What did we think? Excellent. In every way. This is a seriously well oiled holiday machine. Everything is in good condition. Everything is clean. You feel at home. It's all been thought about. Be it from their own experiences or they are just simply very good at listening to the needs of their clients, the wonderfully polite and helpful owners have a spot on idea of what you need to have enjoy a home from home with young children and to have a good family holiday. 

Beyond convenience being key, La Mare Chappey is set in the most beautiful part of France. The same stunning stonework you see in these pictures is scattered everywhere you turn around the region. Charming, unspoilt towns and villages are connected by quiet rural roads. We saw no traffic and it made for easy driving whcih is a huge plus when you're doing it on the "wrong" side of the road. There's plenty to see and do. Amongst our checked list of sights were beautiful golden beaches (which I never expected), historic World War II sites (like Omaha and Utah Beach), the Bayeux tapestry and the glorious town of Bayeux, beautiful churches/cathedrals, unique boutique shopping, restaurants, quintessential creperies, pattisseries and biscuiteries and a nature reserve. 

Check out the rest of our holiday pics here and here and here and here and here!!!!

Thank you La Mare Chappey, it was wonderful! Exceded our expectations on every level... Our only regret was a week being far to short! 

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