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Family destination recommendation for western France

Family destination recommendation for western France

Old Feb 27, 22, 10:04 am
Original Poster
Join Date: Jul 2013
Location: San Francisco, CA
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Family destination recommendation for western France

Hi everyone. Wondering if anyone has recommendations on a family friendly destination in western France. Looking to spend a few days at the start of our trip (in mid-May), mainly for relaxation and time-zone acclimation, before heading to Paris, then Normandy (Bayeux) for a friend's wedding. My wife and I have been to Paris many times, and this will be our first international family trip (daughter will be 9 months old at the time). Focused on somewhere in the west because we'll likely visit other regions on future trips when daughter is older. (Wife also has frequent work trips to Switzerland, so it's easier then to visit Alsace area).

Our priorities / preferences for this first destination on this trip:
  • Walkable with stroller (we live in San Francisco, so hills are no problem, but hoping for easy walking streets with good room)
  • Somewhere near water (either river or on the coast)
  • Great food and wine (as if this wasn't a given going to France)
  • 3 - 3.5 hour train back to Paris (preferably TGV)
  • Fun culture, nice architecture, parks, city sights, museums, etc.
  • OK for non-fluent French speakers (know enough to get by / order food, but also can get "stage fright")
Two initial ideas have been Nantes or Brest. (or any of the smaller towns in-between). We'll be going further into Loire after the wedding, so probably wouldn't head to Tours or Angers at the start. La Rochelle seems lovely but also looks tough to get to after an international arrival at CDG from San Francisco; wouldn't arrive into town until late at night. We want to leave Bordeaux for a later trip when we can fully enjoy it (wife will be working the first few days once we arrive). Would Biarritz be too touristy / too busy for us? Am I missing anything else obvious?

Thanks in advance for all the ideas and suggestions!
gobears293 is offline  
Old Mar 4, 22, 3:41 pm
Join Date: Apr 2002
Location: NYC
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Carnac Plage is nice and relaxing with great beaches and laid back feel. But not direct with the TGV. Take note that fine dining and infants don't always mix in France (discouraged).
erik123 is offline  
Old Mar 7, 22, 6:42 am
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One of my preferred city in France is Nantes. A lot of walking is possible, very pedestrian and bike friendly. It’s along the Loire river, half an hour from the sea. And it’s only two hours by train from Paris. Lots do to with children, Google for example Machines de l’île. Also many parks, nice restaurants.
yno is offline  
Old Jun 6, 22, 10:06 am
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Thank you erik123 and yno for those suggestions earlier this year. Somehow forgot I made this post, but wanted to come back now that my trip is complete. We actually ended up visiting Saint-Malo and absolutely loved it. Stayed at a nice AirBNB just across from the beach, and a short walk from the walled city (Intra Muros). Experienced a great mix of walking around the city, enjoying the beach, took a day trip to Mont St Michele and Cancale, while also visiting several amazing restaurants. Happily surprised at just how open all the restaurants were to us dining with our 9-month old. Most places had an infant high-chair or helped make room for our travel stroller. Biggest challenge was navigating the stroller on the cobblestone streets within the walled city.

Glad to answer questions from anyone who finds this thread, but overall I would highly recommend Saint-Malo!
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gobears293 is offline  

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