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See Loire with Kids (8,10) help!!

Seattle
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See Loire with Kids (8,10) help!!

We are planning a trip to the Loire with our kids (boys age 8and 10) this summer.

We would like to stay in a small town where we can walk a bit. We will have a car.

I want a place with a pool for the boys. More on charming side than fancy. Budget is around 180Euro a night. We need internet access - preferably wifi.

I have looked at La Rosereria http://www.charmingroseraie.com/index.htm

and

le Moulin de francuiel

www.moulinfrancueil.com/EN/Index_ang.htm

(I have read good review on La Roseria but have not found any reviews of Le Moulin. Has anybody stayed there? What do you think?

I am overwhelmed at the number of choices!

We will be there for 4 nights. Any thoughts on must see/do things! I'd like to see some chateaus and maybe take a bike ride with the kids.

Any tips would be much appreciated.

Thank you!!

Washington state
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1. Re: See Loire with Kids (8,10) help!!

This may be a bit far for you to go--it's about a 2 hr. drive from Chinon and you'll need the whole day, but if I was an 8 or 10 year old boy I can't think of anyplace I'd rather go than Le Puy du Fou theme park.

It's a historical theme park--no rides. Our French friends took us there last summer and, having no idea what to expect, I was then completely blown away. The park tells the history of France (for the Vendee region) through several mock historical constructions and performances, from Roman Gaul (they feed the Christians to real lions!) to the Renaissance. Nothing comparable in the U.S., anywhere. Closest comparison: combine Colonial Williamsburg with Disney World (without the rides) and bring in performers from the old Barnum and Bailey circus. Check it out at:

http://www.puydufou.com/uk/

Don't let the glitzy webpage fool you, it many ways this place is down to earth without the slick polish of Disney. I think it's meant mainly for the French, but that didn't take anything away from it for me.

Two things to consider aside from the distance: although I did have our French friends to explain things to me, so maybe it would be a bit puzzling if you don't speak French (but English headphones available for the big shows). And the place was Packed, so you'll need a whole day to see a good share of it.

Tampa, Florida
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2. Re: See Loire with Kids (8,10) help!!

We bypassed Puy de Fou -- our then-7-year-old looked at the flyer, and commented "They're all fakes! We saw two castles today, and you said we could see more tomorrow! I think I'd rather see real ones."

Out of the mouths of babes....

Ours far prefers touring "the real ones" -- and he's become a real history buff with a fascination for catapults and trebuchets.

Washington state
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3. Re: See Loire with Kids (8,10) help!!

Sunshine,

I think you miss the point. I am not a history buff, but I AM a historian, and the fact that the constructions are faux doesn't take anything away from the spectacle of the performances there, nor does that fact change the cultural impact of what the Vendee region is trying to express about its history and meaning to the rest of France.

Bravo for your kids, wanting to visit the Louire castles, in my mind there's nothing more fun and interesting than that. I wasn't trying to diminish their interests by suggesting Puy du Fou.

But as for the adults who might be reading these posts, you're getting on really shaky historical ground when you start talking about what's "real" and what's "fake". Many towns and castles people might visit in France, particularly by the coast, are reconstructions. This creates a more troublesome issue for a historian than does a place like Puy du Fou, because the reconstructions generally don't say what parts, if any, are original, and what parts are rebuilt, and what parts are totally new.

And as for fake castles, the most famous castle (at least to Americans) in all of Europe--Neuschwanstein in Bavaria--is one big faux fantasy of King Ludwig that gives no insight into the real nature of castles or the people of that time period. No wonder Disney adapted it to be the centerpiece of his fantasy kingdoms.

Tampa, Florida
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4. Re: See Loire with Kids (8,10) help!!

I understand what you're saying...but...

Better to have it repaired and reconstructed in such a way that we can take a step into the past to see how they lived...than to not be able to see anything more than a pile of rubble. Most (you're right, not all) places do mention that it's been reconstructed...and in many cases display photos of before and after and the restoration project(s) in progress.

There wouldn't be much history at all in Europe if it hadn't been restored and/or rebuilt at some point. The years alone would have destroyed a good portion of it, not to mention what we've done to so much of it just by living there...wartime damage is another page altogether.

With only four days, my own opinion is that the kids would be far better off seeing the "real thing" (even if it's reconstructed) than to see a rendition thereof. If they had more days, then sure, Puy de Fou would be a good diversion.

It makes history come to life so much more vividly (and yes, 8 and 10 is old enough to understand some of it, although they won't absorb it all) to walk where knights and princesses walked -- to see the hills and rivers that they saw and have some understanding of the life they led -- than to see a recreation of it.

Washington state
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5. Re: See Loire with Kids (8,10) help!!

No arguement there. That's one of the reasons France is so great to visit--the history of the country is so rich. It just depends which "history" you're most interested in.

I'd be interested to hear what some of our French TA cohorts would have to say about Puy du Fou--I found it completely absorbing and fascinating from an American perspective.

Seattle
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6. Re: See Loire with Kids (8,10) help!!

Thanks for the responses!

Paris, France
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7. Re: See Loire with Kids (8,10) help!!

Hi,

I'm not sure if these are close enough to where you will be staying but the website http://www.piste-enfant-roy.com/ has loads of things for children to visit in the Loire. I used this to plan trips before we went on our holiday there last summer. It is a group of historic and other sites in the region that joined together to encourage visits to such places by children. It is full of ideas, and for older children like yours there are often special things at each place if they are following this 'tour' of places, - I didn't take much notice of this as at 2 years old our son is a little too young. It is worth having a look the site, I think, as it really has lots of things to visit that try and be attractive for children.

Another place my son loved, and I think kids of your age would as well if they are into that sort of thing is the Musee Dufresne http://www.musee-dufresne.com/. I went there expecting a collection of one or two old tracteurs and engines but it really is the most amazing collection of machines of every kind, from a mobile guillotine to tanks that landed in France on D-Day, the publicity for it doesn't really do it justice. It is very easy to see this and the Chateau at Azay le Rideau in one morning or afternoon,

Your boys may also enjoy the Musee de Blindes at Saumur if you are close enough, a large museum full of tanks ranging from the earliest made to the 1990's.

Hope this is helpful to you, I'm sure you will have a great trip, there are so many things there for kids of that age to enjoy.

Alison

Washington state
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8. Re: See Loire with Kids (8,10) help!!

KidstoFrance -

Sorry if we got the thread sidetracked for a bit. At least it kept it active.

Good luck with your trip!

9. Re: See Loire with Kids (8,10) help!!

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