One of my favourite things to do as a family is to take the girls to explore new places together and create new memories. I am so lucky we are able to do this and especially when we are invited to visit new places on press trips. As was the case with our last trip to spend a weekend in Vallée du Loir & Le Mans.
Ad-Presstrip: I was invited by the Vallée du Loir & Le Mans Tourist Boards to a press trip to visit the area. Everything was complimentary for the purpose of this blog post.
I was so excited to visit with Nick and the girls and take them to somewhere we hadn’t visited before. There was a full itinerary planned for us starting with our travel on a Brittany Ferries from Portsmouth.
Travelling Via Brittany Ferries
It was an early start as we had to be in the queue to check from 7.15 am. Luckily we had stayed over in Aldershot so we were close by. It takes around 45 minutes to check in after which we went to our cabin. The girls loved this and immediately wanted to pull open the bunk beds to check them out. The rest of the journey consisted of us checking out everything on board.
They had a movie for us to watch but the girls were too busy exploring so didn’t watch it, but we did spend a lot of time in the arcade! How cool is it they have an arcade on the ferry!
Arriving In France
Our trip was to take us to explore to Vallée du Loir and Le Mans. The Loir Valley is charm itself located on the Sarthe River. A favourite with hikers and nature lovers alike, the hillsides of the Sarthe River are decorated with troglodyte wine cellars, traditional villages, splendid chateaux and luxurious gardens. if you are looking for a picturesque holiday off the beaten track, The Loir Valley won’t disappoint.
We arrived in France at 3 pm. This gave us plenty of time to get to Vallée du Loir and our accommodation. We were staying at Camping La Plage in Mansigne, Pays De La Loire.
It is such a beautiful place. The views were beautiful. We stayed in one of the chalets on site, and were able to use the facilities including a swimming pool and a gorgeous lake with its own beach too! The chalets are separate from the campsite in a self-contained area and each one comes with a TV, a coffee maker, a toaster, a microwave, a mini-oven, a dishwasher and a washing machine.
After a long day of travelling the girls were really hot and desperate to get into the pool. So we decided to all go in before our dinner reservations to cool off and have some fun. I was so impressed with how clean the pool was. It is a covered pool and looks as if it was just built. After some fun in the pool, it was time to head back and get ready for our dinner reservations.
La Table De Laurène
La Table de Laurène is a charming bistro that appeals to both tourists and locals alike. With over two years of service providing authentic cuisine in a Parisian style decor, it is recommended you book ahead to be guaranteed a place at this restaurant. I don’t know about you but it sounds amazing don’t you think?
The owners spoke very little English but this didn’t stop us from ordering our dishes. We all understood each other at the end. Our dinner was delicious. The girls ordered burgers with fries and Nick ordered beaf and I ordered pork. We were given first a lovely gazpacho and salmon as a pre snack. Then I had Le poelon campagnard as a starter. It was really nice. The girls and Nick had ice cream for dessert. I couldn’t eat more.
It was really busy when we arrived which was good to see and surprisingly there were still many children dining. However, I suppose this is normal in France. I would definitely agree that you should book and not just turn up as you may not be able to dine.
We then headed back to our chalet for some rest as our next two days were fully booked so we could explore everything the region has to offer.
Exploring Vallée Du Loir
First thing in the morning we woke up and got changed to start our day. The girls were very excited to explore the area. While I was getting ready they went for a quick walk around the campsite. It was sunny and had beautiful views.
We went to Château du Lude – we loved this castle. It was huge and it has gorgeous gardens. The family was still living there which is very exciting. We arrived before it was open to the public so we saw some members of the family playing with their kids. It gave us a completely different experience seeing them there.
The girls were then changed into princesses outfits to go around the castle. We visited their different rooms which were used by the family. It was so nice. We took so many photos in the garden. We were lucky that we had a tour guide with us so we got some lovely family photos that morning.
We spent all morning walking around the castle. After that, we went to Zoo de la Flèche. The zoo visit was AMAZING. I can highly recommend this zoo to visit because they have so many animals that I have never seen in person before. The highlight for us was the polar bear. It was massive. We saw him swimming and also walking around so we were very lucky.
The girls loved the giraffes, elephants and also white tigers and white lions. We have been so many times to the London zoo but this zoo was a completely different experience for us. We really enjoyed it.
We then went back to the camping site for more swimming and walking around. The girls went with Nick to the beach area and they caught the most amazing sunset. We then had a lovely dinner at the chalet admiring the views of the lake. It was really lovely. We stayed that night at our chalet and enjoyed each other’s company.
We had a great first day we all really enjoyed it. To find out what we got up to over the next two days make sure to catch my second post Our Weekend In Vallée du Loir & Le Mans – Part 2. I will also be doing more in-depth posts on all the attractions and places we visited. I feel this is great information to have especially if you are visiting with children!
Have you been to Vallée du Loir & Le Mans before? If yes, which places did you visit around the area?
*Disclosure: I was invited by the Vallée du Loir & Le Mans Tourist Boards to a press trip to visit the area. Everything was complimentary for the purpose of this blog post.
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