Love it when a reader submits a holiday challenge. It’s a lovely way to get to know you, my readers, a bit better, and also to re-use my research skills (which is my university degree and first career).
Today, Maud, a French reader whose own Mr Big is also English-speaking, is looking for a beach escape a few hours from Poitiers where they’ll rent a house in the middle of the countryside for two weeks. They are keen to be near the sea either in a hotel or a B&B which could accommodate their family of five.
Looking at the map, the nearest coast will be Charente Maritime (but they don’t want to stay in Ile de Ré which they fear might be too busy then), the top of Gironde, the island of Aix and my native Vendée. Here are the four places I found for them.
Hotel Napoléon, île d’Aix
There is nothing more relaxing than staying on an island, especially one like Ile d’Aix where you have to take a ferry to get there. It means that in the evening, the place becomes more quiet as day visitors have gone back to the coast.
Hôtel Napoléon is a charming hotel with an enclosed courtyard and some bedrooms on ground floor allowing Maud’s little one (2 years old) to run around safely. They have a room for three and of course double rooms which could be a good combination. A restaurant on site, a terrace looking out the countryside guarantee an easy relaxing time.
Ile O Chateau, Noirmoutier
- 2 hours 40 from Poitiers
- 24 bedrooms
- from 59 € in low season (family suite is 180 € in high season)
This represents a bit more of a trip back (2h44) but this is a lovely island not yet discovered by the crowds. This would be my recommendation as I spent many holidays there as a child and go back there every summer even now. You will love le Bois de la Chaize, the Plage des Dames, the delicious L’Her du Temps crêperie in Noirmoutier en l’Ile, the quaint village of Le Vieil … It is a real family-oriented island. You can then easily fly back to the UK via Nantes, which is only a 1h15 drive.
This charming hotel and B&B is a new addition to the island. It’s only a couple years old but has received great feedback including from my sister who stayed there. Nice clean modern decor with a wam touch. They have two communicating rooms for 4 people, to which you could add a cot for the little one.
And to top it off, they have a heated pool !
Un banc au soleil, near la Rochelle
The closest place to Poitiers, on the coast near la Rochelle, so good to explore the area, for instance doing a day trip to Ile de Ré, without being lost in the crowds. This charming B&B is very welcoming with a pool, sauna, jacuzzi and the possibility to get massages. La chambre dans les arbres is the biggest (although only 25 square meters) and can have two extra beds and a cot. They say that the maximum occupancy is 4 people but that may not include the baby..
So here you go, Maud, three b&bs or hotels along the Atlantic coast, each with their own charm. Hope one of them will suit you. Let us know !