Still not sure what to do for Christmas this year? Family-friendly travel company www.totstotravel.co.uk suggests trying something different by celebrating the festive season in France or Italy. The company has several properties available with lots of little extras to make Christmas special for parents and kids.
Properties will be tastefully decorated, with most providing a Christmas tree. Several will do a food shop for their guests’ Christmas dinner, welcome packs will be adapted to include seasonal treats like mince pies and handmade chocolates and some will even invite their guests for festive drinks or free Christmas dinner or hold treasure hunts for the children.
“Christmas is a wonderful time in France and Italy, with plenty of markets selling gifts, handcrafted ornaments and food. Towns and villages are decorated prettily with many larger towns featuring outdoor ice rinks. It’s a great way to celebrate Christmas slightly differently and our property owners will be on hand to make it magical,” says Wendy Shand, founder of Tots to Travel.
Here some examples of properties:
For a white Christmas, this stunning property in the Marche region of Italy sleeps 10 plus 3 cots – so ideal for a family or group of friends going away together (3 double bedrooms, 2 twins, 4 bathrooms). It has an open fire, central heating and stunning views of the snow covered Siblini Mountains which are just 30 minutes away (suitable for sledging and skiing day trips). The property owners will be putting up a Christmas tree and decorating the house for guests. They will provide Christmas lunch free of charge. In the area there are plenty of Christmas markets to visit. Servigliano (10 min drive) has an outdoor ice-rink in the main square and Sant Angelo in Pontano (10 min drive) has an exhibition of nativity scenes. For new year, there will plenty of firework displays. The owners can tell guests where to get up high to watch them for miles around with no crowds. They can also cater for a New Year party or dinner. Cost is £1625 for the week 20 – 27 Dec or 27 Dec – 3 Jan. Nearest airport is Ancona (75 mins away) which is served by Ryanair.
This beautiful three bedroomed cottage sleeping six (plus babies) is an hour’s drive from Toulouse. It has a wood-burning stove for cosy nights in. The cottage will be tastefully decorated and a Christmas tree provided. The welcome pack would include homemade mince pies, champagne Gaillac style and chocolate Santas. Christmas cakes can be made to order. Guests will be invited to join the owners on Christmas Eve, Christmas morning and/or Boxing Day for festive nibbles and drinks. And weather permitting, a festive treasure hunt can be arranged for children. There are a number of Christmas markets in Toulouse, Albi and Cordes with an ice rink outside Albi cathedral. Albi Cathedral also has a number of Christmas services and concerts to provide a really traditional Christmas atmosphere. Cost is £875 for the week 20 – 27 December. Closest airports are Toulouse (Flybe, BA, Easyjet, Jet2) or Rodez (Ryanair).
La Colline and La Maison Soie
La Colline is situated in Languedoc Roussillon and sleeps 8 (plus babies in cots) in two double and two twin bedrooms. It’s minutes away from the bustling village of Anduze with plenty of lively restaurants and cafes and a Christmas market. Close by in the small village of Aigremont is La Maison Soie, which sleeps 6 (plus cots) in one twin room and two doubles. Both properties have open fires and La Maison Soie even has its own piano for Christmas singalongs.
A Christmas tree will be provided in both and the property owners are happy to pre-buy all the food guests need for their Christmas dinner to save them time (additional cost). Cost is £755 for the week 20 – 27 December for La Colline and £630 for La Maison Soie. Closest airports are Nimes (Ryanair), Montpellier (EasyJet and Ryanair) and Avignon (EasyJet and Flybe).
La Maison Jaune
This grand house in the Dordogne sleeps 7 (plus babies in cots) in two doubles, one twin and one single room. Situated in the bustling village of Villefranche de Lonchat, guests can enjoy the local markets which feature Christmas delicacies like Foie Gras and Oysters. It’s also possible to get to Bordeaux by train (55 minutes) for its large Christmas market, seasonal decorations and plenty of excellent restaurants. Cost is £1305 for the week 20 – 27 December. Closest airports are Bergerac and Bordeaux served by several airlines.
Le Manoir Champagnois
Le Manoir Champagnois is a stunning manor house with two properties – Le Gite Meunier (two bedrooms) and La Maison Verger (one bedroom gite) – and is just 90 minutes from the thrill and excitement of Disneyland Paris and three hours from Calais ferry port. For Christmas, the properties will be decorated including Christmas trees from the garden. Christmas markets can be visited in Reims and Metz and guests will also receive a Christmas gift of a box of handmade chocolates made by a local chocolatier. What’s more, guests will get free tickets for parents for Euro Disney and as under 3s are always free, it’s a great way to see the park’s festive activities for next to nothing. Cost for the two bedroom property is £885 for the week and £835 for the one bed property.
All Tots to France properties are fully equipped with all the essentials parents need when travelling with babies and young children, including extensive safety features. Every property is personally visited and vetted to ensure its suitability for families. The company also offers a ‘Shortlist Service’ in which guests can outline their needs and the team will find suitable properties for them.
For more information go to www.totstofrance.co.uk or call (0)870 458 5528.