Parçay-les-Pins, Loire Valley – the Garden of France
We’ve stayed in the same house in this small village a few times as it offers just the sort of relaxation families like – good size (10m x 5m), solar-heated pool, games room, large garden with an orchard of fruit trees and a front garden complete with barbecue. The house, which sleeps eight very comfortably (plus a cot is available), has all mod cons including a dishwasher, but best for me is the large dining-room with French doors opening onto the front garden (with the wood-burning fire it would make a perfect place to spend Christmas en famille!).
Surrounded by high hedges for privacy, the front gates to the property lock for extra security so you won’t have to worry about kids running out on to the road or just wandering off. It's a child-friendly property; the pool is fenced off to comply with French regulations but obviously parents must be aware of water-safety.
The village has two cafés with restaurants and bars – plus there are other good restaurants a short drive away - and there’s even a pizza van on Friday evenings in the square so there’s no need to cook after a day’s sightseeing in the Châteaux, exploring forests, sampling the local wine in the vineyards, or working off the calories with a game of golf, cycling or canoeing. The museum, art gallery and internet café offer entertainment within five minutes walk should you tire of relaxing by the pool while the kids enjoy the water.
Parçay-les-Pins lies amid sunflower fields, pine forests and lakes and is convenient for the towns of Tours, Le Mans, Angers and Saumur. While the village has the usual complement of small food shops and Saturday morning market, the neighbouring village of Noyant has banks, a supermarket and bustling market on Friday mornings.
One of the highlights of our stays here has been the shooting days organised by the owners at their newly renovated farmhouse, La Fosse, about 40 minutes drive away in Pontvaillant.
The farmhouse sits in acres of land where they have set up target and clay pigeon shooting. The day includes a delicious lunch and those not interested in guns have plenty of space to relax and children are well catered for. We discovered my daughter is a crack shot, beating the children who'd been brought up with guns on a farm!
Rates per week for 2007:
Trish or Malcolm: