This trip started out when my wife was asked if she would like to speak at a conference in Tours, France, in July. She decided that it would be beneficial, also to attend the conference, so we decided to plan our annual holiday around it. We figured that it would be easiest to take the car, to transport all the children's things, also it would be cheapest, especially as we decided to go camping as well. So, the plan was, to drive to the Eurotunnel at Folkestone, cross the channel, then stay overnight nearby. The next day we would drive to the Loire Valley, near Tours, and stay for the week. On the following Saturday we would drive up to the Paris region to camp, until Thursday when we would return to Calais, before taking the shuttle back to the UK the following morning.
On board the shuttle
The children playing in the room. Premiere Classe hotel, Boulogne-sur-Mer
We stayed in a holiday apartment on a complex in Azay-le-Rideau, a delightful small town near Tours. This is Amy on our patio.
The Carrefour supermarket had these trolleys, ideal for keeping toddlers amused whilst shopping. (No, he didn't see the Kinder eggs to ask for one!)
Tours station. Tam came here by train each day of the conference, we joined her on the first day.
Tours old town, from a gelateria.
Pont Wilson, across the Loire river
The diesel train that serves the Tours - Azay-le-Rideau - Chinon line.
Chateau de Chinon. Myself and the children drove here one day whilst Tam was at the conference. Matty liked it - just like "Mike the Knight"'s castle from a TV show.
Chinon from the battlements.
Chinon old town.
A 24 hour milk vending machine outside the Carrefour supermarket. To the left is a machine selling bottles (EUR0.20 for a plastic 1l bottle, up to EUR6 for a fancy design glass one). On the right is the milk tap. EUR1 per litre, it even makes a cow's mooing noise when pouring.
"Rural families live better".
The chateau of Azay-le-Rideau. This one is more of a stately home.
Street sign - "Art workshop"
Our apartment is one of these.
Then we drove up to Paris. We stayed at a campsite at Varrades, near Meaux. This is to be near Disneyland. We arrived at the campsite, and pitched the tent, after which we had dinner. By this time it had started to rain.
In the tent.
In the tent again.
The next day we went into Paris, by taking the RER from Mitry-Claye into the city.
Outside Notre Dame.
Outside the Louvre.
The Pont des Arts.
Playing crazy golf at the campsite.
One of the 2 pools at the campsite, and bouncy castle. The water was freezing.
Toll booth to the car park at Disneyland.
Dragon under the castle.
Buzz Lightyear at the entrance to Planet Pizza restaurant.
Matty on Mummy's shoulders waiting for the steamboat ride.
Daddy and Amy.
Matty looking at Nautilus, the submarine.
Matty so excited at the parade he's almost crying.
On the "Small World" boat ride.
Castle at night.
Castle at night.
We stayed so late after the fireworks, and light show that Matty had fallen asleep before we even got to the park entrance, let alone the car!
Some planes viewed from the campsite. A Royal Jordanian A320.
Air France A330.
Air France 777.
Air France A330.
Air France A380.
On our day to leave, we packed up the tent just before it started to rain - very lucky timing. We then hit the autoroute back to Calais, where we stayed the night in the Premiere Classe next to the station.
The next day we filled up with cheap diesel before taking the Eurotunnel shuttle back to the UK, and driving home.
Somehow Amy managed to get hold of the bread and started to eat it!