With its exceptional variety of bucolic landscapes, la belle France promises endless family escapades – by the sea or sand dunes, overlooking horse-ploughed vines or atop a mountain, clifftop or tree. Natural green space for children of all ages to let off steam is in abundance pretty much all over the hexagon, and as French hoteliers refine their services and facilities to make stays more eco-conscious, there’s never been a greener and more exhilarating choice of places to stay en famille. Château, chalet, hôtel particular (historic mansion), upcycled oil mill or Belle Epoque seaside villa: all budgets are embraced with signature French panache.
Luxurious city hotels and resorts entertain with action-packed kids’ clubs, themed treasure hunts, outdoor activities and hands-on learning opportunities like patisserie classes, grape-picking and cheese-making. Mid-range hotels pamper young explorers with traditional games, kitchen-garden visits and old-fashioned fun en plein air. Away from towns and cities, hotels increasingly offer flexible self-catering packages too – a cottage on a chateau-hotel estate perhaps – allowing families to mix-and-match hotel dining with their own, memorable market-sourced feasts.
Located in Paris, Provence or pinprick hamlets you’ve probably never heard of: here are 50 of the best family-friendly hotels in France.
How we review
Every hotel in this curated list has been visited by one of our expert reviewers, who are usually hosted on a complimentary basis. They stay for a minimum of one night, test at least one meal and trial other experiences (in this case, for instance, the family-friendly facilities) that the hotel might have to offer.
At a glance, the best family-friendly hotels in France
Best family-friendly hotel in France with a swimming pool – Monte-Carlo Bay Hotel & Resort, Monaco
Best family-friendly luxury hotel in France – Chateau de Berne, Provence
Best family-friendly hotel in Paris – Cheval Blanc Paris
Best family-friendly hotel in the South of France – Terre Blanche, Provence
Best affordable family-friendly hotel France – RockyPop Hotel, Chamonix
Ideally situated for anyone who wants to discover the charming Côte de Granit Rose (the Pink Granite Coast), Castel Beau Site overlooks the picture-postcard beach of Saint-Guirec. Adults will adore the stylish hotel’s colourful design, contemporary Breton restaurant and well-stocked wine cellar, while outdoor enthusiasts of all ages will love the numerous kayaking, paddling and sailing opportunities available – the coast is full of hidden creeks and uninhabited islets, and the coastal trails are breathtaking. The hotel has its own two-seat kayak to borrow, alongside a pair of electric bicycles, plus a hot tub to relax in after a day of sightseeing. The property is relatively remote – two hours from Rennes and Saint-Malo – but families in the south of England can simply hop on a Ferry from Plymouth to Roscoff and take a 90-minute drive inland.
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For nature and mythology enthusiasts of all ages, it’s hard to find somewhere more enchanting than Relais de Brocéliande. Located in the heart of the magical Paimpont forest, children will be mystified by the legendary woods and the fables revealed during fireside storytelling sessions. While youngsters are happily occupied, parents can indulge in luxurious treatments at the spa – the massages are particularly divine – and entertainment including harp concerts. The hotel, which has an old coach-inn feel and is also known for its succulent comfort food, is located by the village of Paimpont with its large lake. Families can enjoy activities such as canoeing, cycling, fishing and hiking, before returning to spacious, light-filled bedrooms with simple furnishings and comfortable carpets.
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A stay at Ferme de la Rançonnière feels like staying with a large extended family, for whom nothing is too much trouble. This family-run hotel is grand but hugely welcoming, consisting of four stately stone mansions dating back eight centuries. Whether you want a family room, or adjoining rooms sharing a bathroom, the property is well adapted for families. As for entertainment, there’s a garden playground for younger children, with a Viking longship and play castle, plus expansive gardens to explore by foot or bicycle, and tennis courts. There’s also an excellent restaurant specialising in classic Norman cuisine where guests can enjoy three meals a day.
Le Grand Hard is a 10-minute drive or bike ride from the white-sand beaches of Cotentin Bay. Set in the Parc des Marais nature reserve, the former farmhouse serves as a 'relaxation retreat'. Owners provide a fleet of bicycles, pétanque sets, children's toys and games, and can organise hikes and horse rides. With large suites, a dedicated children's menu and plenty to do, families will feel at home here. Plus, it’s safe – with its indoor play room and a large protected garden, children can play freely. Food is good and simple, with a daily changing market menu and the option for groups to book an evening 'Grillade'. Babysitting can be arranged for parents who wish to spend an evening at the large and cosy bar where they can enjoy drinks and place games such as snooker by the warm fire.
Located just down the street from the Eiffel Tower, YOOMA Urban Lodge is convenient on numerous levels. Almost built for families, the playfully contemporary design hotel has special touches to enthral children, including a life-sized robot that checks guests into interconnecting family rooms. Parents of younger kids will be thankful for the communal baby room (with baby bath and microwave) on each floor, while half-portion options in the restaurants makes dining an easier affair. Rooms sleeping up to six sport playful cabin bunk-beds or 'pods' with sliding doors. Another fun touch is the rainbow of iced donuts at the lavish breakfast buffet.
One of the most luxurious addresses in the capital, Peninsula Paris goes well beyond the traditional reach of a Parisian palace in its dreamy family offerings. Family packages are themed around French culture, such as a knight-themed adventure ending in a “knighting ceremony”, perfume making and a treasure hunt in the Louvre, as well as French lessons. There’s also babysitting services in the spa and a Peninsula app for kids. The hotel’s Peninsula Academy organises once-in-a-lifetime cultural experiences such as a football pitch walk with a favourite Paris Saint-Germain FC player, a gourmet picnic on the grand grounds of opulent Versailles palace, and (for parents) a trip to the heart of the Champagne region. Leave the kids at home – the spa offers babysitting services – or enjoy a family dinner at hotel’s restaurants where children’s menus go far beyond chicken nuggets. Ideal for budding gourmands.
Urban ‘maison’ in the capital’s historic La Samaritaine building it might be, but this luxurious five-star hotel pulls out all the stops when it comes to pampering its younger guests. Kids club Le Carrousel (4-12yrs) enchants with a merry-go-round of fun educational experiences in two themed spaces, one underwater-themed with aquarium. Budding detectives are accompanied on treasure hunts in the surrounding 1er arrondissement, and the traditional French goùter (afternoon snack) includes a kitchen visit with top pastry chef Maxime Fréderic. Bed linens and teddy bears in bespoke toile de Jouy crafted for Cheval Blanc by fashion house Maison Christian Dior add extra magic. Family-friendly deluxe junior suites include private butler service 24/7, and children aged 3-16yrs stay for free in an extra bed.
For tween- and teen-clad families arriving in Paris by train, little beats this lifestyle hotel by Gare du Nord. Its flamboyant, eye-catching décor – wall murals, street art, fabrics by trendy Parisian brand Château Rouge – is a window on urban culture for curious teens, and kids of all ages love tracking down the ceramic-tile pixelated mosaics by French artist Invader inside the hotel (download the Flash Invaders app to find more around the hotel and city). There are plenty of connecting doubles for families, and larger rooms can accommodate a cot (free) and extra bed (€20). Breakfast is free for under 6yrs and half-price for 6-12yrs.
This grand country chateau, an hour by train from Paris, is a refined haven for a chic family stay. Seclusion, elegance and understated luxury await at the property, set on rambling grounds waiting to be explored. There is enough room on the property that it can feel both family-friendly and grown-up – a spa and relaxation area for adults is located in a building of its own, for instance. Interconnecting rooms and suites make group stays seamless, and as well as the elegant Églantine restaurant, there’s a more approachable brasserie option with a beautiful terrace which is a sun trap in the summer. While there’s much to discover on site, the hotel can also arrange active excursions including canoeing on the Eure river, fishing, horse riding and golf.
Located a 10-minute drive from Disneyland Paris, this eco-friendly resort is a revitalising breath of fresh air after a day at the theme park. The property overlooks a lake, gardens and a farm, and overflows with family activities. A highlight is the Aqualagoon with its water slides, wave pool, whirlpool and al fresco summer lagoon. Guests enjoy unlimited complimentary entry, while attractions available for an extra cost include a spa, a bowling alley, escape rooms, arcade games, climbing walls, pony rides, boating, mini-golf, archery and tree-top climbing. There are around 100 apartments and cottages sleeping two to 12 guests. All properties are self-catering – and kitchens are well-equipped – but there’s also an on-site supermarket and bakery alongside a handful of unspectacular yet family-friendly restaurants overlooking the lake. Family rooms are available, alongside children’s menus and a kids’ club for three to 12-year-olds.
Sleek interiors side, Disneyland Paris’ sharpest design hotel is one huge celebration of comic strip Marvel art. For kids into Spiderman, Ironman and Incredible Hulk, the selfies with their super heroes, photo booths and hands-on drawing studios require no persuasion. The hotel has two decent-sized swimming pools – inside and out – with lifeguard, and floats to borrow. The more formal Manhattan restaurant plunges families into the skyline of Manhattan and the self-service buffet in the Downtown bistro is ideal for parents with picky eaters and/or boisterous kids in tow; both eateries have highchairs with Mickey Mouse ears and cheaper meal deals for children. Family rooms accommodate up to six and double rooms sleep four in two double beds.
Located on a rambling estate in Rambouillet forest, Le Barn has all the charm of a French country home with the chic vibe of a Parisian boutique hotel, less than an hour outside of the city. Rooms are functional but tastefully put together, and have outdoor balcony space with views over the surrounding paddocks, where visitors can have riding lessons. There are also dormitory rooms that could work well for large groups of children. A wide range of board and ball games entertains young guests, who tire themselves out running or cycling around the estate’s fields. Teens might enjoy trying their hand at table tennis, pétanque, badminton or football, and staff can recommend walking trails for a family day out.
Le Relais Bernard Loisea is a haven of fine gastronomy and while it is home to a Michelin-starred restaurant, Loiseau des Ducs, there’s no hint of stuffiness. Chefs will happily devise special menus for children, who are welcome at the five-star hotel. The beautifully landscaped gardens invite rambles as well as chilled-out pool time, and kids also have their own indoor playroom. Parents, meanwhile, can indulge themselves in the spa. Baby monitors, cots and baths are free to borrow, and the hotel offers a babysitting service as well as interconnecting rooms. Extra beds for children under 11 are also available for an extra cost.
Just a 10-minute walk from the famous, historic seafront of Le Touquet and its sandy beach, Hotel Barrière Le Westminster is grand yet inviting. Staff makes it easy for those travelling with babies and young children – cots, extra beds and baby equipment can be borrowed, and there are family rooms as well as interconnecting single rooms for older children who want a bit of independence. The hotel also offers a babysitting service if you want a quiet dinner in the Michelin-starred Le Pavilion restaurant. For a more relaxed vibe, there’s a more approachable Art Deco brasserie, which offers a kids’ menu and colouring-in table mats. There’s also a Kids’ Club at weekends and during major holidays.
Pays de la Loire
This polished three-star hotel in downtown Saumur is bright, characterful and comes with a generous dose of family spirit. Owned by husband and wife duo François and Charlotte, the cosy townhouse – known as ‘The London – dates to 1837, but contemporary rooms and service are very 21st-century. The heart of Le Londres is a stylish lobby-lounge brimming with comic-strip books (in English and French) for guests to read. Family rooms sleep four comfortably and there are interconnecting doubles. Head upstairs to discover two superb, extra large attic apartments with family-friendly kitchens which sleep four. Among the activities on offer in the local area is a trip to national riding school Le cadre Noir – a Saumur rite of passage for visiting families.
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Set high above the Loire river, this beautiful chateau enables guests to live out their wildest Louis XIV dreams. Spectacular design, flawless service and breathtaking views are the norm. The chocolate-box town of Saumur is 15 minutes away, with its money-shot chateau – take a trip on one of the Loire’s historic canal-style boats to admire it. On site, energetic families can head to the tennis courts or mini-golf course, and bicycles are available to borrow. There are family rooms with sofa beds, cots and baby baths, and a children’s menu at the exceptional restaurant. History enthusiasts will be enthralled by the red-carpeted turrets, portraits and stone busts, while gourmands will still be talking about the cheese trolley months later.
Surrounded by the lush Saint-Émilion vineyards, which date back to the 19th century, the Château Troplong Mondot oozes gentle country glamour. Families will love the heated outdoor pool (open year-round), and the sprawling estate which can be explored by electric fat bike or bicycle. Three spacious rooms sleeping two or four slumber in The Keys, a restored outbuilding next to the 18th-century chateau, and an old vineyard worker’s cottage hidden among hydrangea and lavender blooms sleeps four. The Vineyard Cottage has two doubles for families and mountains of space; cots are available free of charge. In the main house, there’s a lounge with a fireplace, library and 1920s table football table to kick around on. There are also two restaurants – a fine dining vineyard restaurant and a more casual option, where breakfast is served.
Le Mas & Le Mazet is a luxurious rural retreat for nature lovers, peace seekers and bon vivants. Two superbly equipped, self-catering houses cocoon guests in contemporary design and families are warmly welcomed. Guests of all ages will feel at home with nesting kestrels and wild deer in the Dordogne countryside that surrounds them on all sides. Take a dip in the swimming pool or test your skills at table tennis and swing ball in the barn. For families who wish to totally relax, owners can organise a private chef to come in and cook and, upon request, stock the kitchen with locally sourced supplies. They can organise bicycle rental, reserve tickets for local sightseeing and book in-room massages.
With its magical setting, witch-hat turrets and secret walkways, Château de la Treyne is one of the most mystifying properties in the area. Children craving a slumber in a fairytale castle might just find their dreams come true at this graceful 14th-century chateau. Its nail-biting location – teetering on a cliff edge above the Dordogne River – is straight out of a picture book. Once inside, little guests are pampered with mini robes and slippers, colouring paper and pens, in-room cakes and chocolate lollipops. They’re even catered to in the Michelin-starred restaurant, which served pint-sized dished for future gourmands.Villa Clarisse is the picture-perfect family home. Created as the family-friendly extension of the iconic Hôtel de Toiras, it's located just moments away from the entertainment of the town’s harbour, yet is unbelievably peaceful within its walled garden. Take a walk to the nearby beach or take a dip in the heated swimming pool, next to which lies a small sand pit – a hit with kids. It’s a private villa feel with signature Relais & Chateaux service, and the incredibly discreet staff only appear when you need something, such as at snack time, when they can fetch children waffles and ice cream from the famous La Martinière shop next door. The Villa, named Clarisse after the owner’s daughter, was designed specifically to accommodate families of every size. Suites can be arranged to have interconnecting doors, and there is plenty of space for children to roam and play freely.
The main attraction for families at L’Yeuse is its unique garden. The Jardin Respectueux has also been set up as an educational trek down to the Charente river, where families can learn about local biodiversity, look out for indigenous species of birds and insects, and partake in seasonal festivities celebrating the pumpkin harvest, local craftsmanship and of course, the region’s most coveted treasure – cognac. It also provides homegrown produce to the hotel’s kitchen. Families will enjoy the sizeable swimming pool, and suites can be adapted to accommodate children. Local street artists have given a colourful makeover to many of the hotel’s rooms, covering their walls with graphics ranging from a giant bird to playful cartoon characters.
Chateau de Lalande is a chic château for a sophisticated family séjour in France. The four-star property is a flawless blend of bourgeoisie refinement and old-world grace. Its elegant interiors and heirloom furnishings are best suited to those with babies (cots are provided and babysitters can be arranged) or older children (two-room family suites sleep four comfortably and extra beds can be added). An easy 20-minute drive from Périgueux, the hotel could not be better located for exploring the Dordogne region. Cycling along the Vallée de l’Isle bike route or learning about prehistoric cave art at Lascaux are perfect family days out.
This hotel and spa may be five-star but it is blissfully rural. Set among the manicured vines of the 600-year-old winery Château Smith Haut Lafitte, and there’s plenty to do here, from cookery classes with the chef, to tours of the château's vat room, wine cellars and cooperage. There are bikes to explore the estate on, woods to hike or jog in, and a fitness room. Children will love to speed around on bikes, meeting the farm animals, and playing in the two pools. Wander through vegetable gardens growing produce for the kitchen or spot shire horses ploughing vineyards as you explore the grounds. Babysitting services are available.
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For families interested in cultivating older kids or teens in the fine art of French art de vivre – including simple grape juice dégustation (tasting) – this countryside manor in the Cognac wine-growing region ticks all the boxes. While Cognac town is within walking distance of the estate, it is the leafy grounds and vast swathes of surrounding green tumbling down to the Charente river that nature-loving families will be smitten by. The picturesque outdoor pool is a summertime highlight and cycling, canoeing, stand-up paddleboarding and boating ae fun family activities. The hotel has connecting doubles and board games galore in the library. Brasserie des Flâneurs – in the old distillery with terrace spilling onto the lawn – is a relaxed family alternative to the formal gastronomic restaurant.
Set within a sprawling park, with extensive woodland, two lakes, a tennis court and a swimming pool, La Chapelle Saint Martin has something to keep everyone entertained. An outdoor swimming pool, tennis courts and a playground in the trees for the children mean that once you are within the 35-hectare property, you won’t really need to go anywhere else. With horse-riding, boating and fishing, Mölky (a Finnish throwing game) or croquet, and seasonal activities such as mushroom-picking or Easter egg hunting, a complete holiday out in the fresh air is on the menu. There are 10 tasteful rooms in the house, as well as three buxom luxury suites and one self-catering villa in the old stables – ideal for families who’d rather leave the fine dining restaurant to adults.
It's very much a family affair at Château Ribagnac. From the minute you arrive, the owners welcome you as if you were a long-lost cousin, and all members of the family are well catered for. Family rooms – renovated by the owners who revived the château from a state of ruin – have separate sleeping areas, and sterilisers, baby monitors, changing stations and nappy disposal systems can all be provided. All of the children staying in the chateau eat dinner together at the same time while their parents socialise, and bilingual babysitters can watch them while parents enjoy their own meal later on. There is an outdoor swimming pool that opens in the warmer months, and activities abound, with a pool and a lake to swim in and woods to explore.
The romantic setting for this riverside five-star hotel is certain to leave both children and adults spellbound. Located, right on the River Ill and ringed by impossibly pretty Alsatian half-timbered houses, its waterside terrace has one of the most sublime outlooks of the picturesque city of Strasbourg. The hotel has all the family-friendly facilities you would expect – interconnecting rooms, extra sofa beds – as well as baby monitors, cots, changing mattresses and bottle-warmers. In the fine-dining restaurant, children have their own menu, with smaller portions of grown-up food but at reduced prices. Although the spa is for adults only, children aged 12-18 and accompanied by an adult can try the special range of teenage treatments.
This hotel-cum-hostel lies a five-minute drive from the popular ski resort of Chamonix. High in fun and originality, yet low in cost, it is ideal for families. Design is playful, colourful and energetic, almost like a retro arcade game. On arrival, you’re greeted by illuminated cinema-style frontage and models of R2D2 and C-3PO. Pac-Man motifs adorn ceilings and carpets, while vintage ski posters line the walls. There’s also a vending machine selling Star Wars masks. As for the facilities, the hotel is an amusement centre in its own right. Inside there is a baby/toddler play area and arcade games, while outside you’ll find a play park, pétanque court, table football and table tennis. This place was made for children. So much so that you might struggle prising them away and onto the ski slopes.
Les Grands Montets is first and foremost a family hotel, with truly excellent service and facilities. The snug chalet hotel exerts alpine vibes and big mountain views, and young guests have heaps of natural space to run wild in. Four-star family rooms range from interconnecting doubles to duplexes and suites; cots, bottle-warmers and highchairs are available. After a day on the slopes, families can play traditional board games in front of the fire or lounge in the bubbling hot tub, which boasts views of Mont Blanc. For skiers, here are convenient lockers with boot dryers to ensure toasty feet all day and the concierge can arrange ski passes, guides, and mountain-bike rental.
This five-star, family resort near the beach in St-Tropez is adored by parents and children alike. The picture-book chateau comes with magical sea views, versatile rooms, creative dining and an exclusive range of activities for all ages. Guests get all-day access to the outstanding kids club (for ages four to 18 years), a Provençal villa with outdoor pool, pirate ship playground, trampolines, arcade games, cinema, a Lego room, arts and crafts studios. Double rooms interconnect and suites sport sofa beds. Older guests, meanwhile, can enjoy tennis, volleyball and pétanque, practise yoga on the deck of an outdoor gym, or relax in the Valmont spa. Outside of the hotel, an army of chic staff organise experiences such as perfumery, culinary trips, water sports, hot-air ballooning, vineyard tours, and more. There’s truly something for everyone.
This eccentric, rural 18th-century stone farmhouse-turned-b&b near l’Isle-sur-la-Sorgue is one enormous playground. The huge gardens are filled with play areas, including a trampoline, pétanque and a giant chessboard to go with its pool, hammocks and daybeds scattered about. Inside, cosy clutter is the theme: picture exposed stone walls, beamed ceilings, cottage-style furnishings and trinkets and flowers. It’s like walking into an enchanted grotto. Children can entertain themselves with the big toy box in the cosy lounge. For babies, there are bottle-warmers, cots and highchairs you can borrow, and one room interconnects with another that has a sofa bed.
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Terre Blanche is a cosseted, countryside idyll in Southern France, just 30 minutes from Cannes. It's one of the best for family holidays in France thanks to its sheer offering and facilities. There’s something for guests of all ages. Adults will love the two championship golf courses, enormous spa and Michelin-starred cuisine. Children (aged three-12 years of age) are kept busy at the complimentary kids' club with activities including picnics with the resort's donkeys, beekeeping and golf lessons. There’s even a dedicated children's restaurant with menus created by a dietician, plus babysitting services. Rooms include spacious, villa-style suites or, at the top end, real villas – all have separate living rooms, private terraces and spacious marble bathrooms. Some have plunge pools.
This sensitively restored olive mill below the hilltop village of Fayence is renowned more so among gourmands than families, but the half-timbered Provencal hideaway delivers a family-friendly experience almost accidentally. The atmospheric 17th-century mill doubles as a budget hotel with a fine restaurant attached. Children can go on bike rides, long walks and art trails or lounge by the pool, which happens to be beside a Gallo-Roman aqueduct. The children’s menus and poolside summer barbecue should hit the spot, but the old-world gourmet restaurant is lovely, too. Watch over the mill wheel as you dine and look out for secret nooks and crannies all over. One of the two duplex suites would suit families nicely.
This postcard-perfect country-house hotel and estate in the heart of Provence, serves grand living, fine-dining and country living fit for a countess. Set in the Lorgues back country, Chateau de Berne shares a courtyard with the grand chateau itself. This rambling wine-and-sports estate is perfect for the wildest children, who can wear themselves out in the vast grounds. From tennis to nature trails or cycling through vineyards, the options are exhaustive (and exhausting). There are miles of tracks to walk, cycle or pound along, perhaps stopping to admire the model farm. The food is fantastic, with the brasserie perfect for children and parents, who will delight in the hotel’s wine cellar – start with the estate’s best-selling rosé.
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This new hipster hotel encapsulates the spirit of Marseille with its urban beach buzz and playful design. Despite being eccentric, the nhow delivers all you'd expect of a sophisticated design hotel, with a few perks for families. There's a marine theme going on but also an homage to the city. Bedrooms are predominantly white, with splashes of yellow-and-black graffiti-daubed walls and jokey jellyfish lampshades. As well as five family rooms and child-friendly activities during French holidays, children can take to the pool and nearby beach. Plus, with the hotel’s bold design, savvy teenagers will be in selfie heaven. Adults, meanwhile, will love the spa with its hot thermal springs.
This beautiful family-run estate effortlessly straddles the line between a smart country hotel and a relaxed, unfussy retreat. Children will love the wild setting at the unpretentious Provençal farmhouse; there’s a comfortable home-from-home vibe and endless outdoor adventures in the surrounding Camargue countryside. The lovely large pool is set within its own walled garden and is open between June and September, during festival season (horse parades, bull marching and running, and the important Saintes Maries pilgrimage). Miles of sandy beaches are a short, scenic drive away – slightly further explorers can find flamingo-filled pools 12 miles south. If you’re planning on leaving the estate, a car is advised.
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This remote retreat works as a swish family escape. Château Saint-Martin & Spa is set high in the hills above Vence, giving it incredible views, and apart from its endless terraces, there’s a scene-stealing pool with chic cabanas, private family villas, and children’s spa treatments. The villas are particularly well-suited to families. Barbecues, pizza, tennis and an infinity pool should also keep the tribe happy. If your little darling wants the princess treatment in the spa, consider it sorted, along with beaches and boat trips to St Tropez. But with 34 acres of grounds to let off steam in, the children might just entertain themselves. A highlight for adults is the Michelin-starred restaurant, serving excellent cuisine in a relaxed setting for the price of an average Riviera meal – a rarity.
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The five-star beachfront Hotel Royal-Riviera is one of the best places in Cap Ferrat to stay with kids. Boasting, picture-perfect views over both Fourmis Bay and the Cap Ferrat Peninsula, it impresses families with more than its location – it’s home to a private beach, a generously-sized pool and gardens landscaped by the gifted designer Jean Mus. Children are welcomed with a VIP kids' programme that includes a passport at check-in, gifts, free fruit cocktails and ice cream, table tennis and water sports. The staff team are full of friendly efficiency and youngsters of all ages will be entertained by activities including watersports and even trampolining.
Families love to swing in hammocks at this ecological retreat in the forested hills behind Nice. Located on the outskirts of the hilltop Saint-Paul-de-Vence, this woodland resort offers treehouse accommodation named after characters from Rudyard Kipling’s The Jungle Book. Parents can enjoy a massage or sauna, while children play in the ecological pool filtered through plants and zooplankton. The organic, vegetarian breakfasts are hit. This bed and breakfast is where the French Rivera dreams of a Swallows-and-Amazons adventure. Two child-friendly tree houses are available: King Louie for up to four people and Colonel Haithi for up to five. Cots are available.
This is an appealing and affordable French retreat for families who want a beachfront and marina location without sacrificing style and character. Both the beach and the whimsical Chateau de la Napoule castle tearooms are around the corner, with ferries whisking you to the islands in 15 minutes. There are family rooms, child-friendly menus, and a pool at this coastal haunt, close to Cannes. L’Ermitage is part of a bigger estate so while children play at the decently priced tennis club, golfing parents could hole up on the sister estate. There’s no private beach but the hotel can book you into a beach club, or there are public beaches beside the Chateau (guests get free tickets).
Cannes is renowned for its palatial palace-style hotels but this is a welcome, airy alternative that breaks the mould. The laid-back vibe at Radisson Blu 1835 Hotel & Thalasso is ideal for families and the rooftop vistas over Cannes marina have a ‘wow’ factor that works for selfie-loving teenagers. The hotel offers a family-friendly barbecue throughout the summer and all year round, the rooftop restaurant offers a superior three-course children's menu. You can also set up children’s entertainment or parent-and-child massage in the superb spa (less weird than it sounds). The hotel is beachfront, too, and Cannes’ white soft sand is a hit with guests old and young.
Set towards the tip of one of the world's priciest peninsulas, the Cap d'Antibes, La Ville Fabulite has a unique-for-the-area beach chic vibe that works for families. This affordable boutique bolthole looks like an upmarket surf shack and is already a proven hit with children. The verdant walled gardens still contain enough bamboo thickets and citrus shades for little ones to play hide-and-seek behind. Add in the small pool (baby swimming lessons are also available) plus bikes and beach access and you have a recipe for holiday bliss. The beautifully designed 15 guestrooms continue the beach theme and while there are showers instead of baths, baby cots are complimentary and extra beds are available.
Château St Pierre de Serjac seduces adults and children alike with its chic mix of hotel rooms in a 19th-century château. Located on a 200-acre Languedoc wine estate in the south of France, the property has brilliantly equipped self-catering houses, some with a private garden and plunge pool. The restaurant serves early suppers for children while barbecue packs and picnic baskets make light work of self-catering. For an extra charge, there's a kids' club (open during UK school holidays) for those aged four to 12, where staff host outdoor activities with an emphasis on recycling and 'archeological digs'. There's also a supervised children's tea five days a week, plus weekly movie nights. Activities for the whole family include swimming, tennis, kayaking, horse-riding and guided bike rides. It’s no surprise the château is already a firm favourite for visiting families.
Château Les Carrasses turns family holidays into an idyllic experience. Picture vineyard picnics, wild river-canoeing, kite-surfing on the beach or canal-boating, all within (or close to) the confines of a fairytale 19th century castle. Fully equipped self-catering cottages ensure a home-from-home experience. While parents chill by the pool, glass of Languedoc rosé in hand, young explorers can press wildflowers, craft bow and arrows, partake in scavenger hunts or outdoor sports and much more at the fantastic kids’ club. Making the experience even more seamless, there’s an early kids’ dinner (rare in France) so parents can enjoy an adult dinner later on, plus free children’s bikes for family days out.
For aspiring young pirates there’s nothing more exciting than an island, and this modern boutique resort on a private islet is a surefire way to inspire young imaginations. It’s home to its own beach and 24 nautical-themed rooms – reach the hotel by speedboat across the lagoon. L’Île de la Lagune provides baby cots and changing mats, children aged two to 12 years staying in their parents’ room get 50 per cent discount, and there’s an entertaining kids’ club and a programme to keep over-fours busy. Children can’t access the spa or rooftop pool, but are welcome in the outdoor pool. For further entertainment, families can take a trip to Saint Cyprien Plage, a purpose-built resort with marina, tennis and golf, about 1.6 miles away.
For the best behaved children, Château Capitoul is a wonderful escape. Located within lush vineyards, wild lagoons and mountains that surround a Languedoc wine estate, this luxury chateau resort offers chic interior design, destination gardens and Mediterranean dining. The luxury self-catering villas with private pools are a dream for families. Two- to four-bedroom villas cater for families with any number of kids or generations, and the Asado grill serves a tasty children’s menu for under-12s. It’s worth noting that the chateau, which exudes French elegance, is very adult, with cots only and no small children allowed in the gastronomic restaurant.
Le Viscos, a charming restaurant-hotel close to Lourdes, has been run by the Saint-Martin family since 1840, so they know how to do family holidays. The hotel is cosy and inviting, and staff offer a multitude of handy services. The family suite is unusual in that it can accommodate a family of five, with bunk beds and a single bed in the children’s room. While the restaurant (also family-run) is reputed to be the best place to eat in the area, children are not made to feel out of place and they are well catered for with burgers and homemade ice cream.
Among the pantheon of luxury hotels that line the coast of Monaco, Monte-Carlo Bay is one of the best options for families. Make a splash in the unusual sandy-bottomed lagoon and take advantage of the excellent kids' club for children aged three to 12 years, located in a shady palm grove. Little ones are kept thoroughly entertained with an all-day programme that packs in a wide range of activities (from watersports to arts and crafts, animated films and even cookery workshops). Meanwhile, parents are free to pamper themselves in the spa, recline on Balinese-style pool beds or place their bets at the slot machine-filled casino.
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Monte-Carlo Beach is home to one of the world’s most luxurious kids’ clubs, the Marmorata Kids’ Club. Open through July and August for children aged three to eight years, the BAFA-certified staff offers everything from water sports to cookery classes, music workshops and treasure hunts. Beyond the celebrated hotel’s Olympic-sized pool, private beach and beach club, there’s also a kids’ pool and kids’ activity areas with Ping-Pong and table football. Dining options range from Michelin-starred organic cuisine to wood-fired pizzas. For luxury family holidays in France this is the ultimate option for well-heeled families.
Contributions by Elisabeth Blanchet, Abigail Blasi, Tania Cagnoni, Eddi Fiegel, Robin Gauldie, Lisa Gerard-Sharp, Paula Hardy, Jessica Knipe, Gaby Le Breton, Hannah Meltzer, Mary Novakovich, Clare O'Hagan, Anthony Peregrine, Tristan Rutherford, Louise Simpson, Nicola Williams