1st Week Road Trip in France with kids

Road Trips
road trip in france with kids

Embark on an unforgettable journey with us as we begin the first week of our Family Road Trip in France with kids. We meticulously crafted this itinerary to ensure an exhilarating and enriching experience for both children and adults alike! If you don’t want to begin the road trip on Portugal you can skip to the 2nd or 3rd day.

Day 1 Lisbon to Valladolid

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Lisbon to Valladolid – 5h40 – 600km

Hoping to avoid the grueling start stretch of our previous family road trip, we strategically planned our journey, incorporating a stop at Valladolid, a picturesque city nestled amidst the Spanish countryside.

Our 600km (about 6 hours) drive included a detour to Vilar Formoso, a charming border town in Portugal, offering a delightful lunch and a leisurely picnic to refresh us.

picnic vilar formoso
Picnic Vilar Formoso (40°36’43.6″N 6°50’12.0″W)

Following lunch, our journey to Valladolid unfolded with anticipation for a refreshing dip in the pool at Sercotel Valladolid. Post-swim relaxation, we ventured into sightseeing mode, discovering the Science Museum conveniently located next to our hotel. Crossing a footbridge, we reached the city center to pick up provisions for the next day’s meals. Opting for convenience, we grabbed dinner at the nearby McDonald’s, also conveniently located near our hotel.

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Science Museum Valladolid (41°38’15.6″N 4°44’43.7″W)

Day 2 A Loooong drive – Valladolid to Poitiers

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Valladolid to Poitiers – 8h20 – 820km

After a peaceful night’s rest at the Sercotel Valladolid Hotel, we were excited to resume our road trip to Poitiers. Facing an 820-kilometer stretch with an estimated travel time of 8 hours and 20 minutes, we acknowledged the challenge of a long day ahead. Nevertheless, our determination to arrive in Poitiers promptly, allowing us to set up our tent and fully enjoy the experience, remained unwavering. If our plans unfolded seamlessly, the subsequent day promised an immersive exploration of the captivating attractions at Futuroscope.

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Our route to Poitiers had a scenic landscape

To save time and money, we made a strategic pit stop at Parque Comercial Txingudi (43°19’14.6″N 1°50’04.8″W) in Irun, Spain, where we refueled the car and had a sandwich lunch. This decision proved worthwhile, as fuel prices were significantly lower in Spain compared to France.

Fortunately, everything went according to plan, and by 18:00, we triumphantly arrived at Camping Futur (website) in Poitiers. Seizing the opportunity provided by the fading daylight, we swiftly erected our tent and eagerly awaited the chance to put our camping stove to its maiden test. Armed with a yearning to break free from the monotony of sandwiches, we came prepared this year, steadfast in our resolve to unveil the culinary delights of hot meals during our Road Trip in France.

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Kemper camping stove, in Camping Futur, Poitiers

Our inaugural attempt at preparing a hot dinner while camping was a resounding success. Beginning with a steaming bowl of soup, we followed it up with a delightful serving of spaghetti carbonara. Satisfied and ready to unwind, the anticipation for the next day filled with excitement and enjoyment was palpable. We eagerly looked forward to a day brimming with fun and adventure.

Days 3, 4, 5 Futuroscope, Fun fun and more Fun

After two days of relentless driving on our road trip, our kids were raring to experience the thrills of Futuroscope (website)! Getting from our campsite to the park was a swift and effortless process, and we were determined to make the most of our visit to the most-visited park in Poitiers by waking up early.

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Futuroscope, Poitiers (46°40’00.7″N 0°22’03.3″E)

While two days would have sufficed, we couldn’t resist the allure of a promotion that offered a free third day. Our kids adored the park, and we thoroughly enjoyed three fantastic days immersed in its wonders. Since we visited at the end of August, the queues were significantly shorter, allowing us to maximize our fun.

Our family’s favorite attractions at Futuroscope included:

  • Futuropolis, a specially designed area catering to younger children, brimming with exciting attractions just for them!
  • The Time Machine, a mesmerizing journey through the past, present, and future.
  • Dancing Robots, a captivating show featuring synchronized robotic movements.
  • Tornado Chasers, an exhilarating ride simulating the experience of navigating a tornado’s fury.
  • Objectif Mars, a thrilling rollercoaster that takes you on a captivating mission to the red planet.
Futuropolis, Futuroscope

We tried nearly all the attractions, some multiple times, and while two days were adequate, three days undoubtedly allowed us to savor the park’s delights at a more leisurely pace. My kids were particularly smitten by the children’s play areas located adjacent to most attractions, providing them with ample opportunities to unleash their boundless energy.

After saving the night show for our last night, we were eager to experience its magical storytelling. The tale of a fearless young girl bravely confronting an evil monster captivated us with its suspense, drama, and mesmerizing visuals. The protagonist’s unwavering courage and determination served as a beacon of hope, inspiring us to believe in the power of resilience and the triumph of good over evil. The show’s captivating finale left us spellbound and with a lingering sense of awe, solidifying our fond memories of Futuroscope.

Our visit to Futuroscope was an unforgettable experience that left our hearts filled with joy and our spirits soaring. It was a testament to the power of family bonding and the magic of shared experiences.

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Bacalhau à Brás

While camping, we indulged in the flavors of Portugal, feasting on dishes like Bacalhau à Brás and other easy-to-make delights. Our culinary adventures added a taste of the country’s rich cuisine to our trip.

Day 6 Poitiers to Dordogne stop at Brantome Abbey

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Poitiers to Dordogne – 4h – 270km

On the sixth day of our road trip, we embarked on a journey from Poitiers to Daglan in the Dordogne region, covering over 270 kilometers. The drive was expected to take approximately 4 hours, so we planned 2 stops to break up the monotony and add a touch of cultural flavor to our day.

Our first stop was at the Aire De Loisirs De Brandes, a serene park nestled amidst lush greenery. The park’s tranquil atmosphere provided a welcome respite from the road, offering ample space for a leisurely lunch and an opportunity to stretch our legs and unwind. After savoring a hearty meal, we continued our journey to the enchanting Brantome Abbey, a historical gem steeped in architectural splendor. The abbey’s imposing structure, adorned with intricate carvings and weathered by time, stood as a testament to the region’s rich heritage.

After exploring Brantome, our next destination was the picturesque region of Dordogne, specifically Camping le Moulin (website) in Daglan. This campground proved to be an excellent choice for us, boasting a heated pool, an indoor pool, a children’s park, direct access to the river, and numerous amenities—all at an affordable price. The decision to stay here was an easy one.

Given that it was nearly September, the campground had plenty of available pitches. This timing worked to our advantage, providing us with a wide selection to choose from

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Our camping pitch at Camping le Moulin

Day 7 La Roque-Gageac and kayaking in Dordogne river

On the seventh day of our trip, filled with anticipation, we embarked on our exploration of the captivating Dordogne region, beginning our adventure in the charming village of La Roque-Gageac. Full of enthusiasm, we climbed up the narrow streets that guided us to the remarkable La Roque-Gageac Fort (website).

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Fort La Roque-Gageac (44°49’35.4″N 1°10’56.5″E)

To reach the fort, we ascended a series of steep stairs, a physical effort that was more than justified. The Fort itself provided a fascinating insight into its history, featuring an informative video presentation. Exploring the living quarters allowed us to get a glimpse into the daily lives of the people who once inhabited the fort. The elevated vantage point of the fort offered breathtaking views of both La Roque-Gageac and the stunning Dordogne landscape.

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View from Fort La Roque-Gageac

After enjoying the breathtaking views and learning about the history of Fort La Roque, we surprise the kids with a kayaking trip down the Dordogne River from La Roque-Gageac to St-Vincent-de-Cosse. We started at noon and had until 6pm to reach our destination, so there was no rush and we could enjoy the beautiful scenery along the way.

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Kayaking in Dordogne view of Castelnaud-la-Chapelle.

We hired kayaks from Canoe Dordogne, which is located just outside of La Roque-Gageac. The staff was friendly and helpful. They made sure we were all set up with the right equipment and safety instructions.

We set off down the river and were immediately captivated by the stunning scenery. The Dordogne River is a beautiful and peaceful place to kayak. We were surrounded by lush greenery and towering cliffs. We also saw a variety of wildlife, including ducks, geese, and even a couple of swans.

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Kayaking in Dordogne view of Château de Beynac

During the adventure, we stopped at a shore with a magnificent view of Castelnaud-la-Chapelle. We had lunch there. It was also possible to go for a swim, but the weather wasn’t very inviting that day.

As we kayaked, we could admire the many castles that line the riverbanks. Some of the most impressive castles include Château de La Roque-Gageac, Château de Castelnaud, and Château de Beynac.

As we neared our final destination, St-Vincent-de-Cosse, a sense of fulfillment washed over us. We had not only navigated the scenic Dordogne River but had also created lasting memories that would forever be etched in our hearts. This kayaking trip was the highlight of our Dordogne road trip. We strongly encourage it for anyone in search of a rewarding and unforgettable experience in this captivating region.

If you liked the first week of our road trip with kids in France click here to continue to the second week.

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