Perfect for Young Families
Trip Advisor – Reviewed 24 September 2012
We returned to Pagel with friends this year, after a first visit in 2011. We have never gone back to the same destination before and I was worried it would not live up to our wonderful memories. I need not have worried. Pagel really is perfect for families with small children. Every need for the little ones has been considered from baby gates to plenty of child proof cutlery, booster seats, baby intercom, bottle warmers, bed barriers, spare buggies, ample free washing facilities and more. As a stressed out parent you really don’t have to worry, it’s all there. Moving on from the sheer practicalities (but they are such a help!) you have the incredible setting, beautiful decor, toys, books, pool and space on site which all make for a magical time for the children and a truly relaxing time for Mum and Dad. Not to mention all the wonderful extras like a massage, pedicure, chef for a night and on-site babysitting should you need to relax further. The local area is also superb with wonderful markets selling local produce, beautiful lakes, parks, great restaurants and plenty to do for the more active. Travel wise the flight into Brive was easy, short and inexpensive. The drive is pretty long from Calais, particularly with little ones, so we would recommend breaking it up with a stay if that’s your preference. I would highly recommend to any young families (children up to 11/12 I’d say). We will be back again in 2013 and can’t wait!! NB If you do need to travel in school holidays you will need to book in plenty of time as they get full well in advance.
They say Utopia doesn’t exist!!!
Trip Advisor – Reviewed 18 September 2012
My partner and I with twin boys aged 2.5 have just holidayed at Pagel in the lower wildwood gite between 8th and 15th September.
We had booked a child friendly holiday at Pagel based on feedback of previous visiting families and can wholeheartedly state that the business, the ethos and approach of Mark and Lara Bishop and the team is an absolute credit. This is so much so that words simply seem insufficient.
The first thing to state is that Catus and the lot region, somewhere we had not visited previously is beautiful, unspoilt, mile after mile of what I would describe as old English countryside, with the added benefit of temperatures during our stay of 80 degrees plus and sunshine by the bucketfull. We have had so much rain in England this year!!
The standard of accommodation within a secure 5 acre site is magnificent and everything a parent and family needs can be provided, and is following the courtesy call that is made a week before you travel.
The farmhouse conversions into gites set in rolling meadows with every conceivable play activity is everything and more.
A fenced off pool area is quiet and relaxing and will only have a limited number at any given time due to the number of good sized gites available.
This morning my boy, on leaving the house to walk the dog, was disappointed and cried as he had expected to walk down the meadow to the pirate ship, where he had spent a considerable part of the previous week! It just made us all realise that Pagel had impacted on our psyche more than we had realised initially.
The welcome basket the barbecue on the Monday were high class and the barbecue was a way to meet other holidaymakers, all of whom in our case were in a similar position of wanting to give our children a wonderful holiday a magnificent experience, we got that and much more.
We would visit again and commend the Pagel team once more. Thank you so much.
Stayed September 2012
Charlotte Watts Goes To Pagel
Play and Pleasure at Pagel – a truly imaginative kids’ paradise..
Our holiday at Pagel became a source of stress-relief from the baggage of modern parenting months before we left for the airport. An email listing all the things we wouldn’t need to pack (monitor, sleeping bag, plastic cutlery, books, toys et al) immediately lightened the suitcase list and the anticipation of travel stress. We were also reassured with several thorough and informative emails; all felt more manageable, highly important for parents taking their first holiday abroad with 14 month old Maisie. This was clearly a destination designed around creating the best time for children by also supporting the parents as much as possible.
We had chosen to stay in Goldilocks Cabin as we don’t have a garden at home and wanted to feel like we were in the woods. We arrived in the dark and were very excited to wake up to the wooden veranda overlooking the beautiful natural gardens with peaks of many exciting possibilities for Maisie to explore. The cabin was beautifully decked out and she was overjoyed with the giant teddy bear theme, both huge cuddly ones in the cabin and wooden statues guarding the outside. Everything was there that needed, in full working order and easy to find, along with the extras we had requested – buggy and bath from the extensive list of kids’ equipment available.
On exploring the grounds it took quite a while to discover the various slides, trampoline, swimming pool area (heated and saltwater by the way), play barns, oh and the Indian Village and 10 metre pirate ship with sandpit – a creation clearly of pure fun by the co-creator Mark Bishop. On speaking to his wife Lara Bishop, it soon became clear that Pagel has been a labour of love for them over the 8 years it has been evolving. From a few unhappy experiences with holidays claiming to be child-friendly and just chucking in a cot and a slide, the Bishops found a clear illustration of what not to do and set out to do exactly the opposite.
Listening to visiting parents and actively requesting suggestions for continual improvement has meant that they have really got it right. They have nurtured the 19th Century Stone farmhouse, stone Grange and Goldilocks cabin to create a completely child-safe enclosure. With room for seven families, there is plenty of freedom for the kids and adults to mingle when they want, but each apartment or cabin also has the room for personal space. I had a sneaky look around and these are all fitted and decorated with care and attention, clean, tasteful and well-equipped. Sad to say, but I particularly liked the separate laundry room with dryer. I have a penchant for taking a suitcase of clean clothes home.
The really unusual part of Pagel are the grounds though. These are the stuff of fantasy for children. A fully safe enclosure allows them to roam freely and explore the various play stations, but also take in the natural meadows, sweeping lawns and just be with nature. Maisie wasn’t quite ready to fully appreciate this but she was entranced by simply having long, languorous lengths of time to look at the trees, butterflies, take in the sun and even see a few deer in the bottom meadow.
Lara has a clear love of play and she has enhanced this magical environment by providing costumes and toys for kids to really explore their imaginations. There really is no end to the possibilities of play in all of the separate zones. I was amazed by the amount of good quality amount and range of toys. From play kitchens to cars to soft play areas, there really is no opportunity for a child to feel bored or uninspired.
We stayed at Pagel out of season so didn’t get to experience the full potential of having other families around and I can imagine the kids hanging about and getting totally engrossed in this world. Lara told me about the meals outdoors where parents get chance to eat a meal together, and I certainly fancied the evening chef service, massage and pedicure available on-site.
When we wanted to change pace a little from the soothing, peaceful environment, we drove to the nearest town Cahors, a really lovely French town with plenty of shops and brasseries to hang about in, as well as a weekend market, supermarket and everything else you might need. The people of Cahors were very friendly and accommodating for children, even with our embarrassingly bad French.
This is a unique self catering experience, a home-from-home with everything you need for babies and toddlers provided. Maisie got so much out of staying at Pagel and I know that going back when she is a more physically demanding toddler will be the best way for us to get a break too. Knowing she can play safely, outdoors and with other children is always important to us. The only trouble is, now we have to buy her a giant teddy bear!
Charlotte Watts, GMTV, Nutritionist www.charlottewattshealth.com