“Pagel, France with a Baby and a Toddler”
We travelled from Ireland to Pagel in the Lot region of France in May for 2 weeks with our 3 year old son and 10 month old daughter. Situated in the heart of Lot’s sleepy countryside but close to the Dordogne, it was a stunning spot to relax and unwind.
Pagel is advertised as a baby and toddler friendly haven where parents can relax while their kids are entertained and it certainly lives up to expectations. There are 9 residences available on site, each filled with all the toys and equipment you will need. The staff are super friendly and thoughtful and they contact you in advance of travel to find out what you need (e.g. sterilisers, play mats, high chairs, buggies) and what your child enjoys. There is food and drink available and healthy kids meals can also be purchased on site.
We arrived at 11pm at night and put our kids straight to bed as they had been asleep in the car. The next morning was like Christmas day as our son woke up and realised where he was. A welcome gift of a small panda bear was left in his bed and his room and the living room were filled with toys from cars to blocks and books. There were also plenty of age appropriate toys for our 10 month old along with a play mat.
Once outside, we found a pirate ship in the huge field beneath our apartment, a rocket ship, a tepee tent, sandbox, swings and slides and a child proofed swimming pool. There was also a play barn for rainy days with soft play mats inside and costumes to dress up in. Out front a plethora of kids cars, diggers and tractors were lined up, ready to use. The place is so safe and child friendly that we were really able to relax. Your apartment is private but there are also public seating areas so you can get chatting with other parents or even enjoy a meal or glass of wine together.
A former teacher from the UK, came to do arts and crafts with the kids 3 days a week and our son loved this. They also took walks and picked flowers and went on a treasure hunt. We went to a barbeque another day at a nearby house which was part of the facility where there were goats, rabbits and loads more toys and activities. This was arranged by staff however, we had to drive there (although usually the bbq is held in Pagel). The food was fantastic and the kids loved it. On one of the evenings we had a chef for the night who prepared a 4 course meal. We fully intended getting the kids to bed in advance of the meal and sitting out on the terrace however, there was a storm so we ended up inside with the kids playing on the floor. It was still delicious!
We took a number of day trips while staying in Pagel. It rained one day and we went to the Aquarium in Perigard du Nord. Our son loved this as there were alligators and turtles. We also visited the Dinopark (40 minutes drive) which our son adored. This was filled with model dinosaurs and a t-rex which moves. We also visited the stunning town of Rocomadour and the castle of Beyac (bring a sling if you are visiting either of these towns).
Overall the weather was good. Most days the sun was shining and temperatures ranged from 17 degrees to 28 degrees during our time and it rained one day and there were scattered showers on another day. One night there was a thunderstorm. On the rainy days we took a spin in the Dordogne, had a long lunch and went to the Aquarium. We would highly recommend Pagel to parents seeking a break with their kids in the French countryside!
1. The closest airports are Carcasonne/ Bordeaux/ Bergerac – rent a car or drive from Roscoff/ Le Harve if you’re brave!
2. Bring a GPS
3. Bring all your nappies, wipes and medication for the kids so you can relax
4.There are not a lot of cafes, particularly if you want to go out for breakfast so go to Gironde/ Cahors
5. Cahors is an ancient, walled city in the centre of the region and has all the shops and services that you might need when travelling with a baby or toddler. Gironde is also a larger town and has the usual supermarkets (such as Lidl & Carrefour) and services that you might require.
6. Local bakery (boulangerie) in Catus is fantastic, go first thing for croissants, bread rolls and cakes!”
Published in http://kindertravelguide.com/pagel-france-baby-toddler/