Three-generation holidays are on the rise: two thirds of us have tried it, and twenty per cent of Britons are already holidaying regularly with grandparents, parents and children. As Sally Peck wrote recently in a Family travel article in the Telegraph: “Grandparents are enjoying more active, longer retirements; parents and children are caught in the whirl of school and work routines. Going away together offers a chance to step off the treadmill and spend quality time together. A successful holiday with extended family requires space, activities, comfort and some sort of consensus on child care”.
With that said, does Pagel meet these requirements? We asked Roger Mann, who stayed with us in May with his wife, daughter and grandchildren to give us his perspective……
“My daughter had been searching online for somewhere in France to take her three young children, and had chosen a place called ‘Pagel’. Since we were included in the trip, I checked out its website in advance and had a few points of concern. It was remote (60 miles from Bergerac airport), small (only seven gites and two canvas lodges), and had no Reception, shop, restaurant or bar (and none within walking distance). Pagel isn’t even the name of a village, the buildings are a former vinyard, and a pretty remote one at that. But by the end of our week we were completely won over, and would love to go back.
There being six of us, we were in the largest gite, The Winegrower’s House (3 bedrooms), and as soon as we walked up to our rooms to unpack, Siena (7) shrieked ‘I love it!’ – on each of the children’s beds was a bag of books and toys with their names on, and a costume for them to dress up in. In fact there were books and toys all over the place, to such an extent that they spent the entire week without even noticing that there was no TV!
Pagel actually specialises in holidays for couples with young children, and the smallness of the place meant that within a day they all knew each other by name and were playing together as if they had been lifelong friends. And that wasn’t only the youngsters – on the Monday they had visiting caterers who put on a brilliant barbecue, where all the adults sat at a long table and were all soon chatting away like old friends- helped, no doubt, by the hosts regularly topping up the wine glasses! This is a weekly event, and you pay extra for it, but it’s worth every euro. There is a similar arrangement on Wednesdays, the Chef’s Night, when you pre-order a meal which is brought and prepared on site – highly recommended. For self-caterers they have an Honesty Hut, a shed with fridge and freezer containing beer, wine and a selection of frozen meals, where you just help yourself, sign the book, and settle up when you leave. How’s that for trust!
For a bigger shop there’s a Spar in the nearby village of Catus (3 miles). if you fancy dining out you can’t do better than Le Caillau, a 19 mile drive but a beautiful restaurant and not expensive. On the last night we had our own barbecue (every lodge has one), and invited another family to join us, but before long other couples rolled up with bags of sausages and burgers and by the end of the evening we had eight families chatting and playing ( and drinking) on our back lawn, and we didn’t have to worry about disturbing the neighbours – they were all there! For the children this place really is ideal, with its heated outdoor pool (photo) and acres of grassy play areas with swings, slides, a pirate ship etc, all completely safe (see the photo from our balcony), and three times a week Cathy runs the Panda Club, two hours of fun and games for the young ones. The Pagel website has loads of information about places to visit, but Rocamadour (29 miles – photo) is a must, and Cahors at 14 miles with its street train tour is a good day out. We were caught in a cloudburst here, but the bar we took refuge in was quite happy to lend us an umbrella for our dash to the car!
The staff, all English, don’t all live on site, but visit daily, are easily contactable, and couldn’t be more friendly and helpful. All in all, Pagel is an absolute gem, unlike anywhere I’ve been before, and I can guarantee you’ll want to go back.”