Travel: Planning a Break in France – Getting out of our Holiday Comfort Zone

So, I’ve not even got on the plane for our first holiday of the year, but here I am planning our trip for next year. For some time now Poppy has wanted to go to Disney Paris and now seems like a nice time to do it. She’s old enough to really remember and appreciate it, but not too old, that the magic isn’t there anymore. I really want to maximise the break though, and being the sun lover I am, I’ve found my search wandering to French Riviera Vacation Rentals too, with a view to splitting the holiday. 
I first visited France when I was 13 on a school trip, we did all the touristy type stuff like visiting the Eiffel Tower, taking a boat trip down the Seine; we even visited the Bayeux Tapestry, something I don’t think I really appreciated as a boy obsessed, surly 13 year old! 
So it’s now, I feel I’d like to revisit those things with a fresh eye, a more sophisticated pallet and preferably less vomit down the aisle of a coach packed with around 50, 13 year olds – sorry Craig, but you really shouldn’t have eaten all those opal fruits. 

To Fly or not to Fly…

The first thing I find myself considering is transportation. As neither Alex nor I drive, it would fall on my dad to do all the driving if we chose to make it a road trip; which in terms of splitting the holiday across the two destinations would make things easier. But on further research, I found flights are really cheap from Doncaster Airport, which really isn’t that far from us. So I’m thinking that really could be an option for us. 
That would mean though, either getting another internal flight, once we’ve done the Paris leg of the trip, or hiring a car once we’re in France and doing it that way. There’s definitely a couple of ways round it, and having researched the Eurostar, we now know it’s just not worth it for us. The train fare down to London alone would be extortionate before you’ve even got on the connecting train to France. 
I think possibly flying out to Paris, hiring a car and then flying home from the Riviera is a real option for us, but I’ll have to see what my dad thinks, he might tell me to stuff it haha!! 

Stay and Play

Accommodation-wise I’m feeling a little nervous to be honest. Since having Pops, I’ve very much become a package holiday kinda gal. Everything I need, all bundled in together. It’s really been out of ease rather than necessity though.  Like most kids, Pops can be a fussy eater when she feels like it, and craves lots of entertainment. With her being an only child, I’ve always found all-inclusive the best option because food-wise it means she can experiment without my wallet taking a hit, and entertainment-wise she loves the kids clubs because she gets to have fun with kids her own age, do lots of activities and get away from boring old mummy! 
So I think the thought of going self catering, with no entertainment and having to do all the cooking is giving me the wobbles, but, I know the benefits of being able to explore and really soak in the culture of the country will outweigh my need to be mega lazy!! 
Beach Holiday Addicts

Getting out of that Comfort Zone

I think more than anything, this trip is going to be a chance to get out of our holiday comfort zone. No package holiday, sun lounging, cocktail guzzling this time, and in that sense I am really excited. I’m not sure it’s something we’re going to be able to do every year, as I do love the kind of break where it really is just that, a break. But I think it’s really important Pops becomes a seasoned traveller. I want her to experience different cultures, cuisines and people. 
Don’t get me wrong, I know Disney isn’t exactly a cultural hotbed, but she’s really excited to see Paris too, visit the art galleries and museums and of course, being my child, sample all the spoils French cuisine has to offer. I mean this kid is just salivating at the thought of visiting a real French Patisserie. 
And I guess that’s something I really do miss when we’re on all-inclusive breaks, being able to sample the local food. I mean we do a little bit, we tend to have a day trip and eat locally while we’re out, or maybe go out one night for a meal but it’s not the same as preparing fresh food everyday and using the local produce. Confession time – I am such a supermarket tart, there is nothing I love more than taking a leisurely stroll around a supermarket in a different country. It completely fascinates me! I’m so sad aren’t I? I do love the hustle and bustle of the local markets too, all that fresh food and exotic looking produce. 
All that aside, once we hit the second leg of the break, I think it’ll be a bit more relaxed, although still self catering, I’m hoping to find a villa with a pool, and have a few days of full on relaxation. 

Preparation, Preparation, Preparation

I think the key to this trip is going to be in the preparation. Ensuring that every step is planned meticulously,  and that we find the right balance between exploration and relaxation. I want Poppy to feel she’s really experienced the country; but I do have myself and Alex to consider and my parents too. I don’t want my folks to feel they’re there as sudo-babysitters, I want them to have a really relaxing and fun time too, and for my dad, it will be his first time in France. For mum it’s the same as me, she visited on a  school trip in the late 60s, so in some ways it will be a whole new experience for her too I guess. 
The folks have already said they’re quite happy to forgo the Disney part of the trip, but we’re only planning doing the day so my folks can have a day relaxing while we go an get our senses over-stimulated in a world full of schmaltz (can you tell I’m excited)… I am, I promise, but as a forever anxious person, the thought of Disney does overwhelm me somewhat; hence why we’re only doing the day thing. Plus friends have advised us it’s not really worth doing much more than that anyway as it’s nowhere near as sprawling as its American counterparts. 
I think travel-wise, as long as I plan it well and do my research we’ll be good to go, we’re all pretty mobile, so I don’t have to worry too much about accessibility and things like that. 
As much as I’m a little nervous about the logistics of it all, I’m really excited too. It feels like a real adventure, Poppy has been saving her pennies as she wants to contribute (I know, too bloody cute). And I think we should be able to pull it all in for a fairly decent cost with a little bit of forward planning and frugal thinking! 
Have you organised your own trip before? What hurdles did you come up against, and what top tips do you have? Please help me, all advice gratefully received! 

**Collaborative Post. All words and opinions are my own**