Dordogne with Children: the Chilled Way

If you are looking for beautiful holiday accommodation in the Dordogne that can act both as a base from which to explore this fascinating area of France and also as a place in which to truly relax, Les Tulipiers in Ribérac could be just the ticket.

Les Tulipiers – An exceptional holiday home in exquisite surroundings

Les Tulipiers, Ribérac, Dorgdogne

Les Tulipiers, Ribérac, Dorgdogne – previously owned by famous French biologist, Achille Urbain

I travelled there recently, our group comprising three adults and four children aged three to eight, and after what could be described as ‘quite a drive’ we were happy to be greeted warmly at the gate by the owners of the property, Lesley and Peter, and their enthusiastic dog Woody (who was an instant hit with the kids!).

Upon entering the forecourt of Les Tulipiers the thing that caught my attention was the sweet, calming scent of lavender which grows in abundance throughout the beautiful gardens at the property. As soon as we were shown into the property I knew we were onto a winner. We’ve stayed in many holiday cottages and gîtes over the years, with and without kids, but this was undoubtedly the best appointed of the lot. Every room was extremely clean and tidy but each also felt like we’d be able to relax into it with ease. There was also a very nice welcome pack thrown in (at no extra cost) that included some very tasty home-made biscuits, croissants, jam, cheese and a few other morsels… and some very nice wine!

Then when we ventured into the garden, which sloped up through various shrubs and trees towards the gated pool area, we were almost able to forget we’d been sitting in a car for the best part of a day. The pool itself was fantastic, a very decent size, covered when not in use but easily opened with the electronic rollers which Peter talked us through, and though the property is situated within easy strolling distance (even for little legs!) of the main town centre, it felt as if we were a million miles away from civilisation. With the hut by the pool housing a toilet, we would only have to return to the house when it was time for a meal.

Les Tulipiers Pool Time

Chilling by the pool…

While chilling by the pool, reading about Hemingway’s adventures in Paris in the 1920s, the ever-present parfum de lavande drifted into my psyche and enabled me to fully unwind… until the kids called upon me to assist them with their attempt to break the world record for the number of ‘cannonballs’ into a swimming pool in a minute!

Ribérac and around

We had always planned this holiday as a much-needed chill out week, and so we didn’t get around to doing a whole lot in the way of excursions on most days, content instead to sip cold beers and read by the pool, and play games with the kids, before cracking open the wine and serious games once the kids had gone to bed… Risk, Monopoly, Cluedo, they’ve got all the classics!

We did, of course, venture out to explore the local town, which has a fantastically vibrant market on a Friday morning that is not to be missed. We dined out a few times, mainly in the more relaxed places that served a mixture of French staples and burgers and pizzas. But there are three or four very nice-looking restaurants in the town which had been recommended by Lesley and Peter (but they are popular and we didn’t book in time, and, frankly, they looked a little too nice for our young ‘uns!).

There are plenty of activities in which to partake in the local area including canoeing down some very pretty rivers (we almost had a go but our youngest was just too young). There are also a host of attractive towns nearby including Bourdeilles, Brantôme, Verteillac and Périgueux, the region’s capital. You could even drive out to the coast and the famous Dune de Pilat if you fancy sliding down Europe’s largest sand dune, while there are numerous vineyards to explore within easy driving distance (so long as the designated driver doesn’t mind).

Market Day, Ribérac

Market Day in Ribérac, well worth a visit on Friday mornings

Conclusion

I would suggest that staying at Les Tulipiers would suit families, including extended families, or simply groups of friends who are looking for a very relaxed holiday base from which to explore a fantastic area of France. While we booked the accommodation through homeaway.co.uk, you are as well to book directly through the owners’ website: les-tulipiers.com which has lots more information about the property and the surrounding area. We will certainly be returning to enjoy this fine property and area again before too long!