School holiday ideas on the French Riviera

School holidays begin this Friday, and if your child/children is not enrolled in the local centre (holiday activity programme) it can be tricky to think of ideas to entertain them for two weeks.

There are big events happening during these school holidays (Nice Carnival, Fête du Citron and Fête du Mimosa), but if you are looking for something low cost or close to home here are some suggestions for any school holiday break during the year.  Note:  It is still considered to be low season here at the moment, so please check opening hours of each attraction before you go.

1.  For a list of ‘Playgrounds on the French Riviera’ read my blog post here

2.  For suggestions for ‘Rainy Day activities’ if the weather turns to custard, read here

2.  For some suggestions for ‘Outdoor activities and theme parks’, read below:

ANTIBES

– Marineland, located just off the RN7 main road, is the largest marine themepark in Europe with aquariums, killer whales, dolphins, sharks, penguins, sea lions and more. ‘Meet the animal’ experiences on offer for additional cost.  Lots of restaurants onsite.  Wheelchair accessible park.  Their website often has discount specials for entrance, and combinations with the other adjoining theme parks www.marineland.fr

Kids Island, located just off the RN7 main road, has farm animals, pony rides, inflatable play equipment, a lazy river ride, sheriff’s saloon, mini Wild West train ride and more.  Snack kiosks onsite.  Wheelchair accessible park.  Entry is free for children under 3 years, however it is more suitable for children 4 years and older due to the age restriction on some of the attractions.  www.marineland.fr

Aquasplash, another one of the parks adjoining the Marineland complex, is self-explanatory – a water-filled funpark perfect for those hot days!  Slides, pools, Pirate Island, whirlpools. Snack kiosks onsite. www.marineland.fr

– Adventure Golf, the remaining park at the Marineland complex, has 3 mini-golf courses for varying levels. www.marineland.fr

Antibesland, just across from Marineland is open during summer, with funfair stalls, fairground rides, a big ferris wheel and snack kiosks.

CAILLE

Arbre et Aventure – Experience an adventure course set in the forest, 7 different levels with one child course suitable for ages 5 years and older. Suspended bridges, rope ladders and a 470-metre zip-line.  Arbre et Aventure, Télésèige de La Moulière, 06750 Caille. Hours and tariffs can be found at www.arbreetaventure.fr

Arbre et Aventure, Caille (image: CATourism)

Arbre et Aventure, Caille (image: CATourism)

CAGNES SUR MER

– The waterfront promenade is wide and flat.  Hire rollerblades at the Hippodrome end of the promenade or a family cycle and burn off some energy, then sit in a restaurant eating lunch and enjoying the view.

CANNES

– Make a daytrip out to the Lérins Islands

– Camp Trappeur is an adventure park with climbing nets in the trees, a rockclimbing wall, buggy cross hire, pony rides (during school holidays), chill-out lounge and tipis for private events.  Minimum age for climbing nets is 5 years of age. www.okwide.fr

Lounge (image: Camp Trappeur)

Lounge (image: Camp Trappeur)

JUAN LES PINS

– Visiobulle is a glass-bottomed boat that travels to the nearby Cap d’Antibes and the ‘Bay of Millionaires’ past the mansions, Eden Roc hotel and rocky outcrops of the Cap.  Departs from the pontoon Courbet on the waterfront in Juan les Pins. Read more here

Cap d'Antibes scenery on the Visiobulle boat trip

Cap d’Antibes scenery on the Visiobulle boat trip

Karting Juan les Pins is located underground on the Promenade du Soleil (just next to Sun7 Caféteria), it’s open late in summer and children from 5 years upwards can drive mini-karts around a track manned by safety supervisors.

LE BAR SUR LOUP

Refer to ‘PLAYGROUNDS‘ blog post for Ludiparc details.  Also, Funkart (located at Plateau de la Sarrée, route de Gourdon, 06620 Le Bar sur Loup) is the only go-kart track in the region equipped with adult and children’s tracks. Restaurant onsite.  www.fun-karting.com

MENTON

Koaland is a theme park for children with carousel, mini-golf, amusement rides, inflatable castles, located at 5 avenue de la Madone, 06500 Menton www.parckoaland.fr

MOUGINS

Buggy Cross de Mougins (909 chemin du Fond de Currault, 06250 Mougins) has mini motorbikes and quad bikes for children 4 years and older to hire. Snack kiosks with tables and swing playset onsite.  www.buggycross.fr

Kids quad and motorbike hire at Buggy Cross Mougins (image: buggycross.fr)

Kids quad and motorbike hire at Buggy Cross Mougins (image: buggycross.fr)

Centre Hippique de Mougins (next to Ecoparc) has pony rides for kids.  From 2 years of age, kids can have a 30-minute pony ride (no reservation needed).  Older kids can have pony lessons or stages during holidays that include horse riding plus tuition about horse care and grooming.

NICE

– Departing from Nice and chugging through the villages set high above Nice towards Dignes-les-Bains, the Train des Pignes covers 151 kilometres with great scenery of valleys, mountains and villages and lots of tunnels to thrill the kids!   Recommended to stop off at one of the villages (my pick is Entreveux), enjoy lunch then take a later train back www.trainprovence.com

Parc Phoenix is excellent value with bird lagoon, greenhouse with plants and animals, small aquarium, playground, snack kiosk. Entrance also includes entry to the adjoining Museum of Asiatic Arts.  Car parking is free for visits of under 2 hours.

Parc Phoenix, Nice (map courtesy of Parc Phoenix)

Parc Phoenix, Nice (map courtesy of Parc Phoenix)

SAINT CÉZAIRE SUR SIAGNE

– Grotto caves 15 kilometres from Grasse with stalactites. There is snack shop and souvenir shop onsite.  Not wheelchair accessible.  Recommended to telephone and check it is definitely open as we have shown up during opening hours previously and it has been closed with no explanation online or onsite. For hours, entry prices and more information visit www.lesgrottesdesaintcezaire.com

SAINT JEANNET

– A small farm 7 kilometres from Vence that arranges on-demand farm visits where you can sample homemade preserves, meet the animals (donkeys, ducks, rabbits and more) and pick vegetables in the organic garden. Graine and Ficelle, 670 chemin des Collets, 06640 Saint-Jeannet. Bookings via http://www.french-riviera-mag.com/outings/website-graine-ficelle_1096.htm

SAINT MARTIN VÉSUBIE

– Located in the Mercantour mountains, Parc Alpha Loup lets you discover about wolves in their natural habitat.  Parking, accessible toilets, picnic tables, snack kiosk, educational theatre onsite.  There are many rocky and uneven pathways so it is not particulary suited to pushchairs or wheelchairs if you choose to do a forest walk.  Chalet d’Accueil du Boréon, RD89, 06450 St Martin Vesubie  www.alpha-loup.com

Parc Alpha Loup in the Mercantour

Parc Alpha Loup in the Mercantour

SOSPEL

– Walking trails on the farm, and occasional pony rides. 2€ per person entry fee. Wheelchair and buggy/stroller accessible.  Reservation necessary. At Association MIR – Ferme Pedagogique, Quartier Sainte-Marie. Telephone +33 (0)4 93 04 20 89

VALBERG

– Take the family on an adventure course set in the forest, 3 different levels from ages 3 years and older.  Suspended bridges, zip-lines, rope ladders, nets and more.  At Espace Valberg Adventure and Télésiège pieton.  More information, hours and tariffs at www.valberg.com

VALDEBLORE

– Situated just over an hour’s drive from Nice, Valdeblore is a ski resort that offers many summer activities also.  Enjoy mini-golf, a luge and 5 different courses of forest adventure set in the trees, from ages 3 years and older.  Open June-September.  At Colmiane Forest, Sem des Cimes du Mercantour, La Colmiane, 06420 Valdeblore.  Hours and all prices at www.colmiane.com

La Ferme du Mercantour – Spend a day with the kids partaking in horse and cart rides, meeting farm animals (see donkeys, cows, goats, sheep, pigs, rabbits, geese and more), pony rides, and sample the fresh farm produce.  La ferme du Mercantour, La Roche, Quartier de Collet, 06420 Valdeblore www.lafermedumercantour.com

VENCE

– Refer to ‘Saint Jeannet’ above.  Also, there is La Ferme du Col de Vence (La Cavetière, route de Coursegoules, 06140 Vence), an educational farm situated at the Col de Vence only 10 kilometres from Vence, where kids can go horse riding, take a horse-and-cart ride, meet farm animals, collect honey and eggs, and walk on bush trails (note: there are rocky paths so leave the pushchair behind if you go trail walking).  More information and prices are at http://www.lacavetiere.com/home.htm

VILLENEUVE LOUBET

– Canyon Forest is an adventure playground set in the trees with rope bridges, zip-lines, climbing equipment.  Picnic tables onsite, snack kiosk, river frontage, it is a wheelchair accessible site however there is a 2.5km path to get to the park site from the carpark, and please note the adventure courses aren’t wheelchair accessible as they are elevated in the trees. Located at Canyon Forest, 26, route de Grasse, Parc de Rives de Loup, 06270 Villeneuve-Loubet. Open February-November.  Reservations necessary; see hours and prices at www.canyonforest.com

LabyFolies for ages 4 years and older (at 2559, RD 2085 – 06270 Villeneuve-Loubet) has a labyrinth maze, pedal karts, luge in the trees, water catapults, inflatable slides and trampolines.  Picnic tables onsite, snack kiosk. Wheelchair accessible park.  www.lelabyrinthedelaventure.com

Pitchoun Forest is a great site with a climbing adventure course for smaller children, ages 3 years and older (same address as LabyFolies above).  Snack kiosk onsite. Wheelchair accessible park.  For more information visit the park’s website at www.azur-labyrinthe.com/pitchoun_forest.htm

Les Bois du Lutins, (same address as LabyFolies and Pitchoun Forest) is suited for younger children from 2 years and older.  You will find inflatable play equipment, climbing nets, luge, tunnels, snack kiosk and picnic tables onsite, baby changing facilities, wheelchair accessible park.  www.leboisdeslutins.com

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