A villa holiday in France with a two-year-old and a one-year-old is never going to be the most relaxing break.
They don’t do lying by the pool, so unless they are sleeping, you are on duty, during which time they will need the same amount of meals, snacks, entertainment and nappy changes as at home.
Meals out are taxing – particularly given you can’t expect a French restaurant to have a “siège enfant” (highchair) – and meals in require planning and preparation, which is difficult when you’re miles from home.
Yesterday Alfie helped himself to a bottle of Rinse Aid from underneath the sink, which necessitated a 20 minute call to a poison specialist in Paris (they suggested we give him a Rennie).
There is one thing, however, that I positively enjoy about being in France with small children. And that is the supermarkets (I’m talking about the really big branches of Carrefour, E Leclerc, Hyper U).
British supermarkets should take a leaf out of their book.
Here are 5 reasons why (I’m sure there are more)
If you’re feeding your baby formula, you will love the baby aisle in Carrefour or E Leclerc.
French mamans don’t seem to bother too much with powder formula. Instead, there’s a huge selection of readymade formulas in enormous bottles, along with all sorts of cereals and powders to make it thicker/ them sleep longer. You can even buy chocolate formula although I haven’t gone that far yet.
Move over Florence + Fred, you can buy Petit Bateau clothing in French supermarkets – for a fraction of what it costs on the high street.
The car-shaped trolleys are enough to make Hector, 2, beg to go to the supermarket. There are trolleys to contain someone of Alfie’s size, and also toddler-sized trolleys, so you can put your child to work.
The toys aisle rivals Hamleys in its size and selection. This isn’t necessarily such a good thing, as it means we struggle to leave without a new Matchbox car. Luckily they only cost €1.50.
The best bit!
So many decent bottles for under €5… Plus, rather than “baby events” (although I’m sure they have these too), French supermarkets have regular “wine events” where you can buy Champagne for €8.
Don’t go too crazy, though. You definitely don’t want a hangover on this kind of holiday.