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    If your own wellbeing – and that of the environment – is high on your wish list for weekends and holidays, come to a destination where you can live in harmony with nature. The natural beauty of places like Ile de Ré is fragile and the eco-hotel of Les Vignes de la Chapelle on the south coast of the island welcomes nature lovers keen to preserve its local environment.

    You’ll be able to see and feel the beauty of Ile de Ré from the moment you arrive. Absorb the peaceful atmosphere and soak up the magnificent view across the vineyards to the distant ocean and the outlines of Ile d’Aix and Ile d’Oléron. There’s a double delight in knowing that whole hotel has been thought out not only for your personal wellbeing, but also to safeguard  the nature all around.

    For you, there are ‘lodge’ rooms or spacious duplex apartments, quiet and comfortable, with a decking terrace where you can enjoy a tasty organic breakfast of local products. There’s a spa area too with sauna and heated pool for the ultimate chill-out, with the added bonus of birdsong, sunshine and the rhythmical sound of the ocean –the complete coastal relaxation package!

    And to help the environment, the hotel’s many eco-friendly measures include using solar panels, renewable energy, and natural materials, as well as recycling whenever possible.

    Stay close to nature throughout your stay by taking an excursion by bike or on horseback along the coast or through the salt marshes. Drop in at the Ecomusée du Marais Salant, or salt marsh discovery centre; buy some pure donkey milk soap from the shop in Saint-Martin-de-Ré; breathe in that clear sea air from the Phare des Baleines lighthouse; go birdwatching at the Lilleau des Niges reserve; and be as active or passive as you please on the Ile de Ré’s magnificent beaches.

    It really is possible to live in harmony with yourself and with nature – you just have to see life from an organic, environmentally-friendly point of view!

    [+] How to get to Ile de Ré

    Vignes de la chapelle - pool and vineyard

    Vignes de la Chapelle - livingroom

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  • Family Hotel Jules Verne Premium, Futuroscope-Poitiers

    Exotic stopover at Futuroscope

    After an action-packed day enjoying the thrilling attractions of Futuroscope, the Jules Verne Hotel is the perfect place to wind down, ready for another day of new adventures. Located on the edge of the park, the proximity of the hotel means you can be in your room within minutes. Completely refurbished, the themed bedrooms of the Jules Verne Futuroscope will instantly transport you to the undersea world of Nautilus – you may even dream you’re exploring the ocean depths.

    Or maybe you’d prefer to set off on a journey around the world in 80 days at the Jules Verne Premium Hotel, where the Nuptiale, Bengale and Safari bedrooms are an evocative invitation to a family adventure. You’ll love the luxurious vegetation and atmospheric bazaar.

    With Wifi access and free parking, the hotel has every possible comfort to ensure a relaxing stay. So make your hotel accommodation an integral part of your journey through the wonders of Futuroscope!

    [+] How to get to Futuroscope

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  • Gite Du Coq à l'Ane, Marais Poitevin

    Meet the local donkeys at Du Coq à l’Ane in the Marais Poitevin

    Few children can resist a donkey and the Poitou-Charentes region is home to some of the most enchanting. Stay amongst these shaggy brown ‘Baudet de Poitou’ at Du Coq à l’Ane in Saint-Georges-de-Rex. Situated in the heart of the Marais Poitevin marshland, Du Coq à l’Ane offers various styles of family-friendly accommodation alongside a rare breeds farm and artisan soap workshop.

    The cosy gîte sleeps 2-4 people with a double bed on the mezzanine and a sofa bed and kitchenette below. Relax on the terrace or enjoy a barbecue whilst you watch the donkeys - you might even be lucky enough to see a foal. Alternatively, book one of three bright B&B bedrooms, a Mongolian style Yurt for four, or the Canadian adventure tent for five. Yurt and tent both have electricity and heating with shared toilets and showers – family camping with all mod cons.

    Watch owner Christelle Cornet make soap from pure donkey milk in the tiny workshop; learn about the seven French breeds of donkey; feed the friendly local goats; and collect the hens’ eggs. You can even go walking with a donkey who will obligingly carry your picnic. An unforgettable way to enjoy France’s ‘Green Venice’.

    [+] How to get to the Marais Poitevin

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  • Family fun at Futuroscope amusement park CRTPC©O Héral / M Vimenet / Getty Images / Parc du Futuroscope

    With its amazing range of moving-image attractions, Futuroscope is a destination for all ages with new attractions added every year. Enjoy 3D, 4D and Imax movies; test your skills on the interactive experiences; and take your seat beneath the stars for the fantastic new evening show, Lady O.

    [+] Book your stay to Futuroscope amusement park

    But there is plenty more to enjoy within an easy drive of Futuroscope. Cognac is synonymous the world over with good living, relaxation and centuries of tradition and expertise, and you can experience them all by adding on a short break to the vineyards of Cognac Country.

    The town of Cognac makes an atmospheric base with its ancient streets, cognac discovery centres, and the headquarters of many world-famous brands. Take a cellar tour to discover the secrets of blending cognac; walk the banks of the Charente river; and take in the Château des Valois, birthplace of French king François I in 1494.

    Hotel Heritage, Modern times room, Cognac

    Enjoy the atmosphere of the Hôtel Heritage in the town centre, a historic private mansion that was largely rebuilt in the 19th century and is now classified as ‘Hôtel de Charme’. Sympathetically restored, the hotel’s essential character has been preserved by the current owners who have added exotic flashes of contemporary colour. The restaurant menu ensures that every guest enjoys a true flavour of Cognac country.

    Explore the self-drive Cognac Trails linking producers, vineyards and villages, and stop off for tastings of cognac and Pineau des Charentes aperitif.

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