Family fun this Easter

Have some Easter Family Fun!

easter family fun

The Easter holiday countdown has begun! If you are not quite sure what to do for Easter, then don’t panic. And don’t let coronavirus spoil your Easter family fun. There’s still plenty of time to collect a few ideas for activities for the little ones, that all the family can join in. With clues to solve and tasks to complete, they’re guaranteed to keep the kids entertained (and stop them eating all the chocolate in one go!)

Easter egg hunt

This can be a great indoor or outdoor activity, depending on the weather. There are a couple of options too. The ‘treasure’ could be an Easter egg or a small gift. The best bit for the kids will be you taking part! Like treasure hunts you can create a few clues. They have to work out the clues to find their way to the treasure. If you have more than one child then you will need more than one set of clues and treasure for each one too. Or a bigger treasure trove that they can hunt for together.

Alternatively, hide lots of little Easter eggs or small, wrapped presents, such as pocket-sized colouring books, around the house and garden for them to find. Children love pretending to be explorers or pirates looking for lost treasure, so let them create their own fancy dress to make it even more fun.

Craft ideas with CDs and DVDs

If you have any old CDs and DVDs there are lots of great things that the children can make with scratched discs and ones you don’t use anymore. You can use almost anything for decoration but for painting them, acrylic paint is best. And lots of glitter! With the shiny discs and bright, colourful glitter, buttons and beads these would make wonderful, shiny wind-chimes for the garden.

For some fantastic, inexpensive ideas, check out these cute shiny fish and 25 recycled cd kids crafts

Egg and spoon race

All you need is eggs, spoons and somewhere to run – and don’t forget a prize for the winner. Use hard-boiled eggs, chocolate eggs or perhaps some marshmallows. If there are smaller children involved, maybe use something to stick the eggs on so they don’t fall off straight away.

For more games to play for different ages check out Kids Activities. There are so many things to do you could even have your own Easter Olympics.

Crispy chocolate Easter nests

It wouldn’t be Easter without crispy Easter nests. If you haven’t got rice krispies, cornflakes or shredded wheat lightly crushed are just as good. The amount of the cereal will vary depending on their size and texture, so add a little bit at first to get the right consistency. And if you have any cake-cases these are great for displaying the finished cakes in.

white tray displaying crispy easter nest cakes

List of ingredients

  • 1 cup rice krispies
  • 100 g chocolate
  • 30 g butter
  • 1 tbsp golden syrup or honey
  • veg or sunflower oil for brushing
  • mini chocolate eggs for decorating
  1. Melt the chocolate and butter over a pan of simmering water.
  2. Remove from the heat, add the rice krispies and syrup, then mix it all together.
  3. Lightly oil a 6 or 9 hole muffin tin, divide the warm mixture evenly, pressing gently with your fingers to make a bird’s nest.
  4. Chill them in the fridge for at least 2 hours.
  5. Use a knife to ease the chocolate nests out of the tin, then fill with chocolate eggs.

I hope this has given you a few ideas for Easter family fun, and some of these can be adapted to use any time of the year. But whatever you do this Easter, please remember to stay safe.

Have a very Happy Easter, and we hope to see you all soon at Bel-Air Gites

St Patrick’s Day at Bel-Air Gites

How to celebrate St Patrick’s Day

Anyone who visits Bel-Air Gites will always receive a very warm, Irish welcome. But visit us on 17th March and you will definitely find us in a more festive and friendly mood. That’s because it’s St Patrick’s Day, and a very special day for us. Saint Patrick is the patron saint of Ireland and we celebrate this day wherever we are in the world.

Music and Dancing

In Ireland the 17th March is a public holiday, so there is a carnival atmosphere wherever you go. As well as the huge parade in Dublin city centre, every town in Ireland has a parade. A long procession of decorated business floats, accompanied by various community and volunteer groups, musical groups and dance troupes take part, with a prize for the best decorated float. Because it’s a holiday it’s also a fantastic family day out, with everyone, including the kids, dressed up in lots of green, white and orange.  

A traditional welcome

Every year thousands of visitors arrive in Ireland to celebrate Saint Patrick’s Day. They will be given a traditional welcome of ‘céad míle fáilte’, which translated means ‘one hundred thousand welcomes’. They’ll probably also hear lots of shouts of ‘Slâinte’ meaning ‘Cheers’ or ‘Health’, which is a bit similar to the French expression ‘Santé’.

Unofficial symbol of Ireland

The shamrock is a young sprig of three-leaf clover, which has been associated with Ireland for centuries. According to legend, as a missionary St Patrick used the shamrock as a visual representation of the Holy Trinity. Nowadays, although the Celtic harp is the official symbol of Ireland, the three-leaf shamrock is the unofficial symbol. It is more widely recognised around the world than the harp, and seen as a symbol of Ireland and the wonderful Irish hospitality. 

Typical Irish menu

When we lived in Belgium we worked in an international environment. Each year, along with our other Irish colleagues we hosted a St Patrick’s Day festival for our workmates. On the menu would be Irish soda bread and wild Irish smoked salmon. Followed by a traditional dinner of bacon and cabbage, and afterwards one or two Irish coffees, made with Irish whiskey and real cream!

Family celebrations

St Patrick is not celebrated here in France, except perhaps in the big cities, where there may be Irish-themed bars. But we like to keep the tradition going at Bel-Air Gites, and this year will be no different. We will be celebrating with our family that live close by, and all hoping that someday soon, we can celebrate with family and friends who are further away.

So you can have your own celebrations I’ve included the recipes below for you to try.

Paul and Patricia St Patrick's Day

From everyone at Bel-Air Gites – ‘Slâinte’. Enjoy Saint Patrick’s Day, wherever you may be, and we hope to see you very, very soon

Banish Winter Blues. Think Sunshine and Bel-Air Gites

Banish the Winter Blues

forget the rain and think about the summer

If ever we needed a glass of mulled wine, twinkling lights on a Christmas tree and carol-singers on the doorstep, it would be now! Winter is finally upon us. There’s a definite drop in temperature, more rain, shorter days, and long dark nights. We are all feeling a little bit sluggish at Bel-Air Gites, so we have been looking at ways to banish the winter blues. And we are going to do this by looking and planning ahead.

Ready to hibernate

None of us can really justify hibernating for 4 months until springtime, so we will have to get active. We need to find ways to push through the ‘winter blues’, and not dwell on the events of 2020. Even though Christmas is just around the corner, we are looking ahead to the New Year more than ever before. Our plans for Christmas are all in hand so we will (hopefully) avoid unnecessary stress. Christmas dinner is all planned out, and the presents have been bought and wrapped. This year we might even find time to relax over the holidays, and read a book or watch a film.

Keep in touch

Not seeing loved ones can have a negative impact but thanks to modern technology it’s easy to stay in touch. Social time spent virtually with friends and family has helped remind us that people are thinking of us. And what better time to speak to people than over Christmas, especially as some people may still be self-isolating.

Planning ahead

One thing that works to banish the winter blues, for us anyway, is to start planning. The garden doesn’t need much work in the winter, but it doesn’t mean we can forget about it. So when we open our gates to guests next year it’s not just the gites that have to be in tip-top condition. It’s the gardens, pool and children’s play areas too. Because we would hate to disappoint any of our returning regulars and new guests. We have a few little changes in the pipeline as well, so make sure you keep a close eye on our website and Facebook page.

Think Sunshine and Bel-Air Gites

To help banish the winter blues and get you thinking about the summer sun, here’s a little reminder of what you can find in and around Bel-Air Gites.

Book now for 2021

Make 2021 the year to remember – for all the right reasons. A wonderful family holiday, making happy memories that will last a life-time.

Book Bel-Air Gites. Family-friendly holiday accommodation in the Charente-Maritime

Bassins de Lumieres Bordeaux

World’s largest digital art centre

Bassins de Lumieres, Bordeaux

Unique experience

The beautiful city of Bordeaux in south west France is home to the newly opened Bassins de Lumieres. Although the original opening had to be delayed because of coronavirus, since June the venue has become a popular attraction. It’s a truly unique experience suitable for all ages. And this magical underground digital art centre, housed in a WW2 submarine base, is one of the few venues that is still open to visitors.

Enjoy a unique experience, explore limitless worlds, and allow yourself to be transported into the heart of art

www.bassins-lumieres.com

Bassins de Lumieres Exhibitions

Until the 3rd January 2021 there are four exhibitions taking place. Each one in a different arena within the art centre. Two are dedicated to the works of Gustav Klimt and Paul Klee. And the others are ‘contemporary digital design creations’ – Anitya and Ocean Data. Each exhibition is an amazing fusion of motion design, with digital projections of vibrant images and colour. All presented to a backdrop of recognisable classical tunes by composers such as Beethoven and Mozart.

bassins de lumieres bordeaux art centre

In order to ensure the safety of visitors and staff, entrance to the venue follows strict health guidelines. These include limited numbers of visitors, reservations only, the compulsory wearing of masks and temperature checks.

Booking your holiday

Instructions on how to get there are included on their website, but from Bel-Air Gites it’s about an hour’s drive. From January 2021 there will be new and exciting exhibitions on at Bassins de Lumieres. So when you are booking your family holiday at Bel-Air Gites be sure to check what’s on the agenda. And once in Bordeaux there are lots of year-round attractions for the whole family to enjoy. In fact, you could easily spend a whole day exploring the city and cruising on the river.

So what are you waiting for? If you want a fantastic, family holiday, then book with Bel-Air Gites. Our child-friendly gites have everything you need. And much, much more.

Book Bel-Air Gites for 2021

Happy children playing in a swimming pool

Go wild at Zoodyssee

The emphasis at Zoodysee is on conservation.

If there is one thing that visitors to the Zoodysee park comment on the most it’s the park’s commitment to conservation. And the reintroduction of endangered species back into their natural habitats.

Located in the Deux-Sevres department, in the Forest of Chizé, this amazing park is home to over 800 animals. It’s just over an hour’s drive from Bel-Air Gites and it’s well worth a day out. In fact, you only have to read the reviews on TripAdvisor to see that it’s one of the area’s top family attractions.

The Enchanted Village

This year they have opened the new Enchanted Village playground, with games and equipment suitable for children from 1 year upwards. With lots of slides, distorting mirrors, climbing walls, and swings. In addition, the park’s owners have put a lot of effort into ensuring that the playground is accessible for everyone.

Because the park is in the forest it means that even in the summer, it’s lovely and cool in the shade of the trees. So, that’s good for you, good for the kids, and ultimately, good for the animals too. Get up close and personal with some of the animals, and take part in lots more family-orientated activities.

Snowy owl

Safety conscious

If you don’t fancy walking why not ride in a horse-drawn carriage? Or watch the various animal shows presented every day from 11 am? The animals taking part include bears, otters, bustards, deer, wolves, and vultures! And every Monday afternoon, park rangers explain to visitors all about the science, environment and the future of Zoodyssee.

Check out the Zoodyssee website for prices, opening hours and safety procedures.

Book Bel-Air Gites For 2021

We happy to say that we are now taking bookings for next summer, but don’t miss out. Dates are booking up fast, and we’d love to see you at Bel-Air Gites. Child-friendly family accommodation in the Charente-Maritime.

International Dance Day

a man and a woman dancing

April 29th is International Dance Day

Social-distancing might stop some of us from physically grabbing a dance partner, but what is stopping us from doing a few moves of our own on International Dance Day?

So, imagine for a moment that you could dance with absolutely anyone, anywhere. Who and where would it be and what song would you choose to celebrate this special day?

Professional dancers, like the ones we see on Strictly Come Dancing, are energetic, flexible and make it look so easy. But I’m sure it takes a lot of dedication and hard-work – and dieting! – to stay on top of their game.

Watching toddlers and young children dancing can be just as entertaining though. Toddlers in particular, when they hear music on the TV, they just automatically begin to move and sway, totally mesmerised. It must be the same the world over, and since the beginning of time.

Let’s dance!

Today it’s even possible to take online dance classes. Sounds like a good idea if you are considering taking up dancing as a hobby, or as a way of socialising or keeping fit. Practising a few moves at home would certainly give you some encouragement and background knowledge before signing up.

The Dance Committee of the International Theatre Institute created this day in 1982 to highlight the amazing diversity and talent of dancers all over the globe on April 29. It marks the birthday of Jean-Georges Noverre (1727-1810), creator of modern ballet.

From: nationaltoday.com

Wherever you are on the 29th April try and grab a few minutes to celebrate International Dance Day. Music and dancing is good for the soul and we could all do with letting our hair down now and again.

At Bel-Air Gites we’ll have the music playing while we carry on with the gardening and getting our gites ready. Surely painting in time to the music can be classed as dancing…

Keeping the kids entertained

Kids indoor activities – all free!

Playbarn kidscorner

When it’s raining and miserable outside, the last thing you need is young, miserable children inside. It’s not always possible to take them out anywhere, even when the weather is good. Instead of just plonking them down in front of the TV why not try some of these great FREE kids indoor activities?

Treasure Hunt

A great activity that could even have a dressing up theme – pirates, fairies, princes and princesses. Let them choose the theme and you write the clues. Try rhyming the clues for more fun. Put the clues in numbered sealed envelopes so that they can keep track of where they are up to. Each clue leads to the next one until they find the hidden treasure!

Make An Amazing Den

Just because they’re indoors doesn’t mean they can’t have a den or a tent. I used to love making a den with my siblings and making a great den actually takes a lot of skill. If you can make it as a surprise then better still. Make sure it’s roomy and maybe add a rug or a play-mat because you want this den to last a couple of days at least. Ideally use a few chairs, wide enough apart to make a good sized den, but not too wide that the blanket roof might collapse. A few pegs should help keep it in place.

Once you have built the den don’t forget the furnishings. These are vitally important and can be the difference between a great den and an AMAZING den that lasts for days. Add a few cars and trucks if there’s a play-mat, a little picnic hamper or a tea set, cushions for sitting or lying on.

And the best bit? Get in there with them and have some fun!

Pizza Party

This has the mutual benefit of the kids being creative and make their own meal. Find a simple online recipe for making a child-friendly pizza base or buy some of the ready-made bases so they can create their own toppings. If they have made it then they’re also more likely to eat it. And if the den is still standing why not have a pizza picnic inside?

Check out some great family friendly videos from Keith at ‘Jambon de Printemps’ baking with the kids

Bath Time Boats

Make boats for bath-time using empty plastic margarine of butter tubs. Then have fun in the bath racing the boats or loading them with different water-proof toys or figures, such as Lego, to see how much the boats can hold before they sink. Bath and playtime all rolled into one. 

We’ll share some more ideas with you very soon. How do you keep the kids entertained? And if you have any inexpensive, children’s indoor activities that you’d like to share with us, then just comment below.

We’d love to hear from you 

Mysterra Labyrinth world

Step into a unique labyrinth park in the forest

This stunning park is set in 11 hectares of pine forest at the edge of the Baron-Desqueyroux Lake in Montendre. Mysterra adventure park is less than an hour’s drive from Bel-Air Gites and it’s a fantastic family fun day out.

There is a wide selection of activities, 7 different labyrinths for various ages and capabilities, games and competitions. Or you can just stroll, take in the peace and quiet of nature and admire the works of art.

There are scenarios to play where you will have to search for clues and work out the signs so you can find your way out. And you can use your smartphone or tablet (with the park’s free Wi-Fi) to help solve the puzzles.

The heart of the Mysterra leisure park

Because the park is in a forest and walking amongst nature. you must wear full and comfortable footwear. You’re advised to take bottles of water, a sunhat and plenty of sun-cream. Some of the unusual and unique labyrinth games can take up to 2 hours so be prepared for an exciting, entertaining day out.

For more details about seasonal opening times and prices, as well as buying tickets online go to – Mysterra Official Website. Or check out the TripAdvisor reviews

Or to see some of our other recommendations you can view our Top 10 List. There are so many places to visit near Bel-Air Gites that you will want to come back year after year. We look forward to seeing you soon.

Cognac. Passionate about Music

camera shot at nightime blues festival

Simple Minds to perform at the Cognac Blues Festival 2020

As part of their world tour Simple Minds are playing at the Cognac Blues Festival. This incredible music festival in July 2020 has a great following. This year it’s on from 1st July to 5th July. And Bel-Air Gites is only a 40 minute drive away from this beautiful medieval town.. The Cognac Blues Festival takes place right in the town centre of the town. It’s in the public gardens and at various locations in and around Cognac.

La Fête du Cognac

If that isn’t enough to tempt you to bring the family to Bel-Air Gites how about ‘La Fête du Cognac’? This takes place at the Cognac marina from July 23rd to 25th. Definitely more for the grown-ups. As well as the Cognacs, you will discover Charentais wines, and the famous Pineau des Charentes. The evenings will be a voyage of local culinary discovery in a magical musical setting.

Interested?

For more information about these events, including timetables, disabled access, parking, tickets, etc., check out the links below.

COGNAC BLUES PASSION FESTIVAL – 1st July to 05th July 2020

LA FÊTE DU COGNAC – ‘a discovery of music and flavours’ – 23rd July to 25th July 2020

And here’s a little taster from the Cognac Blues Festival 2019!

We still have gite accommodation available in July. Get in touch if you plan to attend one or both of these events.

Book Now and Book Direct for the best prices

Violins on the beach

The 33rd Edition of ‘Un violin sur la Sable‘ – July 2020 on the beautiful Grande Conche Beach at Royan.

Man playing the violin (image credit - Quino Al on Unsplash)
This spectacular event has been wowing audiences of all ages for many years and this year will be no exception. The dates for July 2020 are the 25th, 28th and 31st with the festivities commencing at 10 p.m.

Grande Conche beach at Royan becomes the most beautiful concert hall in the world with over 50,000 people every evening. Even if you don’t like classical music this is an enchanting concept, attended by people of all ages and backgrounds.

Imagine sitting on the sand, the sea in front of you, a star-filled sky above you, listening to classical music. It’s an incredible experience and it is happening right on our doorstep.

For your perfect family holiday, come to Bel-Air Gîtes, child-friendly gites in the Charente-Maritime.

The historic seaside town of Royan, with it’s long, sandy beaches, is only a 40 minute drive from Bel-Air Gîtes.

Grande Conche Beach is ideal for children with a special section offering a wide range of fun activities. So while they are being entertained you can sit back and relax. If you are feeling energetic, there are areas for windsurfing and sailing, plus facilities to hire equipment and take lessons. Lifeguards patrol the beach here making sure that you and your family stay safe.

If you prefer something a little less energetic then the beach has a wonderful promenade with views over the sea, a paved footpath and a separate cycle path.

There is ample free parking on the side streets close to the beach. So you and your family can make a whole day of it, creating memories that will last forever.

For more information about the Violin on the Sand event 2020 you can visit their Facebook Page or website.

Book Bel-Air Gites and book direct for the best prices!

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