France and Belgium -camping with Kids!

So we decided over the summer to take our well-loved beautiful caravan Mabel out for another spin. This time we ventured out a little further than Wales, and decided to explore a bit of Europe, seeing it is on our doorstep!

I am one of those people that isn’t happy just going to one country. I like to cram in as much as we can into our little adventures. So I figured whilst we were in France…why not head over to Belgium? And thus our little road trip came to fruition.

If anyone wants to read about our beaut of a caravan you can read about her on the link above! She’s an old lady but loves to travel.

#retrocaravan #campingwithkids #caravanwithkids #shabbychiccaravan
#retrocaravan #campingwithkids #caravanwithkids #shabbychiccaravan

1) Calais

After an insanely ridiculous amount of list-making, arguments and packing, we finally set off on the 4 hour drive to Dover and travelled with P+O Ferries to Calais. We found the crossing very easy, and only took just over an hour. It was a good chance for us to rest from the driving, and get some fresh sea air.

2) Boulogne-Sur-Mer

After arriving in Calais, we headed over to Boulogne Sur Mer, a mere half hour drive from the port. My daughter was so excited to hear the French radio and the kids then made up their own  little language, which entertained them for the whole journey while we got annoyed with the sat nav. We were pleasantly suprised at how beautiful this area was, being so close to Calais. The local beach was just gorgeous, the sand white and water crystal blue. Needless to say, the kids loved the beach! The local village was very quaint and full of mostly locals which meant it felt a lot less touristy and very French. We ate lunch in one of the restaurants and braved some snails! Bizarrely my fussiest eater loved them! Not for me though, the texture was exactly how I imagined…bleurgh!

#Boulogne-sur-mer #France #Francewithkids #francewithkids
Boulogne-sur-mer, France
#Boulogne-sur-mer #France #Francewithkids #francewithkids

3) Saint Dizier

After a couple of nights near Calais, we headed over to our next campsite near Saint Dizier near Lac Du Der. This area of France we just loved. Being inland, we were surrounded by beautiful countryside, and our campsite looked onto the nearby Lake. The kids could swim in the lake too which was lovely in the heat. I got distracted by the scenery whilst the kids were swimming and just wandered about aimlessly with my camera.

#SaintDizier, #Lacduder #Francecountryside
Saint Dizier, Lac du der
#SaintDizier, #Lacduder #Francecountryside
Lac Du Der, Saint Dizier

4) Paris

We/I decided to take a day trip into Paris (a little bit of a crazy decision, as it was a 2.5 hour trip  each way!). Myself and the hubby had been to Paris before but our daughter was so desperate to see the landmarks and get some tourist tat! I understood her enthusiasm to tick it off her bucket list as I am just the same! We only ended up spending 4 hours there due to travelling so we didn’t get to fit much in.

In an effort to save money, we headed to a local supermarket to pick up some yummy pastries and macaroons and had a little picnic by the Sienne River. The kids ate way too much but boy, are french pastries just gorgeous.

We then took some photos near the Eiffel Tower and the kids went on the carousel opposite, which has some great views.

#EiffelTower #Francewithkids #eiffeltowerwithkids #Paris #Pariswithkids
Eiffel Tower, France
#EiffelTowerCarousel, #Paris #Pariswithkids #Carousel
Eiffel Tower Carousel, Paris

5) Dinant, Belgium

A couple of days later, we  drove over the French border to Dinant, Begium which I had researched beforehand and I just thought it looked so pretty! We managed to park up the caravan in a free carpark outside the Citadel, Dinant and then paid the reasonable fee to look round the citadel itself. Driving up to the top of the citadelle was very nerve wracking with a caravan and we had a little emergency with the tow bar but no-one died so all was good!  Our daughter loved the history behind the fortress, and is obsessed with the world wars so this went down well. We then took the cable car down to the bottom and explored the cute little shops in the village. And had our first taste of Belgian chocolate!

#Citadel, #DinantBelgium #Beliumwithkids #CitadelBelgium
Citadel, Dinant, Belgium

6) Bruges

The next day we headed over to Bruges, a place I was particularly excited about! Myself and the hubby had been to Amsterdam earlier this year, and the architecture did remind me of there. But the beauty was just phenomenal! The chocolate shops…there were literally hundreds of them and you could smell them for miles. You could buy a chocolate version of anything you wanted, absolute heaven!! Top tip though: we actually bought most of our chocolate in ALDI near our campsite for a fraction of the cost – still made in Belgium and still 100% yummy!

Our only low point was when our youngest decided to pull his pants down outside said chocolate shops and have a wee. This kid just loves to share his willy with the world…

#BrugesCentralSquare '#Brugeswithkids #BreugesBelgium
Bruges Central Square

7) Canal Bruges, Dammes

I had again done my research, and was desperate to take the kids to a windmill whilst we were in Belgium. I came across this beautiful place online Canal Bruges, Damme and was so chuffed I found it! I actually prefer some of the off-the-beaten track places when we go travelling as the touristy areas can sometimes ruin the feel of a place. It was such a tranquil, peaceful area and just stunning scenery.

#CanalBruges #Damme #DammeBruges #Brugeswithkids
Canal Bruges, Damme
#CanalBruges #Damme #DammeBruges #Brugeswithkids
Canal Bruges, Damme, Bruges
#WindmillBelgium #WindmillDamme #windmill #CanalBruges #Damme #DammeBruges #Brugeswithkids
Windmill, Damme, Bruges
#WindmillBelgium #WindmillDamme #windmill #CanalBruges #Damme #DammeBruges #Brugeswithkids
Windmill, Damme, Bruges, Belgium

8) Ghent

And lastly while we were in Belgium, we of course had to take a trip to beautiful  Ghent.

Ghent I found somehow more picturesque than Bruges, but all crammed into a smaller area. We decided to try Gravensteen Castle while we were there as our kids love a bit of history. I will be honest, I wasn’t too impressed -most of it was just empty ruins.  But we weren’t too bothered as we were too distracted by the beauty of Ghent itself.

One thing about walking round these towns though – who knew that small kids don’t like walking far in the heat?! I could have walked for hours just taking it all in but thanks to these small humans, we ended up leaving after an hour! My kids seem to do much better in the great outdoors and will walk for longer if they are immersed in natural beauty. Note to self….

Has anyone else been to France and Belgium with the kids? What were your experiences? I would love to hear from you.

#Ghent #Ghentwithkids #Ghentcanals

Watch our yourtube/little movie of our travels here and here

Want to know more about driving in France? Check out Keri Hedrick’s post from here

T ravel Loving Family

35 thoughts on “France and Belgium -camping with Kids!

  1. I am so jealous . I really wanted to take the girls camping this year, but after having Nila in Hune I got really poorly 😦 can’t wait for next year x

  2. you cant really go wrong with a scenic road trip around Europe, I bet the kids loved it too. Although I’ve done a few road trips I haven’t through Europe but I definitely need to, and soon before Brexit kicks in haha 😀

  3. Hi there! What an excellent post! Your family seems incredibly similar to mine, except we’re based in the USA. We love to travel as a family and absolutely love road trips and cramming as much into one trip as we can. We have been to both France and Belgium with our kids and went to Bruges with them as well. One of our favorite places! I would be happy to tell you all you desire to know about the trip but this would turn into a novel. Haha. Feel free to e-mail me. Great post! Love the pictures as well!

  4. Lisa (Travel Loving Family)

    Ha you sound just like me trying to fit everything into one holiday (and you son pulling down his pants in Bruges is something my youngest would do! No shame at all). What an incredible itinerary. I love the decor of your caravan, you must have so much fun travelling in her. Thanks for linking up to #MondayEscapes

  5. What a fanatic trip with Mable and one I’d love to do with Tin Box if we can find enough weeks to do it. I’ve been to France with my girls but not Belgium yet. Mr TB and I went there with our tent pre-kids and I loved it. We only saw Brussels but I’d like to go back a do Bruges. Thanks for linking up with #MondayEscapes

  6. Flossie

    No, not yet, but you have me so jealous to try! We are tent-campers in the US but I wonder if I could convince hubby to trace your path in a rented camping vehicle at some point?

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  9. We’ve taken a number of short trips to Bruges with the kids (the overnight ferry from Hull can be very cheap and convenient!) and they love it, both obsessed with the chocolate (though, like you, most of what I bought to bring home actually came from one of the supermarkets rather than the artisan chocolatiers!) I hope we get to visit again soon because the thought of that chocolatey goodness is making my mouth water!

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