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Family holidays cost money, whatever way you swing it. But taking a family holiday doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll have to live off baked beans on toast for the rest of the year. There are ways to take a family trip without remortgaging the house. Really!

 

One of the favourite places families flock to each summer is the south of France. Whilst France, in itself, isn’t the most inexpensive country in the world, it is absolutely brimming with sights to see, activities to get involved in, and lots of fabulous beaches running all along the Mediterranean coast. So, what can you do to entertain the kids without spending too much cash?

 

Well, firstly, getting a good deal on the holiday itself is the best place to begin. It’s worth doing your research to find a bargain within your budget. Try Monster Travel for some massive savings on holidays to the south of France, as well as other great destinations. It’s a good idea to draw up a table or spreadsheet detailing the different cheap holidays you find online, along with a link for you to click back to later. Once you’ve found the best deal for your money, book it straightaway and move on to planning your perfect trip!

 

We’ve put together our favourite spots in the south of France that will keep your troops amused, give you a bit of rest, and - of course - keep the holiday budget in check.

 

Beaches
 

This one almost goes without saying, but pick any spot all along the south coast of France, and you’re certain to find a delightful sandy beach. There are few things in this world to keep kids occupied quite as well as playing in the sand and splashing in the shallows, whilst you devote yourself to a bit of ‘me’ time on a sun lounger.

 

Most beaches are pretty much free, unless they’re attached to a particular hotel resort. The only cost you’re likely to incur is if you stray towards a beach bar or beachfront restaurant… or if the kids clap eyes on some souvenir shop.

 

Save yourself the cost with a fun family picnic, with food from the local supermarket (where it’s much cheaper!) and plenty of bottled water to stay hydrated in the sun: and don’t forget to pack your bucket and spade.

 

Pont du Gard

 

Situated just north of Nimes, the Pont du Gard is perhaps one of the most dramatic monuments of Roman architecture that France has to offer. It is believed to have been built in about AD50, as a means of transporting water the 50km journey from Uzes to Nimes.

 

The historical context of the Pont du Gard is a good way to sneak in a cheeky dash of education for your children. Then, let them loose to play in the children’s activity centre at the visitor centre. Take a family stroll to explore the botanical trail through the Mediterranean gardens on the edge of the river, before settling down for a picnic on the river bank, enjoying the magnificent view whilst the children splash in the clear, clean water beneath the bridge.

 

Park Phoenix, Nice

 

A particularly good choice for those staying in Nice with young children, the Park Phoenix is situated just across the way from Nice airport. A pretty inexpensive day out, the park costs just 3 Euros for adults, whilst children’s admission is free. There’s a small petting zoo, some tropical rainforests and a lake with ducks and swans, all of which make for a pleasant way to spend a sunny, summer’s day.

 

The River Orb

 

We’re not suggesting a day out in the river, more like beside it. Just outside the small hamlet of Relaes, about 2km outside Murnel-les-Beziers, the beauty of the River Orb unfolds before you. Stop by the iron bridge that crosses the river to enjoy wide natural swimming pools and river beaches, or travel on for another kilometre, and seek out the canoe centre.

 

Here you’ll find a large picnic area on the bank of the river (are you seeing a pattern here? Picnics are your cheap family holiday best friend!). There’s also a stone barbecue for public use, with plenty of wide open spaces for kids to run around, climb trees and enjoy a swim in the plunge pools into the river.

 

Behind the clear waters of the river, there’s the stunning view of mountains and of the upper valley on the opposite bank. Perfect for a bit of time with your partner while the kids go wild!

 

The Markets

 

France is famous for its picturesque markets, filled with all manner of crafts and local produce. Whilst those of us on a tight budget may have to control ourselves a bit when it comes to the wares on sale, a little browsing and taking in the authentic French atmosphere is an enjoyable way to spend an afternoon. Or, in fact, an evening.

 

Some of the local markets around the Provencal area run after dark, and this can be a real treat! The climate in the south of France is blissfully Mediterranean, so the evenings are warm enough to require little more than a summer cardigan. Strolling through the lamplit marketplace, the air feels alive with mystery and romance. Even with the children squealing for ice cream, it’s still a recipe for the perfect evening.

 

However you plan to enjoy your family holiday in the south of France, booking and planning ahead is your best way to beat your holiday budget. And when you book with a  specialist in inexpensive holidays, such as Monster Travel, you’re sure to find more left over for enjoying on your trip once you arrive.

 

Heading to the Dordogne? Check out our guide to Discovering Rustic France in this beautiful part of the country.

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