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Ten Top Tips for Sharing a Chateau with other Families, Friends & Extended Family

There are a large number of magnificent chateaux available for you to rent in France.  Some are relatively small, and offer the perfect holiday escape for a single family.  However, others are able to accommodate a great many more, and offer all of the facilities you may associate with an exclusive English country club.  Of course, larger properties can often mean a larger price tag, and sharing your holiday with extended family or friends is one way to bring a fabulous chateau holiday within reach.

Holiday with Friends

Spending a week or two with people that you enjoy spending your leisure time with can often sound like a fabulous idea.  However, you may find that your dream turns into a nightmare when you have different ideas about how to spend your time on holiday.

There are several ways that you can counteract this.  It may seem almost too obvious to say it, but holidaying with like-minded people is a very good place to start.  If you enjoy getting up at the crack of dawn fishing, either don’t expect everyone else to come with you, or ensure that there is at least one other fisherman in the party as keen as you are.

If you enjoy fine French restaurant cuisine, then you are certain to find plenty of locations in which you can experience it, but don’t expect that everyone else in the party will want to spend their holiday funds in the same way. If your children are teenagers, or older, consider what holidaying with a sleepless baby was like, and ask yourself if you want to spend your week or two of precious relaxation with a screaming child.

Sitting down and planning your holiday can help to alleviate problems before they start.  If you are holidaying with a sun worshipper, don’t expect to drag them away from the pool for a tour of underground caves. Likewise if you are holidaying with a history buff, don’t be surprised when they want to go out and investigate the nearby ancient ruins.

So what are the top ways to ensure that everyone concerned has a fabulous holiday?

Have room to Spread Out

French chateaux were often designed in such a way as to offer privacy to visiting guests. Many offer virtually self-contained accommodation at one end of the chateau, or in separate cottages in the grounds or gatehouse.  These separate apartments can be ideal for grand-parents or older guests, who may wish to escape from those members of the group who wish to party late into the night.

Often chateaux offer more than one sitting room, they have libraries, studies, games rooms, and many have large bedroom suites that include chairs or comfortable sofas, enabling couples to escape and spend time on their own together in total privacy.

Eat Together

The Beauty of a Chateau is that there are often many areas to consume food, some have outside dining rooms, often during the summer meals are eaten on the terrace, there are facilities for barbeques round the pool, dining tables in kitchens and often a larger formal dining room for when the whole party gathers together.  This can be ideal if you prefer to have an informal breakfast with your family in the morning and a larger group gathering in the evening

Find a Property with Plenty to Keep the Whole Party Entertained

Whether it be fabulous formal gardens through which you can wander, a lake where you can fish or a woodland which the children can explore, French chateaux provide a versatile mix of pastimes to keep the whole group entertained.

Many have their own swimming pool, which is often a focal point for the holiday, offering fabulous entertainment for young and old alike.  Some have tennis courts, others billiard tables, and most have garden games such as boule.

It is unusual to find a chateau which does not have an internet connection (most now have WiFi, an almost essential requirement should you have teenagers travelling with you), many offer TV rooms,  a DVD player and satellite TV.

Think carefully about the Location.

It is possible to please just about everyone on a French holiday. You can find chateaux an hour from fabulous skiing, which are still within travelling distance of stunning Mediterranean beaches. Don’t be afraid to allow the party to divide, and have some members ski, some relax by the pool, and others head for the beach, holidaying together doesn’t mean that you all need to follow the same itinerary.

Take advantage of the built in babysitters

If you are on holiday as a group of two or more families, why not agree to spend some time separately as individual couples, agree date nights, so you and your partner can escape the crowd and enjoy some quality time together

Be Flexible on the Sleeping Arrangements

It’s not unusual for children to want to spend time with others their own age rather than their siblings, do what works for everyone, and if the younger ones prefer to be in one room, and the older ones in another, feel free to let this happen.  Being flexible is one of the keys to a happy holiday, what works one night may not work the next, and you will probably find that your offspring have the sleeping arrangements sorted out long before you arrive.

Bathrooms

Having enough bathrooms is a must. If you are hiring a chateau this is rarely a problem as most bedrooms are ensuite, or at worst share one bathroom between two rooms. Give some consideration to the elder members of your group, if stairs are likely to be a problem, try to ensure you hire a property which at the very least has a downstairs WC.

Travel Separately

Be aware of the versatile mix of personalities within your group.  If you have several families travelling together, you may need an additional vehicle when you arrive. Very occasionally a car may be available for use at the chateau in which you are staying, however, it is more likely that you will need to hire a vehicle for the duration of your stay, local airports are often a good place to find one.

Budgeting

If you are self-catering, it is worth discussing any special dietary requirements before you go, it is particularly important where allergies are concerned to make sure that everyone is aware of any special needs before you travel.

If you are planning on eating at home it may be worth establishing a kitty to purchase the everyday foods such as bread and milk which will be consumed by most members of your party.  Of course, if you are planning on eating out, simply take a calculator and work out your portion of the bill at the end of the evening.

Relax

If this is the first time you have travelled together, you may find that other members of your party may do things a little differently from you.  While you may find the habits of others annoying, you may also discover new activities or methods of doing things that you were not aware of before.  Whatever happens, this is your holiday, relax and enjoy it, if all goes well by the end of your stay your group may already be planning to return for more of the same next year.

Fabulous Experience

A holiday with friends or family is a fabulous way to experience the height of luxury offered by a French chateau in a cost effective manner.  It can provide you with countless social opportunities, both as a group and separately as a couple.  If you take just a little time to plan your holiday before you leave, you can look forward to creating fun-filled memories that will last a lifetime.

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