Summertime Tips for Kids on the Riviera
Sun, sand and sea are natural attractions for families vacationing on the Côte d’Azur. But when the kids begin to get bored with the beach, don’t fret: the Riviera has a wealth of family-friendly activities on offer.
Start close to the coast with a trip to the Lérins Islands (Îles des Lérins). Pack a picnic lunch and take the 15-minute ferry ride from Cannes or, for a more leisurely and luxurious crossing, charter your own private yacht with Andy Swann Voyage. Head to Île Sainte-Marguerite, the larger and closer of the two islands, to visit the Musée de la Mer and the Fort Royal, the prison where The Man in the Iron Mask was incarcerated. Or simply spend the day meandering along the trails through pine and eucalyptus trees, stopping for a swim and snorkeling in one of the islands many coves. For a more contemplative outing, visit Île Sainte-Honorat, owned by Cistercian monks who still occupy the island’s monastery. While the kids are off wandering the grounds, parents can take the opportunity to sample the monks’ wines, produced with grapes from the island’s vineyards.
Parc Alpha Loup
Your Little Red Riding Hoods will have nothing to fear from a visit to the Alpha Wolf Park in Saint-Martin-Vésubie. Set in the heart of the Mercantour National Park, this 12 hectare preserve is focused on educating children and adults alike about wolves and their natural habitat. Kids get to observe the three packs of resident wolves in this protected sanctuary from behind the safety of glass walls, and there are educational films and presentations as well. Other flora-and-fauna displays include falcons and a small farm, and more active children can burn off their excess energy on the climbing wall or mountain bikes. The drive alone is worth the visit: a stunning, twisting route from the coast through the towering cliffs and canyons of the Gorges de la Vésubie.
Longest and fastest Zip line
Zip-lining is a popular activity in France for children of all ages—and adults, too! For smaller children, the Pitchoun Forest in Villeneuve Loubet offers kids between 3 and 10 an initiation to the sport using ultra-safe automatic lines, as well as educational, nature-friendly obstacle courses where the whole family can join in. A stone’s throw from the Pitchoun Forest is the Canyon Forest, where older children and parents can navigate a variety of courses targeted at four different levels, including zip lining, “accrobranching” and rock climbing walls. But the truly daring should leave the coast behind and head to La Colmiane, a ski resort in Valdeblore, just an hour and a half from Nice. Here, you’ll find a giant zipwire—the longest in France—stretching across the treetops and lakes of the resort. With two lines, a total length of 2,663 meters, and speeds up to 130km/h, it’s definitely designed for the acrobatic and not the acrophobic, the perfect adrenalin-charged alternative to lazy days on the beach.
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