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salines de Gozo

Three days on the island of Gozo

Since I already knew Valetta and the northern part of the main island, during this third trip to Malta, I really wanted to spend time on Gozo, this island North of the Maltese archipelago. We devoted half of our holidays there and we were delighted we made that choice! We spent three nights there, in other words a little more than three days and it was the most beautiful part of our trip!

What did we love about Gozo? It’s the Malta of the past, it’s a quieter version of Malta, it’s following the rhythm of the local life. It’s lovely landscapes that offer many possibilities to bathe and to stroll in amazing natural settings… Also, maybe Gozo reminded me of the atmosphere of the Sicily of my childhood, with its inhabitants who get out in the evening, sitting on a chair in front of their house or in front of the sea, just to talk with their family, their friends, their neighbours. The gastronomy also reminded me of Sicily but that was everywhere on Malta!

Gozo was very peaceful. We met very few people during our long walks on the seaside… You might tell me it’s normal because of the season, October is calm… Yes, probably much calmer than during the Summer but on the island of Malta, there were many people! When we took the ferry between Gozo and Malta, it was like coming back to civilization!

In a little more than three days, here is our program on Gozo:

Sunday, October 21st: With the ferry, we get on Gozo around 3pm. Direction Marsalforn where we settled. Walk by the sea, right nearby, in Xwejni Bay, at the bottom of a very impressive clayey mound. The children have fun between the big rocks, and then, from here we went along the salt works for about 2 kilometres. Back to Marsalforn.

salines de Gozo

gozo en famille   vacances à Gozo

visiter gozo

Monday, October 22nd: We start with Ramla Bay, the red beach that Titpuce renamed “orange beach” and she was so right! Very beautiful beach, anyway! After the bathing, direction Tal Mixta cave from where we can enjoy a wonderful view on the beach. We also climbed to Calypso cave but we liked it a little less because we actually don’t see the cave!!! And the view is less beautiful than from the other one. Lunch in Xaghra then direction Victoria, the capital of the island: stroll in the citadel and around to appreciate the architecture of the buildings. Back to Marsalforn.

visiter Gozo

trois jours à Gozo

visiter Gozo

visiter Gozo

visiter Gozo

visiter Gozo

visiter Gozo  visiter Gozo

Tuesday, October 23rd: Direction the South of Gozo with a first step in the beautiful Mgarr-ix-Xini creek then long walk on the cliffs of Ta’Cenc. Lunch break in Xlendi. Then we explore the Western part of Gozo: picture break in Dwejra to enjoy the very wild seafront with its huge rock formations. There was even an arch until last year (the Azure Window) but it collapsed because of erosion. Although, even without the arch, the place is so worth it! We walk by Ta’Pinu church in Gharb. We end by two stops in the North-West: in Wield-il-Mielah to see the other arch (which hasn’t fallen yet…) but be careful because to see it, you have to come close to a cliff so you have to keep the kids away from it. Nearby, we wanted to bathe in Wied-il-Ghasri creek but since it has been raining a couple of hours earlier, and the wind blew strongly, the creek didn’t have its emerald shade anymore and the sea was too dangerous so we came back to Marsalforn.

visiter Gozo

gozo en famille

visiter Gozo

vacances à Gozo

vacances à Gozo

vacances à Gozo

Wednesday, October 24th: Ticoeur and Titpuce wanted to go back to Mgarr-ix-Xini to bathe. I enjoyed it very much as well! Yes, because, I forgot to mention that during all of our holidays, the sea water was 23-24°C! The same temperature than in the air… Then, direction Victoria again to attend a concert in St George Basilica (the inside is worth the visit, and unlike many other churches in Malta, this one has a free access). Late lunch in Victoria and direction the ferry to Malta!

vacances à Gozo

visiter Gozo

Practical information for a stay on the island of Gozo

How do you go to the island of Gozo? We arrived in the morning in Valletta airport where we rented a car. It takes about 40 minutes to go to the harbour in the North of the island. A ferry to Gozo leaves every 30 to 45 minutes and the crossing lasts about 25 minutes. Don’t be surprised: you don’t pay on your way there, but only on your way back (about 25 euros for a car and 4 persons).

Gozo for the kids? Ticoeur and Titpuce like little hikes, especially when the path is steep, when there is some relief and natural curiosities to observe, so they loved our walks on Gozo, especially those along the salt works and the climbing to the cave above the red beach. Concerning the bathing: be careful, some creeks or beaches are not always adapted to swim safely. There might be some tide, or a rough sea, and it’s not always at the same place, so you have to see directly there. We’ve had a lot of wind during our stay there so for us, Mgarr-Ix-Xini creek was the most adapted for a quiet bathing time as a family.

What about our next time on Gozo? The next time, we’ll do the excursion to the Island of Comino to see a beautiful lagoon with turquoise water. Of course, you have to avoid summer because this place is probably the most visited around here!

Our good addresses on Gozo:

  • Il-Kartell Restaurant in Marsalfon: amazing sea food and very generous plates! Roasted squid, spaghetti alle vongole and a waterfront terrace. Our favourite address!
  • Latini Wine & Dine Restaurant in Xaghra: also a specialist of sea food, nice terrace in the heart of the village with a beautiful view on the church.
  • The Cup Cake café in Victoria: perfect for a cheap lunch (good pasta plates… yes, I know, it has nothing to do with cupcakes!)
  • Jubilee Café in Victoria: to take a coffee on the counter or admire the vintage decoration inside before you continue your walk through Victoria.
  • The Black Cat Café in Victoria: for a gourmet break (muffins, carrot cakes, etc) … Too bad it’s such a little place…

  • Where to sleep? It doesn’t matter where you will find your accommodation. The island is very small so you can do everything, no matter where you start from. The four corners of the island are interesting so I don’t have any advice as to which geographic choice you should make. The most important thing is to choose a place that you like! We were in Marsalforn where we particularly liked the restaurant choice for the evening. I won’t give you the address of our apartment (Airbnb) because it was nice, but nothing more. In fact, I did the bookings last minute and the most beautiful accommodations were taken.

visiter Gozo

I had to wait a third trip to Malta to choose to settle in Gozo, but don’t do the same mistake! I recommend Gozo even for a first trip to Malta! It’s a staple and a real crush !

So? Are you tempted by Gozo?

Visiter Paris en famille

Visit Paris as a family: 20 ideas to discover the Capital with children.

Since I am a Parisian and I am telling here all about our trips with the children, in the end I hardly ever tell you about Paris as a destination for “family tourism”. Which museums, which neighbourhoods, which monuments to visit with the kids? Here is a first selection for a stay in the French Capital… I mean, besides the Eiffel Tower of course 😉

Visiter Paris en famille

20 ideas to enjoy Paris as a family:

  • The Musée du Louvre (The Louvre Museum), short version: a long visit of the Louvre Museum, in the most touristic alleys dedicated to Italian or French paintings, would be quite athletic with the children! In the Louvre, I recommend to choose a very small part of the Museum and only spend an hour there. Our children loved the part about Egypt, the Primitive Arts, the Islamic Art and then the apartments of Bonaparte (my favourite part, and often with few visitors!). In any case, to avoid long waiting lines at the entrance of the Museum, I advise you to come in by the Porte des Lions (the Lion’s Gate).

Paris en famille

  • The Musée de la Chasse et de la Nature (Hunting and Nature Museum) in the Marais neighbourhood and/or Musée Picasso (Picasso Museum): Ticoeur and Titpuce loved the Hunting and Nature Museum situated in the heart of the Marais neighbourhood, district you shouldn’t miss if you visit Paris for the first time. In the museum, you can enjoy the setting of an amazing private town house and discover paintings, stuffed animals, weapons and decorative objects. Not far from here, is the Picasso Museum, absolutely stunning! So, visit one Museum after the other isn’t adapted for every child so you will have to chose according to your preferences. In the Picasso Museum, parents will love the visit and children should also be interested by the visual uniqueness of the artist’s paintings. For a gourmet break, I advise you the courtyard of the Swedish Institute.

Paris en famille

  • The Centre Georges Pompidou, the Stravinsky Fountain and a delicious pistachio ice cream! In the Centre Pompidou, there often are little exhibitions suitable for children. Right close to it, the Stravinsky Fountain, realized by Tinguely and Niki de Saint Phalle draws the attention of the little ones. And then, walking just a little bit further, you will get to Chez Bachir (58 Rambureau Street, Paris, 3rd district), Lebanese ice cream seller (organic!) where the ice creams are delicious, especially the pistachio and ashta ones.

  • The Musée des Arts & Métiers (Arts and Craft Museum) and a brunch in the Gaité Lyrique: We really like the Arts and Crafts Museum situated in the heart of Paris, gathering all the inventions and jobs through the ages. You shouldn’t miss the Foucault pendulum or the first planes. It used to be possible to brunch in the Café of Techniques situated in the museum but it has been closed for about a year. Thus, I advise you to go to the Gaité Lyrique (a 5 minute walk away) where you can have lunch or brunch in the “3 bis” in a very beautiful setting. So, don’t hesitate to watch the programme of the Gaîté-Lyrique because there are often exhibitions suitable for young visitors. This place is dedicated to Digital arts and modern music.

Musée des Arts et Métiers

  • The Balloon in the Parc André Citroën: obviously, famous points of view of Paris aren’t missing! The top of the Eiffel Tower, the roof of the Arc de Triomphe or even the terrace on the Sacré-Coeur Basilica are without a doubt the most famous! But I suggest you to take off in the Hot Air Balloon in the Parc André Citroën to make the children happy and to see very beautiful sights of the Capital. It’s hardly ever crowded but the balloon doesn’t always take off because it needs very good weather conditions. With Titpuce, we tested and approved it!

  • The Jardin des Plantes (Botanical Garden) and its museums: when the weather is nice, and particularly in Spring or Summer, the Botanical Garden is a very nice place for a family stroll. The garden is free but you can book tickets to visit the Giant Greenhouses or the Grand Gallery of Evolution (which is part of the National Natural History Museum. Lastly, it’s the Mineralogy and Geology Gallery  that we re-discovered and really liked!

  • From the Mosquée de Paris (Paris Central Mosque) to the Arènes de Lutèce (Arena of Lutece): getting out of the Jardin des Plantes (Botanical Garden), you can have a cup of mint tea in the oriental setting of Paris Central Mosque before you reach the Arena of Lutece, ancient Roman remains, with not so much visitors and yet very pretty, where the children can frolic and where you can sit and relax for a picnic. If you didn’t bring your meal, I advise you to eat at the crêperie Le pot au Lait, selling French pancakes, situated a 10 minute walk away (41 Censier Street, Paris, 5th district).

arene de lutece

  • A trip in a barge or a boat-bus: here is a classical activity that allows you to see Paris from the Seine. As a family, the advantage is that the children won’t get tired of walking. If you don’t want to embark for a whole cruise, you can just take the boat-bus using your underground tickets. On the way, you will be able to say Hello to Notre-Dame Cathedral.

visiter Paris en famille

Visiter Paris en Famille

  • Louis Vuitton Foundation and the Jardin d’Acclimatation: your children are claiming for rides and playgrounds? So, go to the Jardin d’Acclimatation, a park full of activities and carousels for children, close to the Bois de Boulogne. For the parents, the interest is to start with the Louis Vuitton Foundation which architecture I love, created by Guéry. The entrance of the Museum gives you access to the Jardin d’Acclimatation. Do consult the exhibitions programme.

  • The Nissim de Camondo Museum and the Parc Monceau: here is a museum that is not touristic, and yet so interesting! We discover the inside of a very beautiful particular townhouse still furnished (wow, the kitchen!). The visit isn’t very long and then, you can go to the Parc Monceau to let the children run around or even to have a picnic during the Summer! (63 Monceau street, Paris, 8th district).

  • The Musée de l’armée (Army Museum): situated in the Invalides, the guided tour delighted my Ticoeur!

visiter Paris en famille

  • The Tuileries, the Place de la Concorde and the Grande Roue (Big Wheel) for as long as it exists! The Tuileries Garden is very nice to go through after you visited the Louvre. Going to the Place de la Concorde you will see the Big Wheel… Not for a long time apparently… But a ride on the wheel offers beautiful views and the children loved it…

Visiter Paris en Famille

  • The Palais Garnier (Paris Opera): My Titpuce is a huge fan of (the animated movie) Ballerina and of ballet so Paris Opera is a staple for her! I advise you to also visit the inside (possible on Wednesdays).

  • Montmartre and the Sacré-Coeur: if your children are like mine, they don’t like to walk in the city when it’s flat… So, in Montmartre they will be delighted: it climbs! At the top, in front of the Sacré-Coeur Church, your effort will be rewarded by an amazing view on Paris. And while you go down, there is a carousel, if necessary 😉.

visiter Paris en famille

  • The Parc of Buttes Chaumont: it is a lovely park… Very hilly… Ideal of a picnic or a break in the Rosa Bonheur (Rosa Happiness) where a traditional dance hall spirit is in the air…

  • From the Canal Saint-Martin to the Canal de l’Ourq, and why not until The Villette… So, the adults will appreciate the charm of the Canal Saint-Martin that will remind you some of the scenes of the French movie Amélie. All along the canal, addresses to have brunch or lunch are not lacking. Following the water, you get to the Canal de l’Ourq where you can have a little cruise on an electric boat and you can enjoy the terraces on the quay. Finally, still following the water heading North, it will lead you to The Villette where there are many spaces dedicated to children: the Cité des Sciences (City of Sciences), the Géode (round cinema), The Musée de la Musique (the Music Museum), etc…

Paris en famille

  • The Buren’s Columns, a Japanese restaurant and why not the Musée en Herbe: So, the Buren’s Columns are on a small place behind the theatre of the Comédie Française. It’s not a very big space but Ticoeur and Titpuce didn’t get tired of climbing on the little columns and it makes very beautiful pictures! Very close, you can have lunch in the Japanese neighbourhood (a big noodle bowl!) and if the programme is worth it, don’t miss the Musée en Herbe dedicated to exhibitions for children.

  • The Musée du Quai Branly (Branly Quay Museum): I love the parts about Oceania and Africa! The children really liked it! Very close, you can stroll along the Seine or go to the Eiffel Tower!

Paris en famille

  • The Palais de la Découverte (Discovery Palace), the Petit Palais (Small Palace) or the Grand Palais (Great Palace): the first one is dedicated to children, the second one allows you to settle for breakfast on the terrace of a cafeteria that is very nice when it’s not crowded. Finally, the Grand Palais is amazing so if the exhibition of the moment may interest the children, then don’t hesitate and go!! The inside is monumental!

  • The aquarium of the Porte Dorée (Golden Gate) and the Parc Floral (Floral Park): here, you are on the extreme East part of Paris. The aquarium of the Porte Dorée deserves a visit for its architecture, its affordable price and its fishes of course! Not far from here, if the weather allows it, join the Parc Floral. The perfect moment is during the Summer jazz concerts.

I hope you liked this first big stroll around Paris! To move in the city, underground and buses are very practical with the children. You just have to make sure to avoid the rush hours! And, concerning the line 14 of the underground, the one without drivers: hop into the first metro car because the children will love to see the railway and the tunnels through the front glass!

There you go! It was my first selection of visits as a family in the Capital! I prepare other ideas to share with you very soon! In the meantime, tell me: what were your crushes and the ones of your children in Paris?

Our family holidays in Mallorca

It is time I tell you about our week in Mallorca at the end of August. Every year, we try to plan a family week with the grandparents and this summer we chose Mallorca, the largest island in the Balearics. Why? Because we like Spain and the Mediterranean very much and the budget is very reasonable. I had heard a lot about Mallorca before leaving: so yes it is a very touristy island (and that’s a euphemism!) but most of the tourists are concentrated in the south, near Palma. So, inevitably we went the opposite way, in the northeast :-). Up there, no nightclubs but a beautiful mountain landscape with traditional fincas and quite a few sheep! It was precisely in one of these beautiful old country houses, near Pollença, that we stayed and I must say that our accommodation was undoubtedly the best part of our week’s holiday in Mallorca! It took me a long time to find our finca but I really found the perfect villa, with a dream pool! We spent a lot of time in the garden, on the terraces and in the water! The children have made good progress in swimming!

As for excursions, we visited some villages and crossed the mountain landscapes while staying in the northern part of the island. We also spent a day in Palma, the capital: it is a pretty city that reminded me of a mini Barcelona. We saw many pretty places as you can see on the pictures. Perfect holidays? Yes but…  the problem was the crowd on the beaches. I know, in the Mediterranean in August you don’t expect to be alone but you see, it was not our first summer trip in the area and I must say I had never seen so many people, especially for the last week of August. Even on “my” island, Sicily, there are fewer tourists after August 20. Anyway, the crowded beaches weren’t ideal. In addition, compared to the incredible beaches we saw last year in Sardinia, the ones we discovered in Mallorca were beautiful but less “wow!”…. That said, we have seen very few, so I have no doubt that there are heavenly coves on the island.

Here, to give you some ideas for visits, is the program of our week in Mallorca. We rented two cars (budget: 10£/day per car), one for the grandparents and one for us. (Ticoeur and Titpuce always wanted to go in Omi and Opa’s car!).

Our program for a week in Mallorca:

(There is a little heart next to our favorite places).

  • Day 1: Arrival at Palma airport (~2 hour flight from Paris)
  • Day 2: visit of Alcudia and Playa de Muro

vacances à Majorque

  • Day 3: Pollença market  and beach

vacances à Majorque

  • Day 4: Cala San Vinçen

vacances à Majorque

  • Day 5: Visit of Soller (very nice mountain road to go there). In Soller: little train, old town and port.

vacances à Majorque

  • Day 6: Palma with its city centre, the Pilar and Joan Miró Foundation, and then the majestic Cathedral of course. In the late afternoon, return to the north. Playa Formentor ❤ with a wonderful sunset at Cap Formentor   

cathedrale a Palma

vacances à Majorque

vacances à Majorque

  • Day 7: Cala San Vinçen

vacances à Majorque

cala san vinçen Majorque

  • Day 8: departure

vacances à Majorque

In the end, we had a great week with the family. Three generations under the same roof, especially in such a beautiful house! (Many of you ask me for the references of this finca so here is the link).

vacances à Majorque

As for Mallorca: yes, I advise this island as a destination, especially for the pretty villages in the north, but I totally advise against visiting in August! Next time we will choose the Easter holidays. And in the middle of summer, we will test Minorca, the neighbouring island, still in the Balearics, much less visited it seems!

And you, do you know Mallorca?

Barcelone en famille

Family trip in Barcelona: all of our hints!

During Winter break, we spent five days in Barcelona with the children and their grand-parents. I wanted to share with you our program and our visit advices for a family trip. We chose quite a quiet rhythm: every early afternoon the children rested, with their grand-parents in the apartment that we booked. Thus, we were together strolling around until around 2pm, and we went out again in the end of the afternoon just to go to the square. During the rest time at the apartment (between 2 pm and 4 pm) and sometimes in the evening as well, my husband and I could enjoy the occasional couple getaway: the advantage to travel on three generations!

Barcelone en famille

Age of the children: Ticoeur 7 years old, Titpuce 5 years old.

I will begin with the visits we made with the children…

The Sagrada Familia: don’t miss it, even with young children!

As I already told you, during my five previous stays in Barcelona, I had never visited the Sagrada Familia, which is a pure madness created by Gaudi, who dedicated most of his life to this masterpiece. This cathedral with original architecture is really appropriate with children. The outside has changed a lot since the first time I saw the Sagrada 15 years ago. I think the work is progressing pretty quickly, even if it will take many years before all the towers and the entrance are finished. The inside is rather complete and you can only be struck by the volumes, the lights, the forms. Overall, counting the museum located underneath the church, we spent 1h30 in the Sagrada; the children loved the church; on the other hand, we shortened the museum part, very rich (all in all, without children, I think you can spend at least 2h in the Sagrada).

visiter la Sagrada

We had booked our tickets online for the first time slot of the day and we got in after a wait of only 5 minutes – it was perfect. We took the simple entrance tickets (without a guided visit, without audio guide, without an access to the tower) and I think that it was enough because we were already busy as it was and we were amazed of what we saw.

Adult fare: 15€ / Children (- 10 years): free. To be noted: there is a little playground very practical facing the Sagrada (on the side of the Passion door).

Montjuic and Miró Foundation:

A visit that was really successful with the children: the Foundation Joan Miró. Titpuce declared “All the same, his drawings are quite weird!” This museum is situated on the Montjuic Hill, very nice, with all its vegetation and its views on Barcelona. It is normally possible to climb there with the cable car but it was closed for maintenance. Since the cable car is quite expensive, it was a good option to take the bus. For the museum, we bought the tickets on the spot (12€ for adults and free for children).

Barcelone en famille

The Park de la Ciutadella to let the children run…

I had often walked by this park but this time, with the children, we really spent a long time there, to see the fountain, the fake mammoth and to simply let the children run around. On the other hand, we thought the playgrounds were not so great.

Barcelone avec enfants

Barcelone en famille

Barcelone en famille

Barceloneta Beach :

Even when it is too cold to bathe, the beach is a safe option with children. To get there, we crossed the neighbourhood of Barceloneta, which was quite nice (we had lunch there – see addresses below).

Barcelone en famille

Strolls in the Gothic Quarter:

Since we were staying near the Sagrada, for all of our visits and strolls of the day, we walked by the center and so by the Gothic Quarter that we visited again and again, little piece at a time. We particularly went back to places that we liked a lot like: the Cathedral cloister (free access in the morning), Plaça Reial, the place in front of Santa Maria del Pi, the Plaça Sant Felip and Santa Anna church. We also had a quick walk in La Boqueria Market and in Santa Catarina Market (less touristic).

Barcelone en famille

Barcelone en famille

Barcelone en famille

Barcelone en famille

Barcelone en famille

If you have never been to Barcelona, you have to remember to put the following places on your list:

Park Güell (adapted for all the family but it’s not in the center), the two famous houses: Casa Batlo, Casa Mila (by the underground Passeig de Gracia), the Palau de la Musica (at least see it from the outside – for the inside it’s only on guided tour and it may be better without children). This time, we didn’t go back to those places but they are staples in Barcelona, to see on a first stay here.

During our next stay in Barcelona, we will take the children to:

Tibidabo: it’s a vintage attraction park with a view on Barcelona. We couldn’t go there this time because it’s closed in the Winter.

Cosmo Caixa: a sort of “City of Science” (the one in Paris) with, among other things, a big greenhouse that makes you believe you’re in the Amazonian forest (it’s pretty far from the center so you should put it on the program if the weather is bad, or simply to please the children).

The children loved to eat tapas!

The children loved the small portions. Ours particularly loved the ham croquetas and the squids. Also playful for the kids: the pintxos, those tapas presented on long sticks. To be noted: as a family, we ate in restaurants for lunch but for dinner, we ate at the apartment with takeaway tapas we bought in little canteens of the neighbourhood: it’s cheaper, it avoided us to cook for six persons, and most importantly, it allowed us to eat on French time and not on Spanish time!

Barcelone en famille

Move around Barcelona with the children:

We simply used the underground tickets (also valid in the buses) loaded for 10 journeys. The fee is the same for adults and children over 5 years old (free for children under 5 years old). It’s possible to only use one card for the whole family so it’s practical. With this same card, we travelled to the airport (you have to take the train in Sants station). To visit the city, we mixed bus/underground and our own little feet. I have to say that my Titpuce amazed me because she walked so much, whereas she usually isn’t a fan of citytrips (she prefers walking in nature.)

And without the children, then?

While the grand-parents, Ticoeur and Titpuce rested in the apartment, we had a little childfree program. We visited the Modern Art Museum (MACBA), we spent an afternoon in a Spa for my birthday, we wandered in El Born neighbourhood that I like very much and we had dinner at a head chef’s house, who received us in his own house (see good addresses below).

Off-road: La Colonia Guëll

Since we already knew Barcelona, to change a little, we went to the suburbs, direction la Colonia Güell. I only advise it to people who already know Barcelona very well and who are fans of Gaudi. Otherwise, for a first stay as a family I wouldn’t put it on the to-do list. I will write a blog post on this topic on occasion.

Our good addresses in Barcelona:

  • Can Mano: restaurant in Barceloneta, a kind of little canteen, very simple, very local, very fresh and cheap fish Calle del Baluard, 12 Barcelona.
  • Santa Rita: it’s original because it’s not really a restaurant. The chef cooks at his own place and a few tables are settled in his dining room. Great degustation menu (it was for my birthday). Unique menu that changes every season. This option is better without children because it’s a gastronomic experience that takes time (from 9 pm to midnight). To book a table it’s on their website (and you have to book in advance!): Santa Rita.
  • The Spa Aire which was my birthday present (close to the Park de la Ciutadella).
  • Accommodation: we had booked an apartment on Airbnb, right in front of the Sagrada (great for the view!). It was perfect (the landlady was really nice, the apartment very pretty) but I only advise it if, like us, you share it between two families, otherwise it’s too big and you could find cheaper options. To be noted: the Sagrada neighbourhood is residential, it’s not the city centre but it’s really well connected via the underground and the buses. If you’re looking for an accommodation closer to the center, I advise you to look in El Born neighbourhood, very animated, and very practical to visit. If you wish to book with Airbnb and you want me to sponsor you, you can use this link to have a discount. And if you know any family friendly hotels, don’t hesitate to give me your good addresses in the comment section because we will probably go back to Barcelona, again and again!

Barcelone en familleAdmiring la Sagrada from our appartment…

Barcelone en famille

What about you? Have you already visited Barcelona as a family?

Italian trip: our family visit of Puglia

Those who followed our adventures know it already, 10 days ago, we were in the South of Italy for a week-long trip with the children in the heel of the boot. We toured the Puglia Region, and we also made a detour to Basilicate, the neighbouring region. I was already in love with Italy, but now! This mezzogiorno region completely enchanted me! A real crush! I advise everyone to go there. For me, it’s one of the most beautiful trip one can do in South Europe with a wide variety of styles, between very old villages, trulli, baroque style, architecture that reminded me of Greece or Morocco in the coastal villages; the centenary olive trees in the background, a wonderful Adriatic Coast with turquoise shaded water and finally, a delicious cooking… A dream!

Age of Ticoeur : 3 years and a half
Age of Titpuce : 1 year

Season of the trip: mid-April to enjoy the nice spring temperatures. We had between 16 and 25 degrees with a first day that was grey, then bright sunshine. I could almost have bathed.

Duration: one week.

Transport: we had booked a flight Paris-Bari with Easyjet for about 100€ per person for a round-trip (free flight for Titpuce – you only have to pay for the airport taxes for children under 2 years old). The transport in the hold of two accessories per baby is free with Easyjet (strollers, baby bed, child car seat…): it’s very convenient! Then, on the spot, we rented a car (Fiat Punto) for 23 euros a day with Budget.

Itinerary:

  • 2 nights in Matera: wonderful old city classified in the World Heritage of Humanity. A big crush for this stop in the Basilicate region! You must see it! [2019 Edit: Some of the scenes of the next James Bond movie will be shot in Matera!]

  • 2 nights in Cisternino in a trullo, adorable little typical accommodation in Puglia. Visit of all the villages and towns around: Alberobello, Locorotondo, Marina Franca, Ostuni…

AlberobelloAlberobelloAlberobelloLocorotondo

Locorotondo

  • 1 night in Lecce, the baroque city. Then, tour of the peninsula with its very beautiful coast until Gallipoli.

Lecce

Gallipoli

Gallipoli

  • 1 night in Polignano a Mare, adorable village flanked on a cliff on the South part of Bari. The following day: visit of Trani on our way to Gargano.

Polignano a Mare

Trani

  • 2 nights in the natural region of Gargano, in Vico del Gargano: fishermen villages, very beautiful beaches, forest… a wild environment…

This itinerary, we improvised it the day before we left. Now, if I had to do it again, I would choose between three options:

1/ the same itinerary but shortened by the Gargano because this very wild beautiful area alone deserves a whole week and requires that you take mountain roads that Ticoeur and Titpuce’s stomachs didn’t tolerate. Also, with all these bends, every trip takes more time so on a week, it’s too short to really enjoy the beauty of Gargano. So, I would add 1 night in Lecce and 1 night in Polignano to my initial itinerary.

2/ stay in a trullo in Cisternino or in another village of trulli and visit the whole Puglia region from only one drop point. You can do it because the distances are not too big.

3/ Consider a 2 week stay in Puglia because there really is a lot to do!

Olive trees everywhere!

Baby equipment:

We had taken our foldable baby bed for Titpuce because we didn’t focus our researches on accommodations that were equipped for babies. For the rides, we used the Ergobaby for Titpuce and Ticoeur walked without a problem. This way, we managed not to be too heavily loaded, with only one suitcase per adult (as a cabin baggage) and Ticoeur brought his little “Woodours” bag to tidy his toys 😉

 

Good addresses:

A lot! Including:

  • the B&B “i setti coni” : we settled in a real trullo. It’s so cute! The landlady is lovely. Address found on the Airbnb.fr website.

  • la trattoria di Nonna Tetti in Lecce (Piazetta Regina Maria): an authentic and local cooking in a typical setting, with a very reasonnable price.
  • the Osteria dei Mulini in Polignano a Mare: very delicate! Don’t hesitate to taste the carpaccio of octopus.
  • il Terrazino in Matera: a restaurant that is touristic for sure, but we ate very well for a very affordable price: 4 euros for a pizza and 6 euros the delicious dish of pastas shaped like olive tree leaves! Very beautiful location in the old town.

The “baby pros”:

  • Ticoeur tested and approved all the playgrounds of Puglia 😉
  • He walked without a problem because the old villages gave him the impression of an adventure: stairs, passages, tunnels, little bridges…
  • Ticoeur loved the visit of a cave (Castellana) which I’ll tell you about again later
  • The historic city centres are only for pedestrians or with very limited traffic so it’s really appreciable for a family stroll.
  • The children liked the breaks on the beaches of the coast: play in the sand and soak the feet in the sea.
  • Ticoeur and Titpuce loved the Italian cooking!
  • We often had a baby chair in the restaurants
  • The car steps are short: between ¼ of an hour and about 2h top. We put the 2 hour trips during nap time.

The “baby cons” :

  • As I mentioned above, the only damper of our trip was the road in the Gargano area: the children were car-sick because there were only mountain roads in the wild part of Puglia…
  • I had already mentioned it: in Italy, I don’t like the offer of baby food-jar (too much meat and not enough vegetables). So, for Titpuce, we had brought a couple of baby dishes from France and we also gave her what we ate (she loves pastas!). Otherwise, concerning yoghurt, cheese, compote, baby formula, we find the same products as in France.


What about you? Are you tempted by the Puglia region with your family?