Lot of parents say that they have problems trying to book a holiday in France that offers self-catering accommodation where the needs of children of all ages are provided for, including babies and toddlers. Pagel Child Centred Holidays near Cahors, in the Lot region, southwest France, set out to knock this issue on the head and provide a really special place for families where the adults can relax in the knowledge that every need is catered to, for everyone in the family. Now in its 13th year of operation, many families return year after year to re-experience the sense of magic and family togetherness that Pagel inspires.
The Pagel Story
In 2002, Pagel’s founders Mark and Lara Bishop had a dream. As regular holidaymakers to Europe they had struggled to find places to stay where both their children’s and their own needs were met by their holiday providers. They dreamt of creating a special place for families and started out by searching for properties across Italy. After nine months of looking they had still not found the right place.
Later that year, Lara was travelling by taxi in London. She chatted to the taxi driver and explained her mission to find the perfect place for families – somewhere safe, beautiful, in a fantastic and interesting area. The London cabbie didn’t mince his words when replying and said “You’re looking in the wrong place! Try the Lot region in France. I’ve got a holiday home there, and it is undiscovered and utterly charming”.
Ten days later, inspired by the man’s enthusiasm, Lara, Mark and their two children visited the Lot region and the very first property they saw was a house called ”Pagel”. They knew instantly this was just what they’d been seeking. It had everything they envisioned to provide families with the perfect place for a holiday. The views were breath-taking, it had magnificent stone buildings including one with a tower, picturesque villages and towns nearby have great restaurants and make for wonderful days out.
Three months later, they moved to France – lock stock and barrel, and after renovating the buildings, Pagel Child Centred Holidays was born.
Child Friendly and inspiring holidays in France
Since then, the Pagel concept has grown and developed, with ten cottages available across three different locations. As the years have flown by, new additions have been added to the sites such as fun, themed play zones for the kids. The ethos, however, has always remained the same: to provide small familial safe places which allow children to run free and play, enjoying nature, making friends and exploring their own imaginations. They are able to move from one play zone to another, from play barn to pirate ship to the swings and slides and more,
In an interview with the The Good Life France, founder Mark Bishop explained the future plans for Pagel. “We set out to create a child friendly and imaginative safe haven for families on holiday” says Mark. “Our aim was to provide all the equipment you could possibly need and to make Pagel feel like a home from home”.
What are the key features then, that make a Pagel family holiday more special than, say, a regular package holiday? “Pagel provides a smaller community of like-minded families who want all the facilities but at the same time want to enjoy the authenticity of rural France” says Mark. “It’s the sense of community, with kids running freely, and all the families helping to keep an eye out that creates such a special atmosphere”.
Asked what achievements he is most proud of with Pagel, Mark says: “It’s the fact that we have guests who return year after year. About 60% are returning or referred guests. I’m also proud of the fact that we’ve created an amazing environment, where kids play outdoors all day using their imaginations rather than relying on computer screens to stimulate their minds.”
There are exciting developments for 2015 too. “We’ve been reinvesting in the cottages and will be modernising bathrooms and kitchens over the winter of 2015” says Mark. “We’ve built new wooden canopies on the lower ground gites which will not only provide extra shade but extend the living space to be like an extra room outdoors”. Enhancements aren’t just focused on the buildings. “Several new services have been added in the last year including an option for cooked meals, kiddies tea twice per week, honesty bar, breakfast delivery, pilates and yoga classes” says Mark. “The Pagelian Club (for all guests who have stayed with us) has been revamped offering greater benefits and exclusive offers such as wine, early bird and loyalty discounts”.
Find out more about these great child friendly self-catering holidays in France at: