The inland départements of Aquitaine are prime villa and gîte territory, although, as ever in France, you might choose to splurge on the odd night in a sumptuous château. You can also self-cater by the sea, including at holiday parks.
For the classic French seaside experience, check into Biarritz’s beachfront Hôtel du Palais, which despite its classy architecture (it was built in 1854 by Napoleon III as a private villa for his wife Eugenie) welcomes children with their own play area and paddling pool. Many rooms can inter-connect, or there are suites with up to three bedrooms, plus four restaurants, a spa with an indoor pool, and an outdoor heated seawater pool open from mid-March to mid-November.
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