When it comes to booking accommodation for your holiday, choosing a hotel is usually the go to. After all there’s always fresh, fluffy towels, someone to make your bed for you and you can even order food straight to your room. However, sometimes it’s nice to have a bit more input to your holiday than simply choosing which excursions you’d like to go on. And, with kids, it can definitely be much easier to avoid the hotels and big crowds.

As a beautiful country that’s not too far from home, it’s not too difficult to pack the car up and head off into the French countryside for a holiday with a view. With everything from ski chalets to your own private chateau on offer, there are plenty of unique and unusual alternatives to hotels that are sure to make you forget the packages when planning your next family holiday.

Camping

With over 9000 campsites across the country ranging from traditional tenting land to extremely luxurious glamping pods and treehouses, there really is something for everyone. Even better, many campsites can provide you with all the equipment you need so you won’t need to bring anything with you. You can see a full directory of campsites in France here.

For a truly unusual trip, try a stay at La Fleche Zoo, where you can stay in one of their safari-tent style lodges and observe what the local animals overnight. There’s even outdoor showers so you truly feel at one with nature.

Chateaus

A chateau, or manor house as it’s often translated, is one of the most authentic ways to experience France. After all, the country is littered with them. These stately homes offer a glimpse into the rich history of the country as well as giving you the opportunity to live like a Lord or Lady for a few days.

Due to their often-impressive size, chateaus make the perfect option for large groups and special events. Oliver’s Travels has an excellent selection of traditional French chateaus available for both holidays and more formal occasions.

Castles

If luxury is your thing, then there is nothing more opulent than staying in one of France’s many castles for rent: the majority of which are situated in the Dordogne region. Home to more than 1000 castles, you’ll certainly get the pick of the bunch if you decide to visit here.

The castles vary depending on the region of France you visit, with each one reflecting the architecture and style of the ancient noble families that built them. Brittany with its Celtic heritage has a mystical and roughness that is impossible to find anywhere else in France. This coastline is perfect for anyone who loves sitting back to enjoy a good book surrounded by history. For pure luxury, opt for a castle stay in Champagne where you can spend days visiting some of the regions famous vineyards – you could even take the time to try some of the famous produce.

Chalets

Skiing holidays are family favourites and, over winter, France is one of the most popular destinations for the sport. Having somewhere warm, quiet and private to head back to, rather than a bustling ski resort, is a must. There are plenty of traditional chalets really close to the slopes (many of them are actually closer than the resorts) and staying in one is a must for the bucket list. With warm, wood panelled interiors, log fires, hot tubs and plenty of snow, you’ll never want to leave.

Farmhouses

If a French mansion is too big for your tastes but you like the idea of staying in rural France, then a self-catering farmhouse could well be your perfect pick. Not only will you save yourself money compared to staying in a hotel, you’ll also get to experience life like the locals. Tending to be smaller and cosier, these traditional French farmhouses are similar to cottages. Although, depending on the region you pick and your budget, your farmhouse might come with a modern pool too.