Here at La Grange du Moulin child friendly gites, we have striven to provide a family friendly environment and you have no doubt read about everything we offer to provide a fun and relaxing place to stay for all the family. However a family gite holiday in rural France is not for everyone , we are not offering 5* luxury accommodation, the cottages are simply furnished, suitable for a young family (no louis 14th furniture or crystal glasses) , we really are in the countryside so you can't walk to bars and restaurants; you might see a mouse and you'll definitely see bats at dusk, lizards and other creatures. These are usually the reasons families return to us year after year but f you have any doubts as to our suitability for your family, ask questions - we will be honest, we really do want you to have a fantastic time. We also do not profess to have properties 'designed' specifically to accommodate young children. When we first started we did not have children and thought spiral staircases looked beautiful ! But also they were needed due to space constraints. We have done what we are able to avoid obvious hazards (stair barriers top and bottom for example) but also we have to accommodate the needs of all our guests, whatever the age of their children and the cottages are converted from old stone farm buildings. No property could be completely free of hazard and we are NOT providing a 'padded' environment but we believe you should be aware of any potential issues prior to booking so you can make an informed decision.
In five of our cottages we have cast iron, open tread spiral staircases. Any staircase is potentially hazardous, but these are obviously, by their nature very steep with triangular shaped steps. Stairgates or barriers are standard for all of our staircases, top and bottom. At the base and top where it is not possible to fit a stairgate as it is designed the stairgate is used as a barrier by attaching it to the staircase using an elastic cord which works effectively but is obviously no quite as convenient as a gate which can be easily opened and closed. These must be placed / fitted as done on arrival to make them effective. We expect young children to be supervised when using the staircases . If you have any concerns, or have trouble fitting them, please just ask. Papillon has a wooden
open tread staircase which is also steep and also has stair barriers.
The main garden is enclosed by a wall and gates, the lane is very quiet ie only our neighbours usually drive down it and the rest of our property is surrounded by open fields. Your toddler is prevented from running directly into the road to chase a ball but it is your responsibility as their guardian to ensure they are suitably supervised at all times and are not given time to wander off . It is the responsibility of all adults on the property to ensure the gates are closed correctly immediately after use. The rear terraces and parking track are not enclosed. It is possible to leave your front and back doors open and thus allow a child to 'escape' given time if unsupervised. This rear area to the cottages backs onto open fields so is not an immediate danger but we do need to emphasise that you are responsible for your own children.
Throughout the garden there are uneven steps, slopes and areas where toddlers may trip or fall, parents should explore the garden with their children before allowing children to explore alone. Young children must be supervised at all times.
In front of the cottages there is a gravel driveway (between the cottages and garden) Vehicule passage is restricted to loading / unloading of luggage for arrival / departure and full shopping loads or a parking because of a sleeping child. As a driver you must be fully aware of the presence of young children and move your car accordingly. As a parent you must be aware when a car is present. In reality once our guests have arrived it is rare for them to use the front entrance again as we have a rear entrance where the car parking area is, well away from the garden and cottages.
The gravel has a magnetic attraction for babies and toddlers who explore with their mouths, in our experience no child has ever
swallowed any or come to any harm and they soon find the sand in the sandpit to eat instead !
Our swimming pool is fully enclosed with one access gate which is self closing and has a child proof latch. The latch is designed to prevent a child younger than 5 yrs old from accessing the pool area alone. You must make older children who are able to open the
gate by themselves fully aware of the dangers of a swimming pool and express upon them never open the gate for a younger child and never enter the pool area without an adult.
For extra security and to conform with french regulations we also have an alarm system on the pool which sounds if a child should accidentally fall in. There are certain times that this alarm is not active eg when it is resetting itself after the pool has been used (a period of about 5 mins whilst the water settles) and parents should be extra vigilant at these times if they are around the pool with their children. The pool is unsupervised and you are responsible for your own and your childrens safety when using the pool area.
TILED FLOORS and STEPS
These are obviously hard, if you drop something it will break, if you fall, it will hurt. They become very slippy when wet, so don't allow children to run in from the pool and mop up spills immediately. Do not use external plastic garden chairs inside as they will slip. Some of the cottages have occasional steps (1 or 2), on entering the cottage or at the rear, Peche has a step between the dining room and the sitting room, Papillon has a 3 sided step on entering the cottage. These may be an issue with some toddlers.
Due to the old nature of the propety and its previous use as farm buildings some windows are very low. All our low windows have been fitted with window locks or chains to prevent them from being opened fully by a child. All other windows are at the regulation height. All the other windows have security chains with a lock which may be opened with a key supplied with your door key and will be locked on arrival.
Our trampoline is a 3m (10ft) trampoline with a safety net. We strongly recommend that all children should be supervised when using the the trampoline and that only one child at a time use it.
Our Pirate ship has a low foredeck which is ideal for toddlers and crawlers to play on. The upper deck is up a vertical ladder which is designed to prevent younger children who are unable to climb it from reaching the upper deck which is 1m40 high. However some 2yr olds are more able than others so we do expect parents of young children to supervise their play on the pirate ship.