You should know that with international home exchange, it is possible for your family to travel to France and to live in a luxurious property for a lengthy three week period, for little more than you would spend on just a weeklong deluxe Disney Vacation. I know this because my family has done both.
In 2009, my family stayed at the Grand Floridian Resort on Disney World property for one week in Orlando, Florida. In 2013, my family spent three weeks in a luxurious Provencal home in France. The cost of both trips was comparable; about $7,500 all inclusive (yes, inclusive of airfare). The deluxe Disney trip was great fun while the 3 weeks living in Provence was an incredibly enriching cultural experience. Read this, and see whether you should consider skipping your next Disney vacation for this:
We spent three incredible weeks in a charming Provencal home. The home, as you will see below, had a beautiful in-ground swimming pool and lovely garden (or as we Americans call them backyard) and patio. The home was located in a charming village in the Bouches du Rhone area of Provence. The best part of home exchange is getting to actually live like a temporary local (or better, a local that is on vacation!) We got to experience what it’s like to be a French family, spending a great deal of quality family time in and around our temporary home and village, just luxuriating in the lovely surroundings, meeting very welcoming locals, and and soaking up the beautiful Provencal sun and culture
Living there for three weeks gave us plenty of time to play with the kids in the pool, but also to just relax by it. Have I managed to convey how nice this all was?
In addition to all the wonderful downtime, we also got to visit a lot of wonderful well know sites and cities. The area had so much to offer within an hours drive, we had plenty to see and do. We visited all these enchanting places: Avignon (Palace of the Papes); Nimes (Roman Arena); Les Baux de Provence (ancient Fortress); the famous Pont du Gard (Roman Aqueduct, including swimming in the river beneath it); St. Remy (Roman City of Ganum and Van Gogh’s room in psychiatric hospital); delightful outdoor markets in Isle Sur la Sorgue, Lourmarin and several others; Cassis (lovely seaside resort and “Calanque” Boat Ride); Salon de Provence (a wonderful nearby town, very authentic and non-touristy). I’m sure I’m missing quite a few other places we visited.
We also took one little trip further afield to visit the French Riviera and the Gorges du Verdon area in the mountains. We spent one day and night in Villefranche sur Mer, near Nice and then a second day and night in Moustiers Sainte Marie in the breathtaking Gorge du Verdon area.
This trip was a wonderful combination of major sights and cities coupled with relaxing time spent living like temporary locals enjoying much less touristy pleasures of Provence.
If this sounds like a great trip to you; would you believe that this three week trip to France including accommodation in a four bedroom home with pool, two nights hotel, food (dining in and dining out), all our entertainment, transportation, souvenirs, etc…for my family of four cost only $5,000 (with airfare $7,500).
Below are just a few photos of the home and village. To view more of my families photos from this extraordinary home exchange in Provence, please look at my “gallery”.