Our French holiday home was perfect for a decade – now our teenagers aren’t impressed
When my kids were younger, getting up early to buy croissants from the bakery was their favorite vacation activity. I was hanging out the window of our 18th century vacation home in a small town in Jura, eastern France, keeping an eye out as they drove up the road and returned with greasy bags overflowing with pain au chocolat .
Now, 10 years later, the novelty has, shall we say, worn off. My teenagers – Inès, 15, and Vincent, 13 – would rather lie down for hours than venture outside to torture local shopkeepers with their French. If I dare to enter their rooms – where they will both be snoring, encased in sweaty duvets, like giant sausage rolls – they will simply reply with a grunt, “You can go!”
Yes, it really is a first world problem. But the truth is, as my French husband Fred and I discovered, while the familiarity that a holiday home brings is perfect for those under 12, for teenagers desperate for sophistication – not so much. While their homies fly off to Mykonos or Morocco, they’ll be in the same creaky old bed, in the same spooky old house, going to the same old beach.
This summer my daughter will valiantly pack her wedge heels and bikinis, but sigh at the appalling lack of white curtained outdoor day beds at the nearby Lac de Vouglans reservoir and cut a fine figure sipping a Coke at the very basic beach cafe rather than a mocktail in a fancy bar.
We brought here in 2012 to create treasured memories and connect children with their French heritage. Then our house – full of nooks and crannies and definitely the shabbiest side of chic – was the perfect place for hide-and-seek, cozy Christmases and Easter egg hunts. But to the trained eye of a TikTok-obsessed teenager, our unfamiliar corner of France now seems more backward than remote.