Holidays without children: a trend that is still marginal in France but which is gaining ground

Holidays without children: a trend that is still marginal in France but which is gaining ground

Holidays without children, the only solution to truly relax? Very trendy abroad, “adults only” offers are multiplying in France, at the risk of offending some.

The concept appeals to people without children, who want to be able to “have fun and be quiet“, as well as parents who decide to leave without their offspring to rest”without having to bear that of others“, explains Valérie Boned, president of the Travel Companies union, to AFP.

It's not a breaking wave“, but the offer of establishments reserved for adults has expanded in France in recent years, she affirms, “by the looks of it we are at 3% of the offer“.

Quietness and tranquility are the selling points of the Englishman Stuart Coe, who manages a campsite forbidden to children, far from the atmosphere of the very popular resorts in Spain, Italy or Greece.

Owner of this four-star facility in the Lot since 1993, the septuagenarian launched into “adults only” in 2009. “We were fed up with children not controlled by parents,” he explains.

“Pollution sonore”

When we had families with children, everything revolved around them. It disrupted the calm character that I wanted to favor“, confides Vincent Clerjoux-Rhodes, owner of Domaine des Ormeaux in Dordogne, who has decided six years ago to limit access to his lodges to those over 16 years old.

A change in commercial strategy appreciated by Sabrina and her partner Jonathan, who have experienced both versions of the establishment. “Compared to the swimming pool, it is quieter. The conversations are different too“, underlines the 44-year-old nurse, without children and who did not wish to give her name.

If she assures that this is not her first criterion, she now tends to favor this formula: “what we are looking for today is really calm“.

Specialized educator, Amandine, 26, discovered the concept by chance. While looking for an unusual establishment, she came across Ecrin d'Auvergne, a high-end +ecolodge+ reserved for adults, in Cantal.

She entrusted her one-year-old daughter to her grandparents to spend a night there with her husband. “We were able to find ourselves in peace, without the worry of daily life and managing everything. It feels good“, explains this young mother.

Disconnecting is not possible with children“, says Pierre-Éric Chabaud, owner of the establishment.

We are in a society that wants to be less and less disturbed, where everything is interpreted in terms of pollution. And the child is noise pollution in our society“, analyzes Jean-Didier Urbain, anthropologist specializing in tourism and mobility.

While some wage war against roosters and village bells, childless offers “are a response to a new demand for non-harm“, estimates the researcher.

“Not a good sign”

Is this legal though? Article 225-1 of the Penal Code prohibits any discrimination.

This is not a discriminatory selection” assures Me Jonathan Bellaiche, lawyer specializing in tourism law. It is “offer a service to a specific clientele to meet the needs of its commercial activity“, he believes, noting that he “n'y a pass of jurisprudence” about this question.

According to him, “a hotelier has every right to offer a real adult atmosphere (…). We are part of the freedom of commerce, the freedom of enterprise”.

An opinion that PS senator Laurence Rossignol is far from sharing, she who wishes to prohibit places prohibited to children.

It’s growing, it’s becoming commonplace. We are allowing ourselves more and more to show intolerance towards children and I think that this is not a good sign.“, deplores this former Minister of Families and Children under François Hollande to AFP.

At the end of March, she tabled a bill aimed at “recognize the minority as a factor of discrimination in order to promote a society open to children“.

It’s about “raising the alarm,” explains Ms. Rossignol. “In our society we are not going to allow places to develop without children. This is not good for the morale of the country, for the relationship in the future“, she assures.