PEOPLE aged 60 or over can take state-subsidised holidays at dozens of destinations around France – and new this year is the option of taking grandchildren with you.
The Agence Nationale pour les Chèques-Vacances (ANCV) organises holidays under the Seniors en Vacances scheme, which aims to is help people who may not normally take holidays due to low incomes.
The holidays include food, accommodation and entertainment (but not transport) and are eight days and seven nights or five days and four nights. The longer ones cost €360 but can be reduced to €180 for people who are below the income tax threshold. The shorter holidays cost €300 or €150 for those who pay no income tax.
Carers of any disabled person can also take part at the reduced rate.
You are eligible if you are:
Resident in France
Aged 60 or more (or 55 for disabled people)
Retired and/or not working
Spouses and civil partners can also take part.
Under the scheme, hotels or holiday villages propose holidays to the ANCV at set periods outside the peak summer season (July and August).
The scheme has existed for several years but until last year was only for set groups organised by associations or mairies. Individuals and couples can now book directly.
Also this year many holidays aimed at grandparents and grandchildren under 18 are on offer in holiday villages – the children can stay at the same price as main participants who pay no income tax. If desired it will be possible for grandparents to take part in excursions while the children are looked after at the holiday village. In some cases children’s activity clubs are laid on. From the site Séniors en Vacances see particulier on the right for more details or click on Choisissez votre destination for a map of resorts – holidays suitable for taking with grandchildren are marked in green, or green and blue.
An ANCV spokeswoman said: “The holidays take place at specific dates and you will be part of a group when you arrive - you will be what we called ‘grouped individuals’ (individus regroupés).
“Activities and entertainment will be laid on for the group. You are free to take part or not, but we don’t want people to find themselves isolated in a half-empty hotel.”
Accommodation is in two or three-star hotels, in holiday flats or in holiday villages.
Activities might include concerts, slideshows, dance evenings, walks, pétanque or badminton. Excursions to markets, chateaux, museums or nature reserves or tourist train or boat trips will also be on offer.
Before booking a holiday it is necessary to register with ANCV by sending an application form which can be printed from the site, with copies of your identity card (or passport for non-French nationals) and the last avis d'imposition (income tax statement).
If you are registered disabled or you receive the allocation personnalisée d'autonomie (for dependent elderly people) you also should include proof of this.
Within a month you will get an identifiant number you can use to book with your chosen destination.
On the site, click on the map to see destinations on offer. Click on place names for more information including phone numbers of the holiday destinations. Holidays particularly suitable to disabled people are labelled Tourisme et Handicap and are coloured differently on the maps.
Further information is available on on tel: 32 40 (then you have to say “séniors en vacances” [pronounced “say-ni-or on vac-onss]) at local call rate.