Scuba diving at our holiday cottages

PADI havIMAG0366e developed special training courses to introduce youngsters to just how much fun and exciting breathing underwater can be! and their British instructors have joined up with us to offer a range of diving options for all the family at our family holiday cottages here in the Charente Maritime, France

So make your holiday a bit special and try scuba diving  with us !

A few years after we moved here in 1996 we met another British couple who had decided to move to this beautiful region of the Charente Maritime in France. We quickly learned that they had worked all their lives in the dive industry. Geoff is a very senior course director – he teaches the teachers who teach you and I, so he knows his stuff and his wife Wendy is also an experienced Dive master and has owned many dive shops throughout the uk, selling and maintaining equipment and organising the dive courses for Geoff to run. Although being semi retired they are still heavily involved in the industry but can pick and choose their work and have recently been running courses in Australia too – escaping the cold winters here enjoying the Australian summers !


Here’s Geoff teaching Benjamin his dive skills in our swimming pool at La Grange du Moulin.

Geoff and Wendy taught Chris to dive and pass his PADI open water course which enabled us to spend a week on a live aboard boat off the Barrier Reef and Chris then passed his advanced open water. Unfortunately I’m not allowed to dive but had a great time snorkelling !

A few years ago Geoff and Wendy started teaching Benjamin to dive and enjoyed it so much came to us with a proposition to offer ‘try dives’ to our guests, both children and adults – we jumped at the chance ! was born !

P1050784 now visit both La Grange du Moulin and Les Vallaies each week . Children from 5 years old to adults up to 99 years + are offered try a dives or  PADI approved courses. The basic course lasts one hour and costs 25€. This is a great way to see whether you like the idea before perhaps moving on to more advanced courses here or at home.


All sessions are held in the heated swimming pools onsite at our properties. All equipment is provided and once the basic safety lessons are learnt you’ll be off around the pool collecting ‘treasure’ and they will literally have you diving through hoops !


It is quite amazing how quickly children get to grips with ‘breathing’ underwater and we have had several children opt to then take the full ‘junior open water course’ available which even involves an exam ( they must have really loved it to study on their hols !)


For those interested in going further Geoff can offer referral courses . This means that you can take all the ‘closed’ (meaning swimming pool) work and tests for a course and any coursework required whilst on holiday and Geoff will then give you a contact for a dive centre close to you at home in the UK to complete the necessary ‘open’ (non pool) tests.



The benefits of doing this are that firstly it is a lot cheaper, only 250€ which is way cheaper than doing the pool work in the UK plus you get to do most of the work in a lovely warm pool in lovely sunny weather !



However most people just want to ‘give it a go’ and experience this amazing sport in a safe and familiar environment and as a bit of fun on their holidays.  The kids absolutely love it and are far more daring and adventurous than their parents !!


But what do you do if you have an eight year old who’s having a fab time diving for treasure and a six year old who is desperate to try it because it looks so much fun? Well – they can. Geoff and Wendy offer a try dive for younger children too – they don’t even need to be able to swim ! They’ll be restricted to the shallow end where they can stand up and the tanks will be held for them.

The scuba diving activity has proved so popular that often the children have to be staggered into different time groups depending on their abilities.


Some children and adults like the look of doing it but arn’t really sure – no problem, you can have a 15 minute session for 10€ to see whether you like it or not then carry on to do the full hour if you want to.

Everyone is given a certificate of achievement at the end, a fantastic souvenir of your holiday at La Grange du Moulin and Les Vallaies.


For full details of the courses and try dives avalable,  prices and contact details of, visit our web site and

Available to guests at La Grange du Moulin, Les Vallaies and our other family friendly holiday accommodation in the Charente Maritime, France.

We also offer Dive holidays where you and a group of friends or you and your family can stay a whole week and learn all the scuba diving techniques and take your closed water section of your open water or advanced open water course in a group with other divers. Specific weeks are set aside in our availability to host scuba diving holidays. Geoff and Wendy will be at the ExCEL in London on the 14th and 15th February 2015 for LIDS – the London International Dive Show selling dive courses and dive holidays here at la Grange du Moulin and Les Vallaies  in the Charente Maritime, France. Alternatively contact us at to make a booking.

For full information on our child friendly family holidays with scuba diving activities visit our web sites at and

A medical questionnaire must be completed beforehand by the parent, some medical conditions may mean that you are unable to dive so contact us beforehand if you are unsure as you may simply need another certificate authorised by your GP.

Content by Wendy Blakeman

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