This is my first post in this community; I've posted on other travel forums as well but really enjoy Rick Steves' shows and books and feel like his style resonates with ours.
We have roundtrip tickets to Paris and plan to spend our 2nd of 2 weeks exclusively there in August. The 1st week is where I could use some brainstorming. It is 2 of us plus 2 toddlers who, at least to me, seem pretty accommodating and will really be along for the ride to enjoy it all from a child's perspective. To that end, we value afternoon breaks for naps and locations with enough infrastructure and flexibility (parks/playgrounds/open spaces are good). So... no full day hikes or anything on this trip. We will NOT have a car.
Our 2 options at this point:
1) CDG to Brussels, then day trips out of Brussels as kids tolerate (possibilities - Amsterdam, Bruges, Ghent, Luxembourg, Aachen)
2) Somewhere in France with beach or mountain (or both?) - looking for smaller town experience to relax and keep the pace slow (possibilities - Annecy/Chamonix or Strasbourg/Colmar). Beach - I'm at a loss. We don't want to visit the Riviera because we'll do that on a trip next year. Will Normandy beaches be really cold (not looking for swimming, just nice sand and maybe dip toes a bit)? Does any beach town in Brittany ring a bell in terms of kid-friendliness? Biarritz (too glam?)
Thanks for any input on the 2 options and any additional details within the options.