My family is considering a 5 month sabbatical in Fall 2010, and we're currently debating where to go. One idea is to rent an apartment in a large European city (Paris?) and organize occasional trips from there. We have two kids who will be 2.5 and 5 years old next fall -- not ideal ages for travel but minimal school conflict.
Our goals are to have a lot of family time in an interesting place that is safe and has some conveniences for families (parks, children's museums, family-friendly restaurants, etc). Our only languages are English and some Spanish, but we're not intimidated to learn (although it would be helpful if a little English now and then would be okay).
Any suggestions? Where would you go if you had five months with your young kids? Where would a good base be? We love Italy and France. We haven't traveled much in Eastern Europe or Scandanavia. We're also considering Australia/New Zealand, Costa Rica, Buenos Aires, or South East Asia. (Do you see why we need help??)
Any suggestions or sources of info will be much appreciated!