Vacations to recover the joy of living

How can children undergoing severe medical treatment be allowed to go on holiday? Based on the American initiative founded by Paul Newman, Hole in the Wall Camps, the French association L’Envol created a specialized holiday center unique in France, which it needs to enlarge and renovate today.

Social and Employment

Château de Boulains, près de Fontainebleau, Seine-et-Marne, France

Brigitte Robin Amour

45,000 euro to the Selection Committee at 2006/12/05

Project leader


“To provide joy of living in periods when children suffer in their bodies and also in their hearts, and give them invaluable help to fight against sickness. This is demonstrated by the testimony of the children.”
Brigitte Robin Amour

Since 1997, the association L'Envol pour les enfants européens offers young patients affected by serious pathologies an opportunity to recover the joys of going on holiday with their pals. To do this, it has equipped the area of Boulains, near Fontainebleau (77), as an appropriate holiday center. Thanks to the action of a medical team equipped with all the necessary medical equipment, the children will enjoy medical observation without which they could not go away. The little patients suffering from cancer or mucoviscidosis can, for example, continue to follow their chemotherapy or oxygenotherapy treatments.

For the holidays to represent a real break, however, health care remains as discreet as possible: at L'Envol, the medical care is adapted to the life of the child, not the reverse.

Recovering confidence through fun

For 12 days, the founders offer the children the opportunity of a short break from the medical universe which is their everyday lot and to experience the joys of their age. The young vacationers participate in many sports and games activities. Thanks to suitable equipment, they can, for example, learn riding and fishing and experiment with the theater arts, music, painting, etc. They also have the opportunity to take care of animals thanks to the small farm in the park. And like all holiday camps, they enjoy the atmosphere with the other children through games, fireside activities and entertainments. Enough to generate many fine memories.

The only European center to offer such holidays, l'Envol has, since its creation, welcomed 4000 children and adolescents aged 7 to 17. Being well known, it will soon be unable to satisfy all the many applications that are now pouring in. The association therefore plans to make alterations to the top floor of the chateau to increase its accommodation capacity. This enlargement project will have an even larger number of children to stand on their own feet, to recover the joy of living, and to boost their self-confidence.