In June this year, we travelled to France for our very first Eurocamp holiday as a family. Ten days of sun, beautiful countryside, and of course, wine. All the wine.
My personal experience of Eurocamp holidays were when we used to go every year as children. My memories were made up of BBQ’s, LOTS of time spent in the swimming pool, and generally, loads of fun! Therefore, when we saw Eurocamp had a great 30% off deal 6 months before, we dived in and booked it.
I must admit, I was a little anxious in the run up to the holiday. Had my memories of these amazing holidays maybe been seen through the rose-tinted glasses of childhood? Would the realities of travelling hours through France maybe not quite live up to my expectations?
We were a little worried that we’d struggle to fit all our luggage in our car, but because of how well equipped the eurocamp mobile homes are, we actually didn’t need a great deal of stuff!
We packed the car the night before so we were all set to go the next morning (of course there was still the rushing around grabbing toothbrushes and deodorant and other things we couldn’t pack the night before!). The next morning, at the crack of dawn, we headed for Dover. Being over 250 miles away, this in itself was a long journey. Thankfully the kids fell asleep pretty much straight away, and then woke when we stopped for a classic breakfast from the Golden Arches! After another couple of hours, we arrived at the port.
After a little wait, we boarded the ferry. If we’d had a bit more of a budget, we probably would have booked the eurotunnel, but we were on a budget! Actually, I was so pleased we’d chosen the ferry. It gave the kids a chance to have a run about, and a brilliant bonus was a small soft play area that they loved. Well done DFDS!
After leaving the ferry, we hit the road. We had a 3 hour drive to our stopover site, La Croix du Vieux Pont. During that drive we experienced the worst rain storm we had ever seen. Seriously, we had to pull over as we could not see the road in front of us! I have to admit, this made me a little grumpy. We’d come away for a summer holiday after all, and I’d had visions of us cranking up the aircon in the blazing heat haha! Now I was wishing we’d packed umbrellas. After safely arriving at the site, we were welcomed by the Eurocamp reps. We were handed a site map with directions to our holiday home. After another torrential rain shower, we got into our accommodation. We had chosen the classic 2 bed for our stopover. It had everything we needed, and the kids were excited to use bunk beds!
I’d been (slightly) organised, for once, and packed some dried pasta and a jar of sauce so we had a quick meal we could prepare easily enough for dinner that night. I’d also packed a couple of pizzas which we cooked that night, so we’d have food for our journey the next day. This really helped as we didn’t know if we’d get chance to visit a supermarket on the way down to our next site.
After an early night, we woke the next morning excited we’d soon be heading to our home for the next 10 days. One of the amazing plus points to the Berny riviere site, is that they have an on site bakery. The croissants were amazing and really set us up for our long journey ahead!
I’m not going to lie, the 8 hour journey to Daglan was not the easiest journeys we’ve made. After some fun and games navigating Paris traffic (!!), we made our way down on the quiet French motorways. The driving wasn’t hard, as such, just very long and pretty boring. In hindsight we maybe would have stopped overnight halfway down, to break the driving up. One thing we hadn’t anticipated, was how good the motorway services are in France. Most of them have a kids play area, plus lots of benches. Of course, the French love to stop and take time over their meals, so it was lovely to see plenty of families sat down, having a leisurely lunch.
After arriving at the site in Daglan, we were excited to check out where we were staying. We had opted for a 2 bed vista mobile home, with an outdoor decking area and air-conditioning. It had everything we could possibly need, plus it was all very clean.
Over the course of our 10 days there, we spent a lot of time at the swimming pool, which was very well equipped for younger children, complete with a splash park for them to run around in.
The beauty of having our own car with us meant it was so easy to pop out and explore. We visited Domme, and discovered the caves there. Also, we ventured into Sarlat a couple of days, a gorgeous French town, great for wandering around and really experiencing the culture. One of our favourite trips was when we went to Chateau des Milandes, which all of us enjoyed.
After being out for the day, one of the things we loved to do was order take out pizzas from the on site restaurant. They were amazing, and when the kids were too tired from a long day, to sit in a restaurant, it was the perfect compromise to enjoy the pizzas back at our holiday home.
After 10 amazing days, we headed home. We made the 10 hour journey up to Calais, only stopping once. Not sure how we managed it but by some miracle, we did! We were early for our ferry, so managed to get on the one departing before our scheduled one. Once in Dover, we drove for a couple of hours, then stopped off at McDonald’s for dinner. By the time we arrived home, the kids were asleep and we collapsed into our bed!
I’m so happy to say that my childhood memories were real, and not just through rose-tinted glasses. Our holiday was so special, we loved the flexibility of eurocamping, the fact we had our own car, the sites were brilliant for children, and if we were planning on a holiday this year (unfortunately we’re not, due to tight funds) we would definitely be booking with Eurocamp again!
My top tips:
- If you’ve got younger children, the ferry is a great option as it gives them a chance to let off some steam
- iPads/tablets are very helpful if you’re planning a long drive
- Lots of French supermarkets are only open Sunday mornings, so factor this in to your travelling plans
- We found the toll motorways brilliant as they were so quiet and definitely made our journeys quicker.
- We took a small paddling pool which turned out to be invaluable as it meant the kids could play in it outside the mobile home.