Wednesday, 28 February 2018

Eurocamp France review | What we did on our holidays (and lived to tell the tale)

children on a french family holiday
Holidays are amazing.
Holidays abroad are completely amazing.
Holidays abroad with kids…
Now I completely L-U-V LOVE the idea of taking all five of our kids abroad (six if you count the outlier - hi James!).

One of us spent a lot of her youth having family adventures in far-flung places (oh, that shark bite in Malaysia story). The other - i.e. me - had a couple of school trips to Europe and a lucky week in the States but that was very much that. So a freshly blended family with a desire to have adventures… Y Viva España and anywhere else with a random cedilla, right?


First, there's the expense - five kids, two adults… Even a hard day's night spent scouring Skyscanner (anyone else remember doing similar on Ceefax?) isn't going to make seven flights any easier on the wallet.

Second, those flights. Having spent a lot of my career making up for lost travelling time by flying round the world, I know too well the joy of having the back of my seat used as trampoline-cum-squash-court. I swore it would never be my kids doing that. Third… Well, you can keep going forever in my opinion. Next stop, glamping, yurts and overdrafts in darkest Cornwall.

All of which should paint the fact that we've all just had a wonderful afternoon laughing, shouting and blissfully reminiscing about last year's holiday to Brittany, the minor miracle it was.

la grande metairie lazy river

How did we manage it? Well, we had some help from Brittany Ferries and outdoor holiday specialist Eurocamp, but to be honest no amount of post sponsoring would get us to go somewhere we thought we were in danger of having a bad time - for us, holidays are as fleeting as our children's youth and we have no plans to ruin either of those.

How did we manage it? Two ways. First, no flights. Never say never when everyone's a bit older but this time out, it was a life on the ocean waves for us - or a ferry from Plymouth to Roscoff, as it's also known. You can read about that bit of the hols over here - and if you're thinking of taking a family abroad this year, we REALLY recommend you do. The lack of stress, the overnight kip and smart early start, the crazy bunk bed action… Honestly, the trip there and back was a total argument-free zone - and how often do you say that sat in Termimal Three waiting for your thrice-delayed Easyjet to Nowwheresville?

But this post is about the destination not the journey – and that destination was Eurocamp. We chose to go as far south in Brittany as possible, in search of sun and nearby sand, and settled on La Grande Métairie – a holiday parc approx 2-3 hours drive from Roscoff on the north coast.

Kids in the lazy river at Eurocamp

Next door to the historic town of Carnac and only three km from a sandy beach, the parc is large (582 pitches) and set in lush woodland. But, most importantly for our kids – and I'll wager yours too - was that on-site water parc. A huge pool complex with slides, accompanying indoor pool plus a lazy river (perfect for the more nervous swimmer – one of our brood went from sporting water wings to flying solo in days), it was the perfect default activity when energy was low or weather undecided. If anything, the water parc became a slight annoyance - it was just too good and any attempt to drag the kids off the camp was painful, the pull of that lazy river far stronger than its name suggests.

But drag we did. The nearby town of Carnac-Ville was as picturesque as you'd want, with prehistoric museums for a spot of culture and a night market for souvenirs and bonkers bonbons. Carnac's accompanying beach was gorgeous but a touch commercial for us - nothing wrong with that, but €20 for seven ice creams and the lure of a giant unicorn inflatable would bankrupt us. Instead we headed a little further along to nearby Plage Du Men Du - a stunning beach for locals, no shops, beautiful sand and a offshore island (Ile de Stuhan) you can walk to ("Dad, the tide is coming in!!!!!"). So good!

panoramic image of tidal island, Le Men Du

Other highlights nearby were the twinkly beach at Quiberon (with a handy ferry to nearby islands Houet and Hoedic), the posh sailing port of Trinité-sur-Mer, the aquarium at Vannes (okay for some, but we reckon save your money), Auray's picturesque market and the standing stones of Carnac, located just outside the Eurocamp parc entrance - 400 individual obelisks and spooky as you'd imagine in a locale packed with arcane folklore and druidy stuff. Think Le Stonehengé!

cheeky laughing kid with tomatoes

Back on camp, our Eurocamp wasn't just a giant water park. Petting zoos, archery lessons and zipwires were all available, some ad hoc for you to book, some part of the free holiday clubs available to book at the central office. Our plans for the sprogs to attend these clubs most days didn't come to fruition (who would've thought they actually wanted to be with their parents?!) but of the times they were there, the kids came back exhausted, splattered in sand/paint/glitter and happy as anything. Friendly staff able to deal with Benco-addled wannabe teenagers and, more seriously, trained to deal with the needs of our autistic lad.

Days were water-soaked, nights mercifully less so - the porch of our own mobile home (more of which in a bit) saw many a bottle of local Brittany cider sampled whilst our now-daily BBQ claimed another batch of sausages. We also enjoyed the odd night at the central bar/restaurant, a nearby playground keeping the kids happy, but to be honest we were all so whacked from a day's sun and swimming, early nights were as inevitable as they were necessary.

kids playing on holiday home deck

The parc itself? Good, if not exactly glamping (which we neither expected or wanted, tbh). You'll find the odd niggly review on the Eurocamp website (La Grande Métairie has a overall 8.3/10 Reevoo score) but delve past the scores, and you'll see people having any problems sorted by the on-site team. Our three-bedroom Avant mobile home was good - one rooms of bunks, one twin, a double for us plus a comfy sofa bed in the living area. Bathroom and kitchen were well pointed, clean and tidy, and any hassles (a missing BBQ, a need for extra sheets) were handled promptly by that friendly on-site team. The outdoor deck was a massive boon, with those long, warm August evenings allowing us to lounge outside whilst the kids covered themselves in blankets and tucked into a late night movie with midnight feasts aplenty. We envisaged Lord of the Flies, they got Lord of the Rings.

Kids eating dinner on the deck

Add on 'break out' playgrounds dotted around the parc and plenty of space to kick a ball with neighbouring kids and Eurocamp was exactly what we wanted for the kids. Unpretentious and inclusive, just like Centre Parcs (but way less mercenary) it enables you to let little ones off the leash, sending them to the central shop with a fistful of Euros and a shopping list. Yes, there are cars but the whole vibe is slow - take your time, relax, no need to rush. Rather than 4x4s racing off at the crack of dawn to tick boxes on a packed itinerary, here was a parc full of adults and children sat drinking, eating and laughing as towels dried on the line. Whether in their own tent, a two bed Classic or one of the lush Vista set-ups, the overwhelming vibe was set to mellow.

Here's our holiday video in case you need more convincing...

Looking back today, our family remembers the good times of last year whilst we struggle to book somewhere anywhere near as fun for the summer to come. So what was your favourite bit, kids?

"The lazy river!"
"The secret island!"
"The capsule machine!"
"Getting a tan and being French(?!)"

And us? All of the above and so much more. This year, we'll likely be staying in the UK as part of a family shindig in - yes - Cornwall but the next time we venture further afield, Eurocamp will be top of the list.

After you on the slides!

For further information on Eurocamp, please call 01606 787787 or visit

We were given accommodation at Eurocamp for the purpose of this review and video, but all images and opinions are ours and ours alone. 

Thank you - as always - for supporting the posts that make this blog possible. 

Video edited by Molly Forbes of Mother's Always Right who did an awesome job for us!

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