Mobile Home Holidays - France
I recently (middle of September) took my first mobile home holiday (my wife had been before as a child), this was in the South of France through Eurocamp. We decided to go late in the season as our 2 children are pre-school and we knew this would mean a quieter and cheaper holiday.
My wife and I originally intended to take our own tent but we decided a mobile home would be nicer for us and our 1 and 3 year old children. There were two deciding factors, 1 was that we wanted our own room and our tent provides us with only one big room to share and 2 being that the nights can get cold late in the season.
We booked a late deal through Eurocamp online and the holiday cost £630 for 10 nights including the crossing. When you book the holiday a ferry crossing is included, if you wish to use the Eurotunnel, as we did, an additional charge of £30 is added (included in the £630 above).
We drove to the campsite and I must admit as we set off I thought we were mad, 700 miles with a 1 and a 3 year old in the back was not going to be easy. Once you arrive in France you have a choice of roads for your journey - the normal roads are free but will add considerable time to your journey, the toll roads are expensive but are nearly always traffic free and fast. To get to the South of France using the toll roads we paid £85 each way. This is a big additional cost to the holiday but I believe it reduced the traveling time from 3 to 2 days each way. It took around 6 hours from Calais to Beaune where we stayed overnight on the first day and a further 6 hours from Beaune to the South Coast on the second day. Fuel costs were £300.
Eurocamp can arrange stop over accommodation for you if you wish to break-up your car journey to your final destination. Alternatively you can book your own accommodation at a place you wish to visit on route.
An alternative to driving is to book your accommodation and then arrange a flight from a local airport. If you are flying you will generally wish to hire a car locally but Eurocamp offer Holiday taxis to and from the holiday parks at an additional charge.
We were booked into a Premium Mobile home accommodation and it was clean and comfortable. Our accommodation was equipped with an oven, hob, fridge, freezer and a cd player. If you have never stayed in a mobile home before (as I hadn't) you will be shocked by how noisy they are when you are inside. When you put the children to bed in their own room the walls are so thin they may as well be in the room with you - bear this in mind if your children are very light sleepers. We had a problem with the boiler in our accommodation as it struggled to keep the pilot light lit, the Eurocamp staff were always available to help and had this particular problem sorted within 24 hours or reporting it. We were pleasantly surprised at the amount of space around our "home" and found the accommodation more than met our needs (also the children loved it).
The campsite we stayed at was not the biggest or grandest campsite that Eurocamp offer but it had excellent facilities. These included 3 swimming pools, numerous tennis courts, a restaurant/bar, a shop, football pitch and a young children's play area. My only one complaint about the site was that it had dog p** on and around the children's play areas, this of course is the responsibility of the dog owners but I feel the site should have done more to prevent it happening and then ensure it was cleaned away when it did. Maybe this is something to consider when booking a campsite abroad if it is of concern to you. On the positive side the pools were clean and well maintained and the campsite was safe and located excellently for nearby beaches and local exploring.
General Considerations for Camping and travelling in France
- . Ensure you have European Breakdown Cover
- . Contact your Insurance company to arrange insurance cover whilst away
- . Have plenty of change for the toll roads
- . Stop at a super-market on your way to the campsite so you have some necessities when you first arrive
- . Most campsites will not allow swimming shorts in the pools, men must wear swimming pants/briefs (speedos)
- . Most French restaurants do not open until 19:00 so eating out with young children can become fractious at the end of a long day.
- . Most French super-markets close on a Sunday