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Family Holiday in France

Since we’ve had children we’ve never been abroad on holiday, both of us really enjoy exploring this country and we’ve had some amazing holidays here.  Also to be completely honest the idea of aeroplanes, travelling, waiting in queues to check in and all the other stuff with our kids is a bit overwhelming. But when the opportunity came up to go to a holiday park in Brittany we jumped at it, sometimes it’s just easier to have the decision about where to go made for you.

We went to a Siblu Villages campsite, Les Pierres Couchees in Brittany (St Brevins Les Pins) bang on the beach in a beautiful forested area.  They call it a campsite but it’s populated with mobile homes not tents, some very smart indeed and some owned by people who clearly come year after year. I can see why, it’s a lovely spot.

Holidays are super important to me. As a working mother I crave this uninterrupted time with my family, just us together with no distractions. I realise how important it is to do this because I can see that the girls become more confident and secure and I become more relaxed. In fact my husband noticed this on about day 4 and we both agreed we should go for longer next year, a week just isn’t enough.

The journey was fine, not too much time at the airport and the flight was on time and only an hour from Gatwick to Nantes.  The girls were very excited about the flight having read ‘Topsy and Tim Go on an Aeroplane’ at least 565 times. (except T&T clearly flew before no frills airlines were invented as they got ‘food in little plastic plates’ and they got to go and sit with the pilot, Easyjet didn’t quite manage that).

The girls were very excited when we arrived at the mobile home.  They ran in and instantly assessed that we had:

“2 beds each Mummy!”
“A kitchen!”
“Showers!!” (said with big smiles, which frankly surprised me, as my heart sank at the thought of wrestling them in but turns out they love jumping in the shower).
“Pink loo roll!” thanks Tilly, always there to find fascination in the mundane.

So it was a mobile home, but not as I knew them. I thought they were supposed to be small, cramped, with plastic loos that you have to empty yourself and gas lights (ok I’m going back a few years now). Not the case. This one was bigger than my first flat in London, the girls had their own rooms, and their own bathroom. The living space was a very respectable size and the kitchen functional – again bigger than my flat in Clapham.  We had a nice garden area outside, with table & chairs.  We were in the shade of a few massive trees but I suspect if we had asked for a sunny spot they’d have done their best to find one. The staff were delightful and very friendly.

There was a pool on site with a big waterslide that Tilly loved but Eliza didn’t try (bit scary), there’s also a shallow toddlers pool with some toy slides in it.  It’s a great pool, but when it’s a gorgeous sunny day it’s very crowded but the kids didn’t care, they loved it.  There are also kids clubs.  For children under 5 it’s a stay and play scenario for an hour in the morning and an hour in the afternoon, it’s a good way to make sure they don’t spend all day in the sun (if it’s sunny) and also for them to meet and play with other children. The staff were lovely. There is entertainment in the evenings but our children were in bed by about 8 so we missed that.

On their way to the pool.

Eliza & Tilly in the pool

The first day was a bit rainy so we went to L’Escal Atlantique in St Nazaire, which is a replica of the great ocean liners of the 30′s, the Normandie and the France.  It’s an interactive experience that you walk through and see some of the bedrooms, dining rooms, steerage, first class and even lifeboats of the originals.  Our girls of course climbed onto the bunk beds which I’m not sure they were meant to, but no one stopped them (which is pretty much my rule of thumb with kids).  The Loire tourism website Oh La Loire Atlantique is very useful for this area of France (it’s in French though).

Fortunately we didn’t really need to travel too far from the campsite for some great things to do.  The beach is pretty much right outside – it was about a 5 minute walk, and it’s massive and beautiful.

Shell hunting

We did some very ‘artistic’ drawing, some shell hunting, some sand castle building and him indoors swam in the sea (the girls paddled, I sunbathed of course).

Goodness, aren’t they artistic

We went to a sweet village called Pornic (great name) where the girls ate lots of Moules (surprise of the holiday, the girls, aged 3 and 4, love mussels).


The market at St Brevin les Pins on a Sunday is fantastic for getting lots of fresh food; charcuterie, cheese, vegetables, fruit.  I think also there’s a whole bunch of other things to do if the weather’s a bit rubbish, but we were pretty lucky so we spent most of our time on the campsite.  The girls loved splashing about in the pool, playing air hockey in the games room (Eliza & I got pretty good) and eating ice creams whilst we had a cold glass of something.

All in all I’d recommend Les Pierres Couchees for a family holiday, a couple of things I’d suggest are:

1. Depending on the age of your children, they might need some quiet time after all the excitement of the swimming/beach/day out. We had the iPad which was very helpful with a few pre-loaded episodes of Dora to give everyone a bit of downtime at the end of the day before showers and stories.

2. The pool is a bit chilly (not sure if it’s heated), but the lifeguards are very easy on the eye which sort of makes that okay in my book.

3. It’s not actually in St Brevins Le Pins, it’s closer to St Michel Chef Chef (so good they named it twice).  We got very lost on the way in, but I was navigating so that could be why.

4. Brittany’s weather is about the same as ours. Take a few warm clothes.

5. Maybe don’t go on the day the Olympic road race is due to cycle pretty much past your front door.  Bit of a shame to miss such an historic event.  But then again returning home on Saturday 4th August when we cleaned up in the track & field was a pretty good day to get back.

That’s about it really.  I feel I got closer to my girls, him indoors and I spent more time together than we have for ages and we’re still talking to each other so that’s pretty good.  The girls got on brilliantly (most of the time) and it was wonderful to see them having so much fun together.

Best of friends (or they could be wrestling, who knows).
Me and my girls

*Many thanks to Siblu Village for our accommodation which was provided free of charge. We booked our flights, car hire and airport parking with Expedia which was incredibly simple, easy and went without a hitch. 

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Comments

  1. Im a new mummy and the thought of going abroad any time soon is daunting, though the OH keeps pestering when we are going to book something. I was planning on a rainy weekend in England soemwhere to keep him quiet for a while, but reading your post has encouraged me to go abit further, maybe the south of France?

    Anyway it looked like you all had a lovely time :)

    Victoria x
    Http://walkingtalkingpollypocket.blogspot.com

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