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"First impressions were that the resort was a bit Disney-esque…"
First impressions were that the resort was a bit Disney-esque with neatly set out houses and apartments in bright colours. Our 2 bed villa was in the area furthest away from the main centre of activity, at Les Maisons de la Plage but was near Quend Plage with shops and restaurants and less 10 mins stroll to the beach. It was a good 20 min walk through the woods (path not lit at night) to the main area of the resort where the shop, restaurant, kids clubs, main lake and activities were, further to the golf club house and Fort Mahon. Bikes were available to hire and the site is traffic free with adjacent parking. There is a minitrain but the timetable was pretty limited.
Highlight was the Aquapark with indoor and outdoor pools, slides and wave machine. Bagatelle theme park was about 20 minutes drive away.
Villa was well equipped and comfortable but 4 were plenty inside (it could sleep up to 6), each group set around a lake area and our part of the site had its own pool and playground. Prices onsite were fairly competitive but there was a large supermarket less than 5 mins away by car and both Quend Plage and Fort Mahon nearby for fresh fish and seafood.Read moreLess
1 person found this review helpful.
"A family holiday in France with the grandparents - and…"
A family holiday in France with the grandparents - and Aunty Hilary from Australia!
Last time we were in the Pierre & Vacances Belle Dune Holiday Resort in Picardy, France, it was just the three of us, and most importantly our then 1 year old Fred. One and half years later we thought it was time to visit again. But this time we were the double the size, my Mum and Dad and Aunty Hilary came along for the ride plus the newest addition to the family; 8 month old Jo Jo.
Ferry to France
We all decided to meet on the P&O Ferry from Dover to Calais. Having not been on this route for a few years it was a great experience. As the grandparents grabbed a seat in the bar we treated Fred to fish and chips from the restaurant - a very generous portion at 5 quid, and of course some extra chips for Mum and Dad! We then joined the oldies for some sandwiches and a Costa coffee. There were lots of indoor viewing areas for Fred to see all the boats passing by. A quick 5 minutes on the top for some fresh air and views of the French coast and we were there!
One of the best things about Belle Dune is its only an hour from Calais - so you can get there in no time at all and get on with your holiday.
Back in May 2008 we had a lovely refurbished villa close to all the facilities with a little balcony overlooking the main lake. This time we went for something different. Two adjoining 3 bedroom villas in the I'lle aux Oiseaux area which is about 5 minutes walk from the main centre. This was perfect for us as it was nice and quiet for the oldies, and the kids didn't wake anyone up in the morning - apart from Granny - who was quite happy to be called upon!
The villas themselves were just what we needed. Ours had 3 bedrooms with a bathroom upstairs - perfect for keeping an eye on the little ones. Downstairs was a nicely laid out lounge, kitchenette and dining table plus a shower room. This worked out really well for the grandparents next door as my Mum and Dad like a bath, but Aunty Hilary, being an Aussie, loves a shower. Both our villas had lovely outdoor spaces and access to a bit of grass. The kids loved the freedom to flip between our two adjoining villas.
Our villas didn't directly overlook the main lake of the area but a smaller lake overlooking the golf course. Luckily the weather was fantastic so we could lazily watch the local birdlife in the morning - including a patrolling heron who seemed to rule this particular lake. And though there wasn't room for my clubs at least I could see some other golfers enjoying the course - which apparently is one of France's top 50 golf courses.
Swimming pools, farms, shops and much more
On the Belle Dune site there's loads for kids to do. Grandad loved taking the kids to the resort shop in the morning to pick up the baguettes and croissants (including a pain au chocolat for Aunty Hilary!) and Granny was in charge of taking Fred to the water park area in the afternoon, which he loved. Onsite there is a little farm, plus a restaurant, bar, tennis courts, the golf course of course, plus an indoor sports hall, bike hire and much more that we didn't have time to explore...;
With a name like Belle Dune you won't be surprise to hear that the beach isn't far away. The Belle Dune Holiday Resort itself is located between two small town's Quend and Fort Mahon. The beach is vast at low tide and nice and sandy, so perfect for kids. We even got a rare chance for a Mum and Dad jog one morning. Of the two towns Fort Mahon has more to offer with a nice selection of bars and restaurants, a couple of boulangeries and other shops.
Out and about
My Dad and Hilary enjoyed a 'cultural' (read boozy) day out in Montreuil. And the whole family had a fantastic day trip on the 'Chemin de Fer de la Baie de Somme' - a fantastic 80 year old steam train that chuffs between Le Crotoy and Cayeux-sur-Mer. As the kids are still quite young we decided to drive to Noyelles-sur-Mer and do the half hour journey and back to St Valery sur Somme. This was very fortunate as we discovered a lovely cafRead moreLess
1 person found this review helpful.
"Fabulous! A beautiful site of pastel coloured 'houses' with shutters…"
Fabulous! A beautiful site of pastel coloured 'houses' with shutters and balconies set on a large site of lakes, golf courses and sand dunes. Peace and quiet is the key and it certainly relaxes you! It's about an hour and a half drive from Calais by motorway, and the Somme battlefields are accessible form here too.
Our pretty little house was very well equipped, overlooking a lake and golf course - it had 2 bedrooms, lounge/diner/kitchen (with dishwasher, oven, hob & fridge, bathroom & separate toilet. We had our own furnished (private) patio and little strip of grass where dd loved playing in the sandy flower beds which were strewn with pine cones from the trees.
The site has a restaurant & pub/bar, bike hire shop, supermarket and laundrette - there is also a BRILLIANT aquapark which is open to the public but free to residents. It ha wave machines, rapids, lots of flumes & fountain thingy's, jacuzzi pools and slides. There is also an extensive outdoor pool (which you can access from inside too) with lots of sunloungers & chairs inside & out.
The beach is a fair walk through the next town or across the dunes but it's a nice walk - or you could take the car (or a land train in July/August). It's beautiful, wide and sandy with lots of space.
There are loads of activities on site too - archery, boules, aerobics, walking, casino nights, discos and golf and sandsailing at extra cost. There is also a mini farm on site, crazy golf, tennis and kids clubs. It's NOT a hectic, full-on party type place, but ideal if you want to relax and enjoy peace & quiet.
We absolutely loved it here, and plan to go back again next year!!Read moreLess
3 people found this review helpful.