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"Great for young children…"
We have just returned from two weeks at Emerald Coast Gites (Number 1, La Vieille Grange), and it was about as relaxing as a holiday with a one-year-old and a three-year-old is possible to be. We chose to go to Brittany as it involved minimal driving, and got the overnight ferry to St Malo which worked very well.
The set-up is ideal for young children. The gites are arranged around a large play area with a slide, swings and see-saw, so children can just go out of the door in the morning to play and there is enough to occupy them for hours. It is fenced off with a separate car park so there are no traffic worries. There is another play area adjacent to this with a trampoline, slide and lots of ride-on toys. The soft play area in the terrace is also great. The whole site is lovely, with lots of flowers and trees (even the cats are very tolerant of toddlers!) The owners are very friendly and helpful (for example phoning a local stables to book horse-riding for me). The swimming pool is of a decent size, although a little on the cold side if you are not actually swimming. There is also a freezer stocked with ice-creams and children's meals, and a Plat du Jour service on most days which was delicious. We also enjoyed the cheese and wine evening.
The gites are located in beautiful countryside just outside the small village of Hénansal around 11km from the coast, so it does involve a bit of driving every day, but it is not far and traffic is light. There are many big and quiet sandy beaches in the area - we could have visited a different one every day. The Grand Randonée 34 (like the South West Coast Path in the UK) would provide ample opportunity to walk off the delicious pastries that are delivered to the gite six days a week, although we only managed to walk tiny bits of it due to whinging children.
My only minor criticisms: the wi-fi was unreliable. The website states that all gites have wi-fi, which in theory they do but due to the thickness of the walls it doesn't work very well and I only managed to connect to it once in the gite, and about 75% of the time in the terrace area. I was also a bit surprised that there was a 4 euro charge for using the communal washing machines, as this also wasn't stated on the website or when I enquired about washing (all the similar UK properties we've stayed had their own washing machine). I also thought it was a shame they didn't have a compost bin (vegetable peelings etc have to go in landfill) as they certainly have the space for it.
There aren't a huge amount of leaflets on display, or a list of, for example, local cycle hire centres, so it may be worth visiting a local tourist information centre or looking online. Also some restaurants are listed in the bar but it is worth finding out their addresses for your satnav as the directions can be a bit vague.
With regard to the review above - I didn't notice a chicken farm but maybe I am unobservant!Read moreLess
"A really relaxing holiday with kids…"
I found this place while looking for something similar to La Grange du Moulin, which worked so well for us last summer with our two boys (aged five and two), and we weren't disappointed.
Emerald Coast Gites is run by Lesley and Simon - a British couple - and they've thought of everything you need to holiday happily with small children. The gites are comfortable and have all the kit you need, plus it's safe. The car park is separate from the gites and outdoor area so there are no cars on site, there's a pool and a toddler pool (both fenced), a large fenced garden full of toys and games for all ages, an undercover area with a mini soft play, and a wii for older kids.
There are seven gites, so there were plenty of play mates for our children. The weather was lovely and there is lots to do in the surrounding area - beaches, historic towns and cities, aquariums, zoos, castles, etc, so we were spoilt for choice of things to do each day. There is a bar on site and Lesley provides four evening meals each week, if you can't be bothered to cook. There are also frozen meals available if you prefer to heat something up in your gite.
We had a very happy and relaxing time and I would go back - although we probably won't as we never go back anywhere - preferring to try something different each year. I would recommend it to friends though and it's very easy to get there - Brittany ferries to St Malo and flights to Dinard or Rennes are all within an hour's drive.
My only caveats would be:
1) There is a chicken farm literally next door and if the wind is blowing in the wrong direction the smell is awful (on the subject of smell, Brittany in August is full of farms muck-spreading, so if you're sensitive to bad smells I'd go at another time!)
2) I was surprised by how many older kids were staying while we were there - there were more in the age 7-12 bracket than below, and this is apparently common in the school holidays.Read moreLess
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