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Caravan, France/Spain, Aug 2016, any suggestions?

(24 Posts)
mummeeee Sun 18-Oct-15 09:23:23

Am starting my search and looking for some good recommendations. Found les valades from reading this board last year and loved it, so am starting a thread. smile

Previously, been to Normandy and Brittany (kids younger, liked the shorter drive times, but would like better weather). Loved Benodet though.

This year, drove Caen to Ile de Re, 5nts on fab municipal site right on beach, 5nts at les valades in Dordogne, then 3 nts near Nantes on way back to Caen. Loved the sites (except one near Nantes which was too big, but wasn't a problem). Too many driving days, not enough time in each destination BUT we only have 2 wks for holiday this year and not sure 1-night stopovers would be a lot better. Weather could have been warmer. DCs will be 8, 6 and 2 in Aug 2016.

Our restrictions
DD has significant medical needs.
Must have EHU (medical fridge, charging medical pumps etc)
Can't do short stopover, DD needs 12 hrs infusion overnight, so quick stopover to break journey not good for us
Can't drive all through the night, due to DDs medical needs
Must cross on Portsmouth ferry
Can't take a plane, so this is our chance for sunny holiday

Our preferences
DH likes beach and possibility of sailing (as do dcs)
I like seeing somewhere new, landscape, chateaux,food etc
Walking distance to town good, but not essential. Swimming pool/on beach desirable.
Massive holiday camp site (600 pitches +) is a bit too big for us

Considering taking the Portsmouth-Santander or Bilbao ferry, then staying in 1 or 2 sites on the coast there. It's called the green coast. Anyone been in August. Is that costly ferry going to get us better weather without all the driving we did in France or do we need to go further inland Spain for that?? What are the sites/beaches like? Are the picos de Europa fab, is there lots to see in the area?

Otherwise, sticking with France, would the ardeche for example give us better weather than Dordogne and if so, can anyone recommend any sites? Anywhere else, Annecy, Jura etc? Med coast, but just too far?

Thank youuuu

mummeeee Wed 21-Oct-15 14:52:25


poorbuthappy Sat 24-Oct-15 20:27:00

Tbh after driving to dordogne last year and having crap weather we have decided to drive the extra few miles and get guarantee sun on the med.
Mind you that's as far as our planning has got!!

Missanneshirley Sat 24-Oct-15 20:36:58

Sorry no advice to give, but have been looking at ile de re - which site did you use?

mummeeee Sun 25-Oct-15 05:57:36

Yes, poorbuthappy, we're considering driving to the med. a recent long drive in the uk wasn't too bad. Our littlest ds is getting better at journeys, so maybe....

mummeeee Sun 25-Oct-15 06:23:47

Missanneshirley, we stayed here
Camping le Remondeau near la Couarde sur mer. The location on the beach is perfect and it's about a 5-10 minute walk to the centre of la Couarde sur mer, which is a lovely small town with a nice central square, shops, bar/restaurants etc. The first night we arrived the town had a 'moules frites' evening with trestle tables all through the square, live band on the bandstand etc. We really loved the place. There is also a small Carrefour about a 5 minute walk/cycle away from the campsite and a cafe/boulangerie and cycle hire place within a couple of minutes walk (We didn't take our bikes, so pre-hired them from Holland bikes - glad we did as August is so busy).

We booked the site because we only wanted to stay 5 nights & in August if we'd gone to a large site with pools etc we would have had to pay for a whole week & when I worked it out I just couldn't justify the extra cost. Dh would generally want a site with a bar/ restaurant of some sort, as the kids are little and it would be nice to sit out late-ish with a beer, but we really didn't miss that here. The public access to the beach is a bit further along the coast, adjacent to the camp site and it has a bar/restaurant, a busy little take away, a carousel and dodgems. Not too much/too tacky. The benefits you might get on a bigger campsite, without the extra cost of a larger site. Not sure I'm explaining it well, but just to say the things we thought we might miss due to staying on a small municipal site we didn't because all of those things are right there anyway!

We didn't miss the pool because the beach is so good and child friendly. Wide expanse of great sand, with good waves for body boarding for the kids and shallow a long way out. There is also a sailing school right on the beach and we were able to hire a catamaran one afternoon. You can walk straight off the beach, shower kids and be back at the caravan. Great for us.

Site was mainly full of French campers who appeared to have come for the month of August. I think they thought we were a bit bonkers for setting our whole awning etc up for 5nights! Access to the site is fairly tight with the caravan on the back and the pitches were small. There are some caravans that look like they are stored there etc, but generally we absolutely loved it and would certainly recommend it.

Am talking myself into going back there next year aren't i?? We would, but I do like to explore somewhere new too!

Boredofthinkingofnewnames Sun 25-Oct-15 06:25:32

We have a mobile home in Charente maritime, about an hour north of Bordeaux. The weather has been horrendous for the last few summers, I would go as far south as you can. We are thinking of renting ours out for the summer and going way down towards Perpignan.

millimat Sun 25-Oct-15 11:59:05

I'm joining this thread too as we're in a single situation. Stayed at les last year and lived it, though the second week of weather was not as warm as I would have liked. So am debating northern Spain too. We've done France for many years bore and maybe a change to Spanish would be good. However, cannot justify the cost of a ferry tho Spain as it would be cheaper to fly and have a package holiday so looking at the Dover Calais ferry and a long drive.

millimat Sun 25-Oct-15 11:59:55

Stayed at les valades and loved it

poorbuthappy Sun 25-Oct-15 16:09:31

I did the sums to decide driving South Wales to Folkestone the Calais to Montpellier area vs ferry from Portsmouth to st malo and then driving, and it was cheaper to do the drive so at least there's another decision made. wink

Milliways Sun 25-Oct-15 19:38:42

Thanks for your link, that site is going on my list!
When we dove Dover/Calais to South France, we stopped for 1 night in a Campenile but arrived early evening so stay for more than 12 hours, have a good breakfast and arrive in Languedoc or elsewhere early afternoon (so could have left later and arrived later). Would that be an option? Even staying 2 nights as midway could work- we did this once staying at a Loire valley campsite for 2 nights then headed to Languedoc or Cote D'Azur or even the Costa Brava. Staying in cheap hotel and driving was cheaper for us than the long ferry. We now have campervan but used to stay in Statics.
Gascony is also beautiful, with lakes, forest and beach, but the tides are very rough so surfers paradise but paddling can be scary.

mummeeee Thu 05-Nov-15 10:02:28

Thank you all. I have costed out the ferry to Santander and it is a lot (about £1800.) I've also looked at some sites in northern Spain. Thanks for the ideas and I'm having a look again at France and the best way to do those long journeys.

Any other recommendations of sites you enjoyed in either France or northern Spain would be really appreciated.

millimat Tue 24-Nov-15 07:14:39

Haha just replied to your other post about Brittany ferries! Sounds like we're in the same situation.

millimat Tue 24-Nov-15 07:16:14

I've also spoken to some people who think we won't like the northern coast of Spain near Bilbao and Santander. Apparently its different to the opposite side (Barcelona etc).

millimat Tue 24-Nov-15 07:17:23

Sorry wrong person!!

Artfooldodger Tue 24-Nov-15 07:28:08

Have a look at Le Pin Parasol. Went this year and loved it.

They have sanitary blocks that are very accessible, not quite as far down as lie de re, we did the drive in around 5 1/2 hours from Cherbourg.

If you book via the Camping & Caravan club and take the Condor ferry from Portsmouth on a Sunday you can get a bargain basement price of around £750 for ferry & serviced site in August for 2 weeks.

Loads of free kids entertainment 6 days a week - really great fun activities.

We had a ball & are seriously contemplating returning this year as just so good.

Pin Parasol

mummeeee Sun 29-Nov-15 08:28:26

Ooh thanks artfooldodger very much like the look of that ferry and the pin parasol

A daytime ferry gives us other options, as dd's medical stuff is overnight and we can skip one night (sometimes, it's complicated) so am now thinking we could maybe do medical stuff at home overnight, catch daytime ferry, drive a couple of hours, one night stopover with no medical stuff, then long drive to south (Perpignan even)

So it's still 2 days travelling, but less stressful because we are not trying to set up dd's medical stuff on the one night stopover

I have yet to confirm the ferry (from the website our caravan is too long) but it still fits in their overall length so I need to make a call to check whether we can do that crossing.

However, in the meantime has anyone got any good south of France (med coast) sites they recommend, in particular Perpignan side, as opposed to Monaco side. Ideally not too huge, but near a good beach and with a pool would be good.
Thank you all. This thread and the suggestions are really helping.

Artfooldodger Sun 29-Nov-15 21:02:05

I forgot to say that if you do go to this area you really must go to Puy du Fou. It's the most amazing theme park - well, can't think how else to describe it. We go every 2 years as it's just amazing. Again, very accessible and a great day out.

sleepwouldbenice Mon 07-Dec-15 00:18:13

just to mention have just discovered you can get 30% off Brittany ferries with the membership - its a big cost but the discount is bigger

FinestGrundyTurkey Mon 07-Dec-15 00:37:18

Could you do a 2-3 night stopover in the Loire Valley en route to Perpignan area? (You mentioned chateaux!) We had a 5 night stay there this August, weather was fab (though we were lucky & caught a dry sunny spell between 2 stormy spells) & we visited at least 5 chateaux in that time; they're all pretty family-friendly too.

If you do get down to Languedoc-Roussillon there are some wonderful places to visit - the Cathar castles, Collioure, the animal park at Sigean (?) & loads of nice seasidey places. We also managed a day trip to Barcelona once smile

FinestGrundyTurkey Mon 07-Dec-15 00:38:10

Can't recommend any sites though, sorry - we've always gone self-catering

mamadoc Mon 07-Dec-15 07:30:11

We went to Noja (Green coast of Spain near Santander) in August 2 years ago and loved it.


Hardly any drive from ferry to campsite
Amazing beach accessed straight from campsite. Huge expanse of sand and rock pools for DC
Lots to do in local area: we loved the animal park and the prehistoric caves
Campsite is big but well equipped with pool and playgrounds, shop, restaurants


Weather! It's called the green coast cos it rains! There were some amazing sunny days but also some rainy ones. It's not guaranteed sun in any way.
Noja itself is not very exciting as a town. Santander is better.

KenDoddsDadsDog Mon 07-Dec-15 07:35:21

Camping Cypsela in Platja de Pals is fantastic . Great site in north east Spain , we went for years as children and now as a family . Terrific facilities.

millimat Wed 30-Dec-15 22:19:49

I've just come on here to see if anyone had mentioned cypsela as I've just been reading their website. Ken dodd, what can you tell me?

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