Summer 2018 in France - Arles (La Cigale) or Sommieres (Domaine de Massereau)?(9 Posts)
After spending way too long searching for sites, I think we've narrowed it down to these two. We're looking for a really nice site that isn't all singing all dancing but some amenities, good options for offsite day trips and activities, within striking distance of water/ a beach. Kids will be 10 and 8.
Anyone got experience of either of these areas or sites? Recommendations on what are good things to do there?
Did you mean La Cigale in Arès?
Sommieres has water slides and is bigger (149 pitches) but is a long way to the beach - maybe an hour's drive in summer traffic. There's plenty to see and do aside from the beach though; and if your kids love water slides, that's the one to choose. The nearby town is pretty and historic. Being inland it'll be a bit warmer in the summer - could be uncomfortably hot on some days.
Cigale is smaller (77 pitches), no water slides, and fewer activities. The beach is closer, but it's not within walking distance. As it's near the Atlantic coast, it'll be a bit cooler. Arès is a more modern town.
Overall it's no contest: Sommieres wins on nearly every point. Which makes me wonder if I'm looking at the right sites?
Yes, sorry, typo - I did mean Ares! Thank you. We aren't looking for a full on beach holiday, a few days in amongst lots of other stuff is fine. Interesting to hear it could be an hour in the traffic on the south coast, it's hard to judge the traffic situation. I like to have history around me, so I'm biased towards Sommieres, but the kids are taken with the idea of some kayaking and a giant sand dune! Plus it's a fair bit easier to get to, we'll be towing a caravan.
There's river kayaking in Sommieres, so that's covered. Yes it can be up to an hour's drive to the beach (I know the Nîmes/Montpellier area well), but don't let that put you off - it's still a worthwhile day trip! Get to the beach early to secure a parking space and you'll be fine.
Distance-wise it's ten hours' drive from Calais to Arès, eleven hours to Sommieres. Not a huge difference. Both would cost about €120 each way in tolls.
We've always flown to Nimes or Montpellier airports, so can't comment on the traffic getting there.
We went to look at Massereau a couple of years ago but decided against it in the end. Lovely facilities and pool etc; I was really keen on it due to the cycle path going past & proximity to Sommieres which is a lovely town. There were just a number of little things that put us off; dc didn't think pool was big enough, the roads on the site were dry (ie. not tarmac) and it was a really hot day with clouds of dust thrown up each time a car drove by so not great if you're oitched next to the road; the pitches are very dusty - you pitch under trees, so it's not grassy - and I could see myself being bitten to death.The chalets were also dotted about, so you could have ended up on a pitch backing onto an AC unit, which didn't appeal.
It's billed as a 5 star site and, although the facilities are prob 5 star, we didn't feel the rest of the site was (if it's 5 star I also expect loo paper & loo seats!). When we got back to our site after visiting, we decided we much preferred it so booked to go back there instead. But it gets good reviews so obviously a lot of people like it - it just didn't feel worthy of the price tag to us. (Just as well we didn't go actually; as it turned out, there was a flash flood there the week we would have been camping had we gone; we met someone who nearly lost her caravan in it!!)
we have stayed at domaine de Massereau a few times, first year we stayed two weeks, then other times just a week, staying at other places.
it is a really lovely site, a lot of British families there and a lot of people return each year, our dc made friends and plenty to keep them entertained- night swimming, trampolines, obstacle course, go kart hire (this was 5 years ago so may have changed)
Domaine de Massereau is really lovely. Lots of green space, fab go-karts for the kids to get around on. We did a fantastic kayak trip and Sommieres is gorgeous, with an amazing (proper, not tourist tat) market. Lovely tour around the vineyard and the cycle path is excellent. Plus guaranteed heat. Lovely.
I liked La Cigale in Ares although it was quite a few years ago we stayed there.
Kids were very small when we were there so ours needs were quite different to yours. Site was low key and quiet but we liked that. All nicely presented and toilet block very clean.
It was a good location for cycling with cycle hire right next to site. We went on some nice rides though the forest to the beach on the coast (rather than the bay).
You can walk to the beach at Ares but we didn’t spend any time there as tide was miles out when we wanted to go so can’t comment on beach!
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