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France where to stay

(20 Posts)
ChristmasTreats Sat 07-Jan-17 12:39:37

We've always done uk breaks up till now but fancy a change. Looking at ways of getting to France it seems like Calais channel tunnel is the best option as the ferries all seem to take so much longer and I'm guessing children (5yo and 8yo) would get pretty bored.

So can anyone recommend somewhere to stay in France not too far from Calais, close to a beach and preferably with some activities on site i.e. Swimming pool.

All the sites I've seen online seem to be way over on the west coast which seems like an awfully long drive.

SurgerplumSprinklePants Sat 07-Jan-17 12:42:16

Royan is nice and the ile de oleron. In my opinion you need to head away from Calais a bit.

badtasteflump Sat 07-Jan-17 12:46:49

We actually go on the ferry because the DC love it and look forward to going on the big boat as much as the rest of the holiday - they don't get bored at all as by the time you've watched the UK disappearing then France coming into view, you're there!

We've driven down to the west coast (Vendee) and it is doable in one go, but it's a long drive (about 7 hours from Calais). Or you can get a ferry from the UK to St Malo which then makes it about a 3 hour drive. That ferry is expensive tho...

The weather in the Vendee is usually lovely though whereas more northern parts can be hit and miss like the UK. Having said that, we've stayed in a site near Paris before (so spent some time at Disney too) and it was really hot all week, so just luck really. I'll try and remember the name of the site.

There are some lovely sites in Brittany apparently but I've never stayed there.

ivykaty44 Sat 07-Jan-17 12:48:20

When you say not to far from Calais is that 10 miles 100 miles or 200?

The ferry is just over an hour or there about a.

If you book a Monday ferry it will be much cheaper than a Friday - Sunday ferry and if you're camping it doesn't matter as you don't need to go Saturday to Saturday. Even Sunday ferries are cheaper than Friday or Saturday.

Normandy the weather can be similar to him, as you go further south the weather gets generally better, warmer, hotter but you can face stormy weather at times.

What are you looking at from a site? Have you looked at any and where?

LIZS Sat 07-Jan-17 12:52:34

The north coast is similar climate and style to Cornwall. Have a look at pierre et vacances resorts. The one at Belle Dune, about an hour from Calais, has an onsite waterpark, bike hire, activites, restaurants and a walk over the dunes to the beach. There are other residences , some with facilities others more stand alone apartment blocks from Le Touquet, the Baie de Somme and into Normandy which are still within an easy drive of Calais.

ChristmasTreats Sat 07-Jan-17 13:02:26

Not actually too bothered about weather, just want to be in a foreign country iyswim.

I will look at Belle Dune that sounds like the kind of thing we want. I am a bit clueless though having always holidayed in U.K. As to how far from Calais, I guess we would go a bit further i.e. 200 miles if it was worth it.

Might consider the ferry too but not the longer crossings, are there any that are nearer to 3 hours?

ChristmasTreats Sat 07-Jan-17 13:08:31

Belle Dune does look nice I think having things like the water park on site would be handy. Looks to be around £1200 for a 2 bed for a week though which seems a bit expensive...

LIZS Sat 07-Jan-17 13:13:53

Depends when you go, we went end of August and prices dip as the French kids return to school then. There are often discount offers too.

jenpetronus Sat 07-Jan-17 13:30:34

We live in Brittany and have a gite. Most of our guests use Brittany Ferries to get here (I have a discount code if anyone needs one) as above, most children love it and there is entertainment on board for them. The fast ferries are around 3 hours and sail into Cherbourg & Caen. I would say it very much depends on where you are going. If you find somewhere you are happy with near Calais there's no point spending more. Most holidaymakers head for the West coast though - Brittany, Vendee, Loire, Aquitane etc. Let me know if you need more advice!

Revealall Sat 07-Jan-17 13:33:41

Driving is great in France though especially out on the open ( empty) roads. You can get further than you think. I always drive south so no idea about holiday sites.
However you can always go " up" and head into Belguim. We stayed in Durbury for a night and whilst not a beach location was very much a family holiday place - had rivers etc. That was a three hour drive away in August if you want context for distance.

GraceGrape Sat 07-Jan-17 13:39:13

The portsmouth-st malo and portsmouth-caen ferries have overnight options so not boring for kids. The daytime crossings are long but have lots of entertainment, such as pantos etc. I've been taking mine on there since they were babies and they find it much less boring than in the car. From these ports you have easy access to the West coast. Brittany, Vendee and Charente-Maritime all have good beaches and plenty to do for kids. The weather is obviously better the further South you go but we often stay on Southern Brittany and usually have decent weather.

Frazzled2207 Sat 07-Jan-17 13:56:49

Consider getting the portsmouth-st malo ferry (overnight, cabins are reasonable) then you have a wealth of options in Brittany within a 2h ish drive of st malo.
Kids will love it. West coast of France is much nicer than north, which is why most people head there.

ivykaty44 Sat 07-Jan-17 16:29:56

If you go after the 21 august prices on campsites start to dip as the season ends so it's worth booking annual leave for late summer.

You can also look at the acsi card as it is a real saver on some great campsites

We never book and have never had problems turning up somewhere.

I understand this isn't for everyone though.

We drove 200 miles from Calais and I packed a picnic for the drive the morning before we sailed. The airs ( motorway stops) are great for stopping, loo and picnic tables,

We stopped at a campsite which was great for us for four days, but many people were just using it as a stop over on the way to or from the Vendée or further south. People stopped for a night or two and then went on.

Then in the return were staying again as it's a good halfway break.

Could you do something like this to break your journey?

You can get a ferry from Poole to Cherbourg, it's more than Calais but not as expensive or far as the overnight ferry to start Making - which is a great ferry with entertainment and a lovely way to start your holiday.

Or you could get the longer ferry one way and a longer driver back the other - you don't have to return the same way.

ChristmasTreats Mon 09-Jan-17 14:46:05

Thanks for all the advice I have just booked us our first foreign holiday (sad I know but not been brave enough to do a long trip before).

We decided to go for the ferry as there really aren't many holiday parks over on the east and also hoping the kids will enjoy the entertainment on board etc.

We ended up booking 10 days with Charissma at the end of August (half the price of the week before) and booked the ferry through their site which makes it cheaper.

So it only cost £900 for our 10 day break which I am really happy with, thanks again for all the good advice!

ivykaty44 Mon 09-Jan-17 14:59:35

That sounds wonderful, hope you have a great holiday.

If you want to keep the price low then taking some meal staples with you for 5-6 meals whilst you are away will help. We take pasta, jar sauces for chicken and pork, rice, tinned tuna and a few Schwartz sachets. Then add the fresh ingredients when we get there.

Do eat out though and sample the wonderful French food, as it is delicious, especially the ice cream, croissants and seafood

ChristmasTreats Mon 09-Jan-17 15:43:13

Thanks IvyKaty, we will have to pack some food as we have two people who are gluten free so wouldn't want to risk them not having their staples. I'm guessing they might be a bit restricted on eating out. Places in the U.K. are getting better about it but no idea in France.

jenpetronus Mon 09-Jan-17 15:48:40

There's plenty of gluten free available in the supermarkets for sure, but it is more expensive.

ivykaty44 Mon 09-Jan-17 15:52:35

I went over for one holiday with a friend and her dad has a nut allergy. Friend had cards made up in French with English on the reverse to state did had nut allergy.

We eat out and showed before we sat down, only one place refused us and one bakers.

It might be helpful? You could then eat out as my dads when little live muscles and chips, seafood dishes that may not contain flour. French love steak. Tbh I have found French really good with eating out with dc, so don't rule it out.

I had a look at charisma and the first place was somewhere I stayed over 20 years ago and the area and beach was lovely

Howmanysleepstilchristmas Sat 14-Jan-17 17:26:38

Jen, how much is the discount? I'm looking at ile de re and the dordogne, but struggling to see how to get there from Calais as I only get 2 weeks off work so can't squeeze in overnight stops and £300 each way to Caen seems extortionate completed to £100 return to Calais! I may have to rethink if I can't find a cheaper travel option

jenpetronus Sat 14-Jan-17 18:39:19

It's 10% Howmany It's a shame you can't travel mid week as it's always cheaper. Could you do an early morning crossing? Factor in tolls from Calais too. Brittany Ferries push the price up masively (and unfairly imho) in the peak school holiday weeks, but it's still more convenient for most areas...let me know if you need the code anyway.

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