After reading a staggering statistic which showed the number of camping holiday nights booked in 2013 in Europe totalled over 360 million, with nearly half of those taken in mobile homes, I admit I felt my view of outdoor leisure living needed a rethink. It was time to test out these impressive statistics, and after getting a family of four teamed up with Eurocamp, a provider of camping and mobile home holidays for over 34 years we tested out a week at Eurocamp Les Ecureuiles in Vendee.
Vendee is a Department in Pays-de-la-Loire in western France a little south of Nantes on the Atlantic coast and we chose Les Ecureuiles campsite in St Hilaire-de-Riez as it had just opened a clutch of new 3 bed Avant static homes and on site indoor and outdoor pools. There was also the added inducement of a free Kid’s Club too, so with two toddlers in tow, my test family, Carole and Jason and their young kids Evan and Andy, were all for it.
“We took the overnight ferry from Portsmouth to St. Malo which, as far as the kids were concerned was a holiday in itself” Carole explains. “we could explore the ship and have a meal before getting the boys into bed in our cabin.”
The next day dawned hot and sunny as Jason navigated the 280K drive down to Les Ecureuils, stopping for lunch just outside Nantes before arriving at the Eurocamp parc late afternoon.
Jason picks up the tale. “The drive down was lovely, with a lot of service areas along the way where we could stop and let the kids out for a run around. We finally arrived around 3pm and checking in was quick and easy. They were really welcoming, walked us over to our Avant and gave us a personal tour. There was even a lovely hamper in there with cheese, wine, fruit, tea bags and coffee and some washing up liquid and a cloth. Very practical!. In no time it felt like home.”
Eurocamp’s new Avant accommodation is a modern spacious static lodge with three bedrooms, (although there is a two bed option too) master bedroom, a twin and a bunk so comfortably big enough for 6 adults and two children, a large open plan kitchen with oven, grill and gas hobs, fridge freezer, dishwasher and microwave, comfortable diner/lounge and best of all, a wide covered outdoor deck with gas BBQ and a Bluetooth speaker and radio system.
Les Ecureuils is just a ten minute walk to the beach, but there is always the option of the pool and water slides.
“There is a small soft play area near the bar which is free but a little tired in my opinion” remarks Jason “we preferred the soft play facility in the nearby town of Challans which is much bigger and not expensive.”
“The beach is an easy stroll.” Says Carole “Almost like a private beach it was so quiet. The kids went to the Kids Club everyday and had a great time, so Jason and I had more adult time than we were expecting. We went out for a couple of drives exploring. An hour away is Les Sables d’Olonne, a seaside town with some lovely harbour restaurants and a clean wide beach. Passage du Gois is another fun visit. It’s a road connecting the island of Noirmoutier which floods twice a day at high tide.”
It seems my test family thoroughly enjoyed their Eurocamp experience down in Les Ecureuils in Vendee. It had a taste of the outdoors, some home from home luxuries and more than a touch of local culture, although their fellow guests were in the main, from the UK, so not a lot of opportunity for cosmopolitan bonding.
So, it looks as though outdoor living is a serious alternative to hotel holidays, after all, 350 million holiday nights are a serious amount of business.
Tell me more about Eurocamp at Les Ecureuiles
Stay at Les Ecureuiles for £106* a night during school summer holidays and take the kids for an adventure filled day at the nearby Puy du Fou theme park.A week in an Avant is from £690. Bed linen and welcome pack are optional extras.
Tel: 0844 406 0402
Eurocamp is one of the leading providers of outdoor holidays with more than 500,000 holidaymakers taking trips to Europe each year. 180 prime locations for any kind of holiday: from beach and city breaks, to stays in mountains and lakes.