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A Week In France

We’ve just moved on from a week in France, and although we chose a small town to visit, we’ve been impressed by the supermarkets here.

We drove down from Aberdeen, taking three days to get there for the 1100 mile journey and took the P & O ferry as it was so much cheaper during the night than it was during the day.  £38 as opposed to £150 was a deal maker.  Sadly though, the food courts were a bit disappointing and they charged the full kids meal price for this for one of my boys.  I’m glad there was a £10 onboard voucher for spending as it made up for the kids meals, but if I was paying full whack, I’d have felt cheated. The kids did prefer the ferry over the tunnel and it added a little more adventure to the holiday.

PandO Ferry Kids Meal

We popped along to a Yellow Village site – Les Pins.  They must have thought we were reserved stupid Brits as they tried to put us onto a pitch at the very front, right next to the open toilets.  Yes, it’d have been handy for the football pitch and the pub if you like going out every night, but the deal breaker was that it was completely shaded, 6 feet from the bank of recycling and refuse bins.   We’d have been looking at them all the time from the van, and sitting by them if we’d decided to sit outside at all.

Original Pitch

Original Pitch View

I walked to the pitch before we drove in to pace it out and when I saw it, I said no.  The man, on the other hand had just driven the equivalent of 1100 miles and was in no mood to be placated.  He donned his best French outraged impression and said we’d move on if the pitch wasn’t changed.

In the end, we were put onto a pitch right in front of the water park which wouldn’t have been ideal for everyone but suited us down to the ground.  The pool was open from 10am to 7pm and my water babies could go in as much as they wanted.  The new pitch view was fab.

New Pitch View

I’ve noticed that some French campsites (actually a fair few) seem to have kerbs up onto their pitches.   If we’d had our old twin axle caravan with us, we’d not have got onto our pitch, even with the help of a motor mover.  Another British motorhomer had pitched three down from us and then was basically trapped in from then on as the next pitch didn’t leave enough room for him to swing round and get out.

The road round the campsite wouldn’t have taken our old caravan either, so if you’re planning French sites with a twin axle caravan or high motorhome, I’d advise calling the site to find out about kerbs, road width and tree clearance heights.

There’s a snack bar at the side of the pool that’s adequate.  The prices are about what you’d pay at home.  Smoking is allowed almost everywhere and the snack bar is no exception.  Even dogs are allowed into it.

The shower and loo facilities at that part of the pitch are disgusting.  I wouldn’t wash my dog in there, but apparently people do.  The ladies and gents are in the same door although they are some signs that seem to show segregation of sorts.

To get to the ladies, you have to walk past the row of gents urinals and plenty men seemed to be using the ladies as it was a confusing layout.  Be smart, walk two minutes up the hill for a lovely clean toilet block among the statics that hardly anyone uses.

We’d a pleasant week here, but it’s nowhere near what I’d class a 4* campsite should be.

The food in the supermarkets was different from ours.  I couldn’t stomach the tanks with live crabs and lobsters trying to escape, but the fresh food / fruit & veg aisles were fabulous, although food was the same or more expensive for most basic items than it is at home.

France Fruit and Veg 1

France Fruit and Veg 2

France Fruit and Veg 3

France Fruit and Veg 4

France Fruit and Veg 5

We all ate much more healthily, but I hope the kids will eat fruit and veg so easily when we get home.

France Good Food

Calais at night is actually very pretty and in the past we’ve avoided it, but I think we’ll spend some more time there next time we come through.  We’ve had glorious weather, sunburn and the kids have swum themselves tired daily.  We’ve not seen much of France apart from the motorways, so lots more to do on future road trips.

Calais At Night

6 thoughts on “A Week In France

  1. We are off to France on sat staying in a mobile home. I am hoping to do it on a budget – any tips?

    1. The drive down was expensive for us in the toll roads, but we were Class 2 with the motorhome. If you’re planning your crossing yourself, watch the times of your crossing as there can be hundreds of pounds difference, depending on when you go. There are plenty Lidl and large supermarkets going around, so pays to stop off at those. Drinks are expensive on sites, but cheap as chips for water in the supermarkets. I’d take your own squash for diluting if you use it as the food in the supermarkets is very different, even in the Lidl. We’ve got used to taking our favourite branded stuff with us, ie Heinz Ketchup etc and MacDonalds are even quite a bit more expensive in Calais than at home, but again, the menus are very different.

  2. have to say never been a over of tents or caravans unless it is a static van with your own bathroom in it. We were in Kelso last week and the public toilets there were beyond disgusting.

    1. I don’t like tents, that’s why we have a motorhome. We had a caravan for years but now the boys are older, we decided we’d go further than we do when we’re tugging. The boys do well on campsites but not that well in traditional hotels etc as mine have problems with volume control. I do like my comfort so I always choose vans with a working loo and enough room to move about in. Nothing worse than having to make a loo dash in the middle of the night to minging facilities if you don’t have to. Saying that, there are a lot of sites in the UK with beautifully clean facilities all the time. I like my hairdryer, soft seats and beds, with a cooker, fridge, shower, plenty lights, feeling more secure, being out of the rain & wind and heating – so not possible in a tent. It was when we realised that campsite holidays were what my boys could cope with and campsites could mostly cope with him, that I said I’d never again camp in a tent. It’s quite cathartic in the van with thundering rain to watch the poor tenters struggle with their lot when we just have to pull up, put on the handbrake and stick on the kettle.

  3. I can remember camping in France as a kid. I think mum complained in much the same way as you about the loos and showers. We found germany and holland a lot cleaner…but I bet it is partly chance

    1. I think it is hit or miss. We’ve been to France before which is why we went to a 4 star campsite but the one in Houlgate is much cleaner and smaller which is nicer. The dog being showered in the people showers at Les Pins finished me as there were hoses aplenty that could have been used to hose them down around the site. They were worst toilets I’ve ever seen in a campsite and I’ve been to many. The staff seemed to try keeping them clean, but they were fighting a losing battle. Our pitch neighbours kept dumping their grey waste water at the side of our pitch.

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