Greetings from the Greater Gotham summer desk. What makes it a summer desk as opposed to a normal desk? The extra big glass of iced coffee. And the fact that it is covered with notes about my summer holiday.
This year’s summer holiday was – like last year – a trip to one of the many Eurocamp locations and also like last year, in France. Last year we went to La Pointe St. Gilles in Bénodet (a mid-sized site with lovely coastal location just a short stroll into an equally lovely town).
This year we ditched the coast and went a bit more inland to Domaine Des Ormes which was … well, it was big. Quite large, full of activities of all kinds and I must say extremely well laid out.
Our initial approach had both ModParlPics and I a bit concerned – throngs of people, lots of noise and loud music. Not our kind of thing. No worries though. As it turns out, the main gate at 3:30 on a Saturday afternoon (a naturally busy time of week and day) is not indicative of the rest of the week or the rest of the site. The entrance opens directly on to the “town centre” area where the shops, pools, eateries and many of the activities are located so yes, it is often thronged with people and any family campsite of that size will have some noise. But creating that town centre area – keeping that located together – with a buffer between that and the “residential areas” a short walk away, you don’t get the noise “in the burbs” as it were.
So – the cabin (we got an Espirit 2 bed/1 bath) was tidy and well-equipped. Oddly, we both agreed that the living areas was not as well laid out as the one from the one at La Pointe St. Gilles (which was a Classic model). As the Espirit is a bit of an upgrade, you’d have thought it would be a bit roomier (and technically, maybe it was) but because of the seating layout – it didn’t feel that way. It was bad and was perfectly adequate – and the kitchen was MUCH better than the one last year. The space issue was just worth noting as we make our plans for next year.
The activities covered a lot and offered something for everyone:
- swimming (with choice of pools)
- zip lining (no I did not try it – I considered it quite seriously but then the weather went to hell and I didn’t feel like my first go should be in the rain).
- kids clubs (which Sprog made excellent use of most days – and a feature, I think, Eurocamp really excels at)
- adventure course (which we thought was particularly well-designed and laid out – three courses in one really. One for kids, one for teens and one for adults.)
- mini-golf (I won, thank you very much)
- archery (which the menfolk enjoyed and which – after an initially wobbly start, both seemed to have an eye for)
- Also pony rides, cycle hire, golf, tennis, a corn maze, Segway rides, paintball
I’m sure I missed a few but suffice to say there is a lot on offer to keep everyone from toddlers to teen to mom and dad happy. Some of the other things worth noting:
- the convenience shop is quite well stocked and the areas in front of it hosts quite a nice a weekly market (which sounds odd until you realize there is a good-sized village worth of people onsite).
- the gift/souvenir shop came through when we needed a deck of cards but also has all the usual stuff such a shop should have.
- the staff at reception were always helpful and cheerful.
- as it is such a big site, there are plenty of opportunities for nature walks – and lots of nature to see. We saw quite a lot of birds – the barn swallows were particularly entertaining.
- we ate mostly at home but did have dinner at the pizzeria/cafe a couple of times – first day when we hadn’t gotten to the shops yet and one day while Sprog was going to be “away” for dinner. Perfectly nice food. Was it fine dining? No but there were two other restaurants for that and that isn’t our thing on these family holidays. pizza and roast chicken suit us just fine.
- we did frequent the ice cream cabana a few times – a) it’s summer holiday and ice cream cones are what that is all about and b) it is located right next to a lovely waterside seating area where you watch and feed the ducks or enjoy the yelps and laughter of people cable skiing (they get pulled along a zip line while water skiing or sitting in an inner tube). I think the yelping is part of the fun.
With a site so large and so well-supplied with stuff to do, we didn’t really do as many sight seeing day trips as we did last year. We did go to Saint Malo to walk to ramparts, take in the views and have lunch. The weather was GLORIOUS – ironically since we’d decided to make the trip during the overcast morning, thinking the weather wouldn’t be pool-friendly. But it cleared up while we were there.
We also went to the Grand Aquarium during another drizzly day. Amazingly well presented and curated. A particular delight was the “submarine ride” – which is basically a log ride but instead of a log, you are in your own submersible.
We’ll definitely be heading off to another Eurocamp for Summer Holiday 2017 – maybe even returning to Les Ormes – since once again, they provided everything you need to have whatever kind of holiday you want.