Margaret's superb fam trip with KelAir Campotel
Thursday 09 August 2018
Margaret from Grenham Travel reflects on her fam trip with Campotel last season - where a superb time was had by all!
I was collected at the office by the A team from KelAir Campotel, Pearse Keller MD and Michael; the starting point at Grenham Travel with the joviality and comraderie of the gathering was indicative of what was to come on the rest of our amazing trip!
Sailing – Irish Ferries
So amidst chatter and laughter we headed for Rosslare with Pearse as our leader. Departed Rosslare for Roscoff on the Oscar Wilde.
This ship is amazing and is one of the most luxurious ships to sail between Ireland and France with stylish lounges, bars, entertainment and a wide variety of restaurants. The dining options range from the Café Lafayette for light refreshments; the Steak house and self -service Left Bank Brasserie which offers great value to the award winning full service Berneval for fine dining at €30 for 3 courses. As guests of Irish Ferries we dined here and were royally treated with a superb meal and top class service. Worth noting – this restaurant is so popular with patrons that it is advisable to pre book.
Dermot Merrigan (Head of sales Irish Ferries) gave us a detailed guided tour of the ship. I can say with certainty this ship compares to the ‘cruise ship concept’. On the entertainment level one has a choice of two screen cinemas, free wi-fi and a choice of lounges with cabaret shows. The ferry also caters for children with a special play area “ the happy Prince”. It is a good idea to check out the times for the kids’ entertainment e.g. the treasure hunt, a magician and the kid’s disco which operate during the summer months.
Cabin accommodation varies from two to five stars and each cabin is well equipped and most importantly they all have ensuite facilities.
This was an extremely relaxing way of travelling and we arrived full o energy and ready to go!
On arrival in Roscoff the exiting is quite smooth approx. 30 mins. Fast track passes can be bought which allows cars priority exit.
Roscoff is a quaint Breton town, very picturesque. We stopped to pick up some lovely French baguettes/croissants. However, a stop at the WBS the wine beer supermarket was a must ! Our leader extraordinaire Pearse knows all the right stops!
Roscoff has a considerable amount of wine stores with the advantage of being able to taste before purchasing. The WBS is a three min drive from the port on the main thoroughfare out of Roscoff. Watch out for its landmark - the big red double decker bus parked outside. Wine is such good value from €1.50 to €20. Some lovely wines can be purchased at €4.00 euro per bottle. Handy to stock up for your holiday, also I discovered that wine can be pre ordered online.
Escale Saint Gilles Benodet
This is the nearest campsite to Roscoff approx. 1.5 hours drive. It is located approx. 4 to 5 mins from the picturesque beach. This site is probably best suited for families with younger children and has a Buzzy bees Club. There is a small beach just across the road and the seaside town of Benodet is just a 15 min walk by the coastal walkway. Alternatively, you can take the petit train which passes by the campsite 3 times daily and goes into Benodet.
La Grande Metaire
This site is approx. 2.5 hour drive from Roscoff and is situated in Carnac. This campsite is quite large with loads of facilities including zip lining, large football pitch, tennis court, an amphitheatre where kids put on shows. It has a large pool area which includes lagoons and water slides.
It also has a farm with lots of animals. Emer, KelAir’s courier has a wealth of knowledge and is on hand to advise, guide and facilitate a stress free holiday. While the children are occupied with the multiplicity of activities, parents/grandparents can relax. The option of going out to one of Carnac’s great restaurants on your doorstep is a real treat. Most French restaurants offer a “value menu” for €25 to €30 all night. As with all mobile homes the decking has a covered area which shades the table area and BBqs are also provided.
After savouring the wonderful delights of the KelAir campsites and comforts of the mobiles homes in Brittany, it was time to head down to the Vendee area – this was approx. another 2.5 hour journey. The drive itself was so enjoyable, with the lovely Frances in the driver’s seat we could admire the beautiful scenery, lovely quaint towns and observe the change in architecture as we went further south. You can even pick up fresh baguettes at convenient road side vending machines! Very tasty indeed...So onwards we go to the Vendee region.
Just to point out at this juncture the Mobile Home holiday allows guests to experience and live the French way… which is a very relaxed mode of living and one enjoys the outdoor life from picnics to BBQs. It is such a joy to go to the local bakeries, shop in the local markets for fresh fruit, veg and local fish markets. The bicycle is KING and cyclists have such ease and choice of routes it is wonderful.
Le Clarys Plage
This is possible the most popular site with Irish families set in the heart of the Vendee. It has lots of facilities and activities which includes all members of the family.
Swimming pools, Kiddies pool, water games with the new addition of the the snake slide this year. The zip line really attracts the teenagers and not forgetting GAA fans – the bar overlooks the pool and shows GAA games during the summer. The large supermarket on site offers great choice and again facilitates the French way of outdoor living with BBQs etc. This site is situated close to the beach and approx. 6 km from St Jean De Monts. Again bring your BIKES, ideal for cycling.
La Dune Des Sables
This is a smaller site and ideal for young families with a heated swimming pool, kids pool and water slides. It has direct access to a beach however not suitable for swimming as there are large drops.
Ideal for cycling enthustists with Les Sables Donne approx. 10 mins by car.
Now, this is a site which is suitable for couples, singles and families! It is a medium/small site with a lovely quaint authentic French feel as it was originally a stone built farm. The main building houses a typical quaint bar which leads to a sun terrace.
Additional attractions for La Loubine is the fact there is a golf course and horse riding nearby. Foret Dolonne has great walking and biking trails.The site is approx 10 mins from Les Sables Dolonne.
This is the water lovers paradise! One of the most popular sites with 3 heated pools, 4 waterslides, a kiddies pool PLUS a covered aquasplash which has 2 slides & Showering water buckets to name but a few features!
Adults can enjoy the massage jets, hydro-massaging benches and whirlpool.
As with most of the sites one can hire bikes, there are 2100km cycling tracks in the Vendee which makes it a great area for cyclists.
We took the cycle route from Le Littoral to Les Sables Dolonne which takes approx. 1 hour… and the ease of cycling around Les Sab is a dream as the bike is king!
Les Sab is a fab town well worth a visit with over 100 restaurants and lovely shops. Do pop into the fish market and be astonished at the spectacular display of fresh fish! Oh! La la!
We also visited Les Genets, Sol a Gogo and to prevent repetitiveness of the high standard of all the sites and mobiles I will simply outline the specific highlights for each of these sites:-
Les Genets ( Ideal for beach lovers)
Near St Jean De Monts the fabulous seaside town with beautiful sprawling beaches. Amidst its water complex this site incorporates chutes and a lazy river. There is also a fun fare close by.
Sol a Gogo
This is a new site for Campotel again featuring an absolutely amazing beach… oh my goodness it is miles long wonderful for walking. The KelAir couriers John and Mary are mines of information on all things local and of course restaurants. It is a smaller site but a has a real aura of authenticity about it and is suitable not alone for families but also for couples and singles. St Giles-Croix-De Vie is 8 mk away and worth a visit.
After a most enjoyable and informative four days alas! it was time to go home... Thanks to Jenny Rafter of Aer Lingus we flew direct from Nantes airport to Dublin. Nantes airport was very easy to negotiate and only 1.5 hours approx from the campsite.
In conclusion, I have to say this trip surpassed my expectations and I rank it amongst the most enjoyable holidays I have had - with the full realisation that some of the sites are also suitable for couples, singles or cycling groups etc.and I will definately return.
It is with pleasure and confidence we book our valued customers with KelAir Campotel, one of our favourite travel partners. They are a hugely successful Irish owned family business and the range of product, location of sites,children's activities/clubs, quality and standard of their accommodation and service is second to none.
To avail of great value for your camping holiday and first hand knowledge and guidance as to which sites would suit your needs best - Give a call to us here at Grenham Travel to book. Ph 090 649 2028
To Pearse, Frances and all my travelling companions ...Merci beaucoup for a fab time, à bientôt !