This summer we could not decide where to go on a family holiday. Something which used to be an exciting task suddenly became quite daunting when you throw a very active 2-year-old and a 9-month-old baby into the mix. Therefore we were extremely excited when Eurocamp invited us to stay with them at one of their self-catering holidays parcs.
Hurray! (As Matthew would say…) Decision made. We quickly logged onto the Eurocamp website and started to browse through the different countries, destinations, holiday parks, types of accommodation…it turned out our decision-making was far from over. With over 180 different locations, there was certainly a lot to choose from. The sun worshipper in me jumped straight to the South of France, Spain, Portugal or maybe Italy? But slowly reality started to kick in and the thought of traveling that far with the kids in tow started to loseitss appeal. Don’t get me wrong, it is perfectly feasible to travel much further afield with a baby and toddler but just not a challenge we fancied undertaking this year!
So where did we go? After a bit more research we discovered that some of the Eurocamp destinations are labeled ‘Mini Paradise Parcs’ and described as ‘ultimate baby and toddler-friendly parcs’. (I will go into more detail about what was included shortly, but needless-to-say it ticked all of our boxes and then some.) We wanted to keep the travel time as minimal as possible but also wanted the best chance at some much-needed sunshine so after looking through the 18 Mini Paradise Parc options we finally settled on La Croix du Vieux Pont just outside of Paris. It was just 2 and a half hours from Calais ferry port and only an hour and 15 minutes from Disneyland Paris…decision made!
Just 90 minutes from Dover to Calais, the ferry crossing was a really enjoyable part of our trip. Matthew absolutely loved being on a boat and watching the seagulls and ferries out of the window. In fact, he was so excited that he kept going up to passengers, offering high-fives, shouting hello and chanting “hurray holiday” at them. My main advice would be to try and book a crossing over a meal time. (We departed at midday on the way across and 5pm on the way back.) Although the food wasn’t amazing, it made the journey go much quicker, kept bums in highchairs and most importantly kept the routine fairly normal whilst avoiding any ‘hangry’ children (or parents).
Accommodation in La Croix du Vieux Ponta
Vista Holiday Home
We opted to stay in a 2 bed, 1 bathroom Vista holiday home. The check-in was brief and hassle-free and everything was ready as we had requested. It is worth noting that bed linen is available at an extra charge but beds are not made on arrival so be prepared to do a quick dash around the bedrooms when you arrive. One of the beds had been removed from the twin room to fit in a travel cot which allowed us to put the children to bed in one room and have the living area free to relax in the evenings. I was really nervous about how the boys would get on in the same room but they absolutely loved it! They chatted and babbled away to each other in the evenings and we woke most mornings to the sound of them laughing and giggling at each other across the room.
The amount of equipment provided at the Mini Paradise Parc was impressive. It enabled us to pack much lighter and saved time and effort at both ends of the journey. We chose to have a high chair, booster seat, travel cot, bed guard, baby bath, potty and changing mat which were all in good condition and free to book! The home also came ready set up with toddler cutlery, a toilet step and blackout curtains. The lovely decked area came fitted with a decking gate which was extremely useful during our stay.
The whole holiday parc was beautifully maintained throughout. It was very clean, tidy and the flower beds, parks and lakes were gorgeous. Before children, we would often go off and explore the local area where we were staying and I thought I might get bored staying in the same place for most of the week. However, we found there was so much to do throughout the parc we could have stayed even longer!
Things to do in La Croix du Vieux Ponta
A day by the ‘beach’
A holiday doesn’t seem quite right if you haven’t build a sand castle or two and the beachside lagoon lake did not disappoint. The sand was clean and well maintained and the lake itself was surrounded by umbrellas and trees, providing plenty of shady spots for the baby. Furthermore, the large grassy area around the beachside lake provided the perfect hiding spot for any sand-o-phobic children or adults!
An afternoon at the pool
The pools at La Criox du Vieux Pont were phenomenal and perfect for young children. Complete with a splash park, water slides, toddler pool and jacuzzi tubs not even the bribe of a mickey mouse ice-cream could drag Matthew away without a few tears.
Need I say more?
Just an hour and 15 minute drive from Disneyland the Parc is the perfect place to base your EuroDisney adventure. We spent two days at the magical place (with a days rest bite in between) and found the journey very simple and easy. There was a coach available but at €58 for the four of us we found it much cheaper to drive and pay the €2 toll charge and €20 parking. However you decide to get there, it is well worth a visit!
Explore the Parc
We spent hours wandering around the beautiful grounds with the boys and these will be some of my fondest memories of the holiday. (Disney Land aside of course!) Playing football, eating snacks, watching the fish and dragonflies along the riverbeds and Matthew’s new favourite game of chasing and trying to catch bumblebees in his Tigger hat! “Bees! Come back Bees!”
Take advance of the Eurocamp children’s activities
Sadly, Matthew was too young for the majority of Eurocamp activities available for children at the parc. However, for slightly older children there seemed to be a good range of things to take part in. For under 3’s, they did have hour long dance lessons (at €6.00 each) or you could use the ‘Mini Fun Station’ throughout the day which was a lovely way to escape the 35 degree sunshine during the day. It was full of toys, puzzles, games and even had a sand pit and water tray. You were invited to take away any books and games for the evening and bring them back the next day which was a thoughtful touch.
Holiday Parc facilities
We were very lucky with gorgeous weather but knowing this cannot be guaranteed it is worth noting the range of indoor facilities at La Croix du Vieux Pont. The swimming pools had retractable glass roofs so could still be enjoyed in wet weather. Additionally, they had lazer tag, bowling and a good sized soft play centre above the main bar open from 2pm to 8pm 6 days a week. The soft play was €3.50 an hour and looked very new and clean. Over by the beachside bar, you could use mini trampolines, a rather fancy looking bouncy castle and go-karts all for a small charge.
Overall, I think it’s pretty clear I would highly recommend Eurocamp holidays to someone travelling with young children and I would especially recommend La Croix du Vieux Pont as a destination. Ultimately, we all had a fabulous time and didn’t even begin to do everything that was on offer. We have every intention of returning again in a couple of years when Simon is old enough to enjoy it and Matthew can take part in more of the Eurocamp activities.
For further information on Eurocamp, please call 01606 787787 or visit www.eurocamp.co.uk.
About the Writer
Amy Howe is a part-time primary school teacher who lives in the beautiful Oxfordshire countryside. She spends the rest of her time as mummy to 18 month old Matthew and is due another bundle of joy very shortly. They love to spend their time playing outside, having picnics and visiting animals.
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