We've recently arrived home from a week away in France. We were kindly invited to stay with Eurocamp at one of their many destinations and we decided on the La Croix du Vieux Pont Parc as it is the nearest to Paris and we were keen to visit and head over to Disneyland one day too. I thought I would do a little recap of our stay incase any of you were thinking of trying out Eurocamp or visiting France for a family holiday. I will talk more about Paris itself and Disneyland in other posts over the next few days otherwise this will be very long.
La Croix du Vieux Pont is situated in the Berny-Rivière, in the Aisne region of Northern France which is a about a three hour drive from Calais port along some lovely roads. We started off the day with a 7 hour drive to Dover to catch our Ferry to Calais. I wish we lived closer to Dover as it was a pretty long drive to do before another drive on the other side to the resort. The weather was 25 degrees most of our journey and Amelia was sick and chocking in the back of the car whilst going down the motorway which was rather scary as we couldn't pull over anywhere.
When we arrived we were greeted by the onsite Eurocamp staff and directed to our home for the week. We were staying in one of Eurocamps Vista 3 Bedroomed Holiday Homes which are designed to bring the outside inside. Ours was beautifully decorated with contemporary interior and was as nicely fitted out as any holiday home I've stayed in before.
Inside our 3 bedroom Vista Home we found a nice sitting area with cushions and an open plan living and kitchen area. We had a dining table adjacent to the kitchen and also a highchair for Amelia (you need to ask for this when booking). We had everything we needed just as you would expect at home such as a well equipped kitchen with oven, grill and gas hob, fridge-freezer and microwave. Modern bathrooms, a stereo iPod dock, hair dryer, a fan, gas BBQ and an impressive large decked terrace with table and chairs which was great for Amelia to run about on as we had a gate for it too.
Our holiday home had 1 double bedroom and two twin rooms which were all decent sized. I was really impressed at the home as it was even nicer than I had expected. We were also provided with a welcome pack which included some lovely wine for Andy, coffee and some treats as well as a pack of card which kept us busy for an hour each evening. Also included in the welcome pack was a little box full of tea, sugar and condiments which came were rather useful as we hadn't brought any with us, as well as some washing up liquid, bin bags and a tea towel.
The Parc of La Croix du Vieux Pont is beautifully laid out with each mobile home along side each other with plenty of space, a lawn and a parking space. There's so many lovely walks around the Parc down by the lake and also in the "Parc" which has a river along with some old buildings.
Once we had arrived and settled in we grabbed a bite to eat at the takeaway on site which served pizzas, chips, hot dogs, crepes, and many other fast food options if you're looking for something quick to eat. As we were all shattered from travelling we had an early night and looked forward to the next day.
We were lucky and had beautiful weather for the first 5 days, it was definitely shorts and t-shirt weather which we were very thankful for. Although neither of us really packed for a beach holiday and didn't have many clothes to wear for the hot weather. On our first day we took a walk around the parc and explored to see what was about. I was impressed with how much there is to do on site! It's packed full of activities for all the family there's plenty for everyone to do on camp from cycling, fishing, plenty of playgrounds, go-carting, bouncy castle, pedalos, 4 swimming pools, waterslides, lakes, spa, tennis, kids clubs and much more!
On the days when we stayed on site we enjoyed cycling 3 of the days as Amelia loved it we didn't leave the site though but there's plenty of tracks on site to cycle around. For the first day we took the bikes for 4 hours which was 8 euros for each bike which I think is pretty reasonable, for the other two days we took it for just an hour each as we were both knackered after the 4 hour bike ride. It was great to be able to get out on the bikes though as neither of have cycles since teenagers and Amelia's never been on one before.
We spent a lot of time at the many playgrounds around the Parc too, we came across 4 but I think theres more! Amelia loves the slide so spent most of her time going down that but she did also love the other ones with the walkways.
We spent half a day at the outdoor pool at the man made beach which was lovely, it also has a lovely beach bar which serve food along some lovely cocktails, amazing ice cream and they also have free wifi. We didn't use the indoor swimming pools whilst we were there but they did look like fun especially with the slides. On one of our last days we decided to hire a pedalo and row out onto one of the lakes, as soon as we were on the lake a big black cloud appeared from no where and we all got soaked! Amelia wasn't too fond of the pedalo and kept trying to get off ha ha!
Food wise, seeing as Amelia doesn't like to sit still in restaurants anymore we unfortunately didn't get to experience any meals out other than Macdonald's and ended up either eating from the onsite takeaway or cooking back at the home. There is a lovely little supermarket five minutes away which we found on the sat-nav and we did a big shop there for the week which was very reasonably priced! Most evenings we used the BBQ and it meant that Amelia could eat and we didn't have to worry about eating our food in 5 minutes and leaving the restaurant.
Disneyland Paris is just over an hours drive away from the Parc and along nice drivable roads, that's one thing about France that I love, the roads are so nice and calm (as long as you don't drive into Paris itself like we did!). We were lucky and had lovely weather for the day at Disneyland on Monday and Amelia loved it (post coming soon) and it knackered her out for the day. If you're thinking about staying for the fireworks at night just be mindful that the Parc closes its barriers at 10.30pm so you'll have to leave your car at the end of the road and walk to your home, not too bad if you're close to the entrance but if you're at the other end of the Parc you may be slightly annoyed having to carry sleeping kids and bags from the car.
On the Wednesday we decided to head into Paris for the day, we definitely picked the wrong day! The weather was awful! We had thunderstorms and torrential rain meaning we couldn't see anything driving along the motorway. Word of advice do not drive into Paris!! Take the coach from the site which may be a little pricey but definitely worth not having to be stressed and not knowing where to go. The drive into Paris once we were closer was ridiculous, also they have no lanes at roundabouts which can be rather scary when you had cars coming from you at all directions and you're already driving on the wrong side of the road so it can be all a bit unfamiliar. We definitely learnt our lesson and won't be doing it again. Having said that we did have a lovely day in Paris after we finally found our way into the centre where all the sights were (after parking in the most expensive car park ever and miles away from everything) and after we had dried off from being drenched in a down pour we enjoyed the sights before heading back home.
Overall we had a lovely stay at La Croix du Vieux Pont, Berny-Rivière and would highly recommend Eurocamp if you're looking for a nice relaxed holiday close to Paris. We are already thinking about returning in a few years to take Amelia back to Disneyland and so we can experience Paris properly when she's a bit older and will definitely be staying at Eurocamp again for the convenience and pleasurable stay.
A seven night break at Eurocamp's La Croix du Vieux Pont, Berny-Rivière staying in a 3 bed vista mobile home would typically cost £300 for a family of three from May 16-23rd 2014 which is pretty reasonable for the time of year we went. Do expect it to be slightly more expensive for summer holidays or half term. Ferry crossing, fly-drive packages and rail travel can all be arrange through Eurocamp at a supplement.
La Croix du Vieux Pont is 238km from Calais which is approximately a 2 1/2 hour drive.
Disneyland is about an 1 hour and 15 minutes drive from the Parc and Paris is a little over an hour and a half. There are coaches which run from the Parc if you don't fancy driving.
Visit Eurocamp for more information.