Until this month, we’d never done camping en famille.
At all. Anywhere.
Although some of my happiest Seventies childhood summer memories include those spent on family caravan hols in Brittany and the South of France, the closest we’d got to it was British self-catering in a forest chalet (which, I know, so doesn’t count. As my not-having-any-of-that-nonsense, semi-professional camping friends are the first to point out. And my brother, who disappears to Europe for the entire month of August every year with his extraordinary trailer-which-tada!-transforms-into-a-small-house. I’m awestruck).
Canvas Holidays, La Croix Du Vieux Pont, Berny Riviere
I was super-excited about having the opportunity to recreate le camping holidays of my childhood with Canvas Holidays, who have been offering fabulous, family-friendly camping overseas since the Sixties (making them the longest-running family tour operator of its sort in the UK).
We chose to stay at the enormously popular (and we now know why) Camping La Croix Du Vieux Pont, Berny Riviere, located in a lovely rural setting about an hour outside Paris and so ideal for getting into the capital and (of course) Disneyland Paris!
We thought nonstopmamas might be interested in somewhere that offered the option to mix the family campsite experience with a spot of city sightseeing, museums et al and a Disney visit.
Just a couple of hours drive from Calais (Canvas Holidays packages include ferry travel, and they helpfully provide you with all the info you need on the best route to your destination), Camping La Croix Du Vieux Pont, Berny Riviere is tucked away in a lovely parkland setting, within a sweet little village.
Facilities at La Croix Du Vieux Pont, Berny Riviere
It’s amazing how hidden away the campsite is, given that it is, in fact, pretty big, with all the facilities you need in order to stay put and have a fabulous time without venturing further afield, should you choose not to.
There’s a great mini-supermarket, bakery – which, amazingly, never seemed to run out of baguettes! ….
… along with a boutique/gift shop (for newspapers, postcards and those essential pool inflatables) …
… plus a restaurant, bar (with Wi-Fi available) and lots of activities to keep all ages busy and entertained!
The swimming pool, inevitably, was the biggest hit (isn’t it always?): a really fab complex (with a cover for bad weather) catering for all ages, with water slides for the teeniest babes to the biggest kids (literally!) …
The atmosphere was incredibly warm, relaxed and family-friendly. Nothing was too much trouble for the on-site Canvas Holidays reps, who became a familiar sight in their bright orange tops, cycling around the site and communicating with eachother via walkie-talkies.
There is someone always ‘on call’, 24 hours a day (handy when you want to know when the nearest pharmacy opens early in the morning, as we did once. It’s worth remembering that, in France, you can only buy over-the-counter medicines in pharmacies, so don’t forget the Calpol!).
Canvas Holidays Accommodation Types
We were really impressed with our accommodation, a two bedroom Classic 2 Bedroom Mobile Home (pictured, top of post), which had a lovely deck area with a dining table and seating, so you can eat ‘al fresco’ in the evening …
Ours was located close to the main shopping/swimming pool area and was clean, modern, compact and very well equipped with a cooker, fridge, microwave, shower and sink in the bathroom and a separate loo.
We were also really impressed with the range of cooking utensils, pots and pans, plates, cutlery, coffee maker, kettle and so on provided, and throughout the mobile home there was plenty of storage space – plus extra pillows, blankets and throws (you can take your own bedlinen, or hire it on-site).
It’s the small things that make a difference, too – for example, the beds were all covered with fresh-looking mattress protectors.
You can park your car on your accommodation plot, too, which we found super-convenient.
There were lots of different accommodation options available on-site, including these very smart-looking new Luxury Lodges …
… which would be well worth checking out, too, and possibly a good idea if you’re sharing with a bigger group.
Canvas Holidays Kids Holiday Clubs
Whilst we didn’t take advantage of the children’s holiday clubs and organised activities during our stay, they looked like lots of fun. We saw many a happy group – of different ages – having a great time around the site during the week. Check the website for more details on what’s on offer at specific destinations.
Activities at La Croix Du Vieux Pont, Berny Riviere
Other highlights included table tennis (free, if you borrow the bats and balls from the Canvas Holiday Reception) and a great adventure playground.
There’s also a bouncy castle, pedaloing on the picturesque lake and Go Karts for an additional fee (all very reasonable, and you can buy tokens which allow you to enjoy more activities for your money).
At Reception, you’ll also find lots of info on campsite events, the popular children’s clubs and local attractions – including Disneyland Paris, of course, which is just over an hour’s drive away or you can take a day trip on a bus from the campsite.
Here, this summer’s Magic On Parade! in full swing …
… and, if you can stay into the evening, the Disney Dreams! nighttime spectacular is not to be missed (more on this soon!).
There are also day trips from the campsite available to Paris, and lots of great places to explore within an hour’s drive, including a certain famous (and very picturesque) region *hic!* …
And Reims is an easy drive away and home to the famous Cathedral, a buzzing city centre – and many ice cream opportunities …
Plus, there’s always time to squeeze in a pit stop to check out the local beauty goodies (here at the Galleries Lafayette!!) …
Since returning from our week away, I’ve already recommended Canvas Holidays, this type of self-catering set-up and the Camping La Croix Du Vieux Pont, Berny Riviere, specifically, to lots of mama friends.
It offers fantastic flexibility and the ability to control overall cost of your holiday. Accommodation prices vary according to type, of course, and this is where you can choose to save or spend more, accordingly. Plus, you can save further by taking your own linens and towels and that sort of thing.
Similarly, you can budget to spend as much or as little on food/eating out (or not) and extra excursions, and we found the range of facilities and activities available on site excellent in themselves.
For more information on Canvas Holidays destinations throughout Europe, to watch videos and to book online, visit canvasholidays.co.uk.