Over October half term we headed to France with Al Fresco Holidays to their fabulous park La Croix du Vieux Pont, which is the perfect base for day trips to Paris and Disneyland.
We opted for their package holiday option, which included ferry travel with Brittany Ferries from Portsmouth to Caen.
I have to admit, there was a certain amount of trepidation for the ferry journey, as our last one back in 2016 was a real baptism of fire as the weather was terrible. Thankfully we took our own advice on preparing for a ferry trip with kids and were ready for all eventualities.
Thankfully, things could not have been more different to our last trip and we breezed the journey, thanks in part to the provision of a children’s play area, a children’s entertainer and family fun to keep us all occupied on the five-hour journey.
The ferry port of Caen is 210 miles from the campsite and takes just under 4 hours by car. Having driven in France before we were quite confident of the roads been fairly quiet, but as the journey took us around the outskirts of Paris, not only did we hit rush hour (think M25 busy), but we also used 5 toll roads, which was a bit of a learning curve.
Highway tolls may be paid with euro’s (coins and notes) or by credit or debit cards, which we found easier as you literally just pop your card in the slot and then the gate raises. On some toll routes, when you join mid-way along the route, you take a ticket when you enter, and insert the ticket in the slot and pay the toll when you exit. If using your debit card, please be aware that you will also be charged a conversion rate.
Al Fresco had text us earlier in the day to give them an estimated time of arrival and we finally arrived on site at about 8.30pm. The site was very dark and it took around 10 minutes to find the Al Fresco office to pick up our keys, which was not ideal but we unpacked the car and headed off in search of a restaurant to get the kids some food.
La Croix du Vieux Pont is nestled in the Royal Compiégne countryside, close to the sleepy town of Vic-sur-Aisne, and offers plenty of facilities including restaurants, a supermarket, bars, plus live entertainment.
We stayed in a Vivaldi Lounge mobile home, which offers a large lounge decking area, perfect for al fresco outside, 3 bedrooms (one double and two twin rooms), bathroom, toilet and kitchen / dining / living area.
The kitchen was well equipped with everything you need to cook your own meals and there was even a barbecue outside and the tools to use with it.
We booked linen packs and towel packs to save room in our car, but in hindsight I wish we had taken sleeping bags with us too, as we were provided with two sheets per bed and a fleecy blanket which isn’t enough to keep you warm overnight. There was just one heater in the mobile home which didn’t cope with the freezing nights.
Thankfully the days were much warmer and we were sat overlooking the beach area, which the kids loved, as it was still warm enough for a paddle.
La Croix du Vieux Pont has lots of things for the kids to enjoy, including a covered pool complex with water slides, a water chute and splash park area. The weather was so good, that they even pulled the roof back on a couple of occasions.
For sporty families, there is a lake for canoeing, or cruising by pedal power, sports courts, a climbing wall, zip line, bungee trampolines and bike hire, but be aware that most cost extra.
The reps lay on lots of activities for the kids to try, if they want organised activities, or you can just explore the park at your leisure, playing in the park and meeting the wildlife.
October half term is the last week of their season, but the park was packed full of people, many of who decorated their accommodation for Halloween, which the kids loved looking out for.
There is a fabulous buzz about the site, with lots of English families staying giving the kids the chance to make friends and head off to play safely. Evening activities included a halloween disco, family quiz and karaoke for both kids and adults.
The site also arrange day trips via coach to Paris and Disneyland which are very reasonably priced. We chose to take their coach to Paris as didn’t fancy driving and were dropped centrally and given a good amount of time to explore.
Al Fresco has 74 parks in France, Italy, Spain, Croatia, Holland, and Austria. All their parks offer great options for families with Kids Clubs, live entertainment, fantastic food, and opportunities to explore the local region.
The price is for a week’s stay for up to six people from £315 in May 2019. For more information or to book visit www.alfrescoholidays.co.uk
Disclaimer: We were hosted by Al Fresco Holidays for the purpose of a review. All thoughts and opinions are our own