Last summer, our family decided to take a holiday on a luxury French campsite. We wanted to stay somewhere in the Loire Valley, and after poring over all the different options, we chose the Yelloh! Village Parc du Val de Loire.
I’ve already posted about our stay in the Loire Valley. It turned out to be an area with a lot to offer families with young children (ours were five and three at the time). The stay was made even more enjoyable, though, by the facilities on offer at Yelloh.
Camping in the Loire Valley
Yelloh Parc du Val de Loire is nestled in woodland in the Touraine area, on the outskirts of a tiny village called Mesland, between the towns of Blois and Amboise and 42km from Tours.
Throughout our stay there (late August/early September) the oak trees on the campsite were dropping leaves and acorns. Before we worked out what the colossal bangs on our cottage roof were, we thought they were caused by branches raining down from the skies, not tiny acorns.
Apart from the acorns, the campsite was relatively quiet. Being surrounded by stately oaks, with vineyards all around, made it feel like a wholesome, invigorating break in the great outdoors, a million miles from the noise and belching fumes of London.
Facilities at Yelloh Parc du Val de Loire
Parc du Val de Loire has both indoor and outdoor pools (500 square metres in total), with water slides for all ages.
The Loire Valley’s climate isn’t as hot as further south in France, but although we did have a couple of cooler, stormy days (typical of the end of the summer season) when we couldn’t swim outdoors, most of the time the temperature was 30 degrees+, making the outdoor pools a big attraction.
As well as the pools, there were trampolines, two bouncy castles for young and older children; a zip wire, table tennis, a sports court, climbing frames and even small ponies, which the children could pet and ride on specific days.
Bikes, tags and carriages for youngsters were all available for hire at a small charge. In my post on what there is to do in the Loire Valley for families I’ve written about our day out cycling, which I’d recommend as a good way to see the local area (you could even take a sneaky pit-stop at a local vineyard or two).
Kids club at Yelloh Parc du Val de Loire
There was a small cabin where a kids’ club took place for the over-fives, for a couple of hours each morning. There was no extra charge for this and our son enjoyed going there on three mornings of our stay. They seemed to mostly do crafting activities and play games (board games and basketball), all within the clubhouse and its enclosed outdoor space (apart fom one morning when the children trooped out on a treasure hunt around the campsite – entirely in French, so my son wisely opted to stay put in the clubhouse and play cards with one of the workers).
As well as the club, there was a children’s disco every evening at around 6pm, where the kids learnt dance moves to the same songs each night, sung in a variety of languages. Our three-year-old daughter loved the mini-disco.
Accommodation at Parc du Val de Loire
We paid 613 Euros to stay for a week in a three-star cottage. It slept five people and had two bedrooms, a living space, small kitchen, a verandah and its own bathroom. If you book early enough, Yelloh allow you to pay in monthly installments. We paid over three months, which helped spread the cost.
The accommodation was basic, but the cottage was clean when we arrived, and in a good part of the campsite for us. It wasn’t too far away from the restaurant and poolside, but it was far enough away so that we weren’t disturbed by any noise. Having said that, the campsite was remarkably quiet. The evening entertainment finished early, and there were strict campsite rules about being noisy, not shouting or playing loud music etc.
If you pay more, you can stay in a cottage with a dishwasher and TV, or even a safari tent. But we didn’t spend a great deal of time in the cottage (apart from breakfasts on the terrace), so ours was fine just for a week.
Parc du Val de Loire has a restaurant with a takeaway (their pizzas were delicious), a shop and bakery (scrummy fresh croissants in the morning), a launderette and wi-fi. It even has its own vintage of wine, which was not too bad at all.
Getting to Yelloh Parc du Val de Loire
It would be difficult to stay with a family at Parc du Val de Loire, if you didn’t have access to a car. We took a ferry from Dover-Calais, and drove around the outskirts of Paris, down to Mesland and the campsite. Although the roads were excellent – uncrowded and fast, except near Paris – you had to pay a toll (around 20 Euros), and it was a long drive. It took us around five hours on the French side, with the ferry crossing and travel on the UK side to factor in. Another option would be to take the Eurostar, change trains in Paris and carry on down to Tours (42 km from the campsite), where you could hire a car. Ryanair also flies to Tours.
Places to visit near Parc du Val de Loire
Don’t forget to check out my post on things to do in the Loire Valley with kids.
Chateaux: we visited Chambord, but there are many others a short drive away, like Chenonceau and Chaumont sur Loire.
Beauval Zoo is are nearby.
Blois is a pretty town, with its own chateau.
Have you stayed in a French campsite? What did you think?
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