Eurocamp Holiday Diary Part Two: We were very lucky to be invited to visit Hourtin-Plage in France courtesy of Eurocamp over the May half term. We had an absolutely fantastic time and you can read all about our opinion in our review post. However what did we actually get up to? Well the answer is a lot. I am totally amazed by how much we fitted into the week….
Wednesday – after having such a great day at the beach on Tuesday we decided to head a bit further down the coast to Lacuna Ocean. Arriving late morning the main carpark was hosting a busy market so we found some pay and display bays in the centre. We headed back to have a nose around the market. It was close to packing up time but we still managed to have a look at the food stalls. It looked like a traditional market rather than one full of knock offs, it was a bit of a shame we ended up timing it wrong. A short walk back into town we found a rather colourful ice cream shop, with little plastic ice cream chairs.Which we had to stop at of course!
It was a lot bigger than Houtin Plage with more options for eating, shopping and even a discotheque! However being out of season a number of them were shut, but I could imagine it being a lot busier and bustling during peak season. The beach was just as gorgeous going for miles. As our parking time was up and we had so much stuff we decided to try and find a closer carpark. It has quite a complex one way system but if you head to the furthest corner of the town there’s a carpark which allows easy access to the beach. Unlike the other beach this had a large sandbank where we had pitched up. It provided a safe place to paddling and kick around. The waves were bigger here, so Kipper and I decided to curl up on the rug. Although I’m not sure if the old French lady approved of him eating Pom Bears making a comment about how fat he was! Have you ever tried keeping one year old still and out of the strong afternoon sun without bribery?
We headed back mid afternoon and hit the pool. Trying kipper in his little floating chair. Unlike when we went to Spain the boys enjoyed the water together which was nice to see. Kipper loved being pushed around by Monkey. We opted to have a BBQ for dinner rather than go out. Afterwards Monkey and I enjoyed a quiet walk around the complex with Kipper trying to get him to drop off. The sun was setting and it was really peaceful, Monkey insisted on pushing as long as it wasn’t a hill!
Thursday – The beach in the morning and the pool in the afternoon seemed to work well for us so the only decision we had to make was which beach. Yesterday has been more difficult because of the sheer expanse of sand and Monkey wanting to be near the sea and Kipper not sleeping. So we opted to try the lake which we had driven past on the way home yesterday. Its claim is that it is the biggest lake in Europe and it did stretch for miles. The manmade beach was reasonably thin which meant that we could be close to the water.
Monkey was after sea glass which it didn’t have but the water was also shallow. It heated up really quickly as well so it was like having a very warm bath. Free from weed the water was perfect to explore. Monkey played with the beach ball and his quoits. Kipper literally crawled around in the water, stopping and splashing every now and again. We even spotted some little fish although they proved impossible to catch with the bucket and spade. The only slightly disappointing thing was that the beach itself was not that clean. I had not realised the amount of work which must go into keeping the sea beaches clean. There was a lot of cigarette butts around so we had to watch Kipper like a hawk.
Around lunchtime the boys were getting hungry and it was hot, as there wasn’t the natural breeze which we got at the sea. The area around the lake had a lot more bars, cafes and restaurants. So we headed up to one to have a snack, thankfully they all had a lot of shade. Monkey had another croquette mosier which is fast becoming his favourite choice, with both had open sandwiches. We had a lovely view across the lake and it really felt like we were on holiday if that makes sense. And of course a holiday is not complete without an ice lolly! I really liked the picturesque nature of the lake with its tree lined walkway and bright coloured water sports.
Heading back to the holiday Parc we actually spent more time in the main pool this time with Monkey enjoying the slides. He can’t touch the bottom of the pool in that area so I stayed at the bottom to catch him. And got throughly drenched. I may have managed a cheeky go myself. I don’t think I have been on a water slide since being a kid. We found another area in the pool which Kipper could walk around with a low wall to support him. Although he wasn’t sure about Monkey and I being somewhere else and he and Hubby were there. He kept pointing over to us as if to say come back! He also realised that he could walk unaided with the water supporting him. I honestly thought that he would walk properly this holiday but now we are getting near the end Im not so sure.
We decided to have dinner out and walked into Hourtin Plage the restaurant we had planned to visit was shut. Yet it was open on Tuesday. There doesn’t seem to be any logical reason to use as to why some places are open some day and not others. Thankfully the one closes to the beach was open and we enjoyed meze and pizza. They only had one thing on their kids menu which was chicken nuggets. Although we ordered these for Monkey he shared ours as well. It was a really relaxed meal and just what we needed after a busy day of fun. Monkey and I popped down to the beach to watch the sun going down. It was pretty hard negotiating that we would find sea glass tomorrow and not while dressed in our nice clothes…
Friday – our only objective was to find sea glass and we failed! In fact we had intended on trying out another beach called Montalivet. As we drove down the high street to the beach area it felt like a new town and was reasonably busy with surf shops and cafes. There was still a fair amount closed. When we reached the beach the waves were immense! The sea was rougher than we had seen it elsewhere and more like I was expecting from the Atlantic coast. The beach was quite narrow and had been newly raked. There were no stones in sight, which meant no sea glass! We decided to walk up the high street and have a drink to see if the sea was on the turn. It wasn’t, an hour later and it was still the same so much to Monkey’s disappointment we cut our losses and went on further up.
We didn’t really know what to expect when we got to Soulac-Sur-Mer. So far most of the beaches we had visited are single hughstreet villages. Soulac-Sur-Mer is a town with the most ornate red brick buildings I have seen. I would almost say its a little Gaudiesque with various turrets, ornate names and enamelled tiles. There appeared to be a lot more shops, restaurants and bars. After getting stuck in one of the most complicated one way systems I have know, we chanced upon a carpark which was central and walked down to the front. Its a lot more cosmopolitan and there was even restaurants on the beach itself.
Although it was a long way down to the sea and we had to carry the buggy most of the way. The waves were still stronger than we had seen elsewhere and the tide appeared to be in. Monkey set about drawing pictures in the sand. As the sea when out it started to reveal some stones which were a little like the mini gems you get when you pan for gems at an attraction. Alas no glass but seeing an opportunity to keep him entertained I suggested we go gem hunting… He loved waiting for the waves to go out before running in to grab a handful and then carefully sorting through them. It kept him entertained for ages. I think he would have stayed longer but since we knew it would be the last afternoon we could hit the pool we left around 4pm.
Hubby and I would like to come back to explore Soulac-Sur-Mer and we left feeling like we may have missed something special. We were later into the pool than normal and the weather felt like it was starting to close in, yet we stayed until it closed at 7pm. We all had one last go on the Aqua Pirates slides. It only seems like a few hours before Monkey and I went on it for the first time on Monday. We opted to use up the left overs in the fridge for dinner. The shop had, had a delivery so we picked up some pork kebabs too.
Thankfully the kids were so worn out with the days activities, Hubby and I managed to get most of the packing done while finishing up the last of the wine (well you can’t take it with you!).
Saturday – I know this sounds kind of mean for the new comers who will be occupying our mobile home this afternoon but I do like it when the weather turns rotten on your day home! We woke in the early hours to thunderstorms and heavy rain. I am sure it will be bright sunshine again by the time we reach our stop for the night. We decided to take a more leisurely drive back with a stop over in Rouen, which is about half way and 6.5 hours from Hourtin Plage.
We had booked a hotel on the outskirts of Rouen in the leisure park area which was cheap and cheerful, but ideal for a stop over. The front reminded me a bit of the motels you see in the films. There was not a lot of space in the room itself, partly because of the huge bed. Just as well since we didn’t have a travel cot for Kipper. Monkey slept on a meze area above us. The stairs were quite step but okay for him although Kipper loves to climb stairs so we had to watch him like a hawk.
For dinner we walked just down the road to Hippopotamus which is a well priced a steak house. We had a great meal and it turned out to be the cheapest of the holiday. Its very kid centred with good changing facilities, balloons and character stirrers and pick sticks. They were very friendly and helpful even warming up Kippers food. We would definitely look to eat there again should we find ourselves in the area again.
Sunday – We were up and out early for the two hour drive to the Euro Tunnel and our drive home.. Now its time to plan our next adventure.
Above: sad faces when we left the pool for the last time, read all about our first week here.
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We were invited to stay at Eurocamp in return for this honest review. All opinions and words are my own