We stayed here for 2 weeks in June 2011 in one of the caravans on site.
First impressions, when we arrived, were that the pitches were a little small with little room around them or between vans, and fairly shaded from the sun by the abundance of large trees - OK for some but we like somewhere to sunbathe outside the van, however, we asked our 'Venue' rep to be moved and we got a caravan right opposite a little park with quite a bit of room both sides.
The first day we arrived was a Friday and it being a French bank holiday the site was very busy. We got to the pool only to be turned away by a security guard as we had forgotten to put on our wristbands in the rush to unpack and get to the pool. After getting them the over-zealous security then insisted that I took off my T-shirt before going into the pool complex!!! Many others were being stopped (like customs but worse) for various breaches of what we were to find were the abundance of rules and regulations that the reps failed to even mention. It was then I noticed that the security guard had a handgun (seriously) strapped to his belt, alongside what looked to be pepper spray and a baton!!! I hurriedly took my 3 young kids into the pool before he decided a strip search was required.
As soon as I got into the pool a lifeguard approached me and told me that swimming shorts were not allowed! First I had heard of it, but until I changed I couldn't swim with the kids, I wasn't even allowed to stand in the 2ft deep baby pool to keep an eye on my 2 yr old, despite my shorts being nowhere near the water.
We then got my 4 yr olds rubber ring out as I couldn't accompany him, to put around his waist - guess what - the lifeguard quickly jumped on that and insisted it wasn't allowed despite my protestations!! We later saw a couple who had a baby in an inflatable baby support ring being ushered out of the pool.
The guy who has the gun appears to either run the site or the site's security. He regularly has accidents, whilst we were there he twisted his ankle and trapped his finger in a door, funny until you think he has a loaded handgun whilst he's stumbling about. Even more concerning was when he was helping out with the odd bit of DIY. He helped the bloke next to our van fit a satellite dish. To do this he had to get up a ladder, so before this he 'sensibly' took off his gunbelt and left his handgun on the table outside the van. This was next to our van and the children's play area, where there were several kids milling around!
I better tell you about the site a bit more, to give a full picture. The site itself is fairly well run, and has so called security guards wandering around all the time, looking for any misdemeanours, I suspect, to allow them an opportunity to flex their under-developed muscles. The pool complex is pretty good, with a slide pool and surrounding pool, kids playpool, small kids paddling pool, and 2 larger deeper pools. There is a fair bit of room but very few sunbeds certainly not enough for when it gets busy and this wasn't even high season and no umbrellas to provide shade on hot sunny days . In fact, I cannot think of anywhere I would less like to be, come high season, as the site is so large that even a third full as it was at its busiest when we were there, was too busy for the pool complex to cope.
There is a bar, restaurant, snack bar, Spar supermarket, bread shop and little shop on site. The supermarket is fairly pricey but handy. The Bread/cake shop is a must and the french bread & cakes are all freshly baked and delicious. The restaurant is reasonabley priced compared to local restaurants, but quality and service is poor.
There is a mini-disco most night for the kids - this is mainly German focussed, and the bloke who does it scares the kids and is a bit weird. The kids had fun though when they got over that. After that there is nightly entertainment, bands, disco, kareoke etc - not great quality but OK for a campsite if that's what you want.
There is also a mini football pitch, tennis courts, a couple of playgrounds, mini golf and a games hall - so lots for kids to do. The animation team seem to do a bit with the kids, but we never left the kids with them at all so not sure what they do.
The site has wifi in some areas, but this is not free, which is a bit tight.
There is a beach about 10 mins walk from the site - this is nice, and runs all the way up to Valras Plage harbour a couple of miles away. There's a cafe on the beach - pricey but handy.
Locally, Valras Plage is about a 5 minute drive, or you can get the train/bus that goes from the site every hour and takes around 40 mins - the kids liked this. Valras Plage itself is OK around the harbour area, with some mediocre restaurants a small fair and a lovely beach. The Casino area of Valras Plage, between La Yole and the harbour is fairly run down and dingy.
Overall, a medium quality site, with a fair bit to do, but spoiled a little by the rules. I am all for dealing with anti-social campers, but this being a family site I would doubt there's ever anything to deal with, and when you would ever need a gun is beyond me.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- A green paradise of 23 hectares situated in the heart of a Wine Estate, ideal for a camping holiday in your caravan or motor home, in a modern and comfortable rental, or even in a tent. Enjoy the pleasures of the surrounding water either on; the sandy Mediterranean beaches, accessible by small sheltered paths, or in our heated swimming pools, equipped with water slides and a rapid river. Entertainment is provided throughout the day for all ages and tastes. After enjoying all the outdoor activities that are offered during the day, we offer you and the whole family to take part in our evening activities at Domaine La Yole, which are among the most renowned in campsites around France. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Camping Domaine De La Yole Hotel Valras-Plage