We had a fantastic holiday here, one of the best we've had.
The weather certainly helped, it really was lovely, blue skies, hot sunshine and very little wind. Normally at this time of year it's approx 22 degs, we were there for 9 nights and it ranged from 24 - 29 degs during our stay.
We had a 'Premium Tent' pitch which meant we had a little shed on our pitch which contained a fridge with ice box (VERY handy!), a gas BBQ complete with gas bottle, 2 reclining lafuma chairs, and a parasol and base. We also had a table and chairs on the pitch too and 1 hr free WiFi per day. Surprisingly there are only 2 of these pitches, and 2 similar ones which had a tap on the pitch too and which were much larger, they're supposed to be for caravans but they're happy to let tent users have them too, indeed both were occupied by tents while we were there.
The pitches are all large (some are enormous!) and most are delimited with mature trees/hedges. There are plenty of hook up posts and water taps dotted about, and fire extinguishers too.
The site is lovely, there are lots of trees and planted areas - Chris the gardener was kept very busy weeding, watering, pruning. It's obvious everyone takes very great care of the site, it's immaculately kept and Eric and Ann the owners are very visible indeed, we got the impression they run a very tight ship!
We heard very little noise after 10pm and regularly saw the night watchman patrolling the site. The barriers are closed from 10.30pm to 7am so no cars were moving around after this time which is good.
The sanitary blocks were very good - we used 2 mainly. I liked the showers in the block near the reception as they were larger and had a sink in them so you could do your teeth without having to go in another cubicle. I preferred the toilets in the main shower block near us though (L'oiseau) as they were newer - the ones in the block near reception must be the original ones I think and the bright orange walls were a bit too garish for me first thing in the morning lol
The showers themselves were really powerful and there's ample hot water. We never had to queue for showers or toilets, but then again the campsite wasn't anywhere near full so in August this might not be the case.
There were plenty of disabled toilets/shower rooms, these were really big and the ones we saw all had shower chairs in them.
There were ample dishwashing points next to all the shower blocks - the ones near us had 12 double sinks in them, as did the ones near reception. Again there was plenty of hot water and we never queued to use them. In the main they were very clean - any mess was because of inconsiderate campers not wiping them down or removing waste food etc from them.
There are also numerous clothes washing/drying facilities, I think they had a room with washers and dryers adjacent to each dish washing area. I used a washing machine once to save on having to take so many clothes - it cost 5E (plus 50c for a detergent tablet from reception) and our clothes came out lovely and clean, and it only took 25 mins too, I wish my machine at home was as quick lol. I had no need to use the driers as we took a rotary drier with us and it was so hot everything dried in an hour so I can't comment on the driers other than saying they cost 5E too.
The pool area is lovely.Although it was busy so I can imagine it being heaving in July/August?? Often we went there for 2-3 hours and there were sunbeds with towels on but no one occupying them the whole time we were there, so it was obvious people were using them in the morning and then going off for a few hours before coming back again which we thought was a bit inconsiderate.
The shop on site is well stocked, some things were a bit pricy but the bread and croissants were lovely! We used the takeaway a couple of times which was lovely and had a fantastic meal one night in the restaurant. If you have children you can take them to the 'Garderie' run by the kids club staff who will look after them free of charge while you have a meal in peace - we did this and it was lovely!
Talking about the kids club - as well as the ones run by Eurocamp/Keycamp etc, the campsite run their own. It was open Mon - Sat from 10am-12pm and our little boy (4) loved it! And it's free too. They also have 2 junior discos a week which he loved.
There is loads here for younger children to do - a huge play area, football pitches, pony rides, go karting, pedaloes on the lake, table tennis, games rooms, crazy golf, kids clubs, trampolines, basketball court.I would say kids up to 13/14 are very well catered for but maybe not so older teenagers.
Entertainment wise there wasn't too much on while were there - there were 2 bands but we didn't go see them, and a quiz which we didn't go to so I can't comment on any of those. We did however go to the 'Crepe Party' which was great fun - you buy a jug of batter at the bar for 7E20 which comes with little pots of nutella, jam and sugar, and a lemon if you pay 1E extra, and then you make your own pancakes at special tables in the bar garden which have gas powered crepe griddles on them - very entertaining! (and yummy too)
The staff were all extremely friendly and spoke very good English,although they really appreciated it if you tried to speak French, I can speak enough to get by and enjoyed doing so. They're all extremely courteous too, like I said earlier, I think the owners run a tight ship and it shows.
There's a large SuperU at La Mothe Archard which is only 10 minutes drive away from the site. There's also a fabulous patisserie there opposite the Post office which sold cakes and pastries to die for!
We didn't have many days out as the weather was so good we were happy to laze around the tent/pool but the following are all worth a look -
Apremont - lovely castle and lakeside beach area St Gilles Croix de Vie - fantastic beach
Bretignolle Sur Mer - the beach here is quieter but very pretty
Lac DuJaunay - nice walks and you can hire canoes or pedalos
Ile De Noirmoutier - stunning beach about 80 minutes drive away but well worth the trip!
Would we go again? Most definitely - we've already booked for June 2012!!
- Also Known As:
- La Garangeoire Hotel Vendee
- La Garangeoire Saint-Julien-Des-Landes, Vendee, France