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Camping La Rive
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Reviewed 25 August 2013

We have just returned from a 14 night stay at La Rive. We were given pitch J15, which in my opinion was a pretty good location. Our first impression of the site was interesting as we had a 9hr trip from Caen and were just asked to pull over when we arrived - there was no real welcome or welcome pack for that matter. However after finding reception and exchanging the 20 Euros for the car barrier key we were finally shown to our pitch. It was very tight, pitches very close together within a few meters and very, very small. We have a smallish, single axel caravan and smallish awning but it left next to no leisure space, for dining, sitting and for the kids to play. It meant that all the chn ended up playing in the road, which was relatively safe since there were a limited amount of vesicles but don't expect ball games of any description. Some of those opposite us were touring with huge vans and accompanying awnings and they needed to push their vans in to the very back within cm's to fit on the pitch, then park their cars away ? The pitch was surrounded by hedges but not all were - so were were given some privacy, and there were lots of over hanging trees which gave welcome respite from the sun. It did however mean that the solar lights didn't get enough charge because it was SO dark! We were extremely lucky for the first week f out stay - the area that we were in had a fantastic community of English speaking groups, they chatted to us and the children all played nicely. The campsite is about 95 percent french so very few English people, and very little English spoken anywhere in the region. We had a serviced pitch, with water, elec and drainage but it was all together so unable to connect the drainage, it did make it easier however emptying the waste as it was only a matter of meters.

The Pool complex is amazing! if the overall review was all about the pools it would get 10 out of 10! It was extremely clean, and well maintained and had lifeguards some of the time. There were so many pools that it suited all ages and abilities, and my kids - 3 and 5 thought it simply superb. The other nice thing was that there were so many activity pools, and slides, flumes etc that I was actually able to swim in the deep pool which was a novelty! My only concern was the toilets, which got pretty smelly by the end of the day! The swimming trunk rule for men and boys was enforced and many families that we met had told us that they had to purchase trunks whilst there! Buggies are no allowed, and there was the normal scrum for loungers, but also saw a pool attendant removing towels and neatly folding them if the loungers weren't actually being used for a long period of time! I read somewhere that sun cream wasn't allowed but I found this to be completely untrue ?

The entertainment team worked extremely hard. It was the same people that did EVERYTHING. For example the did the village dance, the zumba, the aqua aerobics, pools games and then singing, dancing and cabaret in the evening which I really enjoyed. The Karaoke was a bit dire all in French but hey... your in France! The shop on site stoked everything, but as you would expert was expensive, however, I think France is quite expensive generally paying £2.40 for 6 donuts in an intermarche supermarket nearby?

The beach by the lake was nice and meant that the kids have the sandcastle option rather than the pool without having to travel anywhere, it was clean and they organised a whole array of activities should you desire. The lake was a bit murky and it really needs a shower to wash off the sand to improve the area.

The kids play park was also amazing, with things for all ages.

The park is deceptively small, and all of the pool, restaurant,bar is all in the same place - not so great if your pitched right on top of it as some were. One afternoon I took a short bike ride around and went to the back, where it was like something out of a slum - there were no marked pitches and it was very, very tight! glad we weren't there!!!

It was noisy both daytime and night!

The childrens club was opt in or opt out they had to go at one time and be collected at another, it was all in French and they spoke no English to translate so my daughter was anxious. A couple we met made me chuckle as she asked her 8 yr old if she had enjoyed her morning, when she replied she didn't know cos it was all in French. She had been there 3 hrs!!!

The service at any of the bars, restaurants or snack bar was painfully slow. In the evening I ended up taking a bottle of white wine spritzer cos it could take all evening to be served!

The toilets and showers are adequate, but they really do need updating. The ones near the pool complex looked newer, but the ones near our pitch were older, and have the push button showers - some only lasted 10 seconds! Hard work with kids, and shampoo! Many reviewers have commented on the lack of toilet paper, but in my experience that is true of most campsites in France so we always have a "toilet" bag, which includes, toilet roll, flush-able wipes, handwash and baby wipes - suitable for any disaster! Many people don't wash hands, and in one toilet block you had to go into the adjacent hall to find a hand basin - errrrr! They were kept very clean though, there was always someone cleaning inside.

There is also not huge amounts to do in the local area, the pyla Dune (huge sand dune) is def worth a visit, and Biscarosse Plage was a lovely clean beach, with some of the most amazing waves and currents I have come across. Be mindful of the warning sighs though, and always stay close to the lifeguards! I wouldn't let my kids hands go when in the water - it's far too dangerous. (apparently a 14 yr old local buy was drowned in the first week we stayed for having a race with his father 150 mtr out) When given the respect it deserves it is safe enough.

Overall we had a nice time, but the pitches were small, and some facilities need updating. We wouldn't return but did enjoy our stay :0)

  • Stayed: August 2013, travelled with family
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2  Thank Litl_ladi
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 24 August 2013

We had an overall poor experience at this site. The main issue was the location and size of the pitch. On arrival we were shown our pitch which was on the main road (Tarmac) on he corner to the swimming and bar area, the pitch was tiny and the electric hookup 20 metres away.

Not wanting to be on a busy road I immediately went to reception and requested to move, they said no Nor would they refund so I could move on. I asked if we could have a hookup extension, again no and they had none left to rent.

This meant we had to pitch facing the main road, we had no peace and no privacy. We could not go to sleep for the sound of scooters passing a couple of feet from our head till 12:30 every nigh and were woken by the same sound at 8.

Due to the amount of cars, the kids couldn't play safely outside the tent and at least once a day we would get a line of traffic queued outside our tent- about 6 foot from our eating table.

I could not wait to leave and get some sleep and away from cars and scooters.

The pool is good, although the amount of rules is a bit off putting and the speedo thing weird - see them grin when they point at you tell you on reception. It's not a pool to relax around but very good fun.

The site is saved from a 1 star review by the superb lake and some decent shops. The food was very, very poor and overpriced.

Biscarosse close by is good, we spent quite a lot of time there to get some piece and good food.

Room Tip: Do not accept a pitch on the main road, watch out the hookup is.
  • Stayed: August 2013, travelled with family
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Thank matt_197821
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 21 August 2013

Have just returned from 12 night stay. The pool complex is extensive and there are pools to suit all ages. My children aged 10 and 8 loved the splash park and the giant tipping bucket! The beach and the lake were also worth a visit. Supermarket stocks most things, but only used to top up the purchases made at supermarket in Biscarrosse. Good cycle tracks either way out the campsite, although you do have to go on the road a short way to get to the tracks, but the only traffic is coming in or out of site. I would return, but would not stay with Thomson due to the fact that I feel they have cramped too many static caravans onto the area they have been allocated. Parking was an issue, and we had to reverse out past 2 other pitches to get our car out each time. My son had his bike taken from outside the pool area, it was returned about 6 hours later. It was with our bikes, which we had not locked up, but have never felt the need to on any other campsites we have been on before. We will do in future. Karen, the Thomson rep, kindly lent my son her bike for the day!
The site did give a storm warning one night, but I feel that a 5 day forecast at the information area would be useful as I have seen these at other site that I have visited in the past.
All in all my children had a fantastic time - if the children are happy then we are too!

  • Stayed: August 2013, travelled with family
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2  Thank JBlatch2013
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Al_Fresco_11, Al Fresco Holidays at Camping La Rive, responded to this reviewResponded 22 August 2013

Hi,
It's great to see your children enjoyed their holiday on La Rive - it is a really popular site and the swimming pool seems to be getting some great feedback scoring 8.7 out of 10 by our customers.

It’s a shame to see that you feel you won't travel with us to this site again as we'd love to see you again next summer. We do monitor feedback and we have received some positive feedback regarding our location on this site.

Thank you for taking the time to write your feedback.
Kind Regards, the Al Fresco team

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 21 August 2013

went for 2nd year running with Thomson Al Fresco - overnight ferry from Portsmouth to St Malo and drove down to La Rive in one day - took about 7 hours with about 5 stops on way.

MObile homes are nice - what you would expect, beds could be bit more comfy. Had 3 bed room Vivaldi XL

Nice clean private sandy beach on lake which was warm and very shallow with water sports/beach activites available also. Found that most of staff speak English.

in contrast to review by 'Mat' - we have found the rep very helpful 2 years running, also we regularly used sun protection cream around the pool - I think the sign relates to sun tanning oil which obviously is not a good idea. I do not think pushchairs around the pool would be that safe and also most babies/young children would not want to spend hours in the heat as I remember (I have 3 children who are now aged 8-11).

The restaurant on site is quite expensive but only similar to most other similar type of restaurants, there are cheaper options and the menu is in English and French.

The new water slides are great, there are numerous outdoor pools and also indoor pools also which are great if rain or need to get away from the sun. We had great weather.

We bought a lot of food from the supermarket in Biscarosse which is cheaper.

The beach at Biscarosse Plage (not on site) is very busy and can get caught in traffic++, also the sea along that west coast is very rough with under currents so can be quite dangerous, the beach on site is much nicer.

We did various day trips also over the 2 yrs.

there are good amenities on site, nice cycle tracks through woods close by also.

One down side is that the evening entertainment for children/adults only really seems to be aimed at the French guests.

  • Stayed: August 2013, travelled with family
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Thank tomuw
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Al_Fresco_11, Al Fresco Holidays at Camping La Rive, responded to this reviewResponded 22 August 2013

Hi Tom,

Thank you for your great feedback - it's great to see when our customers have enjoyed their holiday especially from such a loyal customer.

I will make sure your kind comments regarding our representative is passed on as I know she'll be pleased to see she made a positive impact on your holiday.

The swimming pools on site seem to be getting some great feedback and the new childrens splash pool seems to be very popular.

Thank you once again for your feedback - we hope to see you again next summer.
The Al Fresco team

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 19 August 2013

Just returned from spending 10 nights at La Rive, was a bit nervous having read some of the reviews on here whether I had picked the right site. Firstly the facilities are great and the site is immaculate. The site has an amazing pool complex, we wnet to nearby Aqualand for one day and wished we had stayed at camp as Aqualand is a rip off and would have more fun at the pools on camp. There is also a gorgeous lakeside beach which again is immaculately kept. There is a wide variety of watersports available, sailing, kayaking, motorboats, pedalos, windsurfing, banana boats etc. The lake itself is is massive and very shallow, I'm 6 ft and could walk out almost half a mile without getting out of my depth, so very family friendly. One thing I would highly recommend is buying a week long family multi buy ticket for the watersports, we spent 89 euro on a ticket, for this you got one go on a banana boat for upto 5, 2 hours on a pedalo for 4, 6 ice creams and as much kayaking for your family as you like for a whole week, we worked out we would have spent about 160 euros for the sports we did.

The pitches are a good size, shaded, with water, electric and drainage on most, they are flat and we didn't feel like we were on top of our neighbours, the toilets and showers are immaculate, typically french with no toilet seats and bring your own paper (The new block does have 2 toilets with seats), the only criticism I would have is there are only 2 blocks for the whole sight and if you are pitched in a far corner it could be a long walk to the block and there were occassional queues for showers after the pool closed.

A part from the water activities the sites ideally suited for cyclists with many routes nearby, we did a couple of them and they were very good and safe for young ones to cycle on away fro traffic most of the time.

As people have said the shop is well stocked but is expensive but there is plenty of supermarkets nearby. Can't comment on the entertainment as we didn't bother.

Infact the only real downside I would say is the tightness of the camp road trying to manouvre a caravan or large motorhome is a nightmare, we had a twin axle caravan and struggled to get it to the pitch. Once at the pitch the real struggle began, trying to get the caravan on the pitch is not for the faint hearted, took six of us plus motor mover plus half an hour to get the caravan onto the pitch. Even single axle caravans were struggling with motormovers. The person on our pitch before us had to get a branch cut off a tree to get their motorhome out after the holiday. However the effort was worth it. It is definately a great site and well worth a visit.

Also worth a visit close by is the tallest sand dune in europe which really is a must see, take body board to board down it.

Room Tip: Pitches at the back are slightly biggerwith more room for kids to play around.
  • Stayed: August 2013, travelled with family
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Thank wookie21971
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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