Tuesday, 27 October 2015

A family holiday in the south of France (and day in Monaco)

Our summer holiday seems like a distant memory-the 30+ degree hear certainly does!! And yes I am writing about summer holidays in the October half term!!

Just after the school term finished we set off early on the Friday morning to get the Ferry to Calais-a little bit apprehensive as to whether we would have to wait for ages due the problems in Calais, but luckily we were early and they had space on the earlier Ferry. It was a long journey with the two boys (one with chicken pox in full anger too) down to nearly Dijon but we made it to our over night stop without any problems.

Our over night stop Hotel Hermes was great for what we needed it for, the restaurant on site was lovely and if we had been earlier there was even a small outdoor pool to cool down and relax in. I would definitely recommend it-although beware the rooms are very hot-no air con and the fan wasn't powerful-I did have to duck out at 12.30am to get medicine for Sam out of the car as the heat was really aggravating his chicken pox bless him-eventually he and I got to sleep!

We took things a bit too steady the following morning as both my Dad and James were tired from the drive the day before. Had we have known it was the French national factory two week shut down we may have left earlier. We weren't quite so lucky with the journey down that day, with the sat nav being stuck on 5 hours for a very, very long time out of about a 7 hour journey and taking a detour through the Alps due to an accident on the road we needed.

Edge of the Alps-one advantage to the detour
Eventually we arrived at the campsite in St Raphael around 7.30pm. We were staying in one of the canvas mobile homes along with my parents and one of my brothers. It was a bit of a tight space for all of us if I am honest but it was the only way we could go on holiday as my parents paid for the accommodation. None the less, the mobile home had everything we needed, and had air con in the lounge area which was needed in the 34c heat!

The campsite was probably the largest I have stayed on, but it wasn't noisy and I think you get some of the best facilities on the larger campsites. The pool area was fantastic, one extra large and really deep pool (which you were actually allowed to dive and jump into!), one slightly smaller pool with one tube slide, and the children's splash zone which is the best children's area I have seen on a campsite.

At the park- after a swim!

Enjoying the park as he wasn't able to swim due to chicken pox

The boys, especially Alex would have spent the whole holiday in the pool I think, and had we had been on holiday longer than a week I think he would have been able to swim a width of the pool (as unfortunately I can't afford lessons for him). It was so fantastic to see them having such fun in the pool, I think we all needed it to cool off and it was great to see how confident they had become in the water.

Although I have been lucky enough to go to France many times over my childhood years I have never been to this area before, and it really was beautiful. I wish we had explored more, but the 6 days we spent there went so quickly, I'd love to go back, maybe in May or Oct when it isn't quite as hot as it was a bit too hot to wander around and explore!

Sunset by our caravan one night

We had quite a chilled out holiday, a visit to the local beach, ice creams, a few meals out, one market, local towns, and a trip to Aqua Land with my aunt, uncle and 3 cousins who joined us on holiday on the Tuesday. Alex loved Aqua Land, for a boy who is scared of heights, stairs with gaps and not overly confident in water he was in his element, I didn't recognise the boy flying down slides by himself!!

Agay beach
We took a coastal drive one afternoon, such stunning views and some really amazing properties! Had we not have had the boys with us we would have pulled up along of the cliff/beaches that you could only walk to, I am sure it would have been quite perfect!

Views from the coastal drive
We also took a day trip to Monaco which was a nightmare to get to, we were originally going to get the train from Nice as thoguht the boys would love the fast train ride. After a hairy wait with some street people washing our windscreen at at set of traffic lights and then demanding money )after us saying no to the wash!), wiggling our way around the streets to find the station car park, Sam having a almost diarrhoea poo in the car park (in a nappy thankfully), rushing down to the station, to come across a huge queue and the train we needed to get arriving in 5 mins, with the following one being more than an hour later, we decided against it (and breathe that was a long sentence)! The only problem was there was tonnes of traffic getting out!

Eventually we made it, and it was pretty amazing, and definitely a glimpse into how the other half live! Alex and I really hate their car-parks though, underground, no air and winding and bending didn't help our claustrophobia much! It was such a hot day so it day make it hard work getting about, all we wanted was a drink! We met up with my Aunt and her family (my parents went here last Oct so stayed near the campsite) and headed up to the palace, there are some really great views from up here so well worth the walk it is also so pristine it almost looks like it isn't real, it's so surreal!

We also found the tourist train which was a great relief for our hot and tired bodies (and to entertain the boys) and also a good way to view everything relatively quickly with headphones to listen and tell you what you can see in many different languages (thanks to Sam pressing the button a lot when I was trying to listen! It follows some of the race track and also head up to Monte Carlo casino.

The holiday was soon over as soon as we got there really, it went by far too quickly and if we were to do that again we would definitely stay for at least 10 days as far too long to travel down for just under a week really. The journey back home was much easier as didn't really get held up in traffic, although it would have been a very different story going down to the south of France as the other side of the motorway was chock-a-block! Unfortunately James did a bit (a lot) of damage in the campanile carpark the morning we made our way to the Ferry. He managed to run over a rock which was next to our parking space creating about 4 grand of repairs (so insurance sky high next year)!!

Happy on the Ferry home
On the Ferry home
 I would definitely like to go back to this area one day, just without the major heat as I just melt and get a bit grouchy, we all had a great time and it was so, so nice to get some proper sun and enjoy a pool too :)

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