THE arrival of kids turns your world upside down. And no more so than when it comes to holidays.
No more chilling by the pool of a boutique hotel. Now my three-year-old is very much up and running, the idea of making her sit nicely and eat at a posh hotel fills me with dread.
These days, a little home from home with a lot more sunshine, activities and a beach for sandcastles is the only way to keep the whole family happy — and Domaine de l’Orangerie de Lanniron in Brittany delivers in spades.
The campsite is part of Le French Time — a recent merger of two French campsite specialists, Les Castels and Sites et Paysages. And like many of its 80 sites, it’s a little special.
Set just outside the city of Quimper, it has everything from a golf course to an imposing chateau that’s been in the same family since 1833.
Now the chateau hosts weddings and events and its gorgeous grounds are dotted with mobile homes, camping and motorhome pitches and even the odd rental cottage.
It’s a perfect compromise that feels rural and peaceful yet rather grand; stuffed full of quiet tree-lined or riverside walks despite the convenient access to Quimper and busy towns and beaches.
‘IMMACULATE WHITE SANDS’
It’s like staying in the grounds of a National Trust property, and who doesn’t like the sound of that?
The host family isn’t shy about sharing the gardens, either.
We spent a heady afternoon playing giant Connect Four and other garden party games on the terraced lawn, at one of the summer garden parties the family organises for site residents.
Our two-bedroom Privilege mobile home was also great. Clean and comfortable, with decking that my husband and I sat on every evening after our daughter, Flo, had passed out exhausted.
The real reason for visiting the Domain de l’Orangerie is the area around it.
We went big on trips to the beach since there’s an embarrassment of them in this region.
The immaculate white sands of Cap Coz were so quiet I suspect the locals are deliberately keeping it a secret.
Even the big tourist beach of Benodet — also a white sand delight, complete with cafes, shops and amusements — wasn’t remotely crowded on our mid-week visit.
There’s so much to do within a 30 to 40-minute drive of Lanniron.
Hiring two bikes and a tow-along “chariot” from the campsite, we spent a full day exploring historic Quimper, complete with quaint bridges that span any one of the three rivers it sits on.
There’s a spire around every corner, and the narrow streets and beamed buildings are postcard-worthy.
On one of the only two slightly rainy days we had, we visited the historic town of Locronan with its quaint old stone buildings, gift shops aplenty and an overindulgence of crépe houses.
Locronan is also a religious landmark, and when we visited it was hosting the Troménie Catholic pilgrimage.
During this 12km religious procession, the locals dress up as saints in traditional garb, further adding to the sense you’re time-travelling.
We hadn’t had our fill of cobbles yet that day, so headed into Concarneau.
This historic walled town juts out into the harbour, and a walk around the walls, through the narrow streets and craft shops is a must.
Back at the campsite, the main pool is heated, immaculately clean and great fun, while the restaurant next to it serves good food whether you want the familiar or something a bit posh.
GETTING THERE: Brittany Ferries’ overnight Portsmouth to St Malo crossings are from £114.75 one way, based on a car and two passengers. See brittany-ferries.co.uk.
STAYING THERE: A mobile home at Domaine de l’Orangerie de Lanniron for up to six is from £418 for a week self-catering in May, rising to £1,014 for a week in July.
Other mobile homes, apartments and cottages are available. To book, go to lefrenchtime.co.uk.
You even get BBQ parties and live music in the evenings,…
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