Camping Bel, Tranche sur la Mer, France
This review is written from the perspective of being a first holiday park holiday and similarly the first at a Eurocamp. Our party was two adults and two young children (3 and 1).
The booking experience with Eurocamp was good - they’ve invested a lot in their website which makes it super easy to book. There was a slight snafu with some extras which needed to be resolved directly with them, but all in all was a hassle-free experience. Eurocamp were great at sending all the required documents well in advance and in terms of everything been set for what we’d booked, it was all done properly. So full marks there.
As for the actual campsite itself, on the whole it met our expectations. We arrived by boat in to Saint Malo. We expected a journey of around 3 hours to the campsite - but it ended up being more like 4.5 hours - which for our two young children was probably about 1.5 hours too long. Not the fault of the campsite, obviously, but something we would probably pay closer attention to next time. Having said that, the route to the campsite was nice and simple - although we avoided the tolls on the way down. We used them on the way back and for the sake of about 6 euros would definitely do that again as it did seem to make the return journey pass more quickly.
La Tranche Sur Mer is a lovely little seaside town. Right on the beach with plenty of options around. The town itself is quaint, and had a market on one of the days. Just don’t get fooled in to buying from the nougat guy - lovely product but incredibly expensive.
The campsite is well positioned. It’s a 5 min walk in one direction to the beach, and about 10 minutes to the town; and a 5 min walk in the other direction to a huge supermarket and pharmacy.
The intention of the holiday was to do as little as possible, and despite visiting the supermarket pretty much every day, the campsite enabled this. We relaxed bath and bedtime schedules, resolved to not make too many plans. Most days were a leisurely morning, maybe a trip to the pool, a spot of lunch, afternoon nap, maybe another trip to the pool before dinner. The weather was great - plenty warm enough all the time, even on the occasions when it did rain or was overcast.
The campsite is well proportioned - a mixture of static caravans and camper van pitches, but each of the pitches were reasonably private/secluded with lots of trees and hedgerows everywhere to section off your own little space. Parking facilities on the pitches are a little tight, to the extent that most of the roads appeared to be littered with cars, but it was no huge issue. The majority of visitors appears to be Irish, British or Northern European. All of the staff spoke excellent English.
The facilities on the site are on the whole pretty good. There is a small cafe/bar serving very basic food and drink, plus ice creams and a few key essentials. It was lacking things, but given the proximity of the supermarket, was not surprising nor a particular issue. The pool area is very nice - a decent sized main pool, with an adjoining shallow kids’ pool, as well as a covered jacuzzi pool. It was reasonably busy, but not so busy to feel like you were crowded and there were usually enough recliners available. There’s also a large bouncy whale, a nice play park, table tennis tables and even a gym, if you feel so inclined. Elsewhere on site are washing facilities and a small soft play area which was great for our little ones, and also a bike rental place with all manner of bikes available should you not have taken your own. My 3 year old had never ridden a proper bike before, but for the princely sum of about 8 euros for 3 days’ rental, he was soon on a bike with stabilisers and flying around the park (with me chasing after him.) There was also good entertainment available and for older kids a daily kids club that would get them out of your way for a few hours every day.
Perhaps the highlight of the camp was the croissant man - every morning a man in a van would circle the park a few times ringing his bell, and selling bread, pastries, croissants and so on. Simply a case of flagging him down and choosing what you wanted and all reasonably priced.
In terms of the Eurocamp experience, it was fine. All the extras we’d ordered were ready and waiting, and the staff - whilst most of them clearly young ish teens / students on work experience style, were friendly and helpful and enjoying their summers away from parents.
The only downsides to mention are:
- Our static caravan had seen better days. I genuinely suspect (hope) this would have been its last season as it was falling apart in places. The decking was a lovely place to be but it was old and rotten in places, and moved a little worryingly as you walked over it - esp. compared with others around us which had clearly been refreshed recently.
We were in a ‘2 bedroom’ job - which was fine for 2 adults and 2 small kids, but you wouldn’t have wanted any more people in there. There were a handful of bigger more modern versions on the site - and these looked vastly superior and should we go again would definitely opt for one of those as I seem to recall the price difference wasn’t huge.
It had a decent array of utensils and crockery etc. - but limited in places. It had a bbq, which worked well, but was absolutely filthy and needed replacing.
The campsite was generally in a good state of upkeep, but some of the internal roads were a bit pot-holed, and there was a huge amount of sand around - this might have been great as we thought we’d got a free beach for the kids to play in right outside the home - but it was absolutely filthy; even walking through it was not pleasant; but after a few minutes of the kids playing it they were head to toe in black dust/mud.
- I hadn’t fully appreciated that Eurocamp actually don’t own their campsites (well not this one at least) - they sort of tenant parts of it. This meant that they were at the mercy of the landlord and by all accounts he is a somewhat awkward individual. For instance, there is barrier control to the park which is locked from 2300-0800 - in and out. No great issue during the holiday, but when it came time to leave, and we had to leave early in order to make our boat, it meant we had to pack the car the night before and then leave it parked on the road outside the park otherwise we wouldn’t have been able to get through the barrier in the morning! This made me a little nervous in terms of it being a target, but fortunately it was all fine. It was also advertised as having free wifi - but this was in the bar area only and you had to go and plead to get a code, which entitled you to a rather stingy 5 hours for free on one device. We didn’t bother as roaming rates had just been relaxed so just took our own wifi hotspot an a UK sim card.
On the whole though, those issues are small and we did have a good time and a nice family holiday and would recommend it.
We most likely wouldn’t return to this park, although this is more due to the fact of being interested to see what other Eurocamp sites are like and it being just a little too long a journey from the port we need to use. But if you were heading to that area, then I’d say you could do a lot worse (despite having no frame of reference!)