Keycamp – family friendly holidays in France? Yes, please.

I’ve said it before (in fact, last year when we had a Keycamp review trip…) – Keycamp is not our usual choice of family holiday – we’re far more likely to be found in an isolated cottage half way up a mountain, or camping in a field with only sheep for neighbours.

But we reviewed Keycamp last year (with some trepidation)… and had a blast. So when we were invited back this summer, I *might* have left teeth marks on their hand when I said yes.

After much deliberation, scouring of the Keycamp site, comparing of facilities and heated family meetings at the computer we finally came to a decision on which parc to visit. Eventually, the children won – we were headed back to the same parc in France as last year *sigh*. But actually? This was good. We knew we only had 7 nights, so we needed to go far enough south to get the sunshine, but not so far as to eat away our holiday with travelling. The Parc de Fierbois is only 4hrs from Cherbourg, which meant that catching the 7.30 ferry we were actually swimming in the pool by 4 in the afternoon. Perfect.

‘Our Place’. Trees. Shade. Loungers. Barbecue. Perfect.

The thing is, the Parc de Fierbois is simply an ideal family-friendly holiday location. It really is. But – one word of warning if you are booking. Be sure to call the rather brilliant Keycamp booking line and speak to the very helpful customer services team, rather than booking online – and when you do, request a site in the forest. Because Parc de Fierbois is a medium sized set set around the central pool/bar complex; and half of it is nestled deep in a fabulous forest. Absolutely Nothing could beat leaving the heat of the pool, tired and hungry, and walking back to a shady spot on the Van’s decking to sit with a  cold drink and listen to the birds. *blissful moment of remembering*

Sitting on the decking after lunch, just looking straight up. *happy*

On the other side of the parc the vans are not in the forest – and have no shade at all. While we were staying the temps topped 40 degrees (and we were there before the Big Heat of August), I simply can’t imagine what it was like over in the unshady part of the parc.

The site is immaculately clean and well kept, quiet, organised and simply a perfect getaway for families with young children. Once the school holidays start the kids clubs fire up, and there’s a brilliant range of activities to keep them busy every day.

The view from our deck after a long hard day at the pool. Not so bad, huh?

At the end of June, though, things hadn’t really got going (which suited us perfectly – we were there for some decent family time, not to lose the children all day). The entertainments in the bar were limited to karaoke and bingo at the weekends (we didn’t visit, this worried us not at all – we were far happier playing cards on the deck with a cold beer as we watch the sunset filter through the trees), and there was no lifeguard on the pool. Which *might* have meant small boys sliding down the slides in the rubber rings. And *might* have meant the 4yr old using the big age 8+ slide. I’m just saying it *might* have.

The really-not-very-shabby-at-all pool

Ah, the pool. The pool. The biggest reason to stay at the Parc de Fierbois. It really is pretty brilliant.  One large pool, separated into different areas – a large deep part for ‘proper’ swimming (and *maybe* illegal diving/bombing for small boys on quiet days… *maybe*), middling areas for safer swimming, shallow areas for young children, and a splash pool for babies. plus there’s the slides of course – the bumpy so-fast-they-make-everyone-yelp yellow slides, and the curled tube too.

That’s The Four hurtling towards me – I’m all set to catch (be drowned by) Pink, as you can see.

We spent most days at the pool – and it never got boring. Be warned though – operate a strict “at-least-TRY before we go” policy on the children. The only nearby toilets are in the bar, which doesn’t open till 1, and even then seemed unreliable. If it’s not open, there’s a bit of a walk back through the park to find a toilet block – I heard lots of parents muttering that the toilets should be open when the pool is, particularly with so many young children about.

*proud* two of those boys wouldn’t put their faces into water when we arrived.

The site shop is great for emergencies, seemed to have everything you could actually need – though of course for a wider choice and better prices the supermarket is more practical. We used the Intermarche at Sainte Maure de Touraine, which was fab. Though we stuck to the site shop for the daily essentials of croissants and baguettes of course.

At night the parc is incredibly peaceful (though we know this depends on the guests) – one night was disrupted by a noisy party in one of the site-owned properties (nothing to do with Keycamp), and maybe we were too early in the season of the site security to be enforcing the quiet-after-11p.m. rule.

Simple pleasures – evenings on the decking, playing cards and being silly. And watching the 9yr old learn the rules a le-e-tle too well for our liking.

We stayed in the Villagrand mobile home, with 3 beds and a deck. If you’re wondering what level to book I would definitely insist on the deck; and upgrade to the Villagrand Deluxe if possible. We stayed in a Deluxe last year, and whilst the villagrand is ‘fine’ the space is limited – and it’s in the main double bedroom you lose it. The two of us couldn’t change simultaneously in the bedroom, as there was only one spot you didn’t need to teeter precariously in the narrow space around the bed. Like I said, it was fine – we spend most of our time outside anyway, but the deluxe was definitely worth the minimal extra spend to upgrade.

Boy and Pink, heading out to the Pool.

After a week of lazy days, and quiet evenings being beaten at cards by the 9yr old, we came back refreshed and recharged. An unexpectedly wonderful weeks family holiday; thank you Keycamp – once again, you did it.




Author: Laura

A 70's child, I’ve been married for a Very Long Time, and appear to have made four children, and collected one large and useless dog along the way. I work, I have four children, I have a dog… ergo, I do not do dusting or ironing. I began LittleStuff back in (gulp) 2004. I like huge mugs of tea. And Coffee. And Cake. And a steaming cone of crispy fresh fluffy chips, smothered in salt and vinegar. #healthyeater When I grow up I am going to be quietly graceful, organised and wear lipstick every day. In the meantime I *may* have a slight butterfly-brain issue.

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  1. I love Keycamp holidays. Really love La Palombiere campsite in the Dordogne near to Sarlat which is beautiful. :)

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    • Thanks for the tip Rachel – it’s always great to have a personal recommendation for one of their sites, as they differ enormously.

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