A mobile home holiday in Brittany!

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The Modern Family recently visited Brittany. We stayed with Al Fresco Holidays in a mobile home in Domaine des Ormes – a 5-star campsite in near St-Malo.

A mobile home holiday with Al Fresco at Domaine des Ormes in Brittany!

I’ve always wanted to visit Brittany. It’s so convenient – especially from southwest England. You can take an overnight ferry and wake up in France – within reach of a cafe creme and fresh baguette! I also secretly love camping. Not real camping, per se, but high-end mobile home camping – where you have your own gas, electrics and hot water!

Mobile home holidays are also an economical way to have a break. A family of six can stay for a week starting at £260, making it an attractive option. And if you pick a holiday park near the seaside and small quaint towns – rain doesn’t really matter (I did say Brittany is close to the UK).  On rainy days – visit towns and markets. When the sun comes out enjoy the beaches or make use of the campsite swimming pools and facilities. It’s a very appealing concept with not too much travel.

We visited recently Brittany as guests of Al Fresco Holidays. We picked Domaine des Ormes, a campsite/mobile home park near the St-Malo seaport known for its extensive water park and leisure facilities.

Mobile homes are on the high-end of camping  – and if you keep this in mind you’ll be very pleased. Don’t try to equate a mobile home with a cottage. There’s just not the space in a mobile home. Small and compact, everything is cleverly packed in and storage is a premium (we kept a few things in the car).

Our Vivaldi mobile home had two twin bedrooms, and one double.  The rooms were small, but cute and cosy (especially compared to a tent!). The living area had all sorts of clever storage areas, and fold out tables and chairs. The kitchen was well laid out and fully functional. I made pasta with bacon, fresh tomatoes, parsley and cream and veal scaloppini! Outside there’s a wooden deck with white plastic chairs, and two matching lounge chairs with side table. There’s a small grassy area. It’s a campsite, so others are close by. Our area looked very uniform, with rows of white and blue Al Fresco mobile homes. There are a few things I just couldn’t work out on my own – like how to operate the microwave. The Al Fresco reps stop by often and they sorted this out for me (I just needed to plug it in!). They also kindly brought me an extra bin liner.

If you are curious about what a mobile home really looks like inside, here’s a little tour:

 

Mobile home walls are thin, so you will be susceptible to the elements. We had a small heater, but that mainly heated the living area – not the bedrooms. It can still be cold in late Spring, and we asked for extra blankets, which did the trick and kept us cosy.

The Al Fresco staff is very friendly – many are young British adults on a gap year and eager to please. They stay very fit going between the check in office and the campsite on bike, delivering extra blankets, missing items and generally spreading good cheer in a familiar British accent.

Come to think of it, I don’t think I saw any French people in our section of the campsite. Our neighbours to the left drove an Audi with a british license plate and had small children. Behind us was an Irish family (there’s a direct ferry to Brittany from Ireland). In front of us was a family with strong Yorkshire accents (I said the walls were thin). Everyone was friendly, but it could be a disaster if you got unlucky with loud neighbours. For the most part, families seemed to be grouped together, making it easy for kids to make friends. The girls kept saying they forgot they were in France because everyone sounded English!

 

The kitchen of our Vivaldi mobile home at Domaine des Ormes.

The kitchen of our Vivaldi mobile home at Domaine des Ormes was well kitted out and had six of everything.

 

The Domaine des Ormes campsite is huge! There are rows and rows of mobile homes and tents. Many are from the UK.

The Domaine des Ormes campsite is huge! There are rows and rows of mobile homes and tents. Many visitors are from the UK.

 

The Vivaldi mobile home sleeps 6 and is comfortable and compact.

The Vivaldi mobile home sleeps 6 and is comfortable and compact.

 

The Domaine des Ormes 5-star camp/mobile home site is a child’s dream! It has the largest aqua park in Brittany – with a lagoon style swimming complex with waterfalls and slides and a separate indoor water park and wave pool! This was really a highlight of the trip for the girls.

The park also has 3 tennis courts, bike hire, a multi sports pitch, fitness room, an 18-hold golf course, driving range, paddle boats, horse and pony riding, crazy golf, paintball, high ropes and zip wire – all on site. There are 3 restaurants, a bar, and well-stocked Spar that sells freshly baked baguettes and croissants each morning. Sometimes they are still warm –  just out of the oven. You can get a (very expensive) English paper as well. Bliss.

The park has organised activities include children’s entertainment, sports competitions (football, volleyball and Ping-Pong) and evening entertainment with bands to cabaret shows to karaoke (it wouldn’t be camping without karaoke). The girls had a blast in the kids disco. On top of this, all the holiday operators also offer their own kids activities and kids clubs.

 

 

 

baguetteMy 10-year-old on baguettes

I love baguettes and the ones that were at Les Ormes were really, really good! I loved walking down and getting the baguettes each morning, but I couldn’t bear to hold them because they smelled so good and I longed to take a bite!

 

 

 

 

The grounds at Domaine des Ormes in North Brittany are gorgeous.

The grounds at Domaine des Ormes in North Brittany are gorgeous. This lake is near the 10-hole golf course.

 

The local bishops from Dol-de-Bretange lived in this chateau up until 100 years ago. Now it's the Domaine des Ormes golf club.

Up until 100 years ago, the local bishops from Dol-de-Bretange lived in this château. Now it’s the Domaine des Ormes golf clubhouse.

 

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The park also has 3 tennis courts, bike hire, a multi sports pitch, fitness room, an 18-hold golf course, driving range, paddle boats, horse and pony riding, crazy golf, paintball, high ropes and zip wire – all on site.

 

domaine des ormes 9My 9-year-old’s perspective

There were loads of swimming pools, 2 of which were outdoors and 1 indoors. The indoor one is really lovely and warm. There are water slides going into it and it has a lazy river. The first outdoor one is really fun. It has 6 water slides, four of them are racing slides and there is a blue one and a black one. It’s really exciting because it has rocks and plants around it and has little bridges. The second outdoor swimming pool is next to the indoor one and it sometimes has waves, which is great for bodysurfing. When the waves go on you can also hold on to the ropes on the sides and go up and down. All of the pools are very, very fun. Tip: The outdoor pools may be cold, but it’s easy to get used to them. Just jump in without thinking and start swimming till you get used to it!

 

One of the many swimming outdoor swimming pools at Domaines des Ormes in North Brittany

The Domaine des Ormes 5-star camping/mobile home site is a child’s dream! It has the largest aqua park in Brittany – with a lagoon style swimming complex with waterfalls and slides and a separate indoor water park and wave pool!

 

This wave pool was a favourite with the girls.

This outdoor wave pool was a favourite with the girls. It has 1 metre swells to roll and ride!

 

Yes another swimming pool at Domaine des Ormes!

Yet another swimming pool at Domaine des Ormes! This is the tropical outdoor pool with waterslides and waterfalls.

 

IF YOU GO:

Al Fresco Holidays/Château des Ormes Dol-De-Bretagne, North Brittany, France www.alfresco-holidays.com/chateaudesormes +44 8436 362586 5-star camping with extensive leisure facilities, with 6 swimming pools – including a tropical indoor pool with lazy river, a wave pool with 1 metre swell, and tropical pool with waterslides and waterfalls. You can do just about everything here: horse riding, golf, mini golf, cycling, pony trekking, high ropes. It’s a great base to tour the charming French countryside and seaside towns. Prices range from £260 for 6 people staying in a Rossini mobile home off-peak to £539 for six people sharing a Vivaldi mobile home during peak.

Mont-Saint Michel 50170 Le Mont-Saint-Michel 02 33 60 14 30 www.ot-montsaintmichel.com. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, Mont St Michel is an island commune  that was once a destination for pilgrims because of its connection with Archangel Michael. It’s now a major tourist destination with hotel, restaurants, cafes shops and an abbey. In low tide, this island commune is accessible by foot!

St-Malo Saint-Malo is a walled port city in Brittany in northwestern France on the English Channel, known for its seafood. Traditionally with an independent streak, Saint-Malo was once a pirate capital! Now it has cool shops, cafes and creperies, and a rampart with fab views. Also has a very civilised car park.

Dinard Discovered in the 1850s after an American millionaire built a mansion here – inspiring others. It was a popular destination for Victorian aristocracy. It still retains its Victorian charm with rows of stripey beach tents and straw-hatted bouled players.

Dinar A medieval town set on a hillside, you can meander through the cobble stone streets from creperie to café. Don’t miss the 12th century St Saveur church.

Auberge de la Cour Verte Route de Rennes, Dol-de-Bretagne, France +33 2 99 48 41 41 www.restaurant-lacourteverte.com Top rated on Trip Advisor. French steakhouse and creperie in a converted farmhouse. We ended up here by accident, and fell in love with the place. Friendly staff and the menu is translated into English! A real find.

Le Dol’Mene aux Saveurs 2, rue Perrons, 35120 Dol-de-Bretagne, France +33 (0)2 99 48 00 20  A million kinds of galettes and crepes, plus local cider served in large bowls. Cool.

 

The overnight ferry from Plymouth to Roscoff takes 9 hours. That's just enough time to get settled and have a little snooze before landing in France.

The overnight ferry from Plymouth to Roscoff takes 9 hours. That’s just enough time to get settled and have a little snooze before landing in France.

 

A word on the crossing. I was slightly apprehensive about the crossing after hearing horror stories of whole families suffering seasickness. We crossed from Plymouth to Roscoff – at the widest part of the channel. Sailing time was 9 hours. We checked in a little after 20.30 and sailed at 22.00. We stayed in an outside 4-berth and an inside 2-berth (see video below for a little tour).  It was a small room with 4 fold-down bunk beds with fresh linens, and an en-suite bathroom with a shower. Apart from a few tannoy announcements at strategic times (right as I was getting drowsy!) I was pleasantly surprised by how much sleep I got. The girls thought it was a big adventure. They wake you at 6 am/ 7 am local time with very loud harp music. It’s all very civilised. If you have ever wondered what the inside of a cabin on an overnight ferry looks like – watch this video!

 

 

The St Malo area of North Brittany is an excellent area to base yourself and explore the region.

The St Malo area of North Brittany is an excellent area to base yourself and explore the region.

 

Mont St Michel is just next door in Normandy.

A UNESCO World Heritage Site, Mont St Michel is an island commune that was once a destination for pilgrims because of its connection with Archangel Michael.

 

We visited Mont St Michel

Mont St Michel is now a major tourist destination with hotels, restaurants, cafes, shops and an abbey. At low tide, this island commune is accessible by foot!

The best part of a caravan holiday? Relaxing with a bottle of local wine, a fresh baguette and farmhouse cheese.

The best part of a caravan holiday? Relaxing with a bottle of local wine, a fresh baguette and farmhouse cheese.

 

Note: Our accommodation was provided by Al Fresco Holiday for the purpose of this review. All opinions are my own and my family’s.

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21 Comments

  1. Lucy Lloyd
    05/08/2014 / 15:16

    Lovely article. We´re off to Brittany in a week´s time. Which photo app do you use? I love the retro look of the photographs.

  2. 14/06/2014 / 15:54

    Reminds me of childhood holidays too. And I have great pictures of my own daughter pointing out to Mont St Michel.Felt sorry for your daughter with her laptop though..

  3. 09/06/2014 / 04:45

    Brittany! It looks so nice! The pictures make the place look like is from fairytales!
    Write down on the bucket list to visit with my girls x

    • 11/06/2014 / 19:52

      Hi Otilia, you’d love it!

  4. 08/06/2014 / 19:59

    I’m so jealous! We’ve never had a holiday like this and it looks idyllic. I really am thinking about doing something like this for the Summer x x

    • 11/06/2014 / 19:53

      I bet summer is a really nice time to go, keep me posted and let me know if you make it there.

  5. 08/06/2014 / 10:38

    What a fab post, Susanna. You’ve got me wanting to go to Brittany now. It looks beautiful and the mobile homes seem like a great option for families with children. I’m also really surprised by the size of the pools and the activities on offer and I loved seeing the mobile home and cabin and the girls’ video x

    • 11/06/2014 / 19:54

      The pools at Domaine des Ormes were a real hit with the girls. It was nice to sight see during the day, and then come back and have dinner/go swimming!

  6. 08/06/2014 / 09:46

    This looks great for a family holiday. We went caravanning twice in France and it was so perfect for the kids. Perhaps I prefer a bit more luxury, but I also think that when the kids are happy, then the family is! Love the kids’ views too.

    • 11/06/2014 / 19:55

      I’m usually a luxury girl too. I just thought of it as luxury camping. x

  7. 08/06/2014 / 07:47

    When I first started reading this I wondered why anyone would stay in a mobile home abroad but they are so much better than our bog standard UK ones. So well equipped and family friendly, I can’t believe the cost it really does make visiting Brittany more attractive

    • 11/06/2014 / 19:56

      Now you are scaring me! I’m due to go on a UK caravan trip. Stay tuned!

  8. bavariansojourn
    07/06/2014 / 17:57

    I remember going to Mont St Michele on my French Exchange aged 13. Very beautiful… And that totally looks like my style of camping! 🙂

    • 11/06/2014 / 19:57

      Mont St Michele was special and I can’t believe I had never heard of it before.

  9. 07/06/2014 / 13:27

    I’m so glad you went to see Mont St Michel, isn’t it beautiful? I love this kind of holiday, it’s perfect for our family as we find everything we need on site, I think the static caravans are great, some even have dishwashers!
    Great review

    • 11/06/2014 / 19:57

      You my lovely lady are the reason we went to Mont St Michel. Fab tip.x

  10. Mammasaurus
    07/06/2014 / 13:08

    wow that mobile home looks super stylish – I can see I’m going to have to re-think me stance on mobile holiday home Holidays now!

  11. 07/06/2014 / 12:45

    That looks brilliant, can’t believe how reasonably priced it was. Your post also brings back memories to me of happy camping holidays in France when I was little! I just love the photo of your daughters outside reading 🙂

  12. 07/06/2014 / 10:29

    All of my childhood summers were spent on summer holidays in France and this has just brought back LOTS of happy happy memories. This campsite sounds glorious.

    I especially like the last picture.

  13. 07/06/2014 / 10:19

    These kind of holidays work really well for families with young children. We had some great holidays at French campsites when the kids were small. I enjoyed watching your videos – it’s really helpful to see what a mobile home and a ferry cabin are like inside in case you’re thinking of staying in one.

  14. 07/06/2014 / 08:08

    You have brought back lovely memories of similar holidays to Brittany when my son was younger. St Malo, Dinan, Dinard…
    I think you are right, if you look at mobile homes as upmarket camping rather than a cottage, you will have the right attitude for enjoying them. We found them such relaxing holidays – just sitting on the decking with a bottle of wine, no need to dress for dinner, very chilled experience.