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FRENCH FANCY; Is it possible to enjoy a relaxing resort holiday while experiencing authentic France? Michelle Treacy believes that Eurocamp manages to achieve both hF E.

TRAVELLING with small children and a budget to match is not an easy task. For the last few recessionary years we've been on staycations but this year we decided a little bit of sunshine was in order.

When catering for a family of five, once you factor in flights, hotel and spending money you're almost looking at a second mortgage.

With that not an option, myself and my husband Billy went in search of alternative choices for our Treacy retreat.

We both have fond memories of camping growing up so we thought why not go down that route. Eurocamp immediately struck a chord with us.

The company has been in the business for 40 years and has more than 160 destinations all over Europe.

So we began the task of choosing the perfect holiday - and what a choice it was. Eurocamp boasts an extensive range of self-catering accommodation, from comfortable, well-equipped holiday homes and lodges, to safari tents or even tree houses.

OUTDOOR SPACE

Some are traditional campsites that appeal more to those wanting a peaceful back-to-nature experience and some are large holiday villages or resorts, offering huge pool complexes and so much action that you never need to leave.

Whatever option you choose you'll find quality, detached accommodation with your own outdoor space, two or three separate bedrooms and selfcatering facilities at your fingertips. We were looking for a chill-out holiday with a chance to explore the local region so we preferred the option of a ferry crossing and bringing the car.

Irish Ferries sail to Cherbourg or Roscoff from Rosslare or Dublin every day in the holiday season - and if you want a relaxing start to your holiday this really is the way to go.

There are no restrictions with luggage and bag sizes, you literally can throw everything but the kitchen sink into your car and drive from your front door to your destination.

We set sail on the luxurious Oscar Wilde ferry at 3.30pm and arrived at 10am the next morning.

Oscar During our crossing we were entertained, wined and dined and could relax while the kids ran from one activity to the other.

Our chosen destination in France was Cote de Nacre, a medium-sized resort in Normandy that promised family entertainment..., with a village and beach nearby. After a drive of less than an hour through beautiful countryside we arrived and met the Eurocamp rep.

We were shown to our mobile home that consisted of two bedrooms - one with three single beds for the kids and a double bedroom for us - a well equipped kitchen area and dining/living area and bathroom and toilet.

There was a large deck and garden area surrounding the mobile home with a barbecue and sun loungers.

The freedom this type of holiday allows your kids is invaluable and it was the biggest selling point for us. They can safely run around and play outside in close proximity to the mobile home without the worry of speeding cars.

The resort itself centres around a large pool complex with five pools and various slides and chutes with a lazy river and children's lagoon area. The restaurant, bar, playground and shop are all scattered around the pool area.

If the kids are in search of other things to do the resort offer a kids club to all ages throughout the day. Although the resort had enough to keep us busy we also chose Cote de Nacre as it was perfectly located to explore the beautiful and historical local area.

St Aubin sur Mer was originally a little fishing village which has now grown into a smart seaside town and is only a 10-minute walk from the resort.

The Calvados region is also home to the D-Day landing beaches from the Second World War and you couldn't holiday here without visiting them.

The seawall promenade is lined with chic art-deco and Rococo style villas and a number of fine restaurants.

The old town is beautifully authentic and definitely worth exploring but the rocky coast and dramatic sea views will linger in our memory.

A further drive through the countryside is a world heritage site and absolute must see - Mont St Michel.

Thought to date back to 708 and originally built as a sanctuary and focus of pilgrimage, it was inhabited by Benedictine monks in the 10th century and they constructed the abbey and surrounding village.

You need a day to explore Mont St Michel... and some good walking shoes!

Another short drive away is Deauville.

A glamorous seaside resort which is home to the American Film Festival and polo and horse-racing events.

A long-time favourite with yachtsmen, the internationally-renowned sea resort offers a stylish appeal to visitors, with its fine hotels and restaurants, casinos, harbour and endless golden beaches.

During our stay in Cote de Nacre we felt we experienced the best of both worlds, a relaxing resort holiday, but also an authentic taste of everything French. J'adore!

TRAVEL FILE DON'T MISS

A stroll along the beach at St Aubin sur Mer is the perfect preamble to a late-evening barbecue. A day trip to Mont St Michel in nearby is a must as is a visit to glamorous Deauville - home to casinos, grand hotels and endless golden beaches.

BOOK IT Bedroom classic plus mobile home with decking for a family of six starts at [euro]300 early May, [euro]515 early June, [euro]834 early July and [euro]1276 early August.

GETTING THERE

All extras such as flights, ferry, car hire or airport transfers can all be booked at a supplement through Eurocamp's sales office.

CHECK OUT www.eurocamp.ie and www.irishferries.com for more details.

Our chosen destination in France was Cote de Nacre, a medium-sized resort in Normandy that promised family entertainment...

CAPTION(S):

Quality time... Michelle and kids having fun Quality time Miche h l ll ll lle le an andk dk dkids having fun

Water world... the resort's slides

Wet, wet, wet... the Treacy kids splash about

Boy Michelle's sons at

Historic... the Benedictine Abbey of Mont Saint-Michel
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Sunday Mirror (London, England)
Geographic Code:4EUFR
Date:Jan 18, 2015
Words:1011
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