Idyllic days of cold beer and crepes; THE COASTLINE OF BRITTANY MAKES THE PERFECT SPOT FOR A FAMILY HOLIDAY WITH PLENTY TO KEEP PARENTS AND CHILDREN AMUSED - EVEN IF A CERTAIN TEEN POP STAR IS NOWHERE TO BE SEEN.
BRITTANY was unknown territory to our family - to me and my wife it conjured up images of a sort of Devon with foreign accents, and for my kids it brought images of a blonde teen pop star.
As it turned out, unfortunately, the kids were mistaken. But that was the only disappointment as France once again proved it has what it takes to make a perfect family holiday.
Our last trip to France had been to the Vendee, where good weather is virtually guaranteed, but for a one-week stay we decided it had to be somewhere closer to home and West Brittany fitted the bill perfectly.
It is far enough south to make you feel as if you're in France, on a stretch of beautiful coastline, and just a two or three-hour drive once you were off the ferry.
We had chosen to holiday with EuroSites, and after whittling down the country and region, the next choice was accommodation, which ranged from tents to mobile homes, kids' clubs, action packed or lazy, inland or coastal.
In our case we opted for a mobile home at the Camping Port de Plaisance resort at Benodet, a lovely little beach town. The site was once a cider forest and had mainly been chosen by our two kids, Kathleen, aged eight, and seven-year-old Jack.
We had handed over the EuroSites brochure at home and for the first time in weeks, the two had agreed on something - it had to be the one with the big water slides.
So when we pulled up in the car park their faces lit up when they saw the pool complex.
Camping Port de Plaisance was everything you would want from a camping site - clean, with spacious and comfortable mobile homes, with plenty of room around them for kids to play and for parents to light up a barbie on those long summer nights.
There was also a great little family pub and a kids' playground which you could see from your seat in the bar.
Although bombing through the cold water, hurtling towards an allegedly heated pool, is great fun and kept us entertained for hours, if you're like us the best part of a holiday is exploring.
Luckily the port blockades came in the middle of our week away and the petrol rationing had yet to start, and when they weren't busy protesting at what a rotten life they have, the French made ours as comfortable as possible.
Kids are welcome just about everywhere and although the weather was mostly cloudy, it was warm enough to trek around in swimming shorts and T-shirts to enjoy the sights.
Benodet itself is a small town, with just a few trappings for tourists and a long, lovely beach, although the stones and shells that substituted for sand played havoc with your feet.
Just a short drive away is the resort of Beg Meil, with rock pools galore.
Just outside of Beg Meil is an indoor swimming complex that boasts the longest water slide in Brittany, and a few miles further you come to Concarneau.
Drive straight through the walled town and you will find a magnificent walled fort of a town that you can only get to across a bridge.
At one point it might have kept foreigners away, but the doors are well and truly open to them now, with gift shops, restaurants and creperies galore.
The week went all too quickly, filled with idyllic days of sloshing down water slides, paddling along scenic beaches and stuffing ourselves full of warm crepes and cold French beer.
It was a relaxed holiday mood that could have stayed with us through the winter months, but in reality it lasted until the first contraflow on the M5.
Brittany, EuroSites and the Channel crossing were fantastic, it's just a shame you have to travel through England to get there.
The brochure hotline is available on 0870 608 1913 and the booking helpline is on 0870 751 0000.
Staying at Port de Plaisance from Monday, July 2, 2001, for seven nights in a Cezanne costs pounds 569. This includes a free Dover-Calais crossing with Hoverspeed.
TRANQUIL: The harbour is the focal point of the walled town of Concarneau which, with its restaurants and shops, will be a highlight of any holiday in this part of Brittany; PERFECT FOR CHILDREN:The mobile homes (left) at Camping Port de Plaisance in Benodet are roomy, while the water slides and the seashore hold plenty of interest for youngsters such as Kathleen and Jack West
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|Publication:||Coventry Evening Telegraph (England)|
|Date:||Mar 2, 2001|
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