Al Fresco Holidays are one of many tour operators who have accommodation on campsites in France and other European countries. Our experience has been good, they were incredibly supportive during our month away in France for our road trip. At the time when I suffered with exhaustion and needed a break they were very flexible in accommodating changes to my itinerary.
This page is an introduction to a couple of the sites we stayed at and leads into more detailed reviews. In addition, I write about the surrounding areas and places we visited in other posts so you will be able to get a feel for the region. Let’s start with the basics in case you’ve never stayed at one of these campsites with good family facilities, then we’ll end at the bottom of the page where I’ve shared a link through to the Al Fresco Holidays special offers page – you just need to click on the image banner and you’ll be re-directed to see what deals are available now. Tip – these are updated regularly and often you can get huge savings at short notice. Very worthwhile!
The way Al Fresco Holidays work is similar to other tour operators, they have an allocation of mobile homes on established sites throughout Europe and a rep on site to help you out at their own reception. Many of the campsites are around the coast but you will find some in popular areas like the Loire Valley, Dordogne and close to Paris. The common factor is the provision of just about everything you need even if you were to stay on site and not explore further (not my recommendation!)
Generally you will find a small shop, children’s entertainment and pools and a bar and restaurant at very minimum but some of the sites have bakeries and gift shops. It really depends on the size of the site.
That leads me to the categories that Al Fresco Holidays use to rate their sites.
Large and Lively
Midsize and Sociable
Small and Friendly
Authentic and Value
We are all different but what I recommend is to take some time to look at the Al Fresco Holidays website and get a feel for the campsite you’re looking at. Take into consideration how long it is going to take you to get there and whether you will be flying in or driving – you may have an idealised view of an authentic site in rural France but logistics must be considered too. Sounds obvious doesn’t it but by the time you factor in ferry costs or car hire and time taken to travel you may find half of your holiday is taken with getting there. For me that’s not a problem because driving in France especially, is one of my favourite things to do – that’s why I’ve written a book about it! You however, may wish to step off a plane and take a taxi then relax in the sun by the pool for a week!
From this page I will send you off to some reviews of different sites we stayed at and you will also have links which will take you to posts about the surrounding area. I will give you a little introduction here and then you can follow the links which interest you. In addition I will provide links to articles and advice about getting to and driving in France.
First up is a site at on the Mediterranean coast just a short drive from Perpignan which has air and rail links.
This site is a large busy one with good facilities which include a pool complex, a lovely bakery and small shop. There are site run clubs for the children but be careful to check the dates they are open, if you go outside of high season you may find they’re not. This happened to us on arrival mid September so if you are a family it’s worth checking.
Al Fresco Holidays at Mar Estang is situated next to a lake where you will find Flamingos and you have a lovely view of the Pyrenees if you look inland; this picture was taken at 7 am just as the sun was rising over the sea behind me. A wonderful memory.
There is a tunnel which takes you under the main road to the beach which is long sandy and again, set against the backdrop of the Pyrenees. There are a number of pros and cons to this site which I’ll talk about in the full article, the best things? The bakery and the proximity to the surrounding area, if you have a car you will be placed wonderfully to explore the Pyrenees and pop down to Spain if you choose!
To view the full article and photos of the site and beach please click here. I also pay a lot of attention to this region in my book as I loved the driving, culture and scenery that abounds here.
This campsite is a great example of what the French do well, it is well maintained has beautiful grounds and is not far from Paris City or Disneyland Paris; in fact there are organised coach tours which run frequently to both of these attractions which makes it a firm favourite for families.
Another thing worth mentioning is the ease of accessibility for the disabled, this was the only site that I felt my father would be at home on despite his limited mobility.
It is a very large site and is set in the countryside so no beaches of the oceanic type nearby, there is however a lake beach on site (as pictured) which sits next to one of the eateries available to choose from.
I was lucky enough to make use of the coach trip into Disneyland Paris with Lola for her 4th birthday which was brilliant. Having driven so far in the preceding 3 weeks a day off and not having to contemplate the traffic approaching Paris at 9am was a blessing!
I have written more about La Croix du Vieux Pont and the surrounding area and have posted lots of pictures, you can visit this page by clicking here.
When I first booked with this company they went under the name of Thomson Al Fresco but have since been taken over and now trade simply as “Al Fresco Holidays“. The staff have remained the same in the offices as far as I know and I have always found them to be responsive and helpful.
When I returned from France last year I realised I’d lost some keys and the staff on site searched for them for us – it was a hit and hope exercise to be honest but the keys were found and returned. Good luck on my part but of course, they could very easily have thought I was a little mad asking them to look for them after 3,000 miles and several campsites in France!
I also can’t speak well enough of the staff member at Mar Estang who helped me when I was somewhat worn out! Of course, the staff on site change on an annual basis but overall if I take into account all of my experiences I think the service offered and the staff selection process is good. The migration from the Thomson Al Fresco brand appears to have been a good one.
By clicking the banner below you will be taken to latest offers Al Fresco holidays currently have for your ease of reference. Pop over and take a look as these can be updated frequently with some great deals. You can even find bargains in the high season if you’re prepared to wait until the last minute.
I’ll continue to update this page as I visit more campsites in France, I’m hoping to visit a couple more early next year which will probably include Italy.
All in all my experience with this company has been positive, incredibly helpful and responsive to any queries I had and I will definitely look to travel with Al Fresco Holidays again.