The Vendee

Christianne Raymer took her family of five to a Keycamp holiday parc at Les Genêts, St Jeans de Monts in the beautiful French Vendee.


Going on holiday with three small children usually requires military precision planning. It’s not just deciding what to take, it’s trying to fit it all in the car. Keycamp made our family holiday simple: we hired all the baby and toddler equipment we needed so all we had to remember to take was our clothes and suncream. Excellent!



Any long journey with young children involving several modes of transport would fill most people with horror, but we found the overnight ferry from Portsmouth to St Malo and the leisurely drive down to our destination, a delight. It was a great adventure for the children to have a sleepover on the ferry and the time (and miles) passed quickly – OK, we were asleep for most of the 10 hours! We booked a four-berth cabin with Brittany Ferries for the 10-hour crossing and, after dinner and exploring the on-board facilities which included a cinema, children’s play area and many shops, my children were eager to climb into their bunks. We woke the next morning well-rested, showered (in our en-suite bathroom) and ready for our three- hour drive down to Les Genéts. I thoroughly recommend overnight ferries!



We stayed at Les Genêts in the Vendee region of France, approximately four miles from St Jeans-de-Monts. Situated in pretty woodland, Les Genéts’ facilities are second to none. It has a fantastic waterpark, complete with jacuzzi, waterslides, waterchute, four pools (including indoor and toddlers’ pools) and lazy-river, which suited my three children perfectly. The play area and close proximity to the beach meant it had everything a 2, 3 and 6 year old could possibly want! For older children there’s also badminton, basketball, tennis, table tennis, volleyball and a games room. The parc is just a short stroll from local shops and a handy Super U supermarket, although there is a small on-site store for basic groceries and fresh bread.

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Our accommodation was a three-bedroomed Villagrand mobile home complete with decking – perfect for al fresco dining. We had typical home comforts, a fully-equipped kitchen with microwave and a BBQ (outside). To save precious space in our car we hired linen, towels and beach towels and, of course, a travel cot, all-terrain buggy and highchair.

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St Jean-de-Monts is a lively, attractive seaside town just four miles from Les Genêts. It has a lovely street market on Saturday and Wednesday mornings, selling everything from fresh produce to designer clothes. Down by the beach is the Avenue De La Mer with its tourist shops, bars and cafés, perfect for watching the world go by.

Just 10 minutes away by car is the colourful fishing port of St Gilles-Croix-de-Vie, with its large expanse of golden sand at the Grand Plage. Further south, Les Sables d'Olonne has a variety of stylish shops and restaurants. Take a boat trip to the traffic-free island of Ile d'Yeu, with its granite cliffs, rocky creeks and the beautiful rocky Cote Sauvage. Its capital is a lively fishing port where you can sample fresh lobster.



Seven nights in May 2011 for two adults and up to four children staying in a two bedroom Villanova mobile home with decking at Keycamp’s Les Genets will cost from £266, accommodation only. Ferry crossings or fly-drive packages can be arranged though Keycamp at a supplement.

For the latest deals, further information or to make a booking, visit Keycamp or all 0844 406 0319.


Return fares from Portsmouth to St Malo with Brittany Ferries start from £78.50 per person based on a family of four travelling with their car in May, including en suite cabin accommodation on the outward, overnight crossing. For more information or to book, please visit Brittany Ferries for more information.