“ Address: Loire Valley / 49730 Varennes-sur-Loire / France „
We have been taking a touring caravan to France for several years and we have to travel during the school holidays. This has led us to some very busy and noisy sites in the past so I always feel more than a little apprehensive when I book a new site.
This trip saw us opt for Camping l'Etang de la Breche near Saumur in the Loire Valley. Things did not start well when we had difficulty finding the campsite. The directions that we had been given by the agency we booked with were incorrect and if we hadn't happened to have seen a small sign we would have started the holiday trying to reverse our caravan back up a very narrow road.
As we turned into the site we were greeted with the most gorgeous display of flowers all over the walls which added a picturesque air. I ventured into reception to find that it was empty with a small note saying they would be back soon. Considering we had arrived at the correct time to check in and we had already been driving for 5 hours I was not too impressed. Eventually someone arrived to deal with quite a large queue that had formed. The campsite does say that English is spoken at reception. I did find the English was quite weak, not dissimilar to my level of French so we managed in a combination of both to sort out the booking and get our pitch allocation.
The pitch we were given was on the very edge of the site and was very large. It was, however, lacking in grass as there had obviously been a lot of usage that season and the earth was bare. Luckily we had nice weather during our stay but if it had rained I imagine it would have been muddy very quickly. Large trees gave much needed shade and a nice degree of privacy without making us feel cut-off from the world.
The toilets and showers on our side of the campsite were unisex. I have never come across this before at a campsite. The blocks on the other side of the site were male and female. The toilet blocks, showers and dish-washing areas were kept exceptionally clean at all times and they were never particularly busy although the site was full when we visited.
The site has a small shop selling groceries, fresh croissants, bread and gift items. This seemed reasonably priced although we used a supermarket near Saumur to stock up on other essentials.
The site has a restaurant which did have an exceedingly good reputation and we were looking forward to a special meal. Unfortunately the chef had recently left so the standard was nothing special but perfectly acceptable. There is seating inside and out but if you want an outside table you must pre-book it. We didn't know this so were disappointed when we arrived on my daughters birthday and found that there were no tables available. The takeaway menu is exactly the same as the restaurant menu so we ordered from that (several euro cheaper) and sat at the tables outside the bar and enjoyed our meal there instead!
There is a small bar which also houses the ice-cream kiosk and there is internet access outside.
The swimming pool area is lovely. There is a good-sized outside pool, another pool with a retractable roof and then a smaller pool with various slides going into it. There are a large number of sun beds around the pool and some are set behind a plastic screen. I liked that idea as you didn't keep getting splashed if you just wanted to relax and read a book whilst the children were swimming. There are no life guards so if you or your family are not confident in the water you may wish to take extra care. My children loved the slides and spent many hours there. Occasionally it got a bit rowdy with older teenagers taking over the slide area but generally there was a nice friendly atmosphere.
The site is medium sized with a fishing lake, tennis courts and a BMX track. The children hired Go-Carts and it was also possible to hire bikes. We enjoyed walking around the site in the evening as there was always lots of wildlife to spot. We even saw a red squirrel one night which fascinated me as I had never seen one in the wild before. The children loved spotting the ducklings and a water-creature that I have not found out the name of yet!
Evenings were fairly quiet on the campsite which suits us perfectly. I hate disco music pumping out when I am trying to relax. Some evenings the campsite organised entertainment but this usually finished between 9 and 10. The acts were very unusual and one night we watched men playing music on dustbins and sinks but it was surprisingly good!
The location of the site was perfect, it was in a very attractive area with good access to lots of attractions and the general Loire valley beauty.
Even in the height of the summer this was a lovely site to be on, most of the pitches were a good size (although avoid row L if possible-very cramped) and the atmosphere was calm and relaxing. Certainly somewhere we would return to.
This campsite is one of the best in the loire valley. I have been working here all summer, and really enjoyed it.
There are 2 companies on site apart from the owners pitches, keycamp and eurocamp. There are mobile homes available, or you can just hire an empty pitch and bring your own equipment.
The resturant this summer has been left without a chef so has only been serving the takeaway menu, which is fine but not great as they charge a service charge in the resturant.
A large pitch in late august costs around 250 for a week, if you book a mobile it costs a lot more. Keycamp and Eurocamp pitches cost more as everything is provided for you like kitchen equipment, fridge freezer, stove and if your in a mobile then you can also get decking.
Theres a bar which is very quiet, but serves drinks at a reasonable price, 1.50euro for a glass of wine. The takeaway is quick to serve you and I have had a fair few of them in my time here.
Theres 3 pools, one for babies, another thats quite shallow and mostly children go in there. The large deep pool is heated and is good when it rains as theres a retractable roof. I personally like the slides with the large splash pool. Theres no lifeguard, but there are always loads of reps around if you need any help.
I have enjoyed working here because I have met some great people, its a lovely site, and its very relaxed and quiet. The pitches are large, and most of my customers have been very friendly. I would recommend this to families with young kids as theres nothing really for teenagers to do here.
4 star rated camping site.