Wine that tastes like warm liquorice, cheese that calls to you from the fridge, the feeling of dewy grass around your flip flopped feet as you walk past the lake to the bakery, the little bit of baguette you nibble on the way back, eating still warm French pastries on the decking as the sun warms your back, mucking about on a pedalo, holding hands as you whizz down a water slide, swimming in the open air, launching the dinghy into unchartered waters, flicking through a paperback under a shady tree while the kids roam free. Canvas Holidays gave us exactly what I needed this Summer, the chance to just be.
We chose the Berny Riviere site, Camping La Croix de Vieux Pont, in Picardy, about an hour from Paris. It was perfectly placed to allow us to get to Paris, Eurodisney and to see my cousin who lives near Paris. It’s also a really easy drive from Calais, around 3 hours, but on very straightforward, clear roads – off the ferry, straight road for ages, couple of country lanes, et voila!
I am starting with the video, plenty of go pro action to throw you right into the action. Slowing down the waterslides was too much fun, my faces are very funny. I even captured Mister G’s amazing eyelashes.
You drive onto the site and straight to the Canvas reception, the couriers made us very welcome, I soon had everything I needed to know about the site, excursions to Paris and EuroDisney, and felt really quickly orientated. Before I knew it, James was along on a bike to lead us to our Moda Plus home for the week. Canvas have a wide range of accommodation on their sites, here it ranges from bring your own tent pitches to safari tents, a range of mobile homes and log lodges – there really is something for all budgets, tastes and groups.
The Moda Plus was very new, beautifully designed, really clean. I loved the huge deck and massive lounge diner with corner sofa. We soon felt really at home.
The unexpected guest
Within 10 minutes of sharing the picture above on social media, I had a message on Facebook from the mum of L’s class mate from school to say ‘No way, where are you?’ Within minutes the two friends were reunited, for one night only, as they were leaving the next day. Despite the 4 am start, we managed to fit in swimming, laser quest and drinks at the poolside bar. L’s friend and family had really enjoyed their week and passed on lots of great tips for the week – as we chatted about Paris and Disneyland, wine and cheese, I slipped really quickly into holiday mode.
I know I must have read there was Laser Quest, but it didn’t quite hit me until I arrived, how much there was to do. We all became slightly obsessed with beating our scores. The night I didn’t play, Mr A and the kids took on a Korean family, they were utterly awesome and my lot got thoroughly beaten.
The pools are brilliant, there are 3 and they are all under a giant cover so that on sunny days they are all open air, and on cooler days two are covered.
There are waterslides, rapids, toddler splash areas, toddler pools, a jacuzzi. Plenty to keep everyone happy. Lots more of that in the video below!
Despite seeming compact and camp bed like, we slept well. Mr A is 6 foot and managed to sleep very comfortably too.
The morning ritual had to be one of my favourite parts of our Canvas Holiday. Flip flops on, padding through the dewy grass, as the sun began to warm up over the lakes, off to buy a baguette and French pastries and crepes.
I even managed to do it in French, Madame Bevan would be so proud of me. I also picked up some fruit and condiments in the supermarket. This was what I had been dreaming of since GCSE French class in 1994…
On our first morning we had a visitor from Kids’ Clubs who came to explain what was on offer for the kids and give them with a pass. I loved this approach as I am not a fan of welcome meetings, it was easy, personal, yet only took 10 minutes. Later in the week the kids tried out sorbing at the Canvas 50th birthday party, which was hysterical.
One reason we chose this site was because my cousin A doesn’t live far away, about an hour. A is my Mum’s sister’s daughter and we always saw a lot of each other growing up. Last Summer we all met up for the first time in ages at my brother’s wedding and I knew we needed more time to catch up properly. She is married to a lovely French man, who used to be a chef, but now organises shows at Disneyland, so they live very close to Disney.
They brought us an amazing lunch of Leek tart, tomatoes from their garden and watermelon, followed by our first taste of French cakes. I love the names they have, Religieuse are the ones at the front, Nuns, in English. The green one is a gland, and was stuffed with custard and rum.
The kids all got along so well, L and E have exactly the same age gap that my cousin and I have, it was fascinating to see history repeating itself. We taught each other lots of card games on the deck of our Moda Plus.
While the kids played, A and I caught up. Revisiting happy memories and some tears for Mum, hugs, red wine and some leftover chocolate eclair.
The bar managed to be authentic, characterful and a great place to hang out, even on karaoke nights. In a campsite in England it would immediately descend into cheese, but French campsites seem to rise above this. We managed bowling and laser quest and L even took on karaoke in the bar, doing Queens ‘Don’t Stop Me Now’. She continues to astound me with her bravery, there is no way on earth I would have done karaoke at her age, in fact at any age.
Fun on site
The pedals and kayaks were asking to be taken for a spin.
The playground was calling and we hadn’t tested out the table tennis.
L wanted to try out the trampolines she had been queuing for when her friend from school suddenly appeared, Mr G wanted to go on the Go Karts again
All this interspersed with cheeky snacks of baguette and cheese. I was loving the French life.
And the nights.
Home from Home
Our Moda Plus was the perfect place to chill out after a busy day, talking nonsense as they like to do…
Wrestling, playing games on Mr A’s laptop…
Wondering what to do next…
Hitting the beach
As the warmer weather returned we made the most of the man made beach. A strange concept in some ways, but couldn’t be more perfect for families in others. Grassy areas with trees for parents to lounge under, sand for kids to build sandcastles, and a deep enough pool to swim or launch a dingy. Plus your home is only a few minute’s walk if you forget something, or need a siesta. Going to the beach made super easy.
The bakery was a wonderful thing to have on site, a real highlight for us. We weren’t really expecting much from the restaurants on site, I think we had in our heads we would enjoy self catering or the odd takeaway, but when we arrived they did look great and booked up fast. Sadly the food was disappointing in the main restaurant, Mr A was particularly unimpressed with his lamb shank and my pasta looked the part but didn’t taste it. However, we didn’t try the beachside restaurant for food, which is meant to be impressive – I am vegetarian and the more gourmet options are always a bit limited in France. Still, we enjoyed eating lots of fresh fruit and salads, baguettes and wine and loved our trip to the supermarche!
Paris – we drove in, but the campsite also does regular coach trips.
Supermarche – We loved exploring the local supermarket, an excursion not a chore!
Pierrefonds one of France’s most spectacular chateaus, had the whole family transfixed.
Compiegne – is the clearing in the forest where the 1918 Armistice was signed, the peace sculptures and railway tracks, with a small museum with pictures from the war are inspiring viewing.
Senlis – home to one of France’s oldest and narrowest cathedrals in a medieval town with great bars and cafes and an archeological garden.
We love this site!
We were really impressed with the value for money, quality and the ease of this holiday, maximum points for relaxation and keeping the kids happy while the adults descended into a cheese and occasionally wine fuelled state of relaxation. The site is obviously at it’s most busy in August, but this was only really a problem when it came to using the takeaways and restaurants. The Moda Plus made a fabulous base – contemporary, well designed and very spacious. The couriers are friendly, the kids’ club offering is very imaginative and parents are welcome to join in too – there’s a lovely community feel to the site and it is clean and well maintained. There is lots to pepper a lazy day on site to keep children happy, but also great days out in easy reach. It was a magical way to do Paris and Eurodisney as a family, without exhausting yourself too much.
Find out more about Canvas Holidays who have sites all over Europe, bursting with stuff to keep families happy. Booking was really easy, the staff are so knowledgeable and can even book your ferry, or if you prefer, you can organise your own journey.
We were guests of Canvas Holidays, opinions and editorial remain my own.