You know you’ve fallen into holiday mode when you wake in the morning, the sun is shining and the biggest decision is who goes to buy croissants from a shop in the grounds of a beautiful converted chateau in Normandy.
This is how life sublimely slipped in to rest and relaxation while enjoying the comforts of Château lez Eaux in St Pair-sur-Mer, a fairytale-looking manor house which has kept its charm while becoming a perfect holiday backdrop.
The chateau is one of the 100-plus parcs run by self-catering specialists Keycamp across Europe. But what set this apart from many holiday parks was its fantastic setting.
The parklands provided the rustic tranquility of an 18th century idyll in the heart of the countryside, yet this was gracefully combined with meeting all the needs of a holiday-making family of six – and only a quick drive away from sweeping stretches of St Pair’s beaches.
And so – rain or shine – the days largely revolved around our four children’s new-found love of water.
The covered waterpark area provided enough variety between the main pool, splash pool, waterslide and waterchutes to keep them amused for hours.
As a diversion there was always the outdoor pool to retire to where the water was slightly more chilled but the ability to soak up the sunshine was welcomed.
In order to catch our breath and dry out, the days were brought to a pause with long lunches on the decked verandah of our spacious mobile home, mixing and matching local breads, cheese, meats, fruit and veg.
There was also the chance to take a leisurely stroll around the parklands, complete with fishing lakes, or to allow the children free rein on the play park or bouncy castles.
With part of the chateau containing a traditional bar, takeaway, games room and shop there was all the necessities required on site.
However, being close to beaches of St Pair as well as a short trip to the lively yachting centre of Granville meant that there was enough to break up the week and give a change of scenery amid the interchangeable late August weather.
The beaches provided plenty of opportunities to simply stretch the legs and enjoy the sea air, poke about in the rock pools or collect bucketloads of shells.
For trips slightly further afield, Normandy’s most iconic monument Mont St -Michel, a beautiful steeple-tipped ‘island’, could not be missed.
Seemingly risen from the water surrounding it, the hilltop abbey could be reached by crossing the sands at low tide.
Spotting snapshot views of it on our journey back to the walled town of St Malo – our chosen French port – also helped pass a manageable journey time with four children to entertain in the back of the car.
The romantic-looking landmark was a lasting image to carry home after simple countryside living with the Keycamp commitment of providing fun for all the family made a memorable summer break.
· Keycamp offers self-catering holidays to more than 100 top parcs across 11 European countries, including Greece, Denmark and Croatia, plus the USA and 11 parcs in the UK. Each boasts excellent facilities and a choice of stylish mobile home, chalet, Supertent and even tree house accommodation.
· Seven nights in May for two adults and up to four children staying in a two-bedroom Villanova mobile home with decking at Keycamp’s St Pair-sur-Mer will cost from £203, accommodation only. Ferry crossings or fly-drive packages can be arranged though Keycamp at a supplement.
· For the latest Keycamp deals, further information or to make a booking, visit keycamp.co.uk or call 0844 406 0319
· Mark Waldron and family travelled to France with Brittany Ferries. Return fares from Portsmouth to St Malo start from £92 per person return, based on a standard car plus two for stays of up to five days. For more information or to book, visit brittanyferries.com or call 0871 244 1400