Votre Vacances has very generously offered a seven night stay in one of their gorgeously-new, three-bed chalets, at their four-star campsite in the Vendee, anytime from May half term, until the 2nd September 2018. They have even donated the amazing offer of an option of adding on more nights at a discounted price of £80 per extra night too!
It really is a fabulous prize, for a great local charity from a brilliant local business.
Votre Vacances Story
Harrogate’s Sarah, who owns Votre Vacances, has a special reason why she’s supporting the Harrogate Tribe Christmas event this yeas. Her grandparents used to regularly volunteer at the Harrogate Homeless Project right into their seventies, after they passed away they left Sarah some inheritance with which she started her business. Sarah felt that she really wanted to give back to the charity and thought that the tie in with her business was a really lovely way to do it.
Tickets for the Raffle can be bought on the Night Out
Tickets for the raffle will be available on the night of the event, Friday 24th November, for £1 each, with all the money going to the Harrogate Homeless Project.
It’s set to be a great night, in a lovely venue, with a chilled atmosphere and festive fun. Book your tickets before they’ve sold out – you don’t want to miss out on that goody bag – or the chance to win that holiday!
We had the most amazing holiday this summer. We were away for three whole weeks which is such a luxury and something we’d never done before. I absolutely adored spending all that time with the four most important people in my life without distraction or interruption. We all really had time to come together as a family and re-group which is so lacking in today’s busy life.
Our first week was with the brilliant Votre Vacances, a gorgeous holiday business based right here in Harrogate but with their holidays over in the Vendee in France. They have eight pitches for their chalets at a beautiful small and authentic four-star campsite set against the backdrop of a chateau complete with its own lake! How amazing does that sound!
Sarah who owns and operates the company has such a lovely story to share too. After working for Eurocamp for five years over summer holidays she decided she wanted to set up her own business. In her early twenties, sadly her grandparents passed away and generously left her some inheritance which she chose to put towards creating this amazing new business.
Votre Vacances has been up and running for two years which means all the chalets are brand new and in amazing condition. The campsite is in a fabulous location on the west coast of France, just South of Nantes and North of La Rochelle.
Perfect Campsite in the Vendee
It’s a fifteen minute car ride to some of the most gorgeous beaches the Vendee has to offer too! And because Sarah is so hands on at the site, living there from May to September, she gives a lovely personal touch that you don’t get with other holiday brands.
Small and Authentic
We had such a lovely holiday with Votre Vacances, it was a really gorgeous place. The site was small enough for the Big Girls to do some exploring on their own but big enough to give us plenty of adventures we’re going to remember for a long time!
Swimming Pool Craziness
There are two swimming pools at the campsite, one right in front of the Chateau and the other right behind it – making for great sun-bed views!
The second pool is also under cover which means you can use it whatever the weather and there are two all important water-slides for the Small people to while away hours on! The Big Girls couldn’t get enough of them!
The bar and restaurant areas are all set in the outbuildings of the chateau which makes it look picture postcard pretty and remind you that you could be nowhere other than France.
Free Children’s play area, trampoline and bouncy castles
The Smalls loved the trampoline and two bouncy castles, that to their amazement, they could go on any time of the day or evening, for FREE! The campsite also has a mini play-area, tennis courts, a football pitch and fully equipped games room.
Le Grand Defi
One of the things we loved most about the campsite was the area down by the Lake, which hosts an area called Le Grand Defi, which is the most impressive series of high ropes course I have ever seen.
The courses are really outstanding, with over a dozen zip wires that go over a lake, yes zip wires over a lake, it’s something to behold and even more incredible to experience, as we found out!
Le Grand Defi is laid out with courses suitable for all ages; from two to five year olds, to family, to serious sporting professional level.
Family Tree Top Fun
The Small Boy loved it and he got quite adept at clipping and un-clipping himself. The Big Girls loved the independence it gave them and the self satisfaction of being able to achieve the climbing all by themselves.
We loved the fact we could join in with them and be part of an experience all together, rather than just watching them do it on their own which is so often the case with their activities.
One of the Big Girls and I had an amazing time on one of the higher courses, she loved challenging herself and we had some zip wire rides I will never forget. They were so high over the lake and the trees that they actually ended not on the ground but in other trees! It was crazy brilliant!
There was also pony trecking and paint balling available at Le Grand Defi too – the Small Boy adored his pony, he loves animals so to ride a pony was the ultimate experience for him, bless him!
Chilled Campsite Life
Along with living campsite-life; hanging by the pool, playing boules and table tennis and chilling playing cards back at the holiday chalet, we also had a few day trips out to explore the gorgeous Vendee has to offer.
Firstly the beaches are incredible. They’re long with beautifully soft golden sand and a mixture of shallow shelves for paddling Smalls depending on the tides.
Les Sables d’Olonne
We headed out to both Les Sables d’Olonne and St Gilles Croix de Vie. Both of which were only about a 20 minute drive away. There was plenty of parking but it was very busy. We visited Les Sables d’Olonne one early evening and, as recommended by Sarah, we parked across the bay from the main beach and caught the water bus across the crossing to the main beach area.
The Smalls loved the five minute boat ride from side to side which added to the adventure. There was an evening market on, which the Big Girls loved, buying trinkets to take home and we’ll all remember the amazing hot, sugary, ChiChi’s (Churros) for a long time to come!
The beach looked beautiful and we ventured to the shore for a little late night paddling! I had some of the best Mussles I’ve ever tasted back across the bay before picking up the car for the ride home! A meal to remember!
St Gilles Croix de Vie
St Gilles was a simple stunning beach, it was a gorgeously sunny day, so packed a picnic, bought a parasol and set up camp for the day!
The Smalls were as happy as could be in and out of the breaking waves, building sandcastles and were so content all day I read numerous chapters of my book – amazing!
Les Chateau des Adventures
The other brilliant day out we had was at Les Chateau des Adventures which was perfect for the slightly overcast day we chose to go.
There are trails and treasure hunts to follow, with some quite testing clues. The adventure in the Chateau saw the Smalls running around with an iPad (provided by the Chateau) which interactively helped them find out about the history of the grand house while solving their mystery!
They loved it! There was plenty of outdoor fun too with both a Pirate trail and Dinosaur one.
The campsite also offers a whole host of other delights including fishing in the lake, a brilliant take-a-way pizza bar for the nights you don’t fancy cooking or eating out, bike hire if you fancy more active exploring and indoor children play area for younger Smalls.
There’s also a well run English speaking kids club every day with so many activities to choose from including Crepe parties, hair braiding, crafts and games.
Grown Up Entertainment
There was also evening entertainment with brilliant live bands, wine tasting or quiz nights for the grown ups too every night!
The bakery in the village of Saint Julien des Landes, which is a two minute walk from the campsite, was perfect. The croissants and pain were a daily breakfast staple and the village itself is quintessentially French complete with a gorgeous church, mini-supermarket (with really friendly staff) and the obligatory hairdressers!
The Loveliest of Holidays
We simply had the loveliest holiday, which was made all the better by the brilliant Sarah, who made us feel welcome and relaxed.
The chalets are beautifully new, we had a three bed chalet, which was perfect for the five of us. It has its own decking area outside too set in a really nice sized pitch.
All the equipment has been really well looked after too and all the little things were already there like tea-towels, soap, washing up liquid, olive oil and balsamic vinegar and our beds were made too – which was such a lovely touch!
Sarah has such a personal touch and all the new crockery, linen and supplies are all included in the really reasonable prices too!
We loved the fact that Votre Vacances is a Harrogate business. Which means you can even support local companies all the way from the comfort of an amazing holiday!
Le Tour de France 2018
Votre Vacances has some great holiday deals available for booking next year. You can check out their website for more details. Rather excitingly Le Tour de France starts in the Vendee next summer from 7th July – which means Votre Vacances is a perfect spot to stay if you want to catch the cycling action too!
Summer 2018 Offers
Votre Vacances has an Early Booking Offer on, which is running until the 31st January 2018 – with prices starting at £450 for seven nights in a 2 bed, and £550 in a 3 bed, and with the code: VIP10 you’ll get an extra 10% off!
Win a Holiday!
Sarah’s grandparents used to regularly volunteer at the Harrogate Homeless Project which is the chosen charity for the Harrogate Tribe Christmas event, taking place on Friday 24th November.
Sarah has very generously offered a week’s holiday with Votre Vacances as a raffle prize on the night of the event to support the charity. Details of how to get tickets to the event will be on the blog and social media soon, so keep your eyes peeled and you could win this fabulous holiday for your family!
The raffle prize will be for a 3 bed chalet, anytime from May half term, until 2nd September, for seven nights, with the option of adding on more nights at a discounted price of £80 per extra night.
We had a gorgeous holiday and would recommend Votre Vacances as a lovely family place to stay and enjoy.
Disclaimer: Sarah kindly invited us to review staying with Votre Vacances and is donating the raffle prize.
How would you like to win a week’s holiday at a 4-star campsite set in the grounds of an incredible 18th century chateau in the heart of the Vendee, France for you and your family?!
Harrogate Tribe Christmas Night Out
If you come along to our Harrogate Tribe Christmas Night Out (Friday 24th November – save the date – ticket details to follow) you could be in with a chance of just that! The lovely Sarah at Votre Vacances got in touch after hearing about our last Harrogate Tribe event and said she would like to offer a week in one of her gorgeous chalets on the campsite as a raffle prize!
The prize is to be taken in 2018 – which is simply perfect for any cycling enthusiasts as the Tour de France is actually starting from the Vendee next year, making Votre Vacances a prime holiday location. But if you can’t wait that long, scroll down to the end of this post for details of an amazing last minute offer available this year too!
Support the Harrogate Homeless Project
Sarah is a big supporter of the Harrogate Homeless Project (the chosen charity for the Harrogate Tribe Christmas event) and wanted to offer the week’s holiday as a prize after sharing her story of her own elderly grandparents, who often volunteered at the Harrogate Homeless Project, right into their seventies with overnight stays too.
Votre Vacances is a family business from Harrogate, with eight chalets at the historic, 4-star Château la Forêt campsite in western France. Everyone knows I love to support local independent businesses on the blog so when I found out I could do that all the way in France too I was over the moon!
About the Campsite
The campsite is set in a 50 hectare area, set against the backdrop of a stunning chateau. There are two outdoor swimming pools (one can be covered over) and a lake. There’s also an adventure course (zip wire- type activities), a bar, a shop, a takeaway and a restaurant which is set in the courtyard of the chateau. Sounds picture perfect n’est pas?!
As part of our holiday this year to France we’re heading to check out Votre Vacances for ourselves and will be reporting back with a full low down all about it! We can’t wait to discover and enjoy all it has to offer! There sounds like there’s so much to see and do in the surrounding area too! Can’t wait
Packed and ready to go
We just have the packing to survive before we head off on our mammoth road trip – so if anyone has any top-tips to share for journeying to France by car with four other humans please let me know!
Road Trip Essentials
The lovely folks at safe.co.uk sent us a little care package to help with the trip, including this fab travel safe (which I would have never thought to take but such a top idea – esp. when camping), an on-the-go mobile charger (bloggers essential) and the Small Boy is thrilled with his neck pillow too! No gin for Mama though 😆, which I feel is the real secret to travelling long distances in confined spaces with the Smalls!😜
They have some proper travelling tips, which surprisingly don’t include gin, over on their #SafeTravels website.
I hope if you’re heading away on your hols your packing is coming along nicely! I still have SO MUCH TO DO and do let me know your top survival tips for the road trip please!!
Last Minute Holiday Deal
If you’re looking for a last minute holiday, Votre Vacances has a Last Minute Deal at the end of the Summer Holidays, where you can stay from Sunday 27th August, for 5 nights- for just £465, or 7 nights for £650 and still be home in time for the start of the school year! Email the lovely Sarah at firstname.lastname@example.org for more details or to get booked in!
If like me you’re looking at the bikinis in the shops and thinking about your holiday wardrobe and panicking about how ‘beach ready’ your body is – then this one’s for you!
I tend to stay out of the ‘beach ready body’ debate. I think so long as you’re moderately healthy, which is different from what your body looks like, your doing fine. I do find it difficult that we as Mamas especially worry so much about what our body’s look like and what messages that means we are passing on to our Smalls. The media in all it’s forms, is constantly telling us how we should look.
Coming home from our Italian campsite last summer which was home to thousands of women from a range of nationalities, Dutch, German, Italian, Swiss, British I can report we’re all looking just perfect!
It was a family campsite, 90% of the women there were mums, mostly with children under ten, mostly with two or more kids and we were wading knee deep in the toddler pool and sitting on the shore in our swimwear as it was gloriously hot!
I was Mama-ing without make-up, with my pear-shaped chunky thighs, c-section over hang and boobs that have fed three small infants. And while I can’t admit to splashing into the sea carefree, as if I were Pamela Anderson in Baywatch, I did my best to try to ignore my inner thoughts telling me I wasn’t looking how I was ‘supposed’ to look.
Mama; in a bikini or a maxi dress, I’m still a Mama
I was witness to all sorts of body shapes from all sorts of nationalities in that pool. What struck me most was that none of what I saw tallied with the ‘beach ready’ images I’d been bombarded with before departure. Tummies were worn with strechmarks, over hangs and scars having housed the growth of a couple of humans, boobs were wobbly having provided food for a baby or two, hips were wide having sacrificed good diet and time to exercise to the much greater need for sleep recovery.
The biggest trick to not worrying about what your body looks like is not worrying what other people think your body looks like like. These are such good messages to pass on to our Smalls. We’re always telling them – ‘it doesn’t matter what they think’ well we need to start practising what we preach, it REALLY doesn’t matter what they think!
While we worry about our own figures way more than we should, we so rarely have anything to compare them to other than the mass media pictures of toned, non saggy women. Word up folks, those pictures you see are not of ‘normal’ women. Normal women are the ones I saw hanging around the holiday pool. Scooping up their little ones on to their we’ll worn hips, squashing their thighs into the sand to help build a sandcastles and pulling toddlers on to their soft tummys on a sunbed.
You are not fat or curvy or wobbly or saggy or scarred. You’re normal! Perfectly normal. This is your body, eat healthily, take a little exercise because it’s good for you, not because you want to be beach body ready – trust me you already are! Mamas you’re looking perfect! Pick up that bikini, wear it with pride and trust me that it really doesn’t matter what other people think of your body, it’s YOURS!
When you’re three, and your parents take you on holiday to Italy and all you want to do is walk around with a bin on your head! That!
We had a lovely time, honest! Happy Wednesday folks, last one of the school holidays here! I may have gin later to celebrate – like I need an excuse! Ha!
#WickedWednesday 31st August 2016
(*The lovely BrummyMummyof2 shares her favourite #wickedwednesdays picks of the week over on her blog…so if you’re feeling like the only one who’s dealing with this sort of shizzle, then check out the links, for you’re not alone!)