A few days in the south of France conjures up images of sun, sea, sand, sophistication… and usually a hefty price tag!
You will find all of these – except the Riviera prices – at Sunêlia Domaine de la Dragonnière camping – a five-star holiday village close to the seaside resort of Vias.
We flew from Luton airport to Beziers, the closest town, from where the transfer takes just five minutes; ideal if you have excited teenagers in tow, as I did! And thanks to the helpfulness of the staff in answering my many questions, we had dropped our baggage at the accommodation and the girls were in the pool within half an hour.
Our home for the week, the Taos chalet was beautifully designed, spacious and (most importantly) immaculately clean. I loved the Nespresso coffee machine and the dishwasher, as well as the fully equipped kitchen (not that I was planning to cook, given the numerous options for eating out on the site). Each six-person Taos chalet has its own outdoors area, complete with free-standing hammock, sunloungers, a barbecue and plenty of seating.
You can bring your own caravan, tent or motorhome, plus there are lots of of accommodation options whatever your budget.
Is it just for families?
Not at all. It’s very rare to find a holiday village where there’s so much to keep the family entertained while also being a haven of peace and relaxation. La Dragonnaire is a family-friendly site, but that doesn’t mean it’s not suited to couples and those travelling without children.
My favourite area of La Dragonnaire was the Lagoon, new for 2017, where we relaxed on a beautiful white sandy beach created specially for the site.
A great place to relax after a swim is the pool bar, which overlooks La Cubaine, the outdoor heated pool area. The girls loved the water slides and dipping into each of the three pools, one of which has exercise equipment actually in the water! Great for keeping fit during a holiday that could easily drift by in a haze of sunbathing, sumptuous three-course dinners, French wine and cappuccinos…
Relax in the luxury spa
In the on-site Spa, we found a friendly English-speaking manager and facilties guaranteed to relax you after all that sunbathing! A wide selection of massage and beauty treatments are available, plus a sauna, nail salon, steam room, jet shower and relaxation room.
Even in April the weather was very warm and sunny, but should you visit earlier in the year, or in the autumn, you’ll find an indoor heated pool with panoramic views of the surrounding countryside and a solarium terrace: tropical swimming in any season.
What’s the food like?
Many visitors take advantage of the half-board option, where breakfast and dinner at La Terrasse restaurant are provided as part of a special pre-paid package – all you have to do is turn up! With half-board the choices at dinner are more limited than offered by the normal menu, but the portions are huge and each dinner comes with three courses. Full-board is also available.
If you prefer to sample a range of the cuisine offered on-site, there is also a seafood café and a burger restaurant where you can order the famous moules et frites (mussels and fries) that I think is a must on any trip to France!
Natural Lagoon, indoor/outdoor heated pools, free shuttle to 7km of sandy beaches at Vias, cycle hire, water park (3 different areas), table tennis, multi-sports ground, archery, luxury SPA, disco, mini-market, Sunny Club (kids’ clubs including nursery for babies from 3 months), entertainment & sports programmes, including dance/Zumba/aqua gym.
WiFi is available throughout the park.
What is there to do off-site?
Within 5km you’ll find fishing, horse-riding and dedicated cycle paths, little towns to explore, nature reserves, and the stunning Canal du Midi.
How do I get there?
Fly from London Luton to Beziers with RyanAir (90 minutes, flights from around £100) or if you fancy a real adventure you could plan a drive south from Calais!
A week’s holiday for 4 sharing is priced from:
- Low Season: €315 for a 2-bedroom chalet; €224 for a pitch (inc. electricity and water)
- High Season: €945 and €343 on the same basis respectively
Sunêlia Vacances (www.sunelia.com) offers a choice of 31 4- and 5-star holiday villages across France. We stayed at Sunêlia Domaine de la Dragonnière at Vias-sur-mer (tourist office: www.herault-tourisme.com) on the Mediterranean coast. All parks offer a wide range of accommodation options from spacious camping pitches and mobile-homes to architect-designed lodges and chalets.