“Look at those amazing slides Mum, can we please please visit that water park while we’re here” exclaimed my son as our car approached the entrance of Camping La Sirène just outside Argelès-sur-Mer in the Pyrénées Orientales region of France. Having already seen the pictures of the water slides on the website, I was delighted to tell him that those slides weren’t a separate water park but were actually part of our holiday parc and that he could explore those slides everyday over the next week if he wanted to.
With some huge smiles from the three teenagers in the backseat we were directed by the ‘greeters’ to the Eurocamp tent within the complex. Although there was nobody from Eurocamp there when we arrived there was a sign that someone would be back shortly so we headed to the on-site supermarket to buy an ice-cream as the temperature was already creeping up into the high twenties.
As we enjoyed our gelato, we wandered around this popular five star holiday parc. It seemed well laid out with all the communal sections in one area next to the pool complex and the mobile home accommodation sprawling away from there. There was lots and lots of people around but then again it was July aka high season so we expected it to be busy.
When our Eurocamp representative arrived an hour later, she gave us our key, and a map and showed us where our pitch was. We also had to go and collect our all important wristbands which would allow us access to the parc and the opportunity to enjoy all the on-site facilities.
Eurocamp has a strong presence in Camping La Sirène however their holiday homes are not just in one area, there are various models dotted around the holiday parc. Our accommodation was located near the back of the site and it took us a few minutes to drive there which gave us an early heads up to how large Camping La Sirène was. Our home for the week was one of Eurocamp’s top of the range holiday homes, the three-bedroom Aspect.
Camping luxury in the Aspect holiday home
Firstly, the Aspect doesn’t feel like a holiday home, it feels more like an apartment and has the space inside and out to comfortably accommodate a larger family. It feels uber modern and has a large living space, not that you’ll spend much time in there as there is an amazing outside decking area, the best we’ve ever seen. Let’s have a
room holiday home tour…
A good night’s sleep in the Aspect
There are three comfortable bedrooms in Eurocamp’s Aspect holiday home. The large master bedroom has a queen-sized bed with the kind of space where you can comfortably walk around the bed without having to idle your way sidewards. There’s a separate well laid out twin bedroom and a room with a bunk bed. All bedlinen and towels are included in your booking. Beach towels are an additional cost and need to be booked in advance.
The Aspect will comfortably sleep six adults but will easily cater for eight people if you convert the sofa in the lounge into a double bed.
A flatscreen TV adorned the wall but we didn’t turn it on once during our week’s holiday.
One of the lifesavers was the air-conditioning unit as it was very hot when we were there. As with most holiday homes, we had one air-con unit in the living room which meant that we had to keep the sliding (ingenious idea) doors to bedrooms open to allow cold air in. The air-conditioning turns itself off every two hours and we didn’t realise this as there wasn’t any paperwork or information so we rang the rep’s ‘emergency line’ when it wasn’t working on the first morning, we were really worried that it had broken. They were able to reassure us that this is the way it works and that we simply needed to turn it on again when it turns itself off. This sounds like something they should’ve told us when we checked in.
The air-conditioning didn’t quite cut it at night so we used the large floor fan that was in the master bedroom to help keep the temperature down overnight in the master bedroom.
I was impressed with the storage in the bedrooms which meant that we could unpack and put everything away and pack the suitcase under the bed for the duration of our stay.
Holiday home cooking in the Aspect’s kitchen
The Aspect had everything you could possibly need in a kitchen including a coffee machine and toaster but I had an issue with the kettle. The Aspect had a tiny kettle (think hotel room size) and no teapot which kicked my four cup of tea in the morning habit on it’s head for the week as the kettle took so long to boil it just wasn’t worth it. In fact shaking the water to excite the molecules would have been faster.
The kitchen has a full size fridge and freezer and microwave, four ring gas hob and a full size oven. We don’t mind cooking when we’re on holidays so we were delighted that we had our own gas BBQ which we ended us using several times over the week. There was even a small dishwasher which we only used once.
If you want to arrive and start your holiday straight away without worrying about getting in the essentials, you can book a welcome pack, for €15, which will have most of what you need for the first day of your stay including, Fairtrade filter coffee and tea, sugar, two mini jams, olive oil, salt and pepper, water, orange juice, crisps and wine. All Eurocamp holiday homes have toilet paper when you arrive so that isn’t in the welcome pack.
Washing that sand off
I have to give a special mention to the shower in the Aspect, it was huge. It was so big you could easily wash a few kids in there at the same time but you won’t need to as there was always lots of hot water for everyone to shower the sand and suntan lotion off.
Chilling on the outside deck
The outside space is the real selling point of the Aspect. Two thirds of the decking is covered by a high quality canopy which was a God send in the sun and the rain, yes it did rain one evening. At one point it was raining very heavily and the canvas didn’t cope well with that.
There is seating outside for six people (four comfortable chairs and footstools and two sun loungers). We asked for a fifth chair and Eurocamp reps (I can’t remember if it was Robyn, Sam or Billy) delivered one to us the very next morning.
They’ve really thought of everything with the Asepct, there was even a lockable gate on the deck to keep toddlers and/or adventurous canine pets safe.
Let’s talk about Camping La Sirène
If you and your family are looking for a small, quaint holiday parc then Camping La Sirène isn’t for you. It’s a huge parc, in fact you’ll need a map to find your way around for the first few days of your stay.
The Eurocamp pitches are maintained and clustered together around the parc. The pitches are between 80 m2 – 100 m2 which is plenty of room for your holiday home and car with space to spare. Most pitches offer some shade cover which will be useful on those hot July and August days.
There are no tents or motor homes allowed anywhere on site, just static holiday homes. As I stroll through the meandering lanes of holiday homes, I notice that the grass and hedges are all well looked after and there are grecian statues dotted around which gives the parc a somewhat regal feeling.
The only thing that let Camping La Sirène down in my opinion was the communal entertainment building, it felt way too small for the number of people who stay there and it also felt quite run down. I wasn’t surprised when I found out that they were planning on tearing that part of the complex down and rebuilding a new state of the art entertainment and dining area which would be open for the 2020 season.
There were cabaret and karaoke shows held every night which are very popular with the families staying on site. On Sunday and Thursday evenings, there’s a special welcome show where all new visitors can go along, find out more about what’s happening everyday and also enjoy a free drink.
Eating out at Camping La Sirène
There are various food options available as you can imagine. There’s a takeaway which sells chips, cooked chicken, crepes etc. It seemed a little pricey considering some of the food looked like it had been sat there a little while. There is a restaurant inside called La Troika as well as a restaurant located outside overlooking the pool complex. We didn’t eat in either but there were lots of families enjoying food in both restaurants.
If you don’t fancy cooking in your holiday home, I would recommend checking out the pizzeria located right next door called El Goncourt. The pizzas were tasty and affordable and a nice treat.
If you do like taking advantage of the cooking facilities in your holiday home, there’s a bakery and large supermarket on-site.
The all important pools
The real selling point of Camping La Sirène is the 10,000 m² water park on-site with 2 covered and heated swimming pools. One pool is adult only so if you’re under 18 you won’t be allowed in (they’ll check your wristband). In the adult pool, there run spinning classes where the bikes are actually in the water, it was alot harder than it sounds.
There are also a variety of waterslides from the gentle baby ones right up to the daredevil scarier slides.
One thing to note is that there are no sun-loungers to lie on around the pool. There is fake grass so you’ll need to bring your towel to sit down or lie down.
There’s a bar and separate restaurant located by the pool so you can enjoy a cold beverage or have something to eat while the kids have fun in the water.
There are plenty of life guards on duty but it can still be pretty busy in the high season.
We found out too late that there was a late night swim on Thursday evening. We didn’t realise this until we walked past at 9pm and people were coming out of the pool! I don’t know where that was advertised.
Activities for the kids
Kids clubs and activities are taken very seriously at Camping La Sirène. Every week, they release a brochure which outlines the different (free) activities that are taking place on site and also across the road at their sister camp (see below). If you’re not sure what’s going on on-site or in the surrounding area, there’s a information point where you can find out all about what there is to do.
The activities are split into two sections, things for kids aged 4-11 and 12-17 years old. The teens aren’t forgotten here, there are lots of free activities like a crepe party, teen disco, manga studios, BBQ, football, FIFA tournament and also a variety of paid activities are available like canyoning, scuba-diving, giant trampoline, diving and kayaking. Our three teens went along to try them out but were disappointed that most of the teen activities were infiltrated by 12 year olds so that put our three teens off going again.
Sometimes it was a little tricky to work out what was on where. As Camping La Sirène is so big, you needed a map to find things. The foam party might be on the basketball court yet the crepe party was in the Hippocamp across the road!
There is a sister smaller campsite across the (busy) road called ‘Hippocamp’ where most kids activities and teen clubs take place. There are some sports pitches there too and a smaller pool. All visitors to Camping La Sirène can use the facilities at the Hippocamp and vice versa, this is why you need to wear your wristband/security bracelet at all times. If you’re looking for Thai food, then there’s a restaurant called ‘Bambou’ which would have been on our list to try but we ran out of evenings.
How to get to Camping La Sirène
We met lots and lots of Irish families during our stay at Camping La Sirène which isn’t surprising at it’s so easy to get here from Ireland. You can fly into Perpignan (from Dublin airport) and Camping La Sirène is only a short thirty minute drive away. For those families living on the west coast of Ireland, you can fly into Girona-Barcelona airport from Ireland West airport and Camping La Sirène is a seventy five minute drive away.
Public transport links into are good into Argeles-sur-mer so you may be able to avoid hiring a car. You also won’t need a car to get to the beach nearby as there’s a free train shuttle service that leaves from outside the entrance. It takes you to the northern beach of Argelès-sur-Mer. This service is available in July and August, there are two trains in the morning and three in the afternoon.
They’re quite strict on safety and security at Camping La Sirène. Everytime you walk in or drive in, the staff at the gate check that you’re wearing the appropriate wristband. The barrier at the entrance closes at 11pm so if you arrive after that you’ll have to leave your car outside the holiday parc.
Sandy beaches near Camping La Sirène
Angeles-sur-Mer beach is 7km long and has a prestigious blue flag. When we spent time at the beach, we tended to stay near the south end of the beach as it’s a little quieter as it’s away from the hustle and bustle of the heart of the beach where the restaurants and cafes and shops are. It’s only when you swim out, you can look back and see the hoards of people further north on the beach.
At the south end of the beach there’s a lifeguard station that has public toilets (just remember to bring your own paper). They also record the air and sea temperatures there and write it on the side of the station, the kids loved checking the temperatures out there.
There’s plenty of things to do on the beach, you can hire pedalos and SUP boards as well as get a ice-cold drink in one of the cafes which are dotted along the beach. If you want to treat yourself you could even hire a bed and brolly from one of the cafes.
It’s worth noting that when the temperature does creep up in high season, the sand, which is coarse, gets unbearably hot. You could easily burn your feet walking on it when the temp gets over 30c which it did when we were there. This coarse sand means that you won’t be able to build any sandcastles but it’s comfortable for lying a towel on and it doesn’t stick to everything. Talking of hot weather, if you are planning to visit the beach in July or August, I would highly recommend bringing an umbrella as the sun is incredibly powerful and it was still 28c at 10pm on the beach! One morning at 10:30am, the air temperature was 32c and the water temperature was a balmy 24c. The water was beautifully clear and there were no jellyfish when we were there.
The beach slopes away quickly in the water and it becomes out of your depth within a few feet so you couldn’t let small children paddle without holding their hands. This wasn’t an issue for us as our three are all teens and strong swimmers. It’s not tidal like it is in Ireland so you can sit near the water with out fear of having to relocate yourselves.
A short 15 minute drive away from the holiday parc is the picturesque medieval town of Collioure. This is a very popular destination for tourists so either get public transport or get there early before 10am to be able to secure a car parking space anywhere near the town. There are two beaches in the town so you could easily spend the day soaking up the sunshine however the beaches are stony so make sure you bring something to sit on.
When you visit Collioure, be sure to walk along the Chateau Royal de Collioure and take time to spot the fish in the water. Grab a coffee by the harbour and enjoy the stunning views of the castle. Expect to pay €2.10 for an espresso and €3.50 for a lemonade or €6 for breakfast (coffee, on and bread and jam).
Other things to do in Collioure is visit the bell tower and the Henri Matisse modern art museum. Matisse famously said “In the whole of France, there is no sky as blue as the one above Collioure. I just have to open the shutters of my room and I have all the colours of the Mediterranean before me.”
Less than ten minutes drive from Camping La Sirène is the town of Argelès-sur-Mer. A quaint town, full of character that doesn’t feel like it’s lost it’s personality to the tourist industry. It has a lovely selection of shops, cafes and restaurants. We had a delicious espresso in a bakery in the centre of the town and it cost just over €1, what a bargain.
If you’re visiting the town, be sure to go on a Wednesday morning as it’s market day and you’ll nab yourselves some local produce and crafts.
Parking is free at the train station and it’s only a short stroll into the heart of the town.
Overall, we really enjoyed our week at Camping La Sirène with Eurocamp and would highly recommend it for a family looking for an action-packed holiday in the sun. If you’d like to book your own holiday in an Aspect holiday home at Camping La Sirène with Eurocamp. Head to their website to check availability.
Disclaimer : Eurocamp offered us a complimentary week’s accommodation in the Aspect holiday home at Camping La Sirène in exchange for this honest review. All thoughts, opinions and photos are 100% our own, unless otherwise stated.