It was our first time! We were camping holiday virgins. I didn’t know whether we would kill each other in a more enclosed space or whether the great outdoors would be our living room. Would we live our best lives in La Sirène in the South of France. Really, I needn’t have worried!
Due to a clashing event, hubby went out before me with the two youngest on Sunday while I stayed home with the teenager until Wednesday morning. This meant that check-in and all that jazz had been done by the time I landed and everyone was utterly chill.
We stayed in a ‘Vista’ cabin. At the time of booking, we were not aware that there was an upgrade to an ‘Aspect’. The vista was great. It was warm, it had air conditioning and it was exactly what you would expect from a mobile home. We had a lovely deck at the front which we used continuously as a living area. Rather than take photos, I am going to advise you check out their website here as they have much better images of the facility than I got.
The down side was that as 2 near 6ft tall adults, the double bed was adequate, but not the super king we are used to. I had to crawl over himself to get to my side. I also had to stand on the bed to get clothes out of the wardrobe. So, if you are very tall, definitely go for the upgrade. Don’t pack a gazillion things to bring with you! I packed light and still there were so many things I just didn’t wear.
We booked our trip through Eurocamp.ie but as far as I know you can book directly with La Sirène too although I have no idea what the difference in price would be or whether the service you get is different.
Surrounding Areas on Foot
If you saw my stories while I was away, you will see that we had an absolute ball and a very active holiday. Myself and hubby ran every day bar 1 and it was absolutely beautiful. We had a 5km route that literally brought us from our front door and back in 4.98km (which meant we had to run our OCD legs past our front door for an extra 20m to bring it to 5km).
So, this route was beautiful. Go and ‘friend’ me on Strava and go through my routes there or you can read where I go through this route step by step in this instagram post. This brought my route to 5.3km but I was about 400 m to the back of the campsite adding nearly 1km to the overall route.
The second route is out the gate, left at the roundabout and right at the main roundabout. This brings you into Argeles Sur Mer and down to the Guidon Futé cycle shop which brings me nicely to my next topic – Bike Rental. By the way, I usually come back through the woods for that route too.
We rented our bikes here at Guidon Futé. Why did we rent here and not in La Siréne? Well, first of all, Guidon was recommended to us by other cyclists with reference to bike quality and safety. For no extra cost, this location also provides helmets and bike locks. NOBODY wears helmets around Argeles Sur Mer – I was so shocked. We were the few wearing them and the kids had no problem with that. They have a selection of city bikes (upright with a basket on the front) mountain bikes and road bikes (racers). They also rent those family pedal cars which are great to pass an afternoon.
Just next door is this spot with some amazing paella. Head down in the morning and order your portion for lunch. They also have an amazing selection of seafood to choose from.
In truth, you can turn left or right on any road and find the most amazing cycle routes. All are marked clearly and they are so safe, even for the youngest of cyclists. We always turned right out the gate of La Sirene and then cycled down to Argeles for dinner some evenings or turned left on the main road for a 16km return trip to St Cyprien. The kids loved the adventure. Remember though, pack a picnic if you are going to arrive later than 2.30pm as all restaurants close down between 2.30 and 4.30 – this means very hungry, very cranky children if you get your timing wrong.
Facilities at La Sirène
You really do have everything you need right there. In the mobiles themselves, you have a small kitchen, full bathroom and a BBQ. There are also communal shower rooms located throughout the park which are kept very clean – just remember to bring a cheap pair of flip flops for showering.
For the kids, there is a massive pool with lots of different sections – some shallow and just knee deep and others about 1m 40cm deep. There are a selection of slides for the adventurous kids and two indoor pools. One of the indoor pools is very shallow and ideal for small children, the other is about a meter deep and perfect for older kids or adults.
There is a zumba class, diving classes, archery, playgrounds, you name it, its there. Probably the best facility is the roads around the park. They are so safe and despite the fact that cars can drive through, they travel really slowly because there are so many pedestrians around. This was fantastic for us and our little cyclist!
Destinations Close By
We rented a car at the airport and used google maps to get around. We visited some beautiful spots with lots of hiking, swimming and cycling routes.
Plage de Paulilles
The first spot we visited was Plage de Paulilles. This was a spectacular series of hikes over headlands which were totally doable for the kids and it was a source of great excitement to discover each cove along the route. Start by navigating to Paulilles and search on the map for Sole Mio restaurant. The reason for this is that google maps will send you around the world otherwise. There is a very small car parking area here and you can start your trip at this point.
Most of the beaches are stony so a pair of swim socks will be a saving grace for the kids. Alternatively, surf shoes are brilliant and they can be in and out of the water as much as they want without hurting their toes on stones.
The other great idea we had was to bring camping towels in our luggage and a cheap fleece blanket. This meant that we didn’t need to bring many heavy towels on our hikes. We could dry off with light towels which would be dry again in 5 minutes and we lay on blankets on the beach when we remembered to bring them.
One of my new favourite places on this beautiful planet of ours is Collioure. It is one of those amazing towns that holds something magical down each and every side street. It is only about 10-15 minutes drive from Argeles Sur Mer and is about 5 minutes from Port Vendre which is close to Paulilles.
Collioure has a fantastic castle that you can pay to tour around – it is very cheap, even for a large family. You can walk through the streets and buy bread or nougat – be careful not to get caught buying the €69 per kg nougat that we nearly got nabbed with.
For those of you looking for adventure and wanting to work off the pizza, there is the most exquisite hike up to Fort Saint Elme. It takes about 25 minutes from the bottom to the top. While it may look daunting from the bottom of the hill, the terrain is great fun to navigate. The kids absolutely loved it once the first 5 minutes of giving out was over. The fort itself features a little tour inside with all the weapons and chain mail that was used at the time. Be warned, there is a small shop with drinks and chocolate but not a drop of coffee or a sandwich – so either eat before or bring snacks for kids (and grown ups) in a back pack.
Final Impressions of Our La Sirène Stay
We had an absolute ball on this holiday mostly because kids had so much freedom. We spent the first few days just heading to the pool and getting into relaxation mode. Once our ‘chill level’ got to 10, we began exploring. There are lots of beautiful towns to visit in very close proximity to Argeles. We rented a car and drove to Collioure. You can also get a ferry from Argeles so it is easy to plan a day trip without the rental.
The campsite was ideal for the kids. They didn’t use the ‘kids camp’ but it was there if they wanted it. The best thing about La Sirène was the space the kids had and the fact that we all felt so safe. It was not very busy when we were there but I imagine it gets very busy during high season.
I have a list of essential items below – this does not include the mosquito gel. When you go to France, go to your nearest pharmacy and buy the varnish to paint on insect bites. It is like magic and stops the horrible itching almost immediately.
Don’t forget to pack your run gear! Enjoy the heat, stay cool by maintaining camp next to the waters edge and let your hair down. If you need a bit of focus on your trip to stay moving, let me help! I have a FREE running programme here that even the kids can join in on. Pick a session and do it as a run/walk or get the kids to cycle alongside you. But it is totally your choice. You can choose to keep moving, or choose to have a total chill out on your holiday. I love running so this was no major effort – I really enjoyed it.