We were here the last two weeks of August and the site was noticeably quieter the second week.
We travelled overnight to St Malo and had a good drive down with a stop, to arrive at the campsite dead on 2pm. Our pitch was A105 which was a grand comfort pitch with water and electricity. The pitch was a good size and had sun and shade through the day. I liked the way the camping pitches were not segregated from the lodges. The pitches had well defined hedge boundaries. All of the grounds were very well kept with lots of flowers everywhere. We had very slight road noise and we were probably the furthest away from a road, I imagine pitches nearer the road could be noisy. There is also a small animal farm on the site near to the waste bins.
The shower block we used was ok, it took me a while to find the toilet cubicles which are on the outside of the block. There is no soap anywhere to wash your hands. There are two entrances to the block, one marked men and the other women but once in the block there is no separation. The showers were push button, sometimes quite powerful, at others a trickle. The temperature control was tempermental, with the water suddenly going hot or cold. I never had to queue for a shower. The washing up sinks were plentiful. The area was constantly being cleaned.
There is only one bin area which was quite a long walk for us and we tended to drive past on the way out. You have to collect a yellow bag from the info area which is used for recycling.
The pool complex is large so you never felt crowded in the pools, the lazy river is very slow and shallow and the biggest pool was too deep for me to stand up in the middle (I'm 5'4'). The problem is the areas surrounding the pools, there are not enough sunbeds and although the information from the Parc states that towels will be removed from unused beds after 1 hour we never saw this happening. Most people took their own chairs or lay on towels on the paving but sometimes there didn't seem to be a spare patch of ground even to lay a towel. We found that if we went down late afternoon it was easier to find somewhere to sit.
We went to a beach at St Palais sur Mer which was lovely. When the tide is out there are lots of rock pools to investigate and proper golden sand.
We used the takeway for pizzas on the first night, I thought the choice was quite limited and there was always a long queue.
We ate in the restaurant one night, when the food eventually came it was ok but the service was very slow. The entertainment in the courtyard was provided by the children's animation team, it wasn't really very good but you had to admire their enthusiasm and dedication. They certainly worked hard.
Other trips we took were to La Rochelle to visit the aquarium and to tour the three towers. Definitely recommend both these for days out. We visited the Roman ampitheatre in Saintes which had an English audioguide. We went on a boat trip from Royan which went out to a lighthouse.
The site supermarket was very well stocked, I was impressed with the variety available there. We went to both the LeClerc and Intermarche in Marennes which was about 5 minutes away.
It did feel quite hazardous driving on the site. There is no pathway and children did seem to appear from nowhere, whizzing around on bikes. We drove very slowly and had to do a few emergency stops.
As others have mentioned, the mossies are a real pain. We had the wristbands that are supposed to repel them, we had the mosquito coil, citronella candles and a lamp burning citronella oil, we used a deet spray and the Avon so soft and had the mosquito plug ins in the caravan - none of which stopped us being bitten. I had heard about the mossie problem so we all started taking anti-histamine tablets the week before we went and this really helped the bites from becoming too much of a problem. I used a hydrocortisone cream to stop the itching and didn't have a reaction to any of the bites.
I think the site is a good site but we found the area around quite boring - we chose the site for its facilities to entertain our teenager - another time we will look more at what there is to do in the area.
Review of Sequioa Park. July - August 2013. 4 week stay. Touring Caravan
We stayed at Sequioa Park for 4 weeks during July and August 2013. We had an overnight ferry from Portsmouth to St Malo which was great, a perfect start to the holiday as you sail off at sunset and arrive early the following day.
It was a fairly easy drive down to the area using the sat nav although it is worth checking the route carefully as it has a tendency to take you through some small villages: rather hairy with the caravan at times!
The surrounding area is very quiet, the camp site is literally in the middle of nowhere but well signed from all the major routes. The nearest town St Just is very sleepy with only the tiniest of bars (population less then that of the campsite when we were there, full with 3000 people!)
Sequoia park is beautifully laid out and impressive on arrival with beautiful landscaped gardens and a good reception team who all speak good English. We were shown to our pitch; we had booked a premium fully serviced pitch with partial shade, pricey at almost 50 Euros a night. It was supposed to be a large pitch with barbecue, patio furniture and an extra fridge included, perfect for our long stay. We were disappointed that the pitch was only average size with a huge overhanging tree that seriously limited the outside space. This excessive vegetation also meant more mosquitos and stopped us really enjoying the space to the rear of the caravan. The extra fridge was great and the fully serviced pitch made the husband's life much easier. The site was friendly with a mixture of caravans, tents and chalets. It is mainly British and Dutch people on the site.
The mosquitos plagued us and the other campers for most of the holiday although the bites bother you less after a few weeks. I recommend all the usual things like citronella burners, jungle strength repellent and electric lanterns although a good swatter and tubes of Germolene proved the best defence against infected bites that we all suffered from in the first week. A few campers had gazebos with mosquito nets you could zip up on the sides, we were very envious of these and would definitely invest in one if we went to the area again.
The pool area is excellent with several pools, only one heated but that's OK in August. Our daughter loved the slides and the pools are a good size and cope well with the crowds in the summer. The lazy river is a bit of a joke being very shallow and slow moving. It also gets mobbed and is generally rather rubbish.
It is impossible to get sun beds unless you go 20 mins before pool opens and queue. Then, when the gate opens it is a frenzy to get beds with people tearing in to get the best places. Having said this, the pool area is a highlight of the site being clean and well maintained. The no swim shorts rule is enforced, speedos only. Lifeguards are very lapse, only patrolling when management are about and spending most of the time chatting in their hut. The pool bar is great for crepes and ice cream (of course, very pricey!)
Showers and toilet facilities are plentiful and well maintained. We never queued for a shower and there is the usual washing up and hand washing facilities. Showers can be a bit weak at peak times but water was always hot.
The on site bar and restaurant are very pricey but you don't tend to mind so much when you are on holiday. We ate in the restaurant once; food only satisfactory, very expensive and we got eaten alive by the mossies as we sat outside. The fast food/takeaway service very poor with limited choice of food available and poor service.
The information centre is good with lots of advice and leaflets on things to do. We found the staff very helpful and they went above and beyond to help us find a municipal golf course, a great day out if you enjoy a game!
We didn't go to any of the evening entertainment although there always seemed to be plenty going on for the kids. You couldn't hear anything from the pitch in the evening which was great.
The town of Marennes is lovely with a market on a Tues, Thurs and Sat morning and a small port that housed festivals on the Saturday nights through August. We had a delicious and very reasonable meal at the' Bar Paix' next to the main car park with live Jazz playing outside, it was a truly excellent evening but no English spoken in this town at all! The church is impressive with a super view from the tower if you can face 297 steps!
Marennes Plage is a lovely beach and lagoon, really safe swimming for children with food and a kids play area available with trampolines etc. This is a 10 min drive from the campsite but there is ALWAYS A HUGE AMOUNT OF TRAFFIC on this road in and out of Marennes adding a least 10 minutes to every journey you make. You can avoid the traffic if you go through Marennes, but this is busy on Market Days.
Ile D'Oleron is lovely, very flat for cycling with lots of good tourist towns for browsing. An excellent restaurant is 'the Blue Piano' that serves super Galettes and Moules Marinieres. Also some lovely, quieter beaches here. It's a big island, 45 minute drive to the big town St Pierre in the centre.
Overall, an excellent holiday but we would not return to this campsite as it is just too expensive if you don't make use of the entertainment, kids clubs etc as we didn't. We loved the area and would return to a similar part of France.
We found France to be generally very expensive, a lot of food in the supermarket is extortionate given the weak state of the pound although you can still get a good bottle of local wine for under 3 Euros and the mussels and oysters (local specialities) are very reasonable. Food out is expensive unless you go for a set menu 'Formule'; 2 courses for an average of 16 Euros.
Petrol very costly, diesel cheaper, so fill up in Portsmouth before crossing.
We would recommend the campsite if you like entertainment, hustle and bustle and of course, glorious sun. We had about five cloudy days and two rainy ones in a 4 week holiday so no problem with the vitamin D levels now! The mossies are a problem if you are not prepared, the worst I have ever experienced on a European holiday, so arm yourself and abandon perfume and aftershave in favour of the repellent!
Just got back from a 2 week stay here in a folding camper.
The site is lovely and in general well maintained, although there was some damage to the pool floor and some of the tiles were off the side and some of the play equipment was broken. There was a barrier system in operation for entry and exiting the site and every pitch had their own barrier number. There is a supermarket, which was reasonably stocked and priced, a souvenir shop and boutique. The bar area was pleasant, although we never used it in the evening, there did seem to be entertainment on, but we never heard it from our pitch. The take away served lovely pizzas which were cooked fresh, there was often a queue and quite a wait.
The pool complex is fantastic, something for all ages, and although very busy most of the time, it didn't seem overly crowded and there was the added benefit that you could take your own chairs / sunbeds in, so you were guaranteed somewhere to sit. There are pool rules and lifeguards there enforcing them, although they did turn a blind eye to the 'no inflatables' rule. It is a site that requires men and boys wear trunks rather than swimming shorts.
The pitches were a good size, but some were very long and narrow, or a strange shape, which may cause problems with bigger caravans. They were grassy in parts, but much of the grass where people put groundsheets etc was gone leaving just dusty, sandy, soil. We did have trouble getting some of our normal pegs in as there were large stones and rocks under the soil and so had to use rock pegs in some areas.
The toilet / shower facilities were adequate, but a bit dated. The toilets did have seats on them and there was toilet roll, which was a bonus, but there wasn't any soap at the handwashing sinks. The showers were a bit hit and miss, some were good, some just a trickle. They were all the push button, fixed head type, but did have variable heat of a sorts! No-one took any notice of the men's and women's sides and just used whatever cubicle was available. At times there was a queue for the showers. There were swallows nesting in the toilets and shower blocks and so sometimes there was bird muck down the walls, but apart from that, they were kept really clean and there always seemed to be one of the domestic team around keeping them clean. There was a baby bath with a hose type shower head that was ideal for children and I showered our 7 year old in it without any trouble.
The children's play area was extensive and catered for all ages to 12, although there were often older children in it and many children weren't supervised. The play area was well within the site though and not near the gates where it often seems to be, but I still wouldn't have been comfortable letting our daughter go to play there by herself. There is a snall animal farm and horse riding stables.
There wasn't much in the local area, but we knew that when we booked. The local beaches aren't up to much, so we travelled to La Palmyre to the beach. The Ile d'Oleron was lovely and worth a visit, but there were often traffic hold ups along the road leading to it. There was a leclerc and an intermarche in Marennes.
The one major downside to the stay was the mosquitoes. It was horrendous, both my husband and myself were bitten to bits and no amount of repellent made any difference. You could tell how long someone had been on the site by the amount of bites that they had.
All in all, we did really enjoy our stay, not sure we would return, primarily because of the mossies, but for us it was just too big and not the right area.
We spent 4 nights here the last week of August and I tried very hard to like the site but in reality we wont ever go back.
We hadnt booked and on arrival were told the site was full but we could spend the night on a temporary pitch (charged same as regular pitch). We were tired after the long drive so agreed. The temporary pitches are basically all in a row in the middle of the site. They do have ehu. We were then given a list of pitches available the next day so we went off to choose a pitch only to discover there were at least 20 pitches already empty. We went back to reception to ask if we could have one of them but to no avail. These pitches remained unoccupied throughout our stay.
The majority of the pitches are a great size, some are very deep rather than wide, some huge and all separated by hedging and trees. The whole site was very well maintained with beautiful flowers and plants.
The pool complex is excellent but very very busy and finding a sunbed was impossible. They had room for lots more but many people simply took their own chairs to the pool or spread out on towels in the grassy areas. The pools were a lovely temperature if the sun was shining but when the weather wasn't as good they were decidedly chilly.
There is a large excellent playarea which was very popular with all the children on site. However this is a quite a walk from some pitches and there isnt anywhere really to sit and watch your children play. Kids on bikes are everywhere and often bikes would be left anywhere which made getting the van to the pitch difficult.
There is nightly entertainment with loud music that goes on til approx 11. 30pm. It got on my nerves as could be heard from our pitch and was repetitive thumping chart music. If noise bothers you ask for a pitch in section T or A but as far from the bar as you can get. Some of the pitches in F section also suffer from road noise.
The loos and showers were very clean, showers were nice and powerful and I never had to queue. They do have a problem with birds flying into the open air facilities but I didn't find them a problem. There is loo paper but no soap which I found disappointing in a site of this standard. The dishwashing sinks were of the push button type, very stop start and water pressure poor. The water was lukewarm at the best. The bins are at the far end of the site meaning you could have a 10 minute walk to the bins, we saw lots of people driving to the bins instead.
We tried to get a drink at the bar one night but they wouldn't serve us as we couldn't find a table. There is a large very nicely done inside and outside bar seating area. The takeaway looked nice and was reasonably priced. They had a lovely area where you could sit and eat the takeaway on wooden tables and chairs.
The site was very busy with stacks of unsupervised kids and two nights out of the four we had older kids hanging round by our pitch til after 11. 30pm. They did move on when we had a polite word.
The shop sells a wide variety of food, english papers and camping essentials. Bread and croissants don't need to be ordered in advance.
There is a library (consisting of holiday makers left over books) on site but I was disappointed to find to borrow a book (minimum of 3 books) they wanted a 10 euro deposit. In all the years I've been camping in France I've never had to pay to take a book. Needless to say I didn't bother.
The main bugbear we had were the dreadful mossies. We wore extra strength insect repellent with DEET, used insect spray and repellent coils but still got several bites. Sitting out at night it was a constant battle to swat the mossies, our battery operated zapper got lots of use! We were very relieved we had a flyscreen on the caravan door as they were everywhere. We ended up leaving all the lights out in our van and the awning light as they otherwise sat under the awning by the van door! Looking around nearly every camper we saw had bites and they were extremly itchy!
The local area is uninspiring although we did have a good day on the il d'oleron. There is an excellent Super you at Marennes (5 min drive from site) and the bakery in St Just (local village) sold much better bread than the site shop and the most delicous cakes. Traffic on the roads leading to Marennes and the Il d'Oleron was bad on weekends, something to bare in mind when planning days out. Traffic on and off the island was particularly heavy.
The site does have wifi round the pool and bar but the prices are high. We used the free wifi at Macdonalds at Marennes (5-10 mins drive).
Overall this site has excellent facilities but due to the high number of statics and UK tour operators we found it just too busy, too commercial and we felt we could have been anywhere. We usually love Castel sites but not this one.
We hired a mobile home here instead of camping as we went for 6 days at half term and wanted to not spend any time setting up tents etc as it's a very long day's drive to get here. It wasn't loads more expensive than a pitch as well, actually, for quite a luxurious one with air con. It felt funny camping indoors though!
Staff were friendly and spoke good English, the bar was good. Restaurant was a bit expensive and not much choice but the food wasn't bad. Takeaway pizzas were better than most French ones (French pizza is usually terrible!).
The pools were good though only one was warm enough to avoid hypothermia at that time of year (the river part). The playground was excellent and there was table tennis and a football pitch. The little farm section was great and we visited daily to see newly hatched chicks, awww!
The site is very large, there are lots of mobile homes but it's quite nicely landscaped so it's pretty enough. The only 2 complaints were
1. The bins were absolutely miles away from most of the site. A massive trek just to get rid of your rubbish. People were driving there and queuing to drop rubbish off, and the campsite was fairly quiet so it must be chaotic when it's busy.
2. The mosquitos and midges previously mentioned by everyone. Pretty bad.
The beaches were a fair trek away and the traffic to get into the Ile d'Oleron (to the really nice sandy surf beaches) was terrible when it got near the French public holiday. We ended up that day instead at the tiny local beach which was actually quite charming, though no surf obviously. It would be perfect for toddlers. Talmont is not too far and is a lovely little old town. Royan is a bit dull.
We probably wouldn't return to this campsite, but it is fine if you want a large site with good pools and lots of facilities.
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