A folding bed, playpen, bottles, bottle warmer, steriliser, high chair, etc. The car’s full and you’re having trouble fitting everything into the car boot. But in fact you don’t necessarily have to take everything with you. Campsites, to different degrees, have taken families with babies into account, and provide a range of solutions to make young parents’ lives easier.
In rented accommodation
Whether in mobile homes, chalets or even in some cases in lodge tents, the different types of accommodation are very often designed to cater for babies. This generally means an area set aside for a cot in the parents’ bedroom.
Adapted sanitary facilities
The same approach can be seen with manufacturers of sanitary cabins, who have designed genuine nurseries with a mini bath and a baby-changing table. In some cases, you can find “family cabins” with a nursery part, but also showers with shower heads at different heights and sinks in “teddy bear house” style for children of all ages.
Equipment to borrow or rent
When you reserve, to make sure the car is not too weighed down, ask if the campsite has equipment such as a cot, a bottle warmer or a high chair. In very many cases, they are available as an option and often can be borrowed.
Dedicated facilities for families
Now we come to the top notch. Some campsites have made catering for families with very young children a real selling point. They have set up dedicated facilities that are specially adapted and staffed by qualified personnel. For legal reasons, they are called “kindergartens” or “baby clubs”, since the word “crèche” in French is only used to meet precise legal criteria – but this solution has still been chosen by a number of campsites.
For example, Pascale Biancone, who runs the Sunélia Holiday Green campsite in Fréjus, opened a kindergarten for the 2015 season. "We opened a "kindergarten" and not a crèche. However, in terms of equipment, layout and staffing, our kindergarten meets all current standards for "early childhood" care, whether in terms of equipment, furniture or staff. The manager is a childcare worker who has all the necessary qualifications. She is part of the animation team and in case of overcrowding, she can be joined by one or two additional people, who are also qualified.
Sylvie Michel, who runs Le Floride and l'Embouchure in Le Barcarès is one of the few campsite managers to offer a real crèche. "I wanted to offer a real crèche and I got in touch with "Crèches de France" which builds and manages crèches all over France. I provide free premises that I have completely renovated and brought up to standard. Crèches de France took care of all the constraints and administrative procedures, fitted it out, furnished it, managed the structure after it opened and provided the staff. In this case, it was an early childhood educator, a nursery nurse and an auxiliary.
These kindergartens or baby clubs are not necessarily meant to look after your baby all day long. Originally, the aim was to offer an extra service to families with young children and to give parents a few hours to themselves and take part in other activities on offer in the campsite with perfect peace of mind. This might mean, for example, that you can spend an hour or two at the wellness centre for a spa or a massage or to take time to work on your tan next to the pool, safe in the knowledge that the “little chap” or “the little lass” is in good hands.
How much does it cost?
It is obvious that given the means required to set up a structure like this, it would be hard for the service to be free of charge. For information purposes, the Sunelia Holiday Green charges €20 for a half day and €35 for a full day. At Floride & l’Embouchure, the cost is €23 for every 2 and a half hours. There is also a subscription offer of five sessions for €100.