Magnificent Cevennes

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Byline: By Ruth Dyson,Evening Gazette

Some think we're a bit mad, but we just love mobile home holidays at popular campsites in France.

We've done it virtually every year now since 1994, and wherever we've gone our growing brood of boys have been well entertained with excellent pools and playgrounds - leaving us grown ups to enjoy simple sunshine and wine.

Last year we spent two weeks on the Cote d'Azur, but the hustle and bustle of this region left us yearning for a holiday away from the crowds.

So August 2003 saw us head south again across the channel, this time to the countryside of south-east France.

We stayed with Keycamp holidays at Camping Domaine des Fumades, set in the foothills of the stunning Cevennes mountain range.

We arrived at the end of one of the hottest French summers ever, so with the temperature still above 30degC the Dyson boys were keen to make immediate use of the impressive pool complex that occupies pride of place at Domaine des Fumades.

The two swimming pools, toddlers' pool and Jacuzzis are set within landscaped terraces brimming with tropical plants and overlooked by the campsite's restaurant and bar.

When we managed to drag the boys away from the pools we found the area around the campsite offered plenty of opportunities for families to enjoy outdoor activities such as canoeing and energetic hill walks atop beautiful scenery.

One of the highlights for us all was a trip to the Pont d'Arc, a natural rock arch that spans the River Ardeche with a beach underneath. From here you can join one of the many canoe expeditions that snake down the dramatic river gorge and, as we did, you can experience the breathtaking views from the road which runs above it.

We also stopped off at Balazuc, one of the prettiest villages in France, which clings to the rocks above the Ardeche river. It remains as it was laid out in the 7th century with no streets, just steps and narrow alleys. …