Holydays: All Secrets and Slides; LANGUEDOC, FRANCE

Sunday Mercury (Birmingham, England), January 11, 2009 | Go to article overview

Holydays: All Secrets and Slides; LANGUEDOC, FRANCE


Byline: PHIL BROWN

Heritage, history and Da Vinci Code mystery, Languedoc has it all. And water slides - don't forget the water slides. PHIL BROWN takes his family on a camping holiday in France.

LANGUEDOC-Roussillon is the bit on the map of the Mediterranean between the French Riviera and the Spanish Costas. It's less of a holiday honeypot than either, but that's a plus point for us.

Less spoiled and less crowded, prettier and steeped in history, it proved an ideal place for a relaxing week sightseeing, sunbathing, dining and having fun with our children, Rosy, seven, and three-year-old Jack.

This is, as many signs proudly tell you, Cathar country. Well, it used to be. All that's left of these medieval heretics, wiped out in a Crusade, are a string of spectacular castles, tales of bloodcurdling persecution ("Kill them all: God will know his own") and a vast literature on their supposedly mystical secrets - the Da Vinci Code the latest but not least.

For grown-ups or older families, the Cathar legacy is one of the main draws. We, however, had a great time in Languedoc without telling the children a word about it.

Having flown from Manchester to Perpignan, we had picked up our hire car at the airport and driven to Village Aloha, right on the Mediterranean at Serignan-Plage.

Our well-appointed and comfortable mobile home, courtesy of holiday parc specialist Eurocamp, was 100 metres from a long sandy beach which, even in July under a blazing sun, never got too crowded.

Rosy spent her time on site making friends and going to as many of the entertainments as she could. These were slick and enthusiastic, heavy on the universal languages of Europop and slapstick, and the Oranginafuelled children just loved it and partied until nearly midnight.

The crucial question of any holiday for Rosy is: are there waterslides?

Yes, two long fast twisty ones, exactly the same length - so if there wasn't too much of a queue she could race daddy, and win.

The market in the nearby small town of Serignan was rendered a bit pricey by the exchange rate, but we got a rich farmhouse goat's cheese, and the lady selling it threw in an authentically French mini-lecture on the right wine for it. …

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