The region known as PACA (Provence-Alpes-Cote d’Azur) is one of the most diverse in France, with a great climate, chic seaside resorts, stunning Alpine scenery and miles of lavender fields to explore. PACA is in the South-East of France, stretching from the left bank of the lower Rhône River in the west, to the Italian boarder in the east and is bordered by the Mediterranean Sea to the south. The picturesque region is a popular choice for a family camping holiday.
Few regions in France have as much variety as PACA and there’s sure to be plenty to keep your family busy and entertained. One word of warning – the Cote d’Azur does get very busy during the peak holiday season in July and August so don’t travel there then if you don’t have the patience to sit in some traffic jams!
The French Riviera is an iconic destination, with well-known resorts such as Nice and Saint Tropez lining the Mediterranean. Although you’ll see your fair share of super yachts on the Riviera, there are plenty of things to do on all budgets not least of which is to simply enjoy the seaside!
The region is littered with the mark that the Roman Empire left behind. Be sure to check out the twin communities at Vaison-la-Romaine, the towering wall of the theatre at Orange and the vast arena at Arles. In the summer you’ll also find many concerts and festivals taking place amongst the ancient ruins.
For the more active families, why not try snorkelling in the waters off Calanques National Park – a fish-filled conservation area with over 40 protected species of flora and fauna. Or you could try swimming with dolphins! The Cala Rossa team, based at Mandelieu-la-Napoule, offer the best chance to see the dolphins by scouting for pods from the air and then communicating with your expedition boat. Back on land, why not try riding across the Camargue on horseback, exploring the marshes and plains. Or for the really adventurous kids, have a go at white water rafting – one of the best ways to see the Alps of Haute-Provence.
At La Barben zoo you can see 700 animals from 130 different species, alongside talks and displays by the zookeepers to help educate children on the animal kingdom, with a focus on preservation and awareness. And in Meze you can visit the Meze Dinosaur Museum, with life size models of dinosaurs on a site where remains have been discovered. Kids can also dig replica dinosaur bones out of a sand pit and there’s an adjoining museum on the history of Evolution next door.
Wherever you go in PACA, you’re sure to be kept busy and entertained! In fact, there’s so much to see that you might want to hire a car to travel around and see the sites.
You can fly to a variety of airports in the region. Marseille is served by British Airways, Easyjet and Ryanair. You can fly to Nice with Flybe, Easyjet or British Airways, Nimes with Ryanair or Avignon with Flybe. Alternatively, the Eurostar now offers a direct service from London to Avignon or Marseille.
Family friendly campsites
Le Montourey is a secret hideaway on the glamorous Côte d'Azur, located near to the popular holiday resort of Fréjus. The site has two outdoor pools, complete with waterjets, slides and plenty of loungers to soak up the sun on. There's a children's play area, boules, evening entertainment and a kids club, as well as a communal BBQ. You can also hire bikes to explore the stunning local area, with plenty of safe cycle paths for the children.
Hautes-Alpes, Curbans, du Lac
With magnificent views of the Alps, Camping du Lac is a beautiful site with lots going on. The lake is perfect for trying out water sports or for taking a refreshing swim. The pool complex has a swimming pool, children's pool and water slides, or try your hand at tennis or boules. Adults will love the on site Cocody spa, offering relaxing massages and beauty treatments. Unwind in the evening at the cinema or enjoy some evening entertainment with the cinema, games, karaoke and dancing.
Var, Fréjus, Fréjus
Camping Fréjus is set in 17 acres of woodland near the popular resort of Fréjust with its lovely beach - perfect for swimming and trying out water sports. The site has an amazing pool complex which has heated pools, six slides, a lazy river, paddling pool and whirlpool. The restaurant and terrace overlook the pool, so you can enjoy some refreshments while the kids play. There's also a playground and giant rope pyramid to keep the kids amused and adults will love the spa centre with its range of treatments.
Alpes-de-Haute-Provence, Castellane, Domaine du Verdon
Located close to the beautiful Gorges du Verdon and set in the Provence hills is Domaine du Verdon campsite. The pool complex has two swimming pools, water slides and a paddling pool. You can try a wide range of activities such as volleyball, basketball, archery and mini golf, and kids will enjoy the super playground. Hire a bike to explore the local area, or enjoy the evening entertainment with shows and live music.
Var, Port Grimaud, Holiday Marina
Holiday Marina is a small, modern campsite set on the banks of the River Giscle and just 900 metres from a stunning beach. The site is a short walk from the medieval town of Port Grimaud, and only 5 miles from St Tropez. There's a lovely swimming pool with a separate children's pool and a jacuzzi for adults to relax in. The bar terrace overlooks the pool and marina and there's a great restaurant serving regional specialities. During high season there's a children's club and a range of entertainment in the bar.
Bouches-du-Rhone, L'Albaron, Crin Blanc
Camping Crin Blanc is set in the heart of a nature reserve, and is close to both Arles and the seaside resort of Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer. There are two heated swimming pools and a children's paddling pool and, if you're feeling active there are a range of fitness classes to join in with. During high season there's a children's club, evening entertainment and even boules tournaments!
Alpes-de-Haute-Provence, Montagnac Montpezat, le Coteau de la Marine
Located in an area of outstanding beauty, Camping le Coteau de la Marine is a beautiful campsite surrounded by nature and stunning lavender fields. There's a lovely swimming pool and paddling pool for the little ones and a spa complete with treatments, jacuzzi, steam room and sauna. The site has a great range of entertainment, with shows, live music, theme parties and sports tournaments all taking place in high season. Enjoy the superb facilities including tennis courts, table tennis, boules, a basketball court, table football and a games room, or take a trip to the nearby Gorges du Verdon and hire a boat or canoe to explore the striking turquoise waters.
Dordogne, Calviac en Perigord, Chênes Verts
Domaine des Chênes Verts is located in a beautiful natural setting in Calviac-en-Périgord, just a short distance from the river. Water babies will adore the pool complex, which has an outdoor pool, heated covered pool, a 2-lane water slide and a paddling pool for the younger family members. There's a free children's club during July and August and children will adore the mini-farm where they can meet animals including goats and rabbits. The site has an excellent restaurant and plenty of onsite evening entertainment, which ranges from bingo nights to concerts and fireworks.
Alpes-Maritimes, Cannet, Ranch
Campsite Ranch is located in Le Cannet on the French Riviera and is only 3 miles from glamorous Cannes. There are spectacular views from the nearby hilltops and gorgeous beaches only a short distance away. The site has a lovely swimming pool, as well as a playground and boules and table tennis facilities. If you're looking for a quiet and peaceful family holiday, this site is an ideal choice.
Var, Villecroze, Cadenières
Situated in a 22 acre pine forest, Camping Cadenières campsite is located in the heart of Provence, but is only 30 miles away from the stunning beaches of the French Riviera. The site has a great pool complex complete with water slides as well as a playground, mini golf course and on site activities including volleyball and basketball. During high season there's a children's club and a teenager's club.
Var, St Raphaël, Esterel Caravaning
Set in the heart of the beautiful Esterel Massif Mountains is the lovely Esterel Camping campsite. The site is only a five minute drive from the beaches of Agay, but you might find it hard to drag kids away from the amazing pool complex, featuring five different pools, children's pool with water slide and a poolside bar with a large sun terrace. And there's even a fantastic water park set amongst pine trees with slides for all ages! Adults will enjoy relaxing in the spa centre, while kids are kept entertained by the animation programme, offering sport tournaments, water sports and other group activities. Enjoy some local cuisine at the on site restaurant, or catch a show on the bar's terrace.
Var, Montmeyran, Chateau de l'Eouvière
Chateau de l'Eouvière is a luxurious campsite set in the grounds of an 18th century castle. The spacious and shady pitches are surrounded by nature and wildlife, and the swimming pool has stunning views of the valley and mountains beyond. Activities on offer include aqua aerobics, pool and table tennis as well as evening entertainment. The bar and restaurant serve regional specialities and there's also a shop and take away on site.