Frequently asked questions
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We have much more information on this – ranging from sanitation details to access to the bar – than is displayed in the brochure, so please do ask us if you need more advice on a particular site’s facilities. You can also ask to speak to someone who has visited the site to establish whether your choice of site best meets your requirements.
There are four of these we refer to, all in France. In all cases the camp sites are owned independently of the chain, but co-operate because they share common values and characteristics. This is the only reason we mention them – we hope it adds to the overall description in helping you choose.
The Castels chain’s theme is vieilles pierres (old stones), with many sites in the grounds of châteaux or old buildings. The Sites et Paysages chain offers sites in rural settings, while Camping Plus has sites of particularly good quality across Brittany. Yelloh! Village promotes sites throughout France that are usually quite lively and whose services may be more likely to be open in low season.
Many sites operate barrier systems to ensure good security, with refundable deposits for keys or cards to operate the barriers. These are typically equivalent to about £10, but can be more. They are payable on arrival and may be required in local cash or by a card swipe. Barriers are typically closed from about 2230-0730hrs and at some sites during the lunch period (varying from site to site) to ensure peace, quiet and security. Deposits may also be required for pool bracelets. Some sites operate a security bracelet system (which may double as a pool bracelet), usually in high season, to allow staff to identify bona fide campers.
They’re usually at their most peaceful and most spacious outside local holiday dates. Many sites can’t operate restaurants, shops, bars, pools and so on with few campers on site – low-season prices often reflect this. On the other hand, site owners often have more time to spend with their customers at these times. It is also common in low season to close down washblocks, leaving only a few cubicles open (often unisex). Easter, Whitsun, Ascension and other major public holidays often fall within otherwise low season dates so, in some areas, these short holidays count as extra high-season periods and sites may be very lively at these times.
Within 500 yards of the site entrance.
For hygiene reasons many sites, especially in France, do not fit toilet seats. Toilet paper is not always supplied and may be on a central roll outside the cubicles. Soap and handdrying facilities are rarely provided. Neither are sink plugs, so take a universal travel sink plug (available at good outdoors shops) with you. We use “modern” and “older style” to give just a rough idea of the style and age of washblocks. Many blocks are unisex, especially in low season. It’s not uncommon for all sanitation except toilets to be closed from late evening until early morning, especially in the Vendée and the south of France. You can also expect washblock cleaning to take place at any time, including early in the morning or late in the evening (especially in high season). Remember that at busy times it’s normal to have to queue for things – whether buying a drink, getting on a bus or using the loo.
Your pitch is reserved from 1500hrs on your day of arrival to 1200hrs on your day of departure. If you arrive early, remember that many site receptions are closed from 1200-1400hrs and longer still in low season. In some countries, such as Spain, Italy and Germany, lunch breaks can be longer – reception may not open until 1500hrs or 1600hrs. If you arrive near reception closing time this may limit both the time staff can give to welcoming you and also any choice of pitches it may be possible to offer you.
Star ratings can be confusing and vary from country to country. In France, star ratings area matter of quantity, not quality. Awarded by regional councils, they don’t reflect a site’squality but show that it has the required number of facilities – eg sanitation, hook-ups,water points and average pitch size – in relation to the number of pitches on site.A four-star site is only “better” than a threestar site if it has what you are looking for. Outside France, ratings vary greatly and some countries have no recognised systemat all. The sites we feature outside France generally correspond to three- or four-starFrench sites for range of facilities. We inspect all our sites every year and have no hesitation in recommending them to you,on the basis of our brochure description. It’s up to you to choose what sounds best for your needs. We can help you further withthis if you wish, when you phone us.
A number of European tour operators share some of the sites in the Carefree brochure. If this is a problem to you, please ask us prior to booking. We don’t have information on this until after our brochure goes to press, so we can’t include it here.
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