From ages 11 to 15, I went on a family holiday to Argeles-sur-Mer in the south of France each year. I went five times in total and have many memories from these holidays, not least because each trip ended up in some sort of disaster, yet we kept going back each year!
We’d get a coach from our hometown of Cheltenham and travel the whole way via coach and ferry, taking around 24 hours in total. We’d stay in a tiny caravan each year on a different campsite each year. We’d always book through the same tour operator, but as far as we could tell they didn’t always pay up, so moved to a different campsite each year!
Every trip was memorable. I think the first we went on the driver fell asleep at the wheel on the way home. It was so dangerous that a holidaymaker had to drive the coach back the rest of the way. We once had a huge ant infestation all over the caravan and another time we turned up to a campsite to a heap of dirt and a basic field when we were promised a 5* luxury campsite with pools and all sorts, that didn’t exist! Oh and once the tour operator hadn’t paid and we were all told to pack up our things and leave!
There are many other stories, but every year we’d be offered an apology and a really, really cheap deal for the following year. My mum being a single parent with two children just couldn’t say no. I think one year we got the holiday for a couple of hundred pounds! For three of us, for two weeks in the Mediterranean, she simply couldn’t turn it down!
Regardless of all the craziness with the tour operator, we still had a great holiday in Argeles-sur-Mer each year. We always made friends with the other families, enjoyed the evening entertainment on the campsites, and loved the beach in Argeles-sur-Mer as well as the Pyrenees mountains. I wouldn’t rule out returning with my own children one day, but I’d skip the 24-hour coach and use an ebooking site instead to find our accommodation and arrange our own travel.
Things to do on a family holiday in Argeles-sur-Mer
Argeles-sur-Mer is a great family holiday destination with loads of activities and places to visit, many of which I enjoyed as a youngster. Read on for lots of ideas of things to do on a family holiday in Argeles-sur-Mer.
Visit nearby Collioure
Collioure is a picturesque village, not far from Argeles with beautiful Pyrenees scenery and the gorgeous waters of the Med. We would often pop here for a day out to wander the town and grab a bite to eat at a restaurant. My mum decided we’d walk one day, before the era of smartphones and digital maps, and she took us the total wrong way! It’s around a one hour walk from Argeles if you take the right route, but she somehow took us up into the Pyrenees and it took us over three hours to arrive!
Take part in watersports
There are plenty of watersports opportunities along the expansive beach of Argeles-sur-Mer. You can hire paddleboards, kayaks and more from the likes of https://watersportaventure.com/. We could never afford to hire anything when I was a child, but I remember one year a family we made friends with hired a pedalo with a slide! It was amazing and they took me and my sister out. I loved sliding into the sea! I’ve no idea if the pedalos exist nowadays in Argeles, but if they do then they’re great fun with kids.
Stroll along the beachfront promenade
Take a walk along the Promenade du Front de Mer and take in the sea views, pass people on rollerblades, stop for a drink or food in one of the restaurants and enjoy the good weather!
Tuck into a crepe or panini
I remember there being a lot of street food kiosks and cafes which sold paninis and crepes. My mum and I would love a four-cheese panini, and my sister would love a white chocolate crepe!
Have dinner at Argeles Port
The port, or marina, is lovely for a daytime stroll, but also very beautiful at night. The port is lined with palm trees, restaurants and shops.
Visit the night market (Marche Nocturne)
From 5pm to 12am, the night market comes to life with rides, entertainment, streetfood and market stalls.
And finally, if you love funfairs and the thrill of rides then check out Luna Park in Argeles-sur-Mer which is open from 29 June to 1 September, 8.30pm to 1am with 40 attractions to entertain you.