*Center Parcs* is how the French say “Centre Parks.” Those crazy French.
In a nutshell, it’s like a middle class Butlins. I think so, anyway. It’s a long time since I’ve been to a Butlins, so my opinion is formed on the basis of bad British sitcoms and disjointed memories from my childhood.
The majority of the site comprises villas and apartment blocks in neat rows, joined up by narrow one-way roads which are usually devoid of motor vehicles. The buildings are of a regular and simple design, and blend in with the surrounding forest reasonably well.
The second most common usage of land is for cycle parks. Cycling is very much a “thing” at Center Parcs. It’s like the pigeons in Trafalgar Square, or comments on a blog, or the bad music that “kids today” listen to. By which I mean, it’s not obligatory, but an alien visitor to our planet would, on the basis of their observations, think that it is.
There’s loads of activities on offer, but when you have a clingy 1-year old in tow, it’s hard to find the time. For the most part, we spent our weekend swimming, cycling round, and loitering in play areas.
Three nights felt like a very suitable amount of time to stay for. Friends of ours who have gone for a whole week said that it was too long, and we can see how that would be the case.
We failed to get served at “Country Pancakes”. We waited at the “Please wait here to be seated” sign for ages, but no-one turned up, so we walked out and went somewhere else. For the rest of the weekend, every time I walked past a sign to “Country Pancakes”, I mentally dropped the ‘O’ and ‘R’ and then sang it to myself like a mantra.
Getting a dinner reservation on a Saturday night was hard work. If you want to get a table at any of the desirable places, book in advance. I know that it seems counterintuitive to book before you’ve even scoped it out, but it’s a risk that has to be taken.
The ducks are very forward. If you leave your patio door open, they will come inside and liaise with your child. Just thought that I’d warn you.
Animals spotted over the weekend – ducks, squirrels and rabbits. So basically, nothing more exotic than I see cycling to work ((hoho, rabbits on bicycles in my mind’s eye)). No deer. No badgers. No snakes. That said, we did see a species of duck that we didn’t recognise (it was black with a white neck). We went into the much-publicised “Ranger’s Lodge” to see if they’d be able to help us, but we were severely disappointed. The “Ranger’s Lodge” didn’t actually contain a Ranger – just a display case containing samples of owl pellets and other such nonsense. There wasn’t even a poster of “Ducks What You Might See Here”. Bah.