Are you a hotel person or a self-catering person?
I’m a bit of both. For a city break and short trips, I like the convenience of a hotel and the option to order room service when I’ve been racing around all day. But for longer holidays, especially with kids, self-catering gives you the freedom to relax, cook what you like, when you like, and spend a morning crashed in front of the TV if it all gets a bit too much.
The ideal – of course – is finding a self-catering accommodation option that offers some of the luxury and ease of a hotel. Which is where Madame Vacances comes in.
Earlier this year, Flea and I headed off to Moliets in France with Madame Vacances. Just a shade further than the Vendee, this part of France offers excellent weather, endless beaches and a frightening array of activities for families from world-class surfing and sailing to golf, high wires and paddle boarding.
Check out the video below to see how we got on when Madame Vacances challenged us to see who could have more fun in Moliets – me or Flea? (spoiler alert: I was robbed, and Flea’s victory dance is borderline offensive)
While in Moliets, we got to sample the self-catering accommodation at Villas La Clairiere, one of a handful of Madame Vacances owned sites in the local area.
The site has a range of villas, all privately owned, but managed (and maintained) by Madame Vacances. What this means is you get the individual touches of renting a private villa, with the management services and luxury touches of being in a hotel.
Each property at Villas la Clairiere has its own outside space, which manages to feel secluded without making you feel cut off – you can’t see the neighbours, but they’re close enough if you are feeling social. Many look out directly over the neighbouring golf course, while other gardens melt seamlessly into the forest, providing an endless play area for kids.
The villas also come with private pools (most with pool covers and/or alarms) and free WiFi which was good enough for us to stream from Netflix without so much as a stutter.
Being on a Madame Vacances site means you can take advantage of linens and towels as part of your package, and there is a cleaning and pool cleaning service, as well as on-site maintenance in case something goes wrong. Another nice touch that I particularly enjoyed is that on your first morning, Madame Vacances delivers a basket of breakfast pastries and baguettes – you can opt to receive this every morning, for a small charge.
Kitchens at Villas la Clairiere are really well equipped, with the usual oven, toaster, coffee machine plus washer/dryer. If you’re feeling lazy, there are local food delivery services, and some nice restaurants in the local town of Moliets.
Barbecues aren’t allowed because of the forest setting, but each villa does have an electric grill, which you can use outside. We had the choice of eating outside on the deck (the table seats 8, and can be extended if needed) or inside at the large wooden dining table.
I think my favourite thing about the Villas at La Clairiere in Moliets was the feeling of space. Sleeping up to 8 people there is plenty of space for different families to spread out and have privacy, with large communal areas for when you do want to spent time together.
The high ceilings and huge windows add to the light and spacious feeling, and were unbelievably lovely to sit in on a sunny morning, enjoying a fresh cup of coffee and some croissants.
The bedrooms are simple and small – but there is plenty of wardrobe space in the hallway outside each bedroom. Shutters ensure they keep cool during the day, and you can open patio doors directly onto the pool and garden if you’d like to. And who wouldn’t?
Madame Vacances sites in Moliets are available for all levels of budgets – while Villas La Clairiere is among the more expensive options, there are smaller apartments and villas dotted around the area for those looking for more budget options.
The company also has sites across France, along with ski lodges in many of the most popular destinations in the Alps and Pyrenees. Check out the Madame Vacances website for more information.
Virtual Tour of Villas La Clairiere
Here’s a quick video tour of our accommodation in Moliets with Madame Vacances:
Details: We stayed at Villas La Clairiere aux Chevreuils as guests of Madame Vacances. Prices start from £102/pp for a seven-night stay in a villa sleeping eight people, on a self-catering basis. Villas are designed with families in mind, with private pools, fully kitted out kitchens, satellite TV and large lounges. Return flights from London Gatwick to Bordeaux cost from £108/pp with easyJet. To book call Madame Vacances on 01273 358 071, or visit the Madame Vacance website.