Nestled along the Mediterranean coast of south eastern France lies a quaint port town called Fréjus.
The commune is part of the Var region in the famous Cote D’Azur (or French Riviera) but it is not as well-known as some of the surrounding glamourous beach resorts that attract the elite of society every summer including Saint-Tropez, Cannes and Monaco.
However, Fréjus has plenty to offer too as it boasts a rich Roman history with many ruins still dotted around such as an amphitheatre, an ancient military port and also the gothic cathedral Saint-Leonce, which has painted cloisters and a baptistery with Roman columns.
Fréjus is also home to a stunning view of the Massif de l’Esterel mountain range, which has towering red slopes that contrast with the piercingly clear blue sky.
I spent a week in the town last September so I could enjoy some quiet scenery and escape the towns filled with tourists.
I stayed at Sunêlia 5-Star Resort and Spa Holiday Green Campsite, located on top of a remote mountain just a short drive away from various beaches and shops in the Var.
My guest and I flew to Nice airport as it seemed reasonably close to where we were staying.
When we arrived at midnight however, the last bus to the campsite had stopped running and so the only way to avoid being stranded was to get a taxi.
We tried to haggle with one taxi driver using all the simple phrases we could remember from our school days and offered him 40 euros.
He looked at us in horror and pointed to a sign next to his car that said the set price to Fréjus from the airport was 180 euros.
We arrived at the resort in darkness so the next morning we looked out our windows in awe at the seemingly endless green mountains surrounding us.
We stayed in a spacious two bedroom Summer Suite Cottage (97 euros per night) which had all the essentials we needed such as a bathroom with a shower and fresh towels, a living room with a television and even a roof terrace, where we sat most nights with a glass of wine and a platter of home-cooked mussels and calamari that we cooked in our kitchen.
The coffee machine in the apartment was broken when we arrived but the helpful reception staff quickly replaced it with a new one.
They did shake their heads in mild amusement though when we asked if we could walk to the town centre in Fréjus and explained that without our own car, the only options were a taxi or a limited bus service which only went up and down the mountain three times a day.
Luckily there were amenities on site to make up for having to wait hours for the next available bus.
Sunêlia caters for families with younger children as there is a crèche and also a mini farm to keep them entertained while the parents relax at the spa or wellness area.
There is also a large outdoor heated pool with a waterpark overlooking the on-site olive and strawberry trees, as well as a hairdressers and a doctors surgery on hand if needed.
It felt like we were wandering around a village rather than a campsite and we even stumbled upon a supermarket filled with fresh food and toiletries that had an adjoining bakery stocked up with fresh pastries and creamy coffee.
For many years, the campsite has also displayed local artwork including the Bronze Fist by Bernard Bezzina.
Plenty of entertainment is also on offer for families throughout their stay, from mountain bike trips and tennis to horse-riding and even scuba-diving.
Feeling less adventurous, we took part in the bingo one evening but managed to get a full house and won a free meal at the campsite’s restaurant as a prize.
The food portions were quite small but they were still packed with flavour. I ordered a duck steak with chips, vegetables and an onion sauce, which was priced at around 20 euros.
The menu offered an array of French delicacies that were similarly priced including mouth-wateringly fresh mussels and chips (we quickly learnt how to say moules-frites in French).
Sunêlia 5-Star Resort and Spa is perfect for those who want to escape the hustle and bustle of busy towns and cities but still want shopping facilities and leisure activities nearby.
If you want to explore, the easiest option is to hire a car so you’re not relying on irregular public transport and are able to appreciate the picturesque countryside surroundings at your own pace. It seems obvious to say the prices in the French Riviera will be expensive but nothing will prepare you for the utter disbelief at paying 18 euros for a single ice-cream.
Sunêlia Holiday Green at Frejus is open from the end of March to the end of September and offers two-bedroom/one bathroom lodges that sleep a family of four or five from €560 (March or September) to €1652 (July and August) per week. Reservations sunelia.com/en