Prairies de La Mer
Beach resort at its finest
There is a wonderful playground next to the grocery store/bar/restaurant/fair grounds that the kids loved playing in. During mid-day the equipment can get rather hot so we only played during early mornings or late evenings. We have seen older kids playing rough while parents were elsewhere so I don’t recommend leaving kids alone in the park for that reason alone.
Fair grounds? What? Yup, they have a fair grounds every evening. It’s nothing crazy exciting but the kids loved it and I enjoyed a few minutes of peace while I watched them go round on the carousel or the mini train ride. There is a bouncy castle and trampoline that munchkin was allowed to play on, baby girl is still too small. All of these cost a token to access, which can be purchased at a stall next to the carousel – he isn’t marked well but he is the only booth in the area so it’s a little obvious what you know about it.
The two grocery stores and the many souvenir shops sell water toys, flotation devices, beach umbrella’s and knick-knacks for the kids in case you run out of activities, forgot to bring something (I left the bucket and spade for sandcastles at home – rookie move), or something is lost or stolen.
I can’t remember if I saw any formal security officers around the area during the day – which just shows how observant I am – but they were present in the evenings at high-volume locations.
I felt pretty safe at the resort. Only resort guests were allowed to drive in the area, everyone else needed to park across the street in paid parking. As a French resort, they are required by law to allow access to everyone as all beaches are public access. However, my chalet was much further into the resort and the beach is a straight walk to the car-park so there is no reason for outsiders to venture into the chalet-section.
There were mischievous teens, young adults and ignorant individuals, just like any resort, hotel or public area I’ve ever been to, so I didn’t find them to be much of a problem. Other than the usual problems I have with them, of course.
This summer, there was a huge uproar in France regarding Muslim women wearing the burkini on a public beach. The idea behind it was that the outfit did not conform to French ideals of freedom. I think it’s baloney and I was very disappointed to see so many resorts along the French Riveria demand a ban on such outfits, even prompting “the Fashion Police” to walk up and down the beaches and give fines to anyone wearing a burkini. I am proud to say that Prairies de La Mer did not participate in such negative and racist propoganda.
That being said, the French are very “liberal” in other areas of beach attire. Some private pools will require the men to wear speedos instead of swim trunks (hygiene issues – since trunks can be worn outside of the pool as shorts, thus contaminating the pool), beaches are allowed to enforce such policies. This one does not enforce anything.
Lonely Planet also suggested that nursing in public is frowned upon, and if baby requires to be nursed, I should have her covered. It was 30 degrees, I wasn’t about to cover her up, and I wasn’t alone. Sure, there were a few looks but no one really cared. Honestly, I think they understood their choices – watch a baby eat for a few minutes or cry due to hunger.
Speaking of breasts; this beach also had several women sunbathing and swimming topless. Like I said, liberal. The French have no problem with their bodies and promote a healthy body-image (including banning underweight models from all French fashion-shows). Young girls were often running around without tops and young children often swam completely naked. As a North American, I was definitely taken aback by this but the more I thought of it, the more I realized it was my culture that was the problem – do we seriously think a 2 year old naked on the beach is a problem? Either way, by day 5 I barely noticed it and my son stopped pointing it out…loudly.
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