La Maison de la Prade review – sleeping in a former summer camp

France Hotels

Do you know “les jolies colonies de vacances” ? It’s a French song about summer camps (“colonies de vacances”)  which was popular when I was a child.  I always wanted to go to summer camp but my mum was a teacher so we were actually lucky to stay at home with her over the months of July and August.

So I was quite pleased when my sister recommended me La Maison de la Prade, a former “colonie de vacances” by the beach in les Landes, in the Aquitaine region.

Great beaches for families and surfers

Les Landes are renowned for their very long beaches with good waves in the sea, hence why it’s a popular surfing destination. But it’s also lovely for families as you can occupy a vast area on the beach without touching your neighbour (look the other way, Mediterranée fans !).

The Hotel is in Messanges, a small city on the coast and you can walk to the beach in 20 minutes. It is set in a typical pine forest and has an outdoor pool.

Simple, warm and easy hotel

We went to Maison de la Prade a few years ago and have very good memories of the place. Clean simple modern decoration with a touch of colour, very good breakfast on the pine forest side, and nice apéritifs by the pool at sunset.

The owners were really welcoming and they now offer the possibility to have a massage or take golf lessons with a former pro golfer.

My tips for your family holidays

  • Being a former summer camp for children, the place has several rooms that are good for families: either rooms for 3 people, family  rooms are suites with a separate lounge area
  • The hotel is literally opposite a few cafés in the centre of the village so easy to get an early supper before walking back to the room
  • When we went, we were also able to buy some food and have a picnic on one of the tables at the back of the hotel
  • Beaches, as I said, are vast and great but make sure that you swim in the watched area. Tides are strong and surprising. Even advanced swimmers shouldn’t venture far.
  • The Landes is wonderful to explore by bike as it’s so flat. Prepare a picnic, rent bikes and go for a day in the pine forests. You will often reach the sea and beaches that are more deserted (and often for naturists).


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