Safe swimming and play for all ages: there are two pools for children, one of them a paddling pool, as well as one for adults, which is over 20m long, 25 degrees warm and 2.8m deep at one end (a proper pool, in other words, one in which you can actually swim). They’re grouped in a fenced area and offer the various pleasures of family activity, gentle leisure, solo exercise or just somewhere lovely to soak up some sun on a lounger with the peak of La Rhune as a backdrop.
There’s a brand new outdoor playground where very young ones can safely learn to slide, jump, climb and run on soft, forgiving sand; older children can do the same and more in a playground better suited to their age group. The bouncy castle bounces non-stop during July and August, too.
July and August sees the free kids’ club in full swing, which means plenty to do, Monday to Friday, morning and afternoon. It’s a bit of time off for parents and a chance for children to mix with other children and try out a whole range of stuff: painting, drawing, cooking, crafts, discos, sports and puppet shows. It’s worth mentioning, though, that this is a locally-run, not international, offering, so the language spoken at the kids’ club is French.
The farm (Closed for 2016)
Down at one end of the site is a small farm, so the occasional roaming goat (they’re partial to a snack and not fussy what it is) should come as no surprise. Children might also relish the chance to meet and feed llamas, donkeys and Shetland ponies. Nature’s never far away at Col d’Ibardin, and neither are well thought out ways to get close to it, if that’s your thing.
Sports and games
They’re all about the outdoors in the Pays Basque, and this site’s no exception.
Regardless of age, intent or expertise, something’s bound to make you feel part of it: There’s a table-tennis table dotted around the site, several boules (petanque) areas and a multi-sports pitch as well suited to an impromptu kickabout as it is to shooting hoops or just messing about with a ball. Don’t worry about remembering to pack loads of kit, either, you can hire it all on site.
Bar/Restaurant and shop
There’ll probably be times when you fancy letting someone else cook, and the site’s licensed restaurant – La Kantina – includes a bar area and serves freshly-made meals to suit all palates. You’ll find everything from local meats, cheeses, seafood and drinks to pizzas or moules-frites to take away.
Take a table on the terrace and eat overlooking the mountains, or, if you’d rather take your time while the children go off, the restaurant has a games room with pool table, pinball and table football.
The site’s shop is open every day, in the morning, late afternoon and early evening.