“WE COULD be in the Caribbean”, I said to my wife, looking from the soft sands below our feet to the blue skies above.
Leaning back to soak up what’s left of the afternoon sun, we listen to the waves lap on to the shore and the sea breeze blow gently through the lush hills behind us.
We weren’t actually anywhere near the Caribbean.
And this holiday had cost us a fraction of the price of one in the Caribbean.
And what’s not to like?
Short, affordable flight? Tick. Sunny weather in summer? Tick. Wide, sandy beaches? Tick.
And although we were staying on a campsite, that didn’t mean cramming the whole family into a tiny tent in the sizzzling heat, relying on shared bathroom facilities.
La Sirene has modern holiday lodges with comfy beds, small kitchens and private decking for soaking up the sun or al fresco meals if you don’t want to venture out.
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Our home for the week, The Azure, was sheltered under a huge pine tree with an excellent BBQ area.
A double room, two twins, shower room and separate toilet along with open-plan modern kitchen diner and much-needed air con gave us all we needed for a comfortable stay.
Outside of our holiday home, the campsite itself had even more to offer.
La Sirene is a holiday village that’s completely geared up for families with a 2,000 square metres of pool featuring more than a dozen slides for kids (and bigger kids).
Then there’s mini golf, boules, table tennis, tennis courts and football pitches, as well as kids’ clubs for youngsters and older teens.
All of these on-site activities are included in the price of a stay — you just need to download the nifty app and book on to them.
It turns out Joshua, nine, is a deadeye at archery while Jessica, six, can leave all nerves at home and hammer down a zipwire at lightning speed.
Jamie, 18, somehow manages to speak more to French and German teenagers in the bar than he does to his parents.
And I even managed an exercise class with my superfit mum on the water-friendly spinning bikes in the shallow end of the pool.
But enough of the strenuous stuff.
What we really loved about the site was that there was no sand or mud, only artificial “grass”, which meant there was no need to brush down sandy toes before re-entering the lodge and comfortable sun bathing was made easy-peasy.
And that is something we did a lot of.
We’d flown from Stansted to Perpignan in just 90 minutes and taken the half an hour drive to Argeles-sur-Mer in our hire car.
So within a mere five hours of leaving home, we had stocked the fridge and were at the pool, kicking back with an ice-cold drink in hand in the glorious heat.
The convenient layout of the parc, means that you can sip coffee, beer or local wine in the sun or shade while the kids splash about in the pool and on the climbing frames.
There’s also an on-site supermarket, pizzeria, bakery and snack bar, meaning you don’t need to leave for food if you don’t want to.
And at night, there’s so much entertainment in the form of a bustling bar, live performances and dinners with a show.
This holiday village really does have everything you need in one place.
Now in its 50th year, it’s pretty clear Eurocamp has nailed this type of holiday, but what puts La Sirene, in particular, a proper notch above the rest is its location.
There are a handful of stunning beaches all within ten minutes’ drive, or a lovely morning run, away and we ticked them all off, including Le Racou and Argeles Plage.
Plage de la Marenda was Joshua’s favourite for the swim out to the pontoon and diving into the beautiful Med.
There are also dozens of restaurants near these beaches too, some of which offered a three-course set menu for less than 30 euros.
L’Antik was our favourite in Argeles, with excellent cocktails, steaks served on sizzling skillets and the freshest of king prawns.
Then there was Menja Aqui, a five to ten-minute drive away in the tiny village of Le Racou, on a dusty road lined with food shacks and palm trees.
It certainly had the vibe of a French Caribbean island.
But for the kids being in tow, my wife, mum and I could have sat clinking glasses all afternoon in Spanish-themed Menja Aqui, which translates to “eat here” — and who am I to argue?!
Of course, a holiday like this can suit most budgets, and on many days, we were packing ourselves off with a picnic of warm, fresh bread and croissants from the on-site boulangerie.
The more adventurous could even hire bikes and cycle into the Pyrenees — we drove up one day for the amazing views — and Barcelona is not far across the border if you fancy a day trip.
But with all that authentic tapas at Menja Aqui, who needs Barcelona?
GETTING/STAYING THERE: Seven nights’ B&B at the 5* Constantinou Bros Asimina Suites Hotel in Paphos is from £969pp, based on two adults sharing and including flights from Gatwick on April 21 and private transfers.
This offer includes a 20 per cent discount.
Book by February 29. Call 01924 380 160 or see cbh-cyprus.com.