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Frank and Christine Lampard

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The Telegraph

Tasting the champagne lifestyle in France (on a cider budget)

I am floating in the tepid, briny shallows of the Mediterranean Sea when the black silhouette of a helicopter passes overhead and lands on a yacht shimmering in the distance. It causes an excited squeal from my 12-year-old twins, Nancy and Lola. We pad along the bleached, palm-lined boardwalk back to base after our early morning swim. Squint and it could be Bali or Phuket, but as you can tell from the GB sticker on our battered old Mazda, we are slightly closer to home. The helicopter belongs to Roman Abramovich, who often flies out to his superyacht moored in the Bay of St Tropez – a honeypot for the rich and famous. The Beckhams have summered here with Elton John, and Kate Moss, Leo DiCaprio and the Clooney clan are all regular fixtures – and it’s easy to see why. Its powdery blonde sands and gin-clear waters easily rival those of the Caribbean, and there are superyachts, designer shops and a slew of hip beach clubs that give it a laid-back Ibiza vibe. So you might well wonder what we are doing here. We are not nouveau riche lottery winners, but we have taken advantage of eased travel restrictions to bag ourselves a champagne lifestyle on a cider budget by staying at Prairies de la Mer, a beautiful beachfront campsite just outside St Tropez. Our slightly less than glamorous mobile home is shaded by trees; it is clean, functional and comfortable for six of us. It has three bedrooms, a private deck and a gas barbecue, so we can knock up grilled fish and steaks, or even lobster, to emulate the Clooneys. And it is our most successful family holiday to date. With three children, most of our summer holidays have been of the European camping type – cheap, cheerful and easy with a young tribe in tow. Now they are older, the kids are more discerning and splash pools, mini discos and kids’ clubs don’t cut it. But thanks to the camp’s glitzy A-list location and beachfront Bali-esque setting, Prairies de la Mer has wooed even my 16-year-old son Angus, who has brought along his best friend Ollie. They hire bikes and go-karts to dart around the campsite, go kayaking and windsurfing, all while mooning over the designer shops and mega-yachts in St Tropez.

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