Cher, Bourges, Lunery

we did not take any pictures of the site apart from this.

Camping Intercommunal   July 2008

Our first impressions of this small site, which is convenient for visiting the historic city of Bourges, were very good: well-maintained, with large, grassy hedge-marked pitches and some large trees for shade. The toilet block was clean and modern, with separate areas for men and women (not always the norm in France.) There was a washing machine but it was out of order. The manageress was apologetic and said it would be repaired as soon as possible. There is a small supermarket in the village.

Unfortunately there was one big problem, although not one the management could do anything about. The River Cher runs close to the site and as a result there were large numbers of mosquitoes, particularly in the evening. The weather was very warm but we were driven to spend the evening barricaded inside a hot caravan to avoid being eaten alive! Unfortunately it made life so uncomfortable we decided to move on the next day, so we never got to see Bourges. However we would be happy to revisit the site outside of the mosquito season! 

Cher, Bourges

picture from campingfrance.com

Camping Robinson    June 2019

This is an uninspiring, no-frills site, fine for a one-night stopover, but we stayed for two nights because we wanted to spend a day seeing Bourges.

The site is on a main road and there is not much room for units waiting to check in - they have to use an area on the other side of the main road. However the site has its own traffic light which makes coming and going a lot easier.

We were allocated a hard standing pitch which had some litter on it, and the water tap drain smelt awful, so we poured some Zoflora down it which helped! We were near the toilet block, and suffered from people constantly using our pitch as a short cut to the showers. The facilities were utilitarian and although toilet paper was provided, it wasn't replaced promptly when it ran out. On our second morning, my OH said there was none in any of the mens' cubicles. However the showers had plenty of hot water.

On both nights a rotisserie chicken van came for a couple of hours, because there is no shop or cafe on the site. There is a wifi zone near reception but not a lot of places to sit.

As you would expect with an overnight stop there were a lot of comings and goings, and some of the chalets had rather noisy groups staying in them.

We walked into Bourges and followed our Michelin Guide's walking tour. What an interesting city - so many wonderful old buildings, many dating from the Middle Ages. The cathedral is one of the finest we've seen, with stunning stained glass. Even on a Sunday there weren't many people about, but we found a lively square (Place Gordaine) with several bars and cafes, and a market nearby.

Well worth a visit, even if the camp site was a bit disappointing. 

Dordogne, Nontron

Chateau le Verdoyer    June 2008

This site is part of the Dutch-owned Kawan group and is very well-run and well-maintained. The Dutch are very keen campers and caravanners and their sites are always good.
Like so many sites in France it's in the grounds of a chateau, plasantly wooded and with fishing lakes as well as an attractive swimmimg pool. We were there in June, so as it wasn't high season not all the facilities were open.
The pitches vary a lot in size and shape, and most are shaded. We were given a choice of half a dozen. The main toilet block is excellent, as long as you don't mind unisex! It had brilliant facilities for kiddies - tiny toilets, raised showers, little baths shaped like cars, Micky Mouse taps, etc.
There is a pleasant bar and takeaway in the old stable courtyard, but we found the food rather dear. There's also a posh restaurant in the chateau itself. We thought the shop was rather basic given the size of the site, but perhaps that's because it wasn't high season. Otherwise it's 10 miles to the nearest supermarket in Nontron.

The surrounding countryside is green and wooded with little in the way of habitation. We visited Brantome, 30 km away, which is known as the Venice of the Perigord. It's a pretty little town with medieval and Renaissance buildings and a large abbey, all surrounded by the River Dronne. We also went to the Grottes du Villars, where there is a guided tour of the cave system, which has spectacular stalactites and stalagmites and some neolithic wall paintings.

Dordogne, Castelnaud La Chapelle

 Camping Maisonneuve    May 2019

I have mixed feelings about this site. I chose it because I wanted a site that was quiet and scenic. It ticked both boxes, and would have been idyllic if the weather had been better. Unfortunately it's very much a site that's no good in bad weather (and the Dordogne can have a lot of rain. )

When we arrived the weather was very hot and sunny (30 degrees) so we chose a shady pitch by the river Ceou, which was lovely. There were a lot of pitches with very little shade, which would have been unbearable in the heat. We liked the fact that the river-side pitches had no boundary at the front, so lots of room to spread out. Our view was across a wide field with an unmown area in the centre, full of wild flowers, with views to a steep wooded hill with a rocky escarpment at the top, popular with rock climbers.

We enjoyed the very smart new swimming pool, although any footwear had to be left at the entrance, and the decking was too hot to walk on! There were always sun beds available, although not much shade, and the toddlers' pool was completely unshaded too. It was wonderfully refreshing to bathe in the river, which was crystal clear and icy cold.

There are three unisex toilet blocks of different sizes and levels of comfort, although all are near the reception area - a long walk from some of the pitches. I chose the site because according to the ACSI book the facilities were heated and had toilet paper. However, this only applied to one of the blocks, nearest the bar, which wasn't very large, so we often had to use another block, very much inferior with no heating and no paper, smaller cubicles and fewer hooks for clothes or towels.

The third toilet block was situated between the other two and was very small, semi-open air, and closed when we were there in low season. Heating wasn't an issue while the sun shone, but unfortunately after three hot days the temperature dropped dramatically and we had a lot of rain. As a result the heated block was always full, and floors in the inferior block got very muddy, and it was cold because the door was permanently propped open.

Another problem with the superior toilet block was that footwear had to be left at the door. I can understand this for showers, to keep the floors clean, but there were toilets, washing up and laundry sinks and washing machines all in the same building - who wants to go into a toilet (especially unisex) or to do the washing up, in bare feet?

In June the restaurant was closed and the bar only open in the day time. There was a pleasant courtyard where you could sit with a drink in fine weather but not much provision for rainy days.

Despite these problems we loved the area. The village of castelnaud-la-Chapelle was within walking distance and had a butchers, bakers and general store. There are so many places of interest nearby, including Sarlat, Domme, La Roque Gageac, Chateaux des Milandes and the gardens of Marquessac. On rainy days we took refuge in caves and museums.

I can't fault the site for its excellent location, spaciousness and charm, but the facilities could have been better, especially as the ACSI price of 18 euros was rather high for a 3-star site.

Gironde, St Emilion

Domaine de la Barbanne   June 2010

Now Yelloh! Village Saint Emilion

This is an excellent site. It's surrounded by the pretty vineyards and chateaux of St Emilion. The pitches are spacious and marked by hedges, with plenty of trees for shade, and many of them back onto a small lake. There are free pedalos,canoes and fishing on the lake, and a large population of friendly ducks who will gladly share your baguette!  The very pleasant swimming pool has lots of sunbeds, a separate water slide and a children's pool.

There are two toilet blocks, one not so new but still very nice, and one super new one with a brilliant children's bathroom - frog-shaped baths, raccoon showers etc! There is plenty of hot water and although the showers are push button you can control the temperature. The reception staff are friendly and speak English and can provide information about visiting various local vineyards. There is a useful small shop which sells all the usual things plus a good selection of local wines, and a restaurant which does breakfasts and evening meals. The only thing the site lacks is a bar/cafe.

They run a free shuttle bus to the nearby medieval town of St Emilion, which is very picturesque. One nice feature of this site is that there is a lot of open space not occupied by pitches, with lots of room to stroll around, picnic tables, seats, and an exercise route. There are tennis courts, table tennis, giant chess and a children's play area. Despite all the facilities it's very relaxed and never feels crowded or noisy

Gironde, Salles

Camping Le Bilos    December 2012

We used this site for one night on the way back from Spain. There are not all that many French sites open all year, so this is a useful one to know.

It's a small, rural site in a very small village. Pitches are level and grassy, but not very large. However, in December there was no-one else here so we were able to take up plenty of room and stay hitched up.

Facilities are not luxurious - electricity is 6 amp, there's no restaurant or shop, and the small unisex sanitary block is unheated. However it's clean and perfectly acceptable for a short stay. The receptionist was friendly but spoke almost no English, so it certainly helps if you can speak some French.

Not a great site for a long stay but a convenient, cheap night halt on the way to or from Spain.

Indre et Loire, Tours, La Ville aux Dames

picture from site website

Camping Les Acacias  December 2014 & March 2015

We used this site on the way to Spain. We stayed for two nights, because we wanted to visit Tours, but the weather was cold and wet and the Cathedral like a fridge!

The pitches are level and a good size. The best thing about the site is the shower block which was clean, modern and heated, with roomy shower cubicles and plenty of hot water. A previous review said there was toilet paper, but perhaps they don't provide it in winter!

The worst thing about the site is the road noise, which could be heard all over the site, although worse on the pitches nearest the road. This is a pity, as the campsite describes itself as a peaceful place to relax and listen to the birdsong - it would be completely drowned out!

However for one or two nights en route it was fine.

Indre et Loire, Tours, Ballan Mire

Camping La Mignardiere    May 2019

The site is in a very smart outer suburb of Tours, with a large artificial lake nearby. The pitches varied a great deal in size and shape, some being on corners so triangular or long and narrow, but we found a good-sized one. Some have partial hedges, some small fences, and some are mostly open with little privacy.

We were there in late May, on a holiday weekend, so it was fairly busy, and all the facilities were open - swimming pool, takeaway etc. However, when we arrived there was only one unisex toilet block open, next to reception. The following day they opened another one towards the back of the site, but I'm not sure they would satisfy demand in high season. They were clean and modern, but functional rather than comfortable, and the front doors were permanently propped open, which meant they were rather chilly in the morning. But at least they had loo paper and seats.

We had frites from the takeaway the first night, and pizzas the second night - reasonably priced and good.

There is a large play area, and a small amusement park over the road, which looked to be aimed at younger children. Campers can get discounted tickets. The site looked like a good place for family holidays. 

 

Lot, Cahors

picture from campingfrance.com

Camping Riviere de Cabessut    June 2008

This site is in a pleasant, quiet riverside location. The pitches are all level, grassy, hedged and of good size. The toilets and showers are very clean - in fact every time I used them the owner seemed to be in there hosing it down!

There's a nice swimming pool but there were no sunbeds - there probably are in high season. Reception sells ice cream and postcards, there's a small bar, and lots of books and games to borrow. On the down side, the water taps are push-button on a timer and it takes ages to fill your aquaroll!

As it was raining on our first day we got a bus into Cahors - there's a free park and ride service nearby called 'La Navette'. Cahors is a wonderful medieval city - we followed the walking tour in our Michelin Green Guide.
There are many other interesting places to visit in the area, including the famous Peche-Merle caves with their neolithic wall-paintings, Beziers on the River Lotte, and St Cirq-la-Popie, said to be one of the prettiest villages in France. It's straight out of a picture-postcard, with a ruined castle, a fortified church and quaint gabled houses all clinging to a steep hillside, with lots of lovely restaurants and craft shops.

All in all a really interesting part of France and the campsite is an excellent base

 

Lozerre, Meyrueis

campsite is in valley

Camping Le Capelan    June 2008

This is a very long, narrow site on the banks of the rocky River Jonte, so we were soothed to sleep by the sound of rushing water. The pitches were of a reasonable size. The toilet block is fine, but as in so many French campsites it's unisex and there are no seats. The dishwashing and laundry facilities are good. There is a large bar with free wifi but no restaurant. The staff were a little odd - first we were told our caravan wouldn't fit, then we were shown to a rather awkward pitch when there were lots of other, better ones, then we were told there were no water taps except in the toilet block - which wasn't true! However, it might be down to communication problems - I don't think they get many British visitors

There is a lovely swimming pool but to reach it you have to cross a road and climb some steep steps. The site shop is very basic but there is a good supermarket 500m away. The great thing about this site is the stunning surrounding scenery of the Gorge du Jonte and the even more spectacular Gorge du Tarn. We chose to drive along the spectacular corniche roads, but canoes and kayaks are very popular and probably the best way to take in the views of the towering limestone cliffs. There are some fascinating caves nearby, and wild vultures have been reintroduced to the area. It's slightly disturbing to see 20 or more of them circling overhead!

A nice, quiet campsite to use as a base for exploring this beautiful area.

Puy de Dome, Royat

Camping Indigo/Huttopia Royat   June 2008 & June 2019

We last visited this site in 2008, when it was called Indigo Royat. Interestingly the road signs still call it Indigo! The only major change we could see, apart from a lot of new chalets, was the fantastic new central toilet block, which is the best we have ever come across in France.

It's very smart and modern, fully enclosed and heated (welcome on cold or rainy mornings), and toilets have seats and paper. Some of the shower cubicles have wash basins which makes them very roomy and convenient. They are push-button and the temperature is controllable.

The central area of wash basins have a hand dryer, and there is a large mirror with two good hairdryers. Everything was kept very clean, even on a wet day when paths were muddy. There is a large laundry room adjacent, which has a chest freezer for the use of tent campers.

The pitches are terraced and vary a lot in size, shape and level of shadiness. Some are mainly sandy gravel but many, like ours, had some grass. There are water taps on the pitch. As a previous review says, some are in deep shade and could be gloomy in poor weather. Others are more open, particularly those near the toilet block. Although the site is quite large the pitches are in small groups and feel quite intimate.

There is a nice swimming pool, tennis courts and petanque, with balls, boules and rackets available to use. There is a large TV room with games, books etc, with wifi in this area. The cafe was very limited when we were there but in high season it opens longer hours and does pizzas etc. There is a small shop in reception. The staff speak English and are very helpful.

There is an excellent Intermarche in a new shopping centre a few minutes' drive away in Ceyrac. If the weather is poor, Clermont Ferrand is an interesting city with many buildings made from the black volcanic rock of the area.

Vienne, Poitiers

picture from Camping & Caravaning Club

Kawan Village le Futuriste    January & December 2012

January:  As all the other reviews for this site were from summer stays, here is an account of what it's like in winter, as it's a useful overnight halt on the way south.

The pitches are a good size but can be rather muddy in winter. In fact a number of pitches were roped off to allow the grass to recover.

There is a security keypad on both sides of the entrance barrier, a useful feature we haven't come across elsewhere, meaning drivers of UK cars can operate the barrier themselves.

The shop and restaurant are closed in winter but you can order bread from reception.

There are reduced sanitary facilities in winter, with the men's half of the shower block closed, so the ladies' half becomes unisex. Having said that, the facilities themselves are excellent - smart, clean, warm and a pleasure to use.

There is a little road noise but not a problem. I would highly recommend this site as a night halt


 

December:  Have just made a return visit to this site which we found excellent last winter, but not this time!

The water taps had all been turned off in case they froze (in fact while we were there the temperature was several degrees above freezing. ) When we asked the duty manager where we could get drinking water he told us to use the hosepipe in the chemical toilet disposal area, and when we said that was unhygienic he reluctantly turned the taps back on, with very bad grace.

The toilet block, though clean and with hot water, was unheated, which made showering a bit uncomfortable. The pitches were very wet and muddy. The one we were allocated wasn't too bad, but an elderly couple in a motorhome were given one that was almost under water, and when they changed pitches of their own accord the manager was quite surly.

Maybe this was just a blip, and the manager was having a bad day. This is a very useful site for people heading to or from Spain for the winter, but we would now have some doubts about using it again.