Archive for April, 2015

Camping In The Dordogne

The Dordogne has been a magnet for touring for many years now, and rightly so. It’s the perfect destination for combining sightseeing, viewing historic sites and indulging in more active pursuits such as canoeing. Unless you’re unlucky, the weather is usually perfect.

Some of the Dordogne’s most classic views are naturally to be seen from the river itself such as the hillside village of La Roc Gageac, the fortified town of Beynac, Castelnaud or views of the cliffs which tower over the river and it’s tributaries.

Despite it’s popularity, it only takes a little imagination to get off the beaten track and discover some delightful gems for yourself!

Camping in the Dordogne

The Dordogne has many spectacular views. This one is Beynac, one of countless Dordogne attractions steeped in history.

The Dordogne has a wide choice of camping accommodation ranging from medium sized and larger camping holiday parks to smaller, more basic independently run but usually friendly campsites. Despite their abundance, many locations are fully booked in the peak weeks of early August so it does pay to book in advance if you plan to visit during this popular time, so here are five personal favourites of my own.

1] Domaine De Soleil Plage

Camping Dordogne

One of the best spots on the Dordogne, near Vitrac. Soleil Plage Campsite consistently gets great reviews and is very close to this location. It also has a fabulous heated pool complex. Click Here To Book With Canvas Holidays

Domaine de Soleil Plage is located almost on the banks of the Dordogne, within walking distance of one of the best beaches for swimming in the Dordogne, near Vitrac. A great spot from which to start a canoeing trip, Soleil Plage has it’s own swimming pool with waterslides, a tennis court, table tennis tables and cycle hire options amongst it’s many amenities. A very popular choice for camping in the Dordogne, I’ve met people who choose to come back here year after year.

2] Camping Le Capeyrou

Camping In The Dordogne

Camping Le Capeyrou: Safari tents on the banks of the Dordogne near the castle at Beynac. Click Here For More Details

Camping Le Capeyrou is a small, intimate parc on the banks of the Dordogne River, beneath the majestic cliff-top castle made of limestone at Beynac. Accommodation consists of safari tents, that can be booked through Eurocamp, and touring pitches.

The size of the campsite is restricted as it is in a government designated protected area. There is still enough space for a swimming pool still and a few other facilities including table tennis tables and a volleyball net. There is a restaurant and a supermarket just outside the campsite.

An ideal spot if you love canoeing, Beynac itself is one of the Dordogne’s most famous castles. La Roque Gageac is also not far away.

3] Les Peneyrals

Camping in the Dordogne

The view from the top of the flume at Les Peneyrals. Click Here For More Details On Staying At Les Peneyrals

Although not the biggest of camping holiday parks, Les Peneyrals has a spacious feel to it and has plenty of facilities including tennis courts and a water park with four pools to suit all age groups as well as waterslides. It is convenient for visiting Sarlat, one of the hubs of the Dordogne, and sleepier Salignac, a traditional picturesque Dordogne village within walking distance of Les Peneyrals. It also has a lively choice of bar entertainment if you wish to spend the evening unwinding without leaving the site.

For my own family, this was one of our favourite stays, with a welcoming atmosphere about the place and generally friendly environment. The supermarkets of Sarlat were just over ten minutes away and the nearby lake at Etang de Tamnies has a sandy beach and a sheltered swimming area as well as other beach facilities for a pleasant day trip.

Be advised that Camping Les Peneyrals was taken over by Sandaya in 2018 and reviews on TripAdvisor have become more mixed, to say the least, so further developments and reviews might be well worth checking.

4] Le Moulin de Paulhiac

Daglan Moulin-de-Paulhiac Camping Dordogne

Moulin de Paulhiac, near the lovely Dordogne village of Daglan. Click Here For More Information

Le Moulin de Paulhiac is situated just south of the Dordogne near the lovely village of Daglan. It’s close to some of the Dordogne’s most iconic sites including Beynac, Castelnaud and Le Roc Gageac, one of the most beautiful historic villages in France. We found the site very friendly and welcoming when staying on a private visit. The staff were all willing to speak English – although there’s no reason to expect them to, it is nonetheless very reassuring. For instance, when my daughter needed to see a local doctor, the management were very helpful in their assistance.

The chalets and tents are mostly closer together than at some other camping holiday parks but not to an intrusive extent. The plus side is this also means all the amenities are within reasonable distance and easy to get to.

The bar and restaurant areas are well run, even when busy and we found them cheerful and lively but never noisy. The pool area is a bit smaller than at some other locations, so could be a little overcrowded at busier times in high season. If that’s important, it’s best to plan to use at quieter times of the day. All things considered, Moulin de Paulhiac would always be one of my first choices for camping in the Dordogne, both for location and it’s ambience.

5] Les Grottes de Roffy

Camping Dordogne

A view of the pool and surrounding countryside from the terraced restaurant at Les Grottes de Roffy.
Click Here To Book With Eurocamp

Les Grottes de Roffy lies a few miles further north of the Dordogne than some of the other campsites here, however this is more than made up for by it’s very spacious feel. There are just 160 pitches with a choice of static caravans and pre-erected tents including safari tents, with plenty of space to enjoy. Amenities include a terraced restaurant overlooking the swimming pool complex which has two family pools, water slides and a toddler pool. There are also lovely views down the valley across the neighbouring countryside.

Other amenities here include a tennis court, four table tennis tables, a volleyball net, a boules pitch, playgrounds and a sports pitch. Cycle hire is available here. There are some very enjoyable country walks adjacent to Les Grottes de Roffy.

If you drive round the back route from the campsite you will come to one of the quieter areas of the Dordogne at Carlux and Saint-Julien, an enjoyable spot to bathe on the Dordogne. Alternatively, there is the main road down to Sarlat, though it can be busy.

When I stayed here I particularly enjoyed the fresh baking on sale at the campsite bakery, though you need to get there early for the best choice. The uphill walk from the camping pitches to the bakery and grocery next to the Restaurant will whet your appetite. The restaurant too enjoys an excellent reputation and is a very pleasant place to dine.

6] Camping les Borgnes

Camping les Borgnes

Camping les Borgnes, an independent campsite adjacent to the Dordogne at Meyronne

The Dordogne abounds with small and medium sized independent campsites which are ideal for tourers. One that I’ve stayed at a few times is Camping les Borgnes, a small independent campsite along the banks of the Dordogne at Meyronne. Each time I’ve stayed there I’ve enjoyed it’s cheerful laidback atmosphere although obviously it doesn’t have the level of facilities or amenities as the larger camping holiday parks that you can book via Eurocamp. It enjoys some of the most magnificent views of the Dordogne and has a canoeing base adjacent to the site making it highly convenient if you also love canoeing on the Dordogne.

Most independent sites are easy enough to book into without a reservation except in peak season when it is advisable to check when the local festival is on and book ahead if that is the case.

Camping Holiday Operators offering holidays in the Dordogne include:

Al Fresco Holidays
Canvas Holidays
Les Castels

It is impossible to say definitively who will give you the best value choice as there are so many offers that come and go, although you normally qualify for a loyalty bonus with any that you have used before. There’s also the option of contacting sites directly if you feel confident enough to do so.

To find out more about any location the best independent source is TripAdvisor


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