A hassle-free, low-impact luxury camping holiday for families and romantics
By Ching Lee
Update Jan 2011- Camping Mille Etoiles is under different ownership since this review was written. The new owners’ website is found at Camping Mille Etoiles. The location and yurts remain unchanged, but dinner is no longer as described below, although there are dining facilities on site.
It’s not difficult to see why glamping is all the rage. Luxury camping combines home comforts with the freedom of the great outdoors; it’s a winning formula for families (and romantics) who are looking for a hassle-free, low-impact holiday with a difference.
Your Holiday Planner is back from a glorious week in the Ardèche, France. With proper beds, stylish shower rooms, dinner provided and the stunning location of the Ardèche Gorge and Nature Reserve, the yurt holiday provided by Canvaschic is an exceptional outdoor experience for people who want to enjoy home comforts while camping.
After a day’s travelling, arriving at the camp feels like entering a haven. Even in the height of August, the camp feels peaceful and discreet and, best of all, we knew we didn’t have to worry about cooking; your week’s stay during July and August includes breakfast and five nights dinner.
The dome-shaped family yurts are handcrafted from oak and ash wood and covered in natural canvas. The tents are well-spaced throughout the forest and each yurt has its own deck and hammocks giving guests their own relaxed, private area.
There are 9 family yurts and three other more secluded yurts for couples can be found further into the oak forest.
Inside, each of the 12 yurts are individually styled. The family yurt is spacious, with a king-size bed, 2 camp beds for children and a portable style wardrobe. Decorative touches such Moroccan lamps, tealights, mirrors and pictures add to the homely atmosphere.
There are 5 spacious shower rooms in the shower block, each with a shower, toilet and washbasin…and there’s no need to bring soap if you don’t want to as locally produced, biodegradeable Savon de Marseille is provided in dispensers in the shower rooms.
Dinner with room to play
It’s a real luxury not to have to cook when you’re on holiday (though guests in the family yurts also have access to a fully equipped kitchen tent). At Mille Etoiles, breakfast and 5 nights dinner (Mediterranean style vegetarian buffet, using locally sourced produce, with one barbeque night) takes place on the outdoor terrace/restaurant and is included in the week’s stay in July and August. The bar offers drinks, local wines and even ice-creams for the children, charged as extra.
For both parents and children, it’s a wonderfully relaxing dinner experience, when you can eat and the children can go and play (within safe view) in between courses. There’s a swing and climbing frame, a pirate boat, a ping pong table, a small plunge pool…and even nets for catching butterflies and grasshoppers!
Things to Do
The Ardèche offers a huge array of things to do for holidaymakers – canoeing, forest adventure and zipwires, shopping in local markets, exploring caves, dining in superb local restaurants, but the hidden gem of staying at Milles Etoiles is the trail from the camp that leads down to the Ardèche Gorge.
After a steep 30 minute walk through the forest, the 35km Ardèche river meandering through spectacular limestone cliffs is a breathtaking sight. All the Mille Etoiles guests agreed that the gorge provided a fantastic, natural bathing area that had something for everyone: younger children were happy with their fishing nets, older children (and adults!) enjoyed jumping off the rocks and cooling off in the fresh water.
Things to Note
- The beds for children are camp beds and these may not suit everyone. One of the guests did end up purchasing an airbed!
- The walk down to the gorge is steep and rocky in places, so sensible shoes are required ie. no flip flops! Swim shoes or jelly shoes are useful for the rocks in the river.
- Each yurt is provided with its own solar lamp, but it’s useful to bring your own torch too.