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HomePlaces › Eco Friendly Family Camping in the Ardèche - France

Eco Friendly Family Camping in the Ardèche - France

Best time to go: June - August
We went: Late July

Following the ever increasing concerns regarding the adverse effects of flying and our carbon footprint, we decided to organise a holiday without the need to fly. We booked the Eurostar to France and opted for an eco friendly family camping holiday.

Mille Etoiles, Ardeche France

Having never slept in a tent before I researched and researched to find something a little more comfortable than a ground sheet and a tent.

I was delighted when I stumbled across - www.canvaschic.com - *Camping Mille Etoiles, a small and intimate campground located at the top of the stunning Ardeche Gorge in the Rhone-Alps region of Southern France.

11 oak and ash framed yurts, covered in natural canvas and each individually hand crafted and styled, are dotted around a nature reserve perched high on top of the Ardeche Gorges. The views are stunning and the campsite itself is spectacular too.

Top Tips

Book the Eurostar as early as you can as the best deals are available the earlier you book.

Mille Etoiles, Ardeche France

A trail leads directly from the campsite, 300 meters down a steep decent to the bottom of the gorge, here you are rewarded by a beautiful natural bathing area. The breathtaking limestone gorge towers above you as you dip in the cool waters or sunbathe around the banks of the crystal clear Ardeche river.

Mille Etoiles not only offers an idyllic intimate atmosphere and a charming place to stay but also promotes the reduction of greenhouse gases. Solar powered lanterns are supplied at the start of the trip and are yours for the duration of your stay. Charged in the sunlight of the day the lanterns are recharged and ready to guide us back to our luxury yurt each evening.

Each yurt has its own deck and hammock in it's own leafy hideaway and thoughtfully no neighbours are positioned too close. The kids loved the yurts and when we were taken on a private tour of the campsite we were delighted to find that the bathrooms and shower blocks were as luxurious as the four poster beds that were positioned in the centre of our luxury yurt. We were staying in the Safari yurt which I can highly recommend.

An evening meal is included most evenings at Mille Etoiles, breakfast daily and the relaxed and friendly owners, *Ruth and Lodewijk are so welcoming, nothing seems too much trouble. The barbecue is an evening that everyone looks forward to.

Playing table tennis or simply sitting around in the candlelight enjoying the local wine after dinner in such an amazing setting is a wonderful way to end the day.

Top Tips

Bring plenty of towels as you will need lots for swimming and kayaking. Extra towels for showering are essential. No soap needed here though as the local lavender produces the most amazing soaps and shampoo and are complimentary in the communal shower blocks.

Mille Etoiles, Ardeche France

In the centre of the campsite you will find a spectacular double storey yurt, weddings can be held here and exercise and relaxation classes such as yoga are organised during the week for those wanting to join in.

Labastide de Virac is the nearest local village, only 5km away and definitely worth a visit. This beautifully preserved medieval village has two great restaurants to enjoy on the evenings that food is not served at the campsite. Restaurant La Petite Auberge - www.lapetiteaubergelabastide.com - and Mas des Roches - www.ardeche.com - are both perfect for an evening out.

There is plenty to do in the day too and the nearby town of Vallon Pont d'Arc is the place to head if you want to enjoy some more active pursuits. Here you can organise countless activities such as, canoeing, hiking, climbing, biking, horse-riding and caving.

Top Tips

Ask at the campsite for information on local activities. As they live here they really know the best places for what you may be looking for. They are so helpful and have great suggestions if you can not decide from the huge list of possibilities. They also know the quietest swimming spots and some fantastic walks.

Mille Etoiles, Ardeche France

At Vallon Pont d'Arc you will also find a geological wonder, a natural stone bridge which spans the gorge is carved out of the rock by the river. Kayak under it as part of a days trip. The white water rapids (very gentle in summer) provide great fun and floating under the Pont d'Arc is a magical experience.

We did the whole 32km in two man kayaks, split over two days. It really is stunning, the scenery and the beautiful sights that you see as you drift along the crisp clear Ardeche river are unforgettable. The excitement at each rapid (marked out with helpful instructions from the tour guide) are great fun too. We booked through Aigue Vive - www.aigue-vive.com - they were promote with picking up from the end too so would recommend without hesitation.

The Chauvet Caves can be found near Vallon. Discovered in 1994, they are Europe's oldest painted caves - some more than 30,000 years old. To preserve the caves and their unique paintings the caves are not open to the public, but there is an excellent exhibition in Vallon - www.prehistoireardeche.com

Although there are plenty of activities to keep the whole family amused, simply relaxing in your own hammock suspended in the shade of the trees by your yurt is the perfect break away from hectic school and work commitments.

NB * Since we stayed at Mille Etoiles, it has been taken over by www.campingmilletoiles.com - it is no longer run by Ruth and Lodewijk so please excuse any differences in experience. Any updates welcome...

Top Tips

Pre-book all activities, especially in the summer, it can get very busy on the river on a sunny day. Pick up bread, cheeses and water at the local market and take them with you on the kayak. You will be given a water tight barrel to keep food, cameras and clothes dry in. The days are long and there is nowhere to pick up supplies once you are in your kayak. Sun cream is also essential.

Top Trip Tips

Canvas Chic are a member of the Ethical Collection and you will also receive a 10% "zero emissions" discount if you turn up on foot or bike.

In a Nut Shell
Ardeche Eco Friendly Camping France
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