Do you have fond camping childhood memories? I do not - but my husband does. He told me some years ago that our children would be deprived of a wonderful experience if we never go camping. My first and only time in a tent was as an adult on the Inca trail to greet Macchu Picchu - but that story might be for another time.
There are numerous campsites in Europe - luckily camping here does not necessarily mean going to the back woods. My husband had to ensure that my first experience would be a good one. We went to Lac de Veronne in Marsales, the Dordogne region of France. The campsite is runned by the dutch owners, Margot Boets and Richard Smeets. Yes I loved it - this was our fourth time.
The calm waters of the lake - a reminder to relax and unwind.
The 16 acre property, set in a valley - is a peaceful sea of tranquility - well lake actually. 😊 The lake has its own source of pure potable water only 20 metres away - it cannot get better than that. There is ample space - so lots of privacy. One can have a tent, bungalow tent, caravan or vacation home. There is never more than 15-20 families at any time or a maximum of 100 people.
This campsite is for everyone but especially for those who love horses; maybe that is the reason why the vibe at the camp is so different.
Margot runs the horse and pony club. My daughter loves the lessons where she learnt the gentle Natural Horsemanship method - no bit or whip.
There is a sandy beach area and possibility to sail small boats.
The terrace by the lake is a pleasant place to visit.
It has a multi-functional nature:
- it has a honesty bar - self service for freshly baked croissaints, french-bread, coffee, tea or lemonade, wine, beer, cornettos or popsicles etc. I was told the honesty bar continues to exist because it works. Have you heard of this before?
- it houses a ping pong table - I have witnessed the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat during table tennis tournaments with participants of all ages;
- it has the best internet connection on the property - so it can also be a mindlessness practice area with ones phones. (I did minimal Steeming to truly relax😊 );
- it becomes a restaurant on Friday and Sunday evenings when Richard puts on his chef's apron. There is a menu - but Richard's speciality is "Magret du Canard" - seared duck in honey sauce - it's something to write home about. Even professed vegetarians shamelessly give up the lifestyle to savour Richard's finger-licking-good meal. The sizzle of the cast iron griddle pans like music on the terrace is proof that this is favored by many.
- it is an after dinnertime games area - for table tennis, cards, chess or Mahjong if you are in Momogrow's family.
- it is also the perfect deck for staring at the nightly star-ladened skies. It's the best location, as there are no leaves above or water below - no complaints however😊.
My family felt carefree here. I felt carefree. We were indeed happy campers. My children could do what they want within reason - they even had their daily budget for the honesty bar. This year my son saved most of his budget and spent lots of time picking blackberries - bushes are in abundance. He also discovered a field of vervain - which became our tea of choice.
The beautiful surroundings is very tranquil even with children around, there were many peaceful moments. I spent a lot of time in my hammock staring at the heavens through the leaves - simply beautiful.
I lost my mind into nothingness. I lost track of space and time - truly meditative.
Nothing could ruin our peaceful countenance. Not even:
- the sound of glass smashing to smithereens - then learning that it was caused by my daughter romping in the wrong place (the bathroom), at the wrong time (9:30 p.m.) with the right person (her brother) - instead of brushing her teeth.
- Our automobile losing power and our "rusty" french not impressing an impatient mechanic.
Richard kindly came to the rescue and quelled any potential drama: mirrors can be replaced and transport can be borrowed from our wonderful hosts. We were grateful.
Feeling no inclination to do anything else but daydreeming - we still decided to go for a stroll through the woods to the nearby fortified village, Monpazier. I must mention that the Dordogne is bedecked with castles.
We passed Chateau de Marsales on the way.
Upon arriving at Monpazier we saw a city gate - there was no fanfare to greet us but neither were we attacked.
The village was a military post built by a british king, Edward I in the 13th century. The town is in the form of a grid and has a square in its center. Visiting the galleries, stores and cafes in the arcades - it is easier to imagine why it is now listed as a monument and "one of the most beautiful villages of France", rather than it military past.
The wooden market hall and and houses around the arcaded square can be seen here.
The arcade below the houses is usually full with shoppers, but here I caught it empty during the 2 hour long lunch break.
The village is truly picturesque. The roses and plants add to the charm.
Every street was special - making it difficult to put away my trusty iPhone.
There are many summer festivals - so the village was decorated with medieval flags.
The village has its age-old traditions and my family has ours😊. It would not be a happy ending without roasting marshmellows on an open fire with other campers.
It indicated the end of another special summer holiday................with fond camping memories.
Moon over Lac de Veronne