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Luxury camping in France

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Posted by Richard Hammond at 02:49 on Monday 29 May 2006

So hip it yurts... A luxury hand-crafted tent with a king-sized bed - it's camping but not as we know it in the Ardeche

There's more to camping than roll mats and sleeping bags. At a new luxury campsite in the south of France, you can now "sleep out in style" from the comfort of a cosy four-poster bed in an oak-framed domed tent. Modelled on the yurt - the small, portable home used by the nomadic people of Central Asia - the luxury hand-crafted tent is the kind of cosy, opulent pad that Genghis Khan strutted around in when he was conquering the steppes of Asia...


"It's more like a hotel room but under canvas," claims the owner Ruth van den Belt. Canvas Chic opened earlier this month with 12 yurts: nine are designed for families (with access to a conventional tent where there's a fully equipped kitchen), while three other yurts, intended for couples, are a short walk further into the leafy oak forest in a more secluded part of the camp.

The site is at the edge of the stunning Ardeche Gorge, in a nature reserve that Ruth and her husband Lodewijk are hoping to regenerate in partnership with the local forestry department. A trail from the camp leads down the side of the gorge to an opening in the forest and out on to an idyllic natural bathing area surrounded by towering limestone cliffs.

After a day spent walking along the gorge and a few dips in the river, I ate at La Petite Auberge in the nearby village of Labastide de Virac, a fabulously unassuming local restaurant with a selection of "wines from the region".

Canvas Chic is featured in a forthcoming book on Cool Camping, which lists some of the world's most scenic sites and includes tips on how to get the most out of camping. The author, Laura James, believes the interest in luxury campsites like Canvas Chic comes from people who are looking for more of an "experiential" holiday. "Camping used to be endured rather than enjoyed," she says. "But now it can be hassle-free as well as low impact, and you can enjoy the same kind of comforts outdoors as you would at home."

For full contact details see greentraveller's full listing of Canvas Chic. Three nights costs from £255 per tent including breakfast for two. July 8-September 9, Eurostar (eurostar.com) runs trains direct (Saturdays only) from London Waterloo to Avignon from £99 return. Bus from Avignon station to Vagnas (towards Aubenas) costs €21.80 return. Arrange pick up by hosts from Vagnas on booking (+4 7535 0902. Cool Camping, by Laura James, will be published by Collins on June 5 at £9.99.

This article, by Richard Hammond, was first published in the Guardian and was featured in The Week, June 2006.

For other great luxury campsites and green accommodation in France, follow the links below:

Luxury Green Campsites | Green Accommodation in France

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More luxury camping

More luxury camping

With lots of joy in our hearts we opened the doors to our own Simply Canvas. A place for a relaxing eco friendly holiday where you are received with warm hearts and smiles and we join each other on the dinner table at night and share stories.

But in future years we also hope to grow to facilitating more and more retreats, workshops and groups in creative, relaxing and spiritual area.

Have a look on www.simplycanvas.eu

Smiles from France

Sandra & Santi

Eco Sailing Tours, Itlay

On board of our beautiful Formosa 51, a very special type of sailing boat, you can sail the calm waters of the Adriatic Sea with a green mind. We are committed to eco-friendly sailing, watching to take great care of the ressources we use. On board you will only find eco-friendly detergents, organic cotton towels and bedlinen, we recycle and reuse, offer washing balls for your laundry. Concerning food we encourage our guests to buy local produce of the region and supply the crew with a list of shops that stock on organic foods.
Our trip starts in San Giorgio di Nogara, which is close to Venice in Italy and can be reached by train. We set off towards the pituresque coast of Istria in Croatia and will sail as much you like or stop at any place you would like to visit. There is so much to see and explore. Once we enter the harbours of the sweet little villages along the coast, you can start exploring by foot or enjoy a stroll along beaches. Or take a dive in the sea and visit some of the small islands that are scattered along the coastline.
On board it is possible to completely switch off from the strains and stresses of everyday life, mobile phones and laptops don’t work on the sea and you will be able to relax totally. If you are lucky, you may spot some dolphins, that like accompanying the sailing boat on stretches, a truly magical moment. If you are worried to be cramped together in a sailing boat, this isn’t true for this type of sailing yacht, which offers plenty of space. Formosas are known for their space, comfort and style. Please visit our website for more information and our routes. For a week we charge 375 Euros/person plus 200 Euros cash on board that you will use for food, marina fees and any petrol that may be needed. Green travelling at a fair price.

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