Holiday review

Safari tent experience in the Dordogne

In 2011 we honeymooned in Kenya (and Zanzibar) and had a wonderful time staying in a luxury safari tent. Since then I’ve wanted to repeat the whole glamping thing. In fact a few years back my husband and I had an incredible night (without the children!) near Brecon staying at Argoed Barns but until this summer we hadn’t managed it with the children.

Jump forward to 2019 and we were planning our drive home from Spain (an idyllic two weeks at Camping at El Delfin Verde Resort, Costa Brava). We wanted to break the journey up and I fancied a little break in the Dordogne (I’d not been since being a child). Regulars to my blog will know that we are partial to an Airbnb but one of the downsides can be finding somewhere that is really fun for the children. Somehow for a city break this isn’t such a big deal but in the warmer months its nice for the children to be outside exploring. So whilst we’ve had plenty of wonderful holidays in lovely villas (places like Calvisson) the thought of cooping the children up in a villa was not one I fancied (parenting is so much harder when you’re constantly having to entertain and/or supervise little people!). So for that reason and also in an attempt to avoid the hassle of putting our own tent up for 2 nights (whilst we’re pretty quick and the children are very helpful it still takes a while and the entire boot has to be emptied – I’d rather be by the pool!) we took a look at the Eurocamp website. We quickly settled on a safari tent at Camping Moulin de Paulhiac.  We felt that by opting to stay at campsite the children would still have the freedom to run around, scoot etc. The campsite was in a good location (a 5hr drive from where we had been staying in Spain) and the added bonus of a fun looking swimming pool complex, a play park and it’s own stream for paddling.

The campsite was lovely (the brochure didn’t exaggerate!). We received a friendly welcome from both the campsite owners and the Eurocamp team (who had also sent us various text messages in advance of arriving!). As Eurocamp newbies we were impressed with the speed of check in (we were checked in, unpacked and by the pool in under 40 minutes!) as well as the impressive selection of guide books, novels and family board games available to borrow (handy if, unlike us, you flew to your holiday destination). As an aside, when it came to check out we were able to leave as soon as the campsite gates opened (at 7am). There was no flapping around with check out etc. This was ideal as we had a long drive ahead of us.

The first thing we did was order our croissants and bread from the campsite shop (you’ve got to get your priorities in order!), we also noticed take away Pizza was available although we didn’t get the chance to test this out. The on-site bar/restaurant was an added bonus. We didn’t try the food (but it looked delicious!) but the selection of ice cream was heavenly! We enjoyed an early evening drink up at the bar as a family and the children were free to play in the play area whilst we supervised from afar (parenting win I’d say!)

The pool area was a big hit with the little people. Ok so not as impressive at El Delfin Verde (but I’m yet to find somewhere that is!) but fun nevertheless. There were some larger slides (ideal for our 5 year old but older children were also loving them), a fun and interactive splash area and two more leisurely pools with plenty of sun loungers. The one pool had a retractable roof, perfect for colder and wetter days. There was a lovely bouncy castle and a small but perfectly formed play area.

On to the tent – it had a beautiful setting, next to a stream and not overlooked (unlike the other Eurocamp accommodation options on site). For us, having spent two weeks in our own tent we appreciated having proper beds but the rest of the tent was more basic than I’d imagined. The cooking facilities, for example, were older and more limited than our own camping stove and the wooden sun chairs were seriously uncomfortable! Still there was the novelty factor!

Unlike some other Eurocamp options the tent didn’t have a bathroom (we’re used to this but may be worth noting if you’re not overly used to camping!). The tent was a little way from the wash block – you certainly couldn’t supervise the children or let them go up solo. That said, the wash blocks were clean and spacious and the children appreciated the mini toilets and showers.

Now the plan had been to explore but quite unusually for me I got a sickness bug. I was tent bound. The children went off with my husband to stock up on French goodies for home (mostly wine, flageolet beans and chocolate biscuits – oh how very middle class!). We did manage an afternoon stroll around a nearby village (Daglan ), a beautiful spot that is also well served with amenities (it has a 8h a 8h supermarket, a fab bakery and a couple of lovely looking restaurants).

Daglan

On balance, Eurocamp offered us the ease of an Airbnb and was comparable in price but offered the children far more – we’ve already booked with them for Summer 2020!. This was a short whistle stop tour of an area that has so much more to offer. As always, I’m confident we’ll return.

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