Natalie and Patrick McAlpine, the owners of Domaine des Mathevies on the outskirts of medieval Sarlat-la-Canéda, first met in India. Their subsequent travels brought them to this neglected campsite and they set about transforming it into the eco-minded sanctuary it is today. A labour of love, it’s a place where adults are as well catered for and contented as their kids – where you can sit back with a frothy latté, play pétanque over a leisurely glass of St-Émilion as a paraglider is swallowed up by the salmon-pink sunset below.
Set on a gentle incline with masterful views over the wooded valley, there are 40 pitches to choose from, many of which enjoy shade from walnut, cherry, fig, apple and plum trees, and all of which have electricity hook-ups. If you’re arriving late and don’t fancy pitching up for the night, there are four spanking new cabins from which to savour the best views over the hills, plus seven more well-furnished cabins dotted around the edge of the site.
Beside the Cosy Nook Café there’s also a self- contained traditional gîte with all mod cons (Sky TV and a CD player) within its exposed stone walls and beamed ceilings. Perfectly sized for a family, with two double bedrooms, it’s recently been refurbished and is partnered by another, Le Point de Vue, a mere two minutes’ walk away. Both have two good sized bedrooms and Le Point de Vue boasts a self-contained, fully-furnished guest wing. The real ace, though, is the spectacular sunset view you can enjoy, and the privacy the place affords; giving you all the amenities plus the chance to retire to your own little palace.
The site itself is a real playground for kids, with a toddlers’ play area near the Cosy Nook Café (so you get to relax with them in plain view). Natalie and Patrick have two kids and it’s this empathy with the little ones that seems to have led to so many thoughtful details to keep them happy. There’s an excellent sand pit for younger kids and a terrific climbing area, but if that’s not enough to keep them occupied there’s a children’s pool as well as a larger swimming pool for adults, as well as tennis courts and a table-tennis table.
The Cosy Nook Café lives up to its moniker with swallow-you-up couches, a cosy ‘daybed’ for reclining on, honey stone walls and delicious bar snacks that together make it one of the most inviting campsite cafés in France. Fresh bread and croissants are delivered every morning; the best spot to take breakfast is under the shade of the linden trees. And just in case you sneaked your computer in with you, the Nook has Wi-Fi as well as satellite TV for movies or sport in the evening. With the gastronomical Mecca of Sarlat close by, coupled with what is one of the Dordogne’s friendliest, most charming sites, you may well find yourself staying much longer than planned.
The Owner SaysSmall is Beautiful. Panoramic views and breathtaking walking and cycling tracks from your doorstep. In high summer no need to venture out thanks to nightly pop up food trucks and a fully stocked bar. Cosy Nook relaxation zone, chilled music and social hub. Fresh and leafy alfresco-style sanitary facilities... terraced pool, full size tennis court, boules by the bar and traditionally laid out playground... There's even an indoor kids playroom attached to the bar, so something for everyone.
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ReviewsAdd Your Review
Small is beautiful
Relaxing, friendly and great for children
Wonderful Gites in Beautiful Location
fab site, incredible area
Great campsite - hope to be back next year!
We have been to Domaine des Mathevies two years running, in the first week of September when I believe it is a little quieter. We loved the laid back environment, great atmosphere and helpful hosts. You are in beautiful countryside and a short drive from amazing places to take the kids. Many days we just preferred to stay on site and use the pool, take Maisy the dog for a walk, or have a tea party in a tree house. Our daughter loves the freedom of the place, and having games and toys available in the Cosy Nook is great. The pool, with a smaller shallow splash pool for smaller children, is just perfect. It's true, you can't choose your neighbours! We did wonder this year if a sundown curfew might be useful, when we had 3 boys marauding outside the mobile home... We also think we may have missed out on some good onsite dinner options by coming later in the season? But basically we love it here, and it's great for families with young children. Can't wait to come back!
Ssshhh - don't tell anyone how great it is
We stayed at DDM for a week leaving just before they closed last weekend. What a fabulous site - brilliant atmosphere and location was superb, very peaceful. Large pitches suitable for tents through to motorhomes and good variety of pitch location including stunning views across the valley. Facilities were excellent - showers always hot - views from washing up sinks amazing. Bar was good for a morning coffee through to a well earned glass of wine at the end of a cycle ride or walk. Natalie could also make you a pizza and fries if you didn't fancy cooking. Not many children when we stayed but would think its great with swimming pool, playground and tree house. Natalie and Patrick the owners have spent 10 years building up the site and all their hard work really shows. Thanks for a great stay.
Delightfully situated ubt...
We spent 3 nights in the middle of August at the site. Our pitch was on a junction with the swimming pool, the children's playground and the clubhouse and facilities, plus our neighbours had a small baby who was encouraged to cry itself to sleep in a rear-awning to the caravan on the pitch next door. So at 8 pm as we hoped to soak up the last few rays on our pitch and have our supper, we were serenaded by long spells of crying about 6 ft away, whilst its parents sat round the other side of their caravan in relative P&Q! So it was not a particularly peaceful 3 days, which we had encountered on other pitches throughout August. There were no set hours for the pool which is unusual and meant there was constant pool noise from c. 8 am until sundown. Having said that - it is wonderfully situated, well maintained, very friendly, with Sarlat a bike ride away (bit hilly but doable) and the beaches on the Dordogne were easily accessible. Out of season, on a quiet pitch with a view would have certainly earned it a 5-star review.
A wonderful campsite
Having found Mathevies on Cool Camping we found the booking system incredibly easy to use. Communication from Patrick and Natalie was excellent. Once we arrived at Mathevies we had the most wonderful holiday. The site layout is perfect for children across the age groups. Our 5 year old daughter was able to play at the swings and the tree house and we knew where she was and that she was safe. The tent pitches are generous in size and ours had a stunning view over the valley. This campsite has a definite vibe to it. It was incredibly well-organised and incredibly relaxed. Signage was polite and straightforward. This meant that campers maintained the standards of cleanliness requested around the sinks and toilet blocks. Facilities were cleaned regularly and the friendly handyman was constantly going around the site maintaining everything from cutting the grass to replacing water taps. The atmosphere was very chilled and campers really got to know each other in this setting. Patrick and Nathalie are super hosts. They are friendly and very informative about the local area. From morning croissants to the evening feasts of paella (alongside other foods) the food was wonderful. The beautifully cold draught beer was especially welcome. We cannot recommend this site enough. It's perfectly positioned, ten minutes from Sarlat and within easy travelling distance of Rocamadour and Domme. We will be back next year and for many years to come.
Fantastic place, can't wait to come back this July!
We stayed at this campsite last summer and loved it so much we have re-booked for this July 2015. We have two young children aged 7 and 9 and they said it was the best holiday ever - they had tons of freedom but we could also relax knowing they were safe and enjoy the peace as they made friends straight away and had loads to keep them busy. The campsite itself is set in the most beautiful area and we loved the fact that it was not too big and the tent pitches are a good size so you don't feel on top of your neighbours.
The Cosy Nook Cafe was a godsend for when we didn't feel like going out or cooking and the daily morning croissants were a real treat. Patrick and Nathalie have worked very hard to make this a very special place as the facilities are excellent and it has a real community feel to it. You can see from the number of people who keep coming back that they have a loyal following.
If you have younger children then this is a fantastic place to stay. The Dordogne is just stunning and there is so much to see and do in Sarlat and the surrounding areas - you will not be disappointed!
Lovely site, great atmosphere
We were looking for a quiet, rural site for a few days and Domaine des Mathevies hit the spot. It was very peaceful, surrounded by lovely countryside but just a few minutes from Sarlat la Caneda. The whole place is very laid back but has all the facilities you need and the bar was a bonus, serving excellent beer from a small brewery, La Croix du Rat.
Superb site, superb location
This is a really great campsite. The layout and facilities of the site are superb - cafe, pool, showers, playground, playroom and treehouse...
Everyone is really lovely, Patrick and Natalie the owners, are on hand for advice and tips They work mega hard, always with a smile. And they make great dinners and flapjacks. There is very lovely, open, communal feel to Mathevies,
The local area is FULL of stuff to do - pony trekking, canoeing, caves, markets, cheese, wine, castles
Would highly recommend.
Our favourite site
We just came back from our September-tour throughout France where we stayed at several cool camping-places. Again, this one was our favourite. Perfect match of wonderful weather + friendly owners + great food + just the right amount of not too many other people, still enough children for our 3yr old to catch up. The atmosphere is friendly and relaxing and days fly by so fast we decided to stay a little longer next year. Maybe we have a chance to join one of the campfire evening then also which we didn't yet (end of season propably).
Nathalie and Patrick, thanks again for a great time! We will be back!
Perfect place for the perfect family holiday!
Great Two Weeks
This campsite was a fantastic find. We have just come back from two weeks here, the facilities are great, kids really loved the pool, but best of all for us was the fact that the site is small and VERY friendly.
Lots to do in the nearby area, we have four children and we're never bored. Especially enjoyed all the caves and Sarlat market was great.
The cafe/bar was great and the food and drink lovely.
I agree with one of the posters above regarding unruly children- however it is not for the owners to sort out-rather the parents should be keeping their kids under control. Our four children had an amazing time but were either in bed or snuggled up stargazing by 9.30pm! The other children were all having a great, safe time however and it really didn't bother us to any great degree.
Definitely a site for families then rather than couples perhaps. But this suited us 100%. You won't find a more wonderful place to take your children to in France, I promise!
Oh and if anyone reads this and goes, please pat Maisy the dog for us and take her for a walk!
Thanks Nat and Pat for an amazing holiday. We will see you again for sure.
camping domaine des mathevies
Oh my god, as kiwis visiting France for the first time we have spent 2 days at this most amazing campground and are finding it very hard to leave. Our hosts Pat and Nat are fantastic, friendly and helpful. The campground is small and intimate and the facilities are spotless. Their barista skills and onsite coffee machine is awesome. The surrounding area in the Dordogne area is absolutely stunning and all easily accessed from this impressive campsite. Would recommend to anyone to stay here. Kiwis and Aussies would love it We can't wait to come back.
Great holidays here, love it...
We have been to Domaine des Mathevies 4 times, we started coming when our twins were 2 and we're totally hooked, we are planning our 5th trip next summer. In fact we see familiar faces each time we come as other regulars also return every year. We absolutely love the campsite and the surrounding area, its a beautiful place with lots to do either at the river or hunting for cavemen, that's when we can drag the kids away from the pool! The campsite has a lovely chilled out atmosphere and its so relaxing for parents to be able to kick back and enjoy a glass of wine while keeping an eye on the kids having fun the the playground and making lots of new friends.
We 'glamp' it up and stay in the gite which is perfect for us, it feels like a home from home now and is always spotless for us when we arrive. The campsite owners are very friendly and cannot do enough to help if you have any questions or need help. We didn't notice any noise from kids past about 9 pm when we find the campsite starts to quieten down for the night. The Cozy Nook provides great food, the frites are delish, and good wine! The weekly BBQ at the campsite is also a must-do as it is a great chance to socialise and the food is lovely. We're counting down the days until next August!
Great friendly place for young families
We returned to Domaine des Mathevies for the third time in August and had another fantastic holiday. We've always found the facilities to be very good, and the great thing is each time we've stayed the owners have found yet more ways to make an improvement here and there . This time there was decking round the pool extending the space for families to relax around it, and a permanent awning added to the bar area meant there was room to sit and drink and eat even if it rained. The owners make you feel extremely welcome and are very helpful, providing advice and ideas for things to do. And the kids loved taking Maisie, the dog, for walks.
fantastic atmosphere, unique camping experience
ok, hands up we found this place in cool camping France, and loved everything we read about it. we have 2 pre school kids and wanted to re-create some of our own childhood memories of camping in the Dordogne. so the easy communication with Patrick and Nathalie by email made us feel confident we were going to be lucky.
we arrived a day early - "no worries, see you when you get here" said Patrick on the phone - and immediately the place lived up to expectations. small, friendly, relaxed site, suitably remote, with all the comforts you could wish for on a camping holiday. not sure i can repeat all the detail listed in other reviews, other than to say nothing was overlooked, and the attitude of the whole team is to look after you and keep the atmosphere on site as relaxed as possible. we felt we had chosen well, and met many like minded families who were enjoying a just-off-season family holiday.
when the late summer rainy days arrived the kids playroom in the barn become invaluable. our 2 loved it, and consequently so did we. sitting in a tent in the rain is one thing, sitting in a comfy armchair with a glass of St Emilion and WiFi access is something else. all the facilities have been designed to help you relax so you can contribute to the unique and friendly atmosphere on site.
the domain is well placed for bike rides with or without kids - ride into Sarlat market along winding lanes, back for a snooze or swim. the playground was great, and evening fires were a hit. Patrick and Nathalie gave great local advice, and were friendly perfect hosts. they clearly have a vision of how family camping should feel, and have put their heart into creating something special.
thanks very much for a fantastic holiday. i have no doubt we will return.
Perfect Family Campsite - Peaceful well run & clean
We have been here three times and its lovely .. it seems the owners are doing all possible to make it better each year. It is a clean spacious camp site. Not cramped and peaceful even when its full in peak season there is plenty of room for all. The pool and playgrounds are a hit for my kids and the reasturant bar and camp shop are first class , affordable and quality. There is something special here that we didn't find at other sites around france and we have tried a few which is why we always recommend it and keep coming back . The location is also special any time of year it is beautiful easy to find and lots to do in the area. The hosts actually go out of their way to make your time a real break ...its a fun relaxing holiday and we will be back soon for more time here with the family and friends....WE LOVE IT AND SO WILL YOU .....enjoy !
Lovely - but rather noisy.
We stayed for a week in August with two children aged 12 and 8. The setting and site are fantastic - beautiful countryside and well set out site. The facilities were well maintained and clean. The pool area is great and again very well maintained and clean. The only issue we had with site was the level of noise and the number of unruly children charging around and screaming until 11pm. Granted its the summer holidays, but the noise was a bit much for us (we stayed at a site in the Loire valley the following week and all was quiet after 9.30pm). It spoilt are week really - no opportunity to relax with a glass of wine later in the evening. If you've young children it is a great site.
We have just came back from a week here and loved every minute!
Very chilled out campsite, well spaced so you don't feel on top of anyone else. We stayed with friends and both of us have young kids and it was perfect for them. We could leave them to charge around knowing that they couldn't get into too much trouble and the sandpit/pool/playground/creche kept them entertained all week week long.
It's a lovely place in a great area and would happily come back here again.
Camping Domaine des Mathévies
This site is perfect especially for families with young children, tree houses, swimming, the friendliest hosts ever. We've been all over France and this site cannot be beaten
Camping Domaine des Mathévies
Camping Domaine des Mathévies
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