Camping Champ de la Chapelle

Europe France Auvergne Allier

  • Electrical hook-ups
  • Children’s playground
  • Laundry
  • Dogs welcome
  • Good walks nearby
A laid-back, well-established family campsite on the edge of the Forêt de Tronçais.

The vast, 26,000-acre forest of Tronçais is one of France’s little known treasures. Planted by order of Louis XIV to supply wood for the French Navy, it is one of the largest swathes of oak woodland in Europe. Today it’s better used to supply some of the finest cognac and Bordeaux win barrels in the world, lending oaky notes to that bottle of plonk you share around the campfire.

On the north-west edge of the forest, with some pitches enjoying the shade of ash and birch trees, Camping Champ de la Chapelle is a family-friendly, quintessentially French campsite, where the atmosphere is thoroughly laid back. Activities range from cooling off in the pool and clambering on the climbing frame, to more ad-hoc opportunities for fun, such as building dens in the woods or taking a trailer ride behind the tiny blue campsite tractor.

Facilities are well kept. As well as the regular ablutions there are baby-changing rooms, disabled access showers and fridges for campers to use. There’s an on-site bar and café and fresh bread delivery each morning, while those happy to forego the campsite’s mainly electrified pitches, can occupy one of the twenty beautiful ‘wild camping’ spots at the far end, where things are at their quietist.

Surrounded by trees, the campsite certainly feels properly cut off from the outside world and it’s a good place to come for that much talked about ‘digital detox’. It's an 8-minute drive or 45-minute walk to the nearest reasonable sized village, Saint Bonnet.  Set beside a lake, it’s an excellent spot for a wilder swim than the campsite swimming pool and there’s a great beach right beside it for picnics. The shed-like tourist office in the village is a good spot to gather your bearings, too, before taking off by bike or on foot into the forest proper.

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Details

Facilities

Separate ladies and gents facilities – toilets, showers, basins – a laundry room with washing machine and fridges, baby-changing facilities, disabled showers and toilet. 2 play areas, one for younger children – sandpit, play tractors, swings, a seesaw and trampoline – and one for older children – a large climbing frame and adventure playground with a treehouse. Swimming pool (June–September). 9-hole foot-golf course. Maps, tourist info and a free library at reception. Bar-café; fresh bread delivery. Campfires permitted.

Suitable For

Tents, campervans, caravans, trailer tents, families, couples, dogs – yes.

Nearby

On the edge of the 26,000-acre Fôret de Tronçais, the campsite is well placed for walkers and wildlife lovers. It was once the royal hunting grounds of the Bourbon kings, and today is well populated with deer and birds and routed with footpaths and car-free cycling trails. Have a nose at the maps in the campsite's reception for details. It's a 15-minute drive to the 14th-century  Château d'Ainay-le-Vieil  (0033 2 4863 3614) which renowned as one of the best preserved castles of its age, recognisable for its circular shape. From there, it's 10 minutes more to the larger, riverside settlement of Saint-Amand-Montrond, where there's a good local museum (0033 2 4896 5520), an excellent Sunday market and a Roman amphitheatre where reconstructions of gladiatorial events are staged throughout summer. Closer to home, the campsite's local village Saint Bonnet Tronçais has all the essentials – shops, bar-tabac, a pizzeria and a doctor's surgery as well as direct access to the lake for swimming with a beautiful sandy beach.

Food & Drink

It's an 8-minute drive or 45-minute walk to the nearest reasonable sized village, Saint Bonnet Tronçais, which has the essential shops (as well as good access to a lake for swimming). There's a Casino supermarket there for stocking up and a tiny tourist office for getting your bearings. The local bakery supplies the campsite (order at reception the day before for delivery to the campsite) and a few yards from the tourist office there is a good pizzeria (0033 4 7006 3140) which also delivers. The campsite also has it's own snack bar and offers meals on certain nights during summer.

Opening Times

April–October.

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  • Best Price Guarantee, with no fees
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The Owner Says

Camping Champ de la Chapelle is found on the fringes of the magnificent Fôret de Tronçais situated in the rural centre of France. This area is the real France, medieval towns and villages are scattered across the whole area, not as tourist attractions but home to people whose lives are similar to that of those a century earlier.

The 11,000 hectare forest, once the royal hunting grounds of the Bourbon kings, is home to an astounding variety of wildlife and birds and is criss crossed by walks taking in forest sculptures, some of the famous 300 year old oak trees and hidden spas. The forest, set in gently rolling countryside, is great for cyclists and walkers – stags, roe deer and over 200 species of birds have been spotted here.

The Allier boasts over 500 chateaux, many open to the public and nearby the campsite is the Chateau of Ainay le Viell, The castle, now part of Jacques Cœur's tourist route, has been nicknamed "the little Carcassonne" (French: le petit Carcassonne) because of its circular shape. Today the castle is one of the best preserved fortresses of the 14th century and is known for its stunning gardens.

Saint Amand-Montrond, a charming local town with an excellent Saturday market, has a Roman ampitheatre where reconstructions of gladiatorial events are staged and nearby is the famous gothic chateau at Meillant.

Horse riging, zip wires and many other exciting activitities abound in the area or for a more relaxing day visit Saint Bonnet Tronçais, our local village, where a variety of shops are found as well as the lovely swimming lake with a sandy beach, perfect for a lazy day.

The campsite covers 16 acres with only 80 pitches, 60 with water and 10 amp electric hookups, The pitches range from 100 – 300 square metres and are suitable for tents, caravans and motorhomes. The swimming pool, open June – mid September, is next to the bar café and drinks and a small range of meals are available during the day and until 8.00pm in high season, as is fresh bread which is delivered daily (except Mondays).

For children there are two play areas, both situated away from the camping pitches. The play area by the pool is for younger children and has a sandpit and play tractors, swings and a see-saw and trampoline, the older kids have a large climbing and adventure playground. We have a nine hole ‘foot golf’ course. We offer guided forest walks, campfires to roast marshmallows and candle lit swimming.

Video Tour

Accommodation

80 pitches, most with water and electric hookups, over 16 acres. Pre-erected tents and mobile homes also available to rent.
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Location

Contact Camping Champ de la Chapelle, Champ De La Chapelle, Braize, Allier, Auvergne, 03360, France

Show Map

Getting There

From the North leave A71 at exit 8 and follow signs for Montlucon all the way through Saint Amand Montrond. When you have left Saint Amand, continue south on the D2144 and a mile after passing the village of L'Etelon turn left onto D798A signed St Bonnet-T and Foret de Troncais. After about 1½ miles you will come to a roundabout and the campsite is signposted from there.

From the south leave the A71 at exit 9 and follow the D1244, following signs for Saint Amand Montrond. At Meaulne take the D28 and, about 3 miles up the D28, the campsite is signposted.

Reviews

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Rated ★★★★★ over 6 reviews

★★★★★

The Best Camping Experience!!!

We were looking for an introduction (we have previously been camping pre-kids and to sites with mobile homes with the kids) to camping within 3 young children without buying all the equipment... just to test the waters really. We found this great campsite with a pre- pitched tent. It provided everything that you could need. If the tent didn’t have it then Simon and his team would find it. We were booked in for a week but ended up returning for another 4 days because we didn’t enjoy the second site that we had chosen. The site is perfect for relaxation with all the trees and none of those hedges and roads that you get in some very structured sites. There is so much space to explore. Located in a stunning forest full of wildlife but yet still close to typically beautiful french villages and a local lake with a beach and two water slides. You can choose to explore the local area, great for walking and bike rides or just relax using the site facilities. The pool is well kept, there is a sandpit, swings, footgolf, basketball ring, volleyball net, pétanque, adventure playground, tractor rides and campfires amongst other things. The showers and washing facilities are always clean. Food is tasty. BBQ’s are available too. I could go on but really what made this such a great site was Simon and his team of volunteers; this year it was Janice, Pete, Nicky and Keith. It meant that we could relax whilst our children rode their bikes and played with other children. They were always watched by someone keeping an eye out. Everyone was so helpful and friendly. So much so we are booking to return next year which is something we have never done before! It was certainly our happy place!!
Sep 29, 2019 by Anna Jumnoodoo
★★★★☆

Country Camping

We chose this site to break-up our journey back home from the South. It proved to be a lovely setting, we received a warm welcome from Janice on arrival and had a choice of pitches. Our site was on facing the large children's playground, complete with new zip-lines, and proved to be cool in the mornings whilst offering shade from the afternoon sun. Great swimming pool and the facilities were kept exceptionally clean throughout our stay. Everyone was very friendly and made us feel welcome which made the stay very relaxing. The site was the most remote of our stay and having a car did make it easier to see more of the local area. It provided some really authentic experiences and there are some real local gems to discover. You may need some soap and toilet roll for the toilets at times so best to be prepared.
Sep 1, 2019 by Matthew Catterall
★★★★★

Ultimate chill out!

Perfect location on the edge of Troncais forest. Great for nature walks and bike rides. Close to a large lake with beach and water slides for kids, also a play area and pizza van lake side. The campsite is extremely peaceful due to the balance of woodland and open space. Huge emplacements available to choose from, not at all crowded or overlooked. Loads of play equipment for all ages, little ones happily played in the sand pit, on the seesaw and swings, while all the family could play football golf, volleyball or splash around in the pool. The adventure play ground now has 2 big zip lines! Last but not least Simon the owner and his staff Nicky and Keith helped to make us all feel so welcome and work really hard to maintain a clean, tidy and above all friendly environment. We also enjoyed a great cheese and wine night with them and our kids loved the tractor ride! P.s. Look up and you will see the most incredible unpolluted night skies!
Aug 6, 2019 by Laura
★★★★☆

Peaceful, spacious woodland retreat

Friendly and helpful. Simon went the extra mile with advice and support as my husband was unwell. All facilities you might need. Especially helpful to have the use of a fridge and washing machine and place indoors for drying. Showering and toilet facilities very clean in themselves but I always struggle with frequent experience on sites of being overlooked by cobwebs. Signs to the site are there but not glaringly obvious so look out. Beautiful spacious site and early in the season found it to be very peaceful. A real get away from it all spot. Thank you. Would recommend.
Jun 17, 2019 by hil
★★★★★

Amazing site, lovely pool, friendly staff

Really enjoyed our time here. Relaxed atmosphere with kind and welcoming owner. Would recommend to all.
Sep 17, 2018 by Oliver Hockley
★★★★★

Wonderful place with big old trees and shadow even in the hottest hours. A lot of space to enjoy.

The situation just beside the lovely Fôret de Tronçais creates a very special ambiance full of harmony and with birds singing in the morning. There is a nice little lake with beach just a few kilometers away. Everything is very clean and well maintained. We will come back!
Jul 31, 2018 by Daniel

Response from Camping Champ de la Chapelle

Hi Daniel, thank you for your lovely review,it was a pleasure to meet you and your family

Why book with Cool Camping?

  • Best Price Guarantee, with no fees
  • Instant booking confirmation
  • Trusted for over 10 years
  • A chance to win prizes in our regular competitions

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