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Camping Terre Ferme
The owners of Terre Ferme, Matthijs and Renske Witmans (yep, they’re Dutch), bought this place years ago while they were still living in the Netherlands, and over years of long-distance commuting have slowly and painstakingly turned what was an old maize farm into a new and stunning campsite.
They restored the magnificent long farmhouse and designed and built a facilities block in the local rustic style. Eventually, a few years back, the place was finally ready to make the big move south and it was 'so-long Holland' and 'bonjour La France'. Now that all the works are complete Matthijs and Renske can sit back and admire what they’ve achieved, which is a really charming little ‘aire naturelle’ campsite.
Terre Ferme is situated in Le Petit Condal, a tiny hameau in rural Burgundy that is as small as the name implies. Condal itself is pretty small, but this place is so tiny that it hardly features on the map at all. Mind you, the property here covers 17 acres, of which some has been cleared to make the camping field, some penned off to keep donkeys, sheep and chickens and others left as natural woodland and a spring-fed pond. The two and a half-acre camping field has only 20 pitches and cars are kept off the grass, so you can imagine how much space there is to stretch out. If you don’t fancy sticking up canvas yourself you can always hire a pre-erected safari-style tent in the field. This sleeps four and has its own cooking facilities and fridge. Or there’s a compact wooden chalet, which sleeps four in a double bed and two bunks set off to the side behind the facilities block.
Most of the immediate area is given over to maize farming, and the quiet back roads are a maze, too – perfect for idling around on a bike. These are available to hire from the farmhouse, including a tandem. This is also the terroir which breeds the famous poulet de Bresse, the most famous chicken in the world. These beauties are reared outdoors on small, dedicated farms and are protected by the same kind of Appellation d’Origine Controllée that governs the production of wine. They don’t come cheap, but let’s face it, half the reason you come to France is for the food and drink (the other half’s probably a combination of the weather and the scenery), so it’s worth giving one of these especially edible chooks a spin around the rotisserie. They are to your standard cellophane-wrapped supermarket chicken on its little plastic tray what a filet mignon is to a burger. And much the same can be said for the delicious little site at Terre Ferme, which is certainly a class apart.
One facilities block, built in the local rustic style, with showers and toilets (both unisex) and a urinal tucked round the back for the chaps. Washing-up sinks, a washing machine (€4.50) and a terrace with tables and chairs. A minute’s stroll down the hill from the main camping field is a quiet spring-fed pond surrounded by trees and there are various domesticated animals to pet.
Tents, campervans, caravans, dogs (for a fee) – yes.
This is a fairly remote farming area and there isn’t a decent-sized town for miles around. Neither is there a huge number of activities available. You can hire bicycles from the site at €18 per day. If you can make it that far (it’s about 6 miles/10 km away) it’s worth visiting St-Amour, a little town of narrow, colourful streets, ivy-clad houses, and an impressive old church. But then if you have a car exit 10 off the A39 could be the gateway to a whole other world.
Food & Drink
There are various facilities (fridge, coffee-maker, for example) on the terrace, and all kinds of goodies on sale from the farmhouse, along with wine and beer, and you can order up fresh bread for the morning if you ask the night before. The bread oven is also used on Wednesday evenings, when campers can make their own pizzas, and an old Citroen campervan is currently being transformed into a chips van. In Varennes there’s a boulangerie and butcher and a small Proxi supermarket plus a decent little restaurant, Le St-Saveur (0033 3 85 74 65 59) specialising in local grub and with a range of set menus from €25 to €40. For better choice, though, head to St-Amour, which has a Casino supermarket and several small tabacs.
The site is situated off the stretch of A39 autoroute that runs between Lons-le-Saunier and Bourge-en-Bresse. Come off at exit 10, and just after the péage booths, take the first right at the roundabout. Follow the road towards Petit Condal. Just before the village turn left and the campsite entrance is a few hundred metres on your left.
The closest public transport hub is the railway station at St-Amour. You can arrange for the campsite owners to pick you up from here, however.
ReviewsAdd Your Review
Rated ★★★★★ over 15 reviews
A lovely quiet farm
Lovely, just lovely. Couldn't recommend it more - particularly with kids.
Very relaxing and peaceful!
We are Addicted to this Site!
We are coming for some years now again and again to Terre Ferme and it is always a pleasure!
Matthijs and Renske do everything possible to make you feel home there. Starting from the nice central area, where you can find shelter on hot days, to the delicious barbecues they are having on the site. So if you are there in the season, don't miss the barbecue!
The site is lovely located amidst other farms and very peacefully. So can easily have some good days there and totally relax. Don't forget to grab one of the excellent wines from the small camping shop.
There are some interesting sites to visit in the area, thus if you had enough relaxation on the site, you can go for a nice trip.
The pitches are huge, you will find plenty of space on them. A small disadvantage is, that they don't really offer any shade. On hot days head for the central space or the lovely lake nearby.
I totally agree with the previous reviewers, that this site is a gem. We hope, that can come here for many more years...
fun and simple farm camping
We stayed here the end of August 2015 for 3 nights and had a great time. It was a blast for our young family of four. We camped in our VW T4 camper van. The site had plenty of space and privacy. Our young girls (5, 3yo) had a blast playing all day in their pond, paddling around in the boat, hunting/catching frogs, and taking mud baths. We didn't even have to leave the site. Our van had some mechanical issues that the owners were great in recommending a mechanic in town and he even stopped by on his errands around town to check on me. The girls loved the farm. They laughed every time their donkey brayed. Their food cart burgers and chips were surprisingly delicious as well. Bathrooms were clean and totally adequate. FYI there is no wifi. We didn't really explore the surrounding area much as we were focused on getting the van fixed for the rest of our journey, but there seems to be a lot of great food destinations nearby and plenty to see locally. We'd love to go back.
Originally we thought that we would stay one night as a stop over on our way to Provence - however, the ambiance and sheer peace of this site meant we stayed for 3 and even then only reluctantly moved on. Lovely welcome by the owner who was as helpful as could be, lovely facilities from clean and spacious loos and showers to the covered patio with coffee, ice creams and freezer facilities and chips made in the old Citroen van! The camping facilities are spacey covering a gentle sloping area and has a friendly welcoming feel. Mozart the donkey provides company with his sheep friends and geese neighbours. This is simple but delightful camping and I cannot wait to have the excuse to return - thoroughly recommend to all.
Elegant camping at its finest
If anything, Cool Camping's review undersells this lovely little site. It is quiet, peaceful and even when 'busy' you have plenty of space to just relax. There is a beautiful shaded pond area on site: great for kids, or just about deep enough for an adult to paddle about in. But perfect to sit by and escape. Because of the way the sites are planned, tents especially tend to get near unobstructed views towards the wood and hills. Chickens free range around the campground, geese bark as you head towards the washing area and the donkey and sheep run over to see you if you approach their field.
What the review doesn't tell you is how much effort the owners have gone into on the little things: a big camp fridge with room for ice blocks. A coffee machine. An ice cream freezer. A 'frites wagon' from which you can get an evening meal. A small store with cold beer and wine. A bread run in the morning. And the bikes to hire. The fridge is free to use. The coffee, beer etc is almost sold at cost it is such good value. Sometimes places like these are cheap to stay in but milk you on all the small things. Not here.
This is a well planned, well managed, thoughtful camp ground whose owners have made every effort to make their guests feel welcome and refuse every opportunity to charge much money. A rare gem that one senses gets a lot of repeat business from its mainly Dutch campers.
The surrounding area is also a bit of a revelation: rolling hills, beautifully clear lakes, little market towns, more vineyards and cheese makers than you can shake a stick at. The Jura area doesn't get much British custom in the summer but it is our loss.
Peace and Quiet
We have very recently returned from 5 nights here, there was three of us including a 2 year old.
As we managed to escape just before the school holidays we had the place to ourselves, but, I think that even if the other pitches were occupied it would still be quiet.
The owner and hosts are great, always there if you need them but not intrusive, facilities are great and were spotless (although there was only us on site)
It is a great little gem of a site, after 5 days we felt that we had done all we could do in the local area without having to drive further afield, but, we will definitely be using it again on our travels south.
Definition of cool camping
Initially used as a first night stop-we stayed for three and spent the rest of our 2 week tour with our teardrop vans looking for somewhere to better our initial stay! The setting-the owners-the facilities-even the honesty shop and the old Citroen van turned into a takeaway chip van make this place a perfect getaway. Please don't visit as I want to make sure there are spaces for next time I want to go. The owners have done a brilliant job without making it look like they have tried too hard (which suggests they have put twice the effort in). Many thanks for our beautiful laid back stay and rest assured we will be back.
We first visited this site in 2012 and fell in love with the setting, organisation and relaxed atmosphere. It's a good stop over for the Alps or further south, being minutes from the motorway, but really warrants a longer stay. There is nothing commercial about this campsite, yet it runs far more smoothly than most. This time round we enjoyed frites served to order from the converted 2CV van and picked up our selection of bread and pastries in the morning. There is plenty to explore for the little ones and good play facilities, (including watching the animals). The facilities are spotless and conveniently placed. We really cannot recommend this site highly enough; we were tempted to keep it a secret after our first visit! In the words of our seven year old son: "the Dutch really do know how to run a good campsite".
We used Terre Ferme as a three day stop off on the way to Haute Provence and ended up staying again on our way back up on our way home too, despite our intention of going a different way home. It is so welcoming and friendly, Renske and Matthijs are delightful hosts who went out of their way to accommodate us on the way back.
It is in a great location and to be honest is in an area which warrants a longer stay. The roofed communal area provided much needed and easy cover when the weather turned a little and although we didn't take up the opportunity of the pizza night at which I gather you assemble your own pizza whilst Matthijs cooks it in an outdoor oven, it looked like great fun.
We managed to be part of a communal fire pit session at the bottom of the campsite, which was lovely and quite spontaneous. The wandering chickens are delightful, whilst I seriously considered stealing Mozart the Donkey, who was a real charmer!
We loved this site for it's easy relaxed but very well organised feel and it's little touches...an honesty box with regards to ice creams for the children and coffee pods and coffee maker for adults. The buildings are beautifully set, Renske and Matthijs have obviously put their heart and soul into their site and it shows.
We will I'm sure be back as this site and the surrounding area deserve a second glance.