Camping Sites & Paysages Au Bois Joli
Au Bois Joli means ‘pretty wood’ and is a fine indication of where you’re heading with this site. Perhaps all woodland areas have their charm, yet there is a little extra magic about this site and the trees that arch over it. Approaching Andryes down open and meandering roads, dissecting vast farm-scapes that blend at the horizon with rich blue skies for much of the summer, it is impossible to resist a smile. The site and its region are firmly deserving of investigation.
Perhaps it’s the wealth of Burgundy sunflowers arching aloft before the summer harvest that makes even the most inanimate entity appear jolly. Or it could be that the inspiring, vast skies endorse an air of drifting creative thought. Whatever the explanation, it’s blindingly obvious why Robert and Henriëtte de Vries elected to settle here, amid the cheerfully swaying branches.
Au Bois Joli was created with a sharply observed philosophy in mind: respect for nature, for peace of mind, and for a carefully nurtured atmosphere of good will. The site layout, its location, and ambience merge effortlessly towards this end, yet only a daily investment of hard work and passion maintains the balance. The camp is quietly adjusted around the campers all day, with the owner’s high expectations catapulting the site way ahead of ‘average’. It has been awarded a prestigious Clef Verte for its ecologically sound methods and astounding reverence for nature. In turn, nature seems to be thanking Au Bois Joli, with Robert and Henriëtte proud to record each new winged visitor or blooming flower to appear. If you’re lucky and catch either host during a quiet moment, it’s absorbing to learn about the site’s unique micro-environment and how they tend it. For example, more than a dozen varieties of orchid have blossomed on their watch and careful grasscutting ensures each new shoot is given its chance. A total of 110 wild plants have been noted and 61 different types of bird have paid a visit thus far.
The consideration for environment is also extended to their human guests. Parents on holiday with young children can often endure more work than relaxation, but Camping au Bois Joli tries to address this with a site grown for safety. A tree that lends itself to climbing has a stone-edged entrance guiding towards lower branches and soft wood chippings below. The ample play areas have the same soft precautions, with enough corners, obstacles, and hideaways to feed fertile minds. Children even have a wash-block of their own.
Adults can luxuriate in the shade of mature trees or blister in the sun beside the pool, all the while soaking up epic views. For a small deposit, books can be borrowed from the site library or a free magazine can be borrowed from the racks outside reception. At the highest point of the site a gate leads to a wild wood, for which access has been negotiated, and within moments it’s possible to be quite alone. Alternatively the prepared welcome pack, tailored to the length of your stay, has suggestions for offsite activities that demand varying degrees of exertion.
It is difficult to be critical of a campsite when the owners are meditating upon greater improvements that seem superfluous, given the high standards already achieved. Plans are afoot to arrange the camp track for one-way traffic to improve safety, even though it hardly seems required. This reviewer has rarely trusted gushing praise in reviews, so in order to bring a critical conclusion to this one: the grass needs combing, the trees are not symmetrical, and the site isn’t open all year. I suppose the latter could be construed as the only real shame.
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FacilitiesCommunal campfires are lit twice a week by the owners (weather dependent). 19 superb shower booths, ample toilet blocks, disabled access and a dedicated wash-block for children/seniors with low access facilities. Three washing machines (€4.50 including powder) and a tumble dryer. Excellent climbing frame, childrens playground, table tennis tables, volleyball, skittles, mock castle, slides, sand pit. Clean and well-maintained swimming and paddling pool facing epic landscape, with decent poolside area. Mini resto the Tavern, with a terrace for enjoying the menu (open every evening from 5.30–9), shop selling organic produce, daily bakery delivery, library, and magazine rack. Free WiFi in certain areas. Freezer available.
Suitable ForTents, campervans, caravans, nature-lovers, families, mature adults – yes. Loud intentions, busy desires, late-night owls – no.
One must-see is the astonishing contemporary construction of a medieval fort at Guédelon, which is being built using only 13th-century tools and materials. Work began in 1997 and completion will be in about 2035. Auxerre, Avallon, and Clamecy all have farmers’ markets once a week. The most remarkable market, really worth a visit, is the market of Toucy on Saturday morning. The campsite is an official cycle kick-off point for the newly renovated paths beside the canal between Auxerre in the north and Clamecy to the south. This 38-mile (62-km) stretch is one of a total 500 miles (800 km) of canal being worked on. Vézelay, a world heritage site, is a short drive from the campsite and well worth exploring.
Food & Drink
Auberge des Sources (00 33 3 86 41 55 14), beyond Clamecy, has a good reputation as does the warm and inviting 2 Pieces Cuisine (00 33 3 86 27 25 07) in Clamecy itself. The latter has a great candle-lit terrace on the junction of 3 pedestrian streets, and the family feel of the place is wonderful.
Opening TimesApril – November (avoid high-season peaks for the best of the peace and quiet).
The Owner Says
Robert and Henrietta say hello from Au Bois Joli ! We are a small, family run site in Burgundy, offering you a peaceful camping experience, within easy distance of Guedelon, a medieval castle in the making, or Vezelay with its cathedral.
Visit the English part of our website or the homepage in French, Dutch, English and German.
We would really like to welcome you this season !
In 2014 we developed for you a luxury safaritent 'Cotton Lodge Nature', rent-a-key-for-a-common fridge and a big chess.
New since 2015: a supplementary sanitary bloc and a covered resto-terrace.
In 2016 we developed for you another luxury safaritent 'The Woody'
For 2017 new things are on our planning:another supplementary sanitarybloc will be installed, you can bo cosy with other guest in our new 'Cabane' and 2 old mobil homes will be replaced by brand new ones.
Our Tip/Hint:If you want to visit us in July our August, try to avoid the top of the high season if you can....The first ppart of July and the end of August the site is much more quiet. :)
Pitches89 pitches on site, with a wide, open area among trees for pitching tents anywhere. There are also 3 large nature fields where there is 'free camping' (unmarked pitches without electricity). A fully-equipped safari tent sleeps 5 people comfortably.
ReviewsAdd Your Review
Rated ★★★★☆ over 6 reviews
This is a great campsite with a lovely relaxed atmosphere. Yes the pool is deep and can be cold but the site has a lovely 'feel' to it. The Kids activities were original and a great way to keep the kids in the shade yet engaged. They kept our two (4 and 6) entertained for a few hours each day while we did the chores. The site was pretty full (July 2015) but it didn't feel cramped and actually encouraged us to engage with other people which we never normally do!
After reading the description in Cool Camping our expectations were high for this site, but we were really disappointed. I was looking forward to going in the pool when we arrived, but there was really no room- we could hardly see the water for the bodies. And this for us was the main problem- Bois Joli is undoubtedly a beautiful place, but it needed to have half the number of people for it to be a pleasant camping experience. We arrived at the beginning of August, and the place was crammed. We got the last bit of flat ground in the free camping, and only after we persuaded someone to move the tractor. We had to queue every time we went to Reception or to buy something, and also to do our washing up. It was clear that the facilities were not adequate for the number of people. It did not feel like a friendly, personal place- there was a slightly corporate feel to it. I only worked out who the owner was on our last day. And we were surprised that the gates were closed at 10pm, especially given the recommendations to eat supper at various restaurants outside the site. As I say, the place itself is beautiful, with lovely towns nearby, but all in all we felt the campsite was a victim of its own success.
too early in season
Little piece of heaven
Just returned from 6 nights in this beautiful site. We were worried that it might be a little too commercial for our tastes but we couldn't have been more wrong. It had a really relaxed feel to it. The kids loved the little activities on offer each day and we loved how safe it felt for them to disappear off to the playground alone each day. The toilets were very clean, and so was the pool area - word of warning - the pool was FREEZING!! And also had a very deep shallow end (1.8m I think) Nice things to do in the area. 10 mins drive from enormous supermarket, so could buy all the things we forgot to take!! We would definitely return again if in the area. Just gorgeous. Already missing it.
Au Bois Joli
We think often about our glorious family holiday last summer and look forward to returning this year. The care and attention to detail that Robert and Henriette have made to ensure their guests (young and old) experience is second to none.
The children burned off so much energy in the gardens, play park and swimming pool whilst we relaxed enjoying the scent of the gorgeous gardens and would quietly read a book or go for lovely family walks together.
The shower blocks are very well equipped and there are washing rooms etc for your clothes. The wifi marquee was a great benefit if you needed to catch up with friends or family back home (birthday messages in our case).
Hire a car and explore the surrounding area, ask your hosts, they will be happy to give you some great advice on where to go.
We can't wait to enjoy a nice glass of alfresco local wine outside our tent as our exhausted children sleep deeply again!
We look forward to our next visit!
Au Bois Joli
A lovely campsite, great for kids, very helpful staff. Definitely a camp site you need to explore as there's lots to find! There's a lovely little mosaic studio nearby, where you. Can go and make your own, but leave a couple of days as you have to go back to finish off. Great swimming pool. We would definitely go back.
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