Etang du Camp
12320 Conques, Sénergues, France
Situated on a mountain plateau beside a lake ornamented by a Monet-style bridge is Étang du Camp, a once-neglected municipal site, which, in 2006, was lucky enough to be rescued. The views are serene, but there are a couple of quirks you might want to prepare yourself for – you’ll be shaking your head to be sure you’ve not been teleported to the equator. Imagine camping by a reed-fringed lakeside, honeyed African light dappling the canvas of your safari tent. Sneak a look outside for lions and, in the elephant grass, spy the hulking form of water buffaloes. Check your GPS and you’re actually in Aveyron, home to ten of France’s plus beaux villages (most beautiful villages). As to the buffaloes, they belong to a neighbour. But the lake and the safari tents, they’re all real and very alluring, plus the latter come fully-equipped with a real bed and cooking facilities.
Stuart and Christine are great hosts and an excellent source of knowledge on how to make the best of the area. Their organised campfires are an ideal time to share ideas, enjoyed with a glass of vino and aligot-saucisse (local-style sausage and mash). A first port of call is the nearby settlements. Medieval Conques looks as if it’s stepped straight from In the Name of the Rose; the cliff-huddling town is unforgettable. Sit in the peaceful Abbaye de Ste-Foy (best visited in early evening as the light is fading) and listen to choral music before walking the labyrinthine streets. You’ll be following in the footsteps of thousands of Santiago de Compostela pilgrims, who’ve been coming through here since the 11th century.
The Owner Says
I've camped in many campsites in Europe and the UK over the years and this one is by far the best. The campsite itself is stunning, well looked after and clean. The showers were better than ours at home! A hidden gem in the french countryside and there's plenty of space between the pitches and privacy to. It's set by a beautiful lake with lots of trees that provide much needed breeze on a hot summers day. Much cooler than down in the villages or even by the rivers - great to visit though and swimming in the local rivers is really recommended. A family run site by Christine, Stu, Keith and Sue who were so welcoming, friendly and generous with their information on the local area. They speak 3 languages fluently to - German, French and English. One evening Christine arranged bread making over a campfire to which was fun for the children and a great way to meet other campers to. The campsite felt very safe. The children borrowed bicycles and spent much of the time cycling round the campsite with their new friends while we switched off! We stayed in one of their safari tents. We flew out to Toulouse and hired a car so hiring a safari tent meant we didn't need to bring any kit with us - just small cabin bags. We had a comfy double bed with 2 singles for the kids. The canvas tent stayed cool even on the hottest day. There was also cutlery and a cooker to. I felt like we could have lived in that tent. There is also a new coffee shop where you can get a wide selection of quality coffees and homemade ice-creams. Local art adorns the walls - with Wifi if you want to contact the outside world. Christine let us know about late night French food markets, walks, swimming pools... One week here is not enough - next year we'll be back for a lot longer. What a treasure to discover...
Came for 1 week; stayed for 2
We hadn't planned to visit Lot during our 3 month tour of France. Reading about the Etang du Camp in Cool camping drew us there and it was everything we'd hoped for and more. We planned a week and ended up staying for 2 and could have stayed longer. The site is delightful- under a canopy of oak trees and overlooking the lake we feasted our eyes and ears on wildlife and birdsong. There is ample walking and cycling from the site and in the surrounding area. Christine and Stuart the owners couldn't have been more helpful and kindly leant us a book of walks and advised us about the local area and things to do and see. Facilities excellent. The surrounding countryside is beautiful, rolling hills and mediaeval villages and chateau's. We were even lucky enough to see the Tour de France. It was a perfect combination of peace, tranquility, relaxation and exploration. We highly recommend a 5 am start to watch the sunrise over the Auvergne. Stunning.
My wife and I have just returned from a campervan trip around France and this site was a fantastic find. Set in a beautiful area, complete with lake and woods; it is ideal for taking a peaceful break. The facilities are excellent; clean, spacious showers and washing areas as well as plenty of space for each pitch. The owners; Keith, Sue, Stuart and Christine are friendly and welcoming and speak English, French and German fluently. There are places of interest within easy reach, including Conques which is on one of the pilgrimage routes to Santiago de Compostela as well as other pretty villages nearby. The site has cycles to hire for the energetic and although our children are now grown up, we can see that this site has plenty of scope for outdoor exploration and adventure for children. There is also a sizeable room on the site which has recently been converted into a community/activity room. We will be recommending this site to family and friends.
We highly recommend Etang du Camp. The relaxed peaceful site is a relief after larger more commercial sites.
We camped for 4 nights in June and we wished we could have stayed longer. From our pitch there were stunning views over the lake with the added bonus of a backdrop of buffalo grazing peacefully on on the neighbouring land. The facilities are excellent and the whole site is spacious, clean and well looked after.
There is lots to see in the vicinity, driving through the very pretty countryside.
The owners, Stuart and Christine, were extremely welcoming and very helpful. We wish them a successful future.Robin and Linda
Great site, great people
We booked to stay at Etang Du Camp for a week in mid July and in the event stayed for a fabulous fortnight. The vibe on this site is very relaxed, while the welcome and organisation are absolutely first rate. There’s a very warm and inclusive family feel with Christine and Stuart running the show with support from Stuart’s parents Sue and Keith. The pitches are spacious, the shade is good and the site enjoys a beautiful, quiet location on the edge of a small lake. All facilities are clean and there’s the added benefit of a large “club room” to which to retreat should the weather do the unthinkable (which it didn’t while we were there, being blessed with unbroken sunshine for the entire stay). There’s no pool so I suspect not much to do for older children, however we loved stopping off for a swim in the river Lot just a few miles away at the end of a hot day’s walking or cycling.
So much for the practicalities - it was the people which really made this holiday for us. Christine is on top of her game with local knowledge, ideas for things to do and see etc. – her response to every enquiry was friendly, helpful and delivered fluently in a variety of languages. She has all the local contacts and often telephoned to enquire or book in advance on our behalf, which made things stress free. We enjoy cycling so it was great to chat with like-minded bike enthusiast Keith for local route tips. The whole family were a joy to meet. Our impression overall was that we'd gone to stay with old friends for a week or two.
Mid July was definitely a great time to visit the Aveyron which it’s probably fair to say is slightly off the beaten tourist track (but all the better for that in our opinion). The local villages have their summer fetes, there are fireworks to celebrate Bastille Day (14th July) and we particularly enjoyed evening trips to the local villages hosting their community supper. Just a few euros buys a ticket for a simple meal, a glass of wine, all shared with the locals on trestle tables in the village square - all the authentic French “craic” you can handle!
Packing up to leave and having to say goodbye wasn’t easy but we've taken home very fond memories of Etang Du Camp.
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Warm and welcoming
I had the pleasure of spending one night at Etang du Camp last week and I only wish it could have been longer in order to really appreciate the beautiful french surroundings and everything the campsite has to offer. We were warmly greeted when we arrived late evening by the campsite owner Stuart and his father Keith who were very friendly and helpful, making us feel really welcome and offering useful recommendations of things to do and where to visit.
The campsite itself is an idyllic site with lakes to walk around and rural surroundings to explore. I found Stuart's carpentry work around the site added a charming touch and definitely deserves a special mention! The site is perfect for kids offering entertainment in the small play area and the inviting common room, and of course the immediate surroundings!
Really enjoyed the fresh croissants and bread that was delivered in the morning by Sue!
I loved my stay here, short and sweet as it was and would wholeheartedly recommend it to anyone looking for a relaxing break in the french countryside :)
My partner Gaye and I have just returned from a two week stay at this campsite and I can absolutely confirm all of the comments made in the other reviews.There are several plus points that when all combined made this the best campsite that I have ever stayed on in France or anywhere else.
Christine and her family are very welcoming and helpful, their attitude makes you feel that you are a temporary member of the family and a true guest sharing their lovely environment. The setting and layout of the campsite pitches makes the most of the tree cover and views across the lake, the size of the pitches is generous and the space gives you that little extra feeling of privacy but in a way that you can still have a chat with your neighbours but have the room around you to be quiet too when you want to. Keith is a lovely chap and will happily chat away over a glass of wine or cup of coffee and you just end up losing track of time - which sometimes puts him a bit of hot water with Sue when dinner is on the table!
The area in general is stunning - a bit like the SW of England on steroids! Fresh air and rolling hills and deep gorges, lots of pretty villages to visit and wander around and we found it generally fairly quiet and not over crowded like some areas. I would particularly recommend a visit to Bozouls and pick up a map at the information office and take the PR3 walk around the gorge - it takes about 1.45. The other 'Plus villages de France' that we particularly enjoyed visiting was Belcastel where you can pick up an audio guide from the information office and have a gentle walk around the village listening in English to a story of its history.
The campsite is a little remote so other than taking local walks or a cycle ride to Conques, you will need the car to get out and about and the country roads are all much like B roads over here, but without the white lines in many cases wind up and down steep hill sides. To drive to the nearest reasonably sized town (Marcillac) takes about 25 minutes but here you will find a good sized Intermarche. The other thiing I would say is that the setting and facilities, I think, best suits couples or families with younger children (under say 11) as there is nothing much to do in the evenings for older teenagers and the wifi (when its working) only operates in the vicinity of the main salle and washblock. So unless you can entertain yourselves or join in with the crate climbing; stockbrot campfire evenings every so often, they might be a little bored!
Peace and quiet, other than wildlife sounds (Buzzards, Herons, Buffalo, frogs etc) is just what we were looking for and found at Etang du Camp - truly managed to chill out and switch off. We will be back next year and hope that the weather wont be as crazy as this July and August!
Great site, super friendly owners
We (2 adults, 1 baby, a van and awning) stayed at Etang du Camp for a week in June 2014, primarily based on the universally positive reviews of the site, the owners, and the region. Thankfully after our stay we can 100% endorse these reviews.
Approaching the site through spectacular scenery, winding up and up to reach the top of the plateau on which the site is located, we were ever so slightly concerned that the site would be too isolated, although a degree of rural idyll was one of our objectives when choosing the site. While the site is fairly rural and it should be noted a 15 or so minute drive from a settlement of any substance for food shopping etc., the location is definitely one of the site's selling points, and with it comes a real sense of peace and tranquillity. The physical qualities of the site really do set it apart from others we've stayed at - the lake around which many of the pitches are strung brings the sound of fish tails slapping and birdsong, while early morning mist with the sun streaming through it really was a beautiful sight. Great to stroll around at any time of day following the mown path, allowing a closer view of the wild fields adjacent to the site in which bison graze.
As others have noted, probably the number one selling point of the site is the fantastic welcome from the multi-lingual owners, and their extended family that live on the site year round. They were unfailingly helpful, interested in us and accommodating of our needs with a 10 month old. Need to borrow a highchair? Help yourselves. Do you have any firelighters for our bbq...no problem here take a few of ours. Any idea where I can buy a skewer for the wheel of my bike?...give me a few minutes and I'll check the loft and lend you one of ours. Fancy freewheeling down from the plateau to the nearest town?...we'll pop down in the van to pick you and your bikes up, just let us know when you get there. Fancy going on a walk? Here, borrow one of our maps, here's a nice route you might like to try. Seriously I could go on and on. By the time we left we really were made to feel like one of the family.
Outside the site, the region has lots to offer, and plenty to fill a week or more. Bikes do open up the local countryside, particularly if you're up for a (serious) climb back up to the plateau (or get a lift), and there are walks you can do right from the site. What might have been handy is a little guide or summary of the various activities / sights that are on offer which could be given to campers as they arrive - as mentioned the owners (Christine & Stewart) were more than happy to advise face to face, but a guide would have been a helpful addition and may save them a few minutes for more of the hard work evidently required to maintain the quality standards of the site.
All in all, this is a site and a region that we'd definitely recommend and would like to revisit in the future.
Thanks again for the welcome, Richard, Rachael & Olivia.
After a week in a house we stopped over en route for home and ended up staying for nearly a week. All the good things said in the other reviews are true so I won't repeat them. The countryside around is some of the most beautiful I've ever seen and there are spectacular walks to be had. For some reason the area seems almost unknown to tourists of any description so there are no crowds or even much competition for a table in a cafe. The site itself is beautifully clean and comfortable -the perfect place to relax. Can't wait to go back.
We stayed on this site for 10 days in July. The location is fantastic with some lake side pitches, and plenty of space. The very friendly owners were exceptionally helpful - we were there during the Tour de France season, and they set up a tv in the recreation/dining room on the campsite and we all crowded round it each day! There is a mown footpath round the lake, so it's great for dog owners. There is lots to see and do in the area, some lovely walking, the Santiago de Compostella route runs nearby, and the magnificent town of Conques (one of the 'Plus belles villages de France), is 10 minutes drive away. We will certainly be going back there.
Tour of France 2013
The camp site itself is situated in a very pastural area – rolling fields, dairy cattle and stands of trees – which belies the fact that it is situated on a high plateau, which only becomes evident as you look into the far distance and see the hilltops and fluffy clouds below you. The area feels like a self-contained ‘shire’ with a number of pretty villages and hamlets sharing the undulating landscape high up on the mountain top. There is a larger town (I use the term ‘larger’ advisedly) at the foot of the mountain, which has a full array of shops – with the usual rural French opening hours.
The camp itself couldn’t be better. Arranged in a wooded area, there is plenty of space between plots, delineated by rambling hedges so you never feel cramped or overlooked by your fellow campers. The site has a games room and lavatory and shower blocks which, together with a laundry and washing area, look out onto a landscaped lake. There is also a small shop on site, where supplies can be obtained –from basics like milk and sugar to some finer faire from the local butcher, as well as beer and wine. Fresh bread and other baked goods are delivered to order every morning.
Christine and her family couldn’t be more helpful or friendly, nothing seemed like too much trouble. Christine is also a wealth of
knowledge about the local area – or farther afield, whether you want to explore the historic towns, walk through the wooded valleys or go white-water rafting, Christine will be able to advise on your itinerary.
The area is one of winding hill-country roads, forested slopes, gorges and valleys – with beautiful medieval towns at ground level and equally
historic villages perched precariously on the tops and slopes.
I have to say that, when we were there, there was a nice mix of people on the site and it was a joy to join in with some of the communal
activities which the Robinsons had organised, such as the crate climbing (enjoyed by the kids and adults alike) and the bread-on-a-stick making, around the camp fire, which was enormous fun and scrumptious to boot. If of course joining-in isn’t your thing (and to be honest is isn’t mine, a lot of the time), then there’s no pressure to get involved, you could just come and go with a polite Bonjour to your fellow campers and the staff – but the option is there for those who are feeling more sociable. I should also mention the bicycles – our little tike had previously been a bit hopeless when it came to two wheels, but five minutes out on the paths with the other children and he was away!
Overall we had a very enjoyable holiday and Etang du Camp couldn’t have been a more pleasant or relaxing place to be stationed to explore
a beautiful region.
Fantastic saty in a lovely region!
Had a brilliant family holiday (2 grown up children) sharing the 4 man safari tent. Plenty of room and well equipped for a older family group. Stu and Christine were fantastic in providing information and filling the week with a great itinerary! They were able to provide local walking books and routes to enable you to explore the region even further. Gorgeous unspoiled villages and local French culture all around the area. Great region for getting out and exploring, great campsite to come home to after a long day. Clean facilities and handy things like being able to order bread etc made us want to stay longer then the week! Many Thanks again for a brilliant time
What a delightful site. A lakeside spot high enough to be unaffected by mosquitos. Peaceful and relaxing with the loveliest of owners. A lovely part of France to explore; beautiful villages and towns, canoeing on the Lot river and spectacular views for miles around.
Had a great stay in one of the safari tents with our 2 kids as a little treat at the end of our fortnight's camping...we all had a wonderful time. Lovely peaceful campsite - loads to do locally but we spent a lot of time happily pottering around fishing, sunbathing and chilling out. Cannot recommend highly enough...we'd be back tomorrow if we could!
Very informative owners . Our first time in this area...beautiful highly recommended campsite and lovely villages... very few tourists.
First of all the Aveyron was an amazing surprise. We had never heard of the area until this holiday and there is a load to do and see. We went canoeing, hiking and exploring the medieval villages but would love to come back and cycle around the area. There are also a few Michelin star restaurants with reasonably priced set lunch menus.
The campsite was the perfect base to explore the area. We stayed in one of the Safari tents and it was perfect. There is loads of room inside and the hosts have thought of everything. The tent includes all the cooking equipment you could need including a bbq and deck chairs. There is a mosquito net around the bed but we didn't have any trouble with bugs even though we were right next to the pond. Perhaps due to the altitude? The pitches are well spaced so even though we had neighbours we still felt like we had privacy. The campsite itself is very peaceful and relaxing. We would highly recommend that you stay here and explore the Aveyron.
I wanna go back now!!!!
Sat in an office in the Midlands, looking out over the traffic and remembering the most fabulous week at L'Etang du Camp back in July. We came across the website whilst we were in the Pyrenees and looking for our next port of call; we planned to stop for 2-3 nights and wound up staying for as long as possible, even if it did leave us with a 10 hour drive back to Caen. Large, shady pitches, spotless washrooms, a great, midweek communal dinner (optional but recommended) and perfect hosts; we have been camping in France since the 1980s and this is without question the best site we have been to.
For cyclists the area is brilliant with stunning scenery along the Lot Valley, beautiful medieval towns and relatively little traffic. The odd hill offers the occasional challenge and it is a 6.8 km climb back to the campsite but Stuart offers an excellent "Navette" service for the fainthearted; give him a call and he will pick you and your bikes up when you run out of steam!
Just wondering if we can squeeze another week in before the Autumn!!
Although a little bit difficult to find, this campsite is a real gem and worth exercising your French for to reach. Everything was excellent, from the pitch location right on the peaceful lake to the helpfulness of its owners. There is plenty to occupy yourself with on-site, including ping pong, volleyball and a library, as well as much to see in the local area. The price is very reasonable, and I would certainly consider upgrading from our humble two man tent to one of the safari tents on offer, which come with bbq making facilities and deck chairs. The breakfast is good value also. By far the best campsite we've been to in France, we hope to return.
Beautiful site with fantastic owners
We stayed here in July 2013 and had a fantastic time. Christine, Stuart, Sue and Keith were so generous with their time helping us to plan our days and feel so welcome at their site. We had a perfect pitch away from the lake amongst some tall majestic oak trees. Our two boys loved exploring the site, walking round the lake spotting stag beetles, dragon flies and the water buffalo. We found plenty of trips to keep our boys entertained and Christine helpfully pointed out which towns were holding summer fetes and fireworks. We loved exploring the swimming sites listed in the Wild Swim guide along the River Lot. The crate climbing was an added bonus :0). Thanks so much!
This is a fantastic campsite and Christine, Stuart and Keith were really great hosts. What we loved about the place was that it wasn’t overcrowded and it was really relaxed. We were able to choose our own pitch and were made to feel really welcome from the minute we arrived. They gave us loads of ideas for day trips and we were spoilt for choice for things to do in the local area which is full of beautiful places to visit and breathtaking scenery. We were able to hire bikes and Christine gave us details of a really good route to do which included an awesome view of Conques hidden away which we would never have found if we’d done the trip on our own. Keith then picked us up from St Cyprienne so it meant we didn’t have to cycle up the hill on the way home and could have a few drinks in the town before we headed back home. On our first night we were also invited along to the campfire where we got to meet and enjoy drinks with some of the other guests whilst Christine did home made bread & Nutella for the children. which they were able to cook themselves over the open fire. All in all, we had a really great stay here and would definitely recommend this to anyone. Jane & Paul
The best campsite we have stayed in.
We visited this campsite late September 2011 as an escape from the campsite we were staying in locally which really disappointed. How different could the two be! The feeling of tranquility and space is unbelievable. Our pitch next to the lake was what we had been looking for and never achieved in the 30 years I have been camping. We used the campsite as a base to explore the area on road bikes, and what an area, it is quiet but beautiful with views that are a match for more mountainous areas. The facilities are exceptionally clean and well kept and the hosts are friendly without being intrusive, nothing is too much trouble, they are always willing to help and advise where to go and whats on. All in all we weren’t expecting to visit this campsite in 2011, but were exceptionally glad we did, so glad in fact that we booked to visit again this year (2012) on our way back from the Pyrenees. We arrived early again as the temperature in the mountains was 3 degrees at night and we wanted something a bit warmer and late teens at night proved to be exactly what we had been looking for. Even to our amazement 2 visits in a year wasn’t too much, we stayed another 7 nights and were never bored, and just arriving back at a lake pitch ensured we were relaxed as soon as we set up. I genuinely cannot foresee how we can tire of this site or area.
VW camper touring France
E - Extraordinarily helpful T - Tranquility and beauty A - Amazing views N - Nature at its core G - Generous and very helpful hosts Thank you so much for our stay this August. We contacted you at late notice for a pitch and you made us feel very welcome at your site. Having the lake as a centre piece to the site really creates a pieceful and relaxing stay. The children loved fishing in the lake (desperately trying to catch the elusive pike!). During this hot period, a shady pitch was much appreciated on the shore. The picture postcard pictures we have brought back are superb. All I can say is thank you ever so much for the 5 nights and we hope to return again in the near future. I can recommend this site for those people who are wanting to recharge the batteries. The children felt very safe here, enjoying the games room and taking part in your extreme sport evening (crate climbing!) Once again, thank you and see you soon.
Shh...do you want to hear my secret? Do you promise not to tell? If you appreciate the simple things in life, including lots and lots of space and only the sound of birds and jumping fish, you’ll love Etang du Camp. Situated on a plateau in the stunning natural surroundings of oak trees and a 5-acre natural lake, this is a family run site. Christina is exremely helpful and always at hand with suggestions and recommendations of local activities that include horse riding, canoeing, walking trails, restaurants and some of the most beautiful ancient towns of France. Keith spent every day teaching our 5 year old daughter to ride her bike and I’m told that he has now done so for several young campers. Bikes of all sizes are free and always available. If you are lucky Keith will take you on a cycle tour of the area. In the evenings there are campfires and everyone is invited to partake of "stokbrod", literally bread on a stick, cooked on the fire and then filled with nutella. We’d be fibbing if we said that the children enjoyed this more than we did! Then there was crate climbing - piling one small empty crate on top of another and climbing up, harnessed to Christine. If you reach the tree canopy you’re pretty good, but if your 8 year old beats you, which she did, it makes her holiday! Wile away the hours beside the lake fishing or reading or taking photographs whilst the international array of children join together in a troupe on their bikes to explore for hours. (At present there is no swimming pool, but there is a great municipal pool a few miles down the road.) Here at Etang du Camp the recipe is simple. And, now that my secret is out, the trick will be to keep it so once this site is discovered. I couldn’t recommend this campsite highly enough, make the visit, like all the best recipes, it will be best enjoyed when shared.