La Ribière Sud
Haute-Vienne, Limousin, Limoges, Chalus, France
Mongolian splendour and comfort meets woodland serenity in this simple, immaculate campsite.
Known as France’s Lake District, the Limousin is celebrated for its wonderful rolling hills, fox-red cattle, and hordes of Brits trying to escape their compatriots from the Dordogne. It’s also an area integrally tied to the history of the Crusades and Richard the Lionheart, who met his end in the village of Châlus.
Camping de la Ribière Sud is just a few minutes away from there, set in 22 acres of sleepy woodland and meadow on the former site of a tree nursery. It’s a relatively new site run by two British ex-pats from the north of England – Ann and Harry. Harry’s an electrician by trade, so everything works like clockwork; Ann is gaining repute as a mixed media painter and her work appears in the local gallery as well as back home. The site’s centrepiece is a wonderfully painted, genuine Mongolian yurt. Inside it’s a hobbit hole of gypsy chic, wooden struts delicately illustrated by the hands of nomadic craftsmen; outside, a wonderful canvas dome bound in camel hair. But you don’t have to stay in here if you’ve brought your own canvas – there are plenty of pitches in the shade of mature trees, all with electricity.
Wild boars sometimes pop in for a sniff around, as do the local deer, beneath the ever- present shadows of buzzards. By night you’ll be sung to sleep by the soporific hoot of owls and coos of wood pigeons. The nice thing about La Ribière is the scale of the grounds – you can wander in wild glades and prairie grass without meeting a soul.
The Owner Says
we pitched up in a huge Lotus Belle tent on its first foreign outing and were not disappointed with Harry and Anns campsite - which is really like a lovely garden with a small number of large pitches for campers or caravans. 7 have water and electricity on each site which is very handy. The night rate is tremendous value - and the showers are hot and clean and the general site is just gorgeous. With welcoming hosts, in a well tended and much loved garden, we had a thoroughly lovely time, including our dog, who we walked for miles around the site, the local area and further afield. Chalus and Pageas are well worth a visit for food, drinks and local market, plus there is a great "farm shop" which sells local milk, cheese and veg - all delicious and from local suppliers...well worth a visit
What a wonderful short break staying in the Yurt. Spacious but warm inside with beautiful interior. Owners very friendly and scenery is spectacular. Deers, herons and buzzards were some of the many animals and birds seen. Fresh fruit trees, hot spacious showers, beautiful weather staying warm till roughly 22:00. All in all would recommend this to anyone and will certainly return!
My boyfriend and I spent five very relaxing nights at La Ribière Sud Camping in the Haute Vienne. This is a laid-back campsite in a tranquil spot, owned and run by Ann and Harry, your ever-hospitable hosts. It’s a smallish site (perfect for us) surrounded by lovely countryside. We camped on our own in the far corner of the site, past the firepit, so it felt a lot like ‘wild’ camping. Part of the grounds used to be a tree nursery, and you can reach the fields beyond via a tree-lined avenue. We particularly enjoyed communing with the sunflowers and grasshoppers!
You'll find two well-equipped bathrooms/wet rooms – toilet, basin, mirror, hot shower – on one side of Ann and Harry’s front veranda. You’re free to relax on the sofa and chairs on the veranda, on the corner of which is a washing-up area with sink, draining board, washing machine, power points and leaflets covering things to see and do in the region. Special thanks to Ann, who kindly lent us a small kettle to fill our cafetière each morning (we tend to forget the essentials!). There’s also a large firepit in the middle of the campsite – great to cook over or sit around on nice evenings.
Châlus, where Richard the Lionheart met his end, lies just to the south. We didn’t do it but we saw signs for a Richard Coeur de Lion walk that you could follow on a nice day. Your nearest (small but well stocked) supermarket is in Châlus - good for camping essentials like pâté, wine and BBQ supplies. Oradour-sur-Glane (‘martyred village’) is a 30-minute drive to the north. Pretty Périgueux is an hour’s drive away (just head south on the N21) and well worth a visit. Drive south for 90 minutes and you will get to Brive la Gaillarde and Montignac (for the Cave of Lascaux and its prehistoric paintings). Likewise, Angoulême, to the west, shouldn’t take you more than an hour and a half to reach by car.
I had a short break to this campsite and took advantage of the accommodation. From the UK to site took only 3hrs and I was soon taking advantage of the relaxing surroundings. There were excellent facilities for motorhomes and tents too. There was a bar-b-que and excellent kitchen facilities. The showers were pure luxury (great power shower) and everywhere was exceptionally clean. The individual heated wet rooms were spotlessly clean and there was use of an on site washing machine. The gardens were beautifully landscaped and maintained by artist Ann and her artistry shines in the design of the campsite. When I went the flowers were in full bloom and the view from my room was lovely to wake up to each morning. There were deer on the paths in the early morning and it made me smile to see the cat and her kittens jump into the chicken pen to pinch their food! There is also a beautiful lake to walk around with fish and frogs!
The outdoor space was well thought out with garden table and chairs and hammocks for relaxing. Each pitch also comes with its own electricity and water supply.
The surrounding area is great to explore with something for everyone. In nearby Chalus you can hire bikes. There are places to visit of historical interest, restaurants, and a supermarket. Ann and Harry were extremely friendly hosts and I am looking forward to my next visit. Thank you once again Ann and Harry for your great hospitality.
We stayed at the campsite in our van with 2 dogs in August and had a wonderful, relaxing time. The site was quite quiet on the days we stayed which was a lovely surprise after being in some very busy ones on the coast! It was nice to meet two fellow Northerners who are very welcoming. Harry and Ann allow campfires too which is a bonus for us as it did get a bit chilly at night they just wanted us to make sure that we kept and eye on it and put out any remaining embers at the end of the day. The gardens and grounds are a real sight to behold, it was lovely gathering fallen branches and firewood from the forrest floor and lazing round in amongst the sounds of crickets and wildlife in the sunshine during the day.
We also took a trip to Limoges for lunch which is only 20 minutes away and for a drink to the local 'pub' in the village of Chalus one evening which was lovely - all the locals and ex-pats where so friendly and most places allowed us to sit outside with our dogs. Camping Ribiere Sud is lovely, good value campsite which is well worth a visit if your in the Limoges region, there is lots to keep you amused in the local area - my only disappointment was no being able to stay in the yurt which was fully booked for August maybe next time!
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Having just spent a week at La Ribiere Sud I cannot recommend it highly enough. I was hoping for a week of relaxation for myself, my husband and our 2 1/2 year old son and we were more than pleasantly surprised. The site itself is absolutely stunning, the yurt sits in acres of well tended gardens and beautiful woodland which we were free to explore.
The hosts, Ann and Harry, were welcoming, friendly, attentive and thoughtful, they made us all feel very welcome and our little boy loved playing with the toys they kindly supplied. The yurt itself is fantastic, beautifully presented inside and comes equipped with everything you could possibly need, we thought we might be roughing it a little bit but it was more off a home from home with all the small details taken care of too ie the kitchen knives were sharp, there were some tupperwares/silver foil for picnics, there was a floor standing fan, all these details are often lacking in holiday lets but Ann and Harry have thought of everything. You get all the luxuries of home but you still feel like you're camping, laying in a comfortable double bed listening to the sounds of the forest outside is bliss.
The outdoor space was well thought out too with garden table and chairs and hammocks for relaxing in the sunshine. The shower and washing up facilities are outstanding, individual heated wet rooms which were spotlessly clean and use of an on site washing machine. Each pitch also comes with its own electricity and water supply.
The surrounding area is great to explore with something for everyone. Nearby in Chalus you can hire cycles, go walking, there are places to eat and drink and a supermarket. There is a lovely swimming lake about 10 minutes drive from the campsite with plenty of activities for families.
All in all this is a fantastic, well equipped , friendly and relaxing place to stay. We'll definitely be going back next year.