Camping Paradis Nature

Europe France Loire Valley Cher

Reconnect withnature on the banks of Little Sauldre, facing a traditional French castle and its surrounding lake

The chances are the area around Camping Paradis Nature will have charmed you before you even arrive. The countryside drive – think pretty villages, working farmhouses, vineyards – is simply sublime. But this is just the warm-up act. Even after such a memorable prelude, the campsite doesn’t disappoint. Au contraire. This is a spacious, secluded site neighboured by a 17-hectare lake (where fishing and windsurfing are available) and a magnificent 11th-century chateau, which makes a wonderful backdrop to all those holiday snaps.

The demeanour here is relaxed to the extreme. Removed from the masses of tourism, there’s little to do at Camping Paradis Nature but absorb the natural environment. The site is well catered for with its male and female ablution block, complete with hot showers, toilets and disabled facilities. There’s also a children’s playground so little ones (who are in their element here) can tire themselves out on the slide and swings, whilst parents kick back with a cool glass of Sauvignon Blanc, from one of the nearby vineyards.

Whenever you decide to up the tempo, there’s a couple of great day trips nearby. Bustling Bourges has preserved its history well, with a maze of narrow, medieval cobblestone streets and its hugely impressive Cathédrale St-Étienne. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, the cathedral features a series of stained-glass windows and the oldest astronomical clock in France, designed in 1424. Travel north and you’ll find Orléans. There’s a definite buzz around its broad boulevards, boutiques and elegant buildings. It’s also a city with a past. A one-time important settlement, Orléans sealed its place in history in 1429 when a young peasant girl by the name of Jeanne d’Arc rallied the armies of Charles VII and staged a spectacular rout against the English. Six centuries later, the 'Maid of Orléans'' presence is still felt, and you’ll discover museums and statues dedicated to her all over town.

Camping Paradis Nature is certainly a site that owes a lot to its surrounding countryside and villages, but that shouldn’t retract from the splendour of the place itself. The staff here are wonderfully welcoming, facilities and pitches are well maintained and the onsite tourist information centre provides helpful advice on local walks and cycling routes. So the package is complete – a lakeside space to pitch the tent and a wealth of outdoor activities on the doorstep.

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