Domaine d'Escapa

Europe France Midi-pyrénées Gers

A thoughtfully created, family-run glamping site, with super stylish accommodation, acres of space and a sparkling emerald lake

Though Domaine d'Escpa was bought by Lilian and Virginie Donnais in 2008, it was several years until this wildly beautiful retreat in Gers, just north of the Pyrenees, opened to guests. In the intervening period the couple, along with their five children, lived in a traditional gypsy roulotte. As their ponies grazed in the long grass beyond, the family penned out their ideas for the land over cups of coffee and freshly baked bread. Today, their bohemian lifestyle and rambunctious, infectious belief that anything is possible has seen the place utterly transformed. With almost 100 acres at their disposal, Domaine d'Escapa remains wild, yes; Beautiful, yes; but also wonderfully luxurious and refined. It’s the perfect glamping recipe.

Now living in a small country house on the campsite, Lilian and Virginie welcome guests on arrival and walk you down to your glamping accommodation. To indulge in the same bohemian past, visitors can stay in one of ten roulottes, each with a fully-equipped kitchen and living area, plus en-suite facilities, or you can pluck for one of the special tipi-cabins, a tipi-like structure but more robustly structured, with wooden lower walls and a raised floor. Inside it’s all modern pine and panel interiors with a proper kitchen area and beds, while, for a real delight, their “carre-detoiles” huts – translating as “square of stars” – sheds the canvas altogether and allows you to sleep inside a wooden cube with circular roof windows for stargazing.

Undoubtedly, however, it is the cabins on stilts that steal the show at Domaine d'Escapa. Set back into a tree-clad slope, with far-reaching, south-facing views towards the climbing peaks of the Pyrenees, the family abodes are not quite treehouses but certainly the next best thing. Leaves dance in the breeze outside your windows, while, inside, an exposed wood finish gives the whole place an almost alpine or Nordic feel – elevated in style as well as height. The modern kitchen features a Senseo coffee maker and the washroom a powerful shower. For maximum luxury, meanwhile, three of the cabins also have simmering hot tubs on the spacious veranda outside.

Beyond the delights of the accommodation the campsite has a heated swimming pool and a great oblong lake you can paddle about on in canoes. If you decided to forego the luxury of a hot tub at your cabin, then there is another one by the pool for anyone to use, plus a sauna room you can book for €9. Beyond that, there are the campsite’s chickens to entertain the kids and Lilian and Virginia still breed horses here too. Alas, you can’t take them galloping wildly across the countryside but you can hop on a bike and ride the five kilometres to L'Isle-de-Noé instead. The cute little village has an old château with a delightful courtyard restaurant. The best bit? For exciting things to do nearby, it’s just the tip of the ice-berg.

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The Owner Says

Our 40-hectare property at the very heart of rural and authentic Gers offers surprising accommodation to those willing to have a wild stay: trailers/roulottes (2 to 5 guests), carrés d'étoiles (2/3 guests), tepees (until 7 guests), family cabins (2 to 6 guests) and cabins with private jacuzzi (2 to 6 guests). Various activities are available on site: heated swimming and paddling pool, outside spa, sauna, fishing; as well as in the surroundings: mountain bike, hiking on The Way of Saint James, jogging routes, horse-riding…

With original accommodation, the Domaine d’Escapa invites you to take a beautiful journey inside bohemian life. Virginie, Lilian and their tribe are your hosts for the holidays, in a pleasant “family spirit”. Horses, donkeys, ponies, as well as the lake and the forest park allow you to rest and recharge your batteries into the wild.

Reader Reviews

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The scenic view from the tree house

The campsite is an idilic spot, a novelist would find it a dream, one could definitely imagine spilling out words in complete peace looking out, amongst the trees. As a family, the lake was a real treat for the kids, there was fantastic it’s a knockout style inflatables and surprisingly the hot tub came into its own in the evening despite the hot weather. It would have added to our experience if there was more information about the site and surrounding area. We would have loved to go riding but had no idea where to go, so didn’t get the opportunity, thank god for google, local sights of interest, shops and opening times. A few products , like correct coffee pods to use in machine provided- for sale at the campsite would have been brilliant. It’s a shame the swimming pool was closed, no explanation was given. Sadly our French isn’t the best, so a guide to the site in English would have been helpful. (If best to even know where to take our rubbish!) We had very little interest from the staff and sometimes felt like we were slightly intruding on the family. On checkout we had to try and find someone to pay which took around 40minutes adding quite a lot of time to our next journey. The advantage one could argue, that the check out is relaxed if you needed it. Overall the site is beautiful and very well cared for but the atmosphere lacked in friendliness. A real opportunity lost as it is has huge potential. Perhaps a great place if you wanted to hire the whole thing for a wedding or event (although one gets the idea that this definitely wouldn’t be welcome from the owners. However if wanting to be left completely alone this is the place. For a small family wanting to immerse themselves into French rural life, or even just a little bit - I am afraid wasn’t our experience.
Aug 7, 2018 by charlotte cave
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