Have you ever wanted to explore the splendours of Southern France but worry your boisterous little one may not find it so engaging? If so, come to Pagel!
This loveable site's ethos is wonderfully simple: provide families with a safe environment which allows children to run free amongst nature, make friends and explore their own imaginations. And here at Cool Camping, we think they’ve succeeded.
Owner Mark discovered Southern France quite by chance. Back in 2002 he and his wife Lara dreamt up the notion of ditching the rat-race and moving to Mediterranean Italy. Then one drizzly London day, a chatty taxi driver offered a suggestion... “Well love, forget Italy and look into the Lot region in France, its beautiful and largely undiscovered.” Of course, he was right. Ten days later Lara, Mark, Benjamin and Charlie visited the region, instantly fell in love, and Pagel was born. A couple of successful years later, Lara and Mark attended a local ex-pats play when they recognised the leading actor; it was none other than that chirpy London cabbie who had also eloped to this glorious region. It’s a small world after all.
Pagel is a great site for the kids, ticking all their holiday boxes. The site boasts a swimming pool, toddler's pool, a myriad of adventures in the fields from a huge pirate ship, space rocket, two trampolines, a play barn stacked with toys, climbing frames galore, long grass (with paths cut in), and table tennis. That should keep the kiddies busy.
As one of the smartest glamping operations in the region, everything the owners do, they do to impress. The Moomba Lodges (opened in 2013) are African style safari tents kitted-out with cosy double beds, furniture, fully equipped kitchen, private bathroom, solid floor, but given all these creature comforts, they somehow preserve the romance of a canvas tent.
So, if you want the best of both worlds; a playful paradise for the kids, and some of Southern France's most beautiful sights on your doorstep, Pagel is most definitely for you. The only downside? How long you may have to wait for a vacancy, but such special, loveable places will always be in high demand.
2 Moomba Lodges with comfortable lounge area, furniture (from natural products), furnished kitchen with fridge, microwave, dining table & chairs. Private bathroom housed in a wooden beach hut outside each lodge under canopy. 7 Gites (either two or three bedrooms) accommodating up to five people (plus babies) with fully equipped kitchen and private bathroom. Shared facilities include: large fenced gardens (3 acres) and play areas with climbing frame, fort, two trampolines, Indian village, meadow maze, and sandpit. Ride-on driving area, adult seating area, indoor play barn with art area and indoor floor games (ideal for shade and showers). Heated saltwater swimming pool and toddler pool, terrace with country views, temperamental WiFi and a washing machine (in the central laundry room).
Glampers, families, nature-lovers and (of course) kids! – yes. Tents, campervans, caravans and dogs – no.
Nearby Catus has some excellent shops including a small supermarket, butcher, post office, bakers, tabac, bar, restaurant and a tourist information office. Market day is every Tuesday morning. A short distance from the village is Lac Vert, a leisure lake which has a large sunbathing lawn and a small beach with a cordoned off children’s bathing area. There are bigger supermarkets and shops at Cahors and Prayssac, both are about 20 minutes drive away. Further afield, Bergerac, which takes its name from the celebrated wordsmith with the oversized snout. You can see his statue in the old town, that is if you’re not too busy stocking up on wine in one of a clutch of excellent wine-merchants. Red is the colour to go for here. The region is famous for its vino and there are great deals to be had. The old town undulates through a series of sun-dappled courtyards to the river and it makes for a lovely morning visit, wandering through the narrow alleys and getting lost. The beautifully-preserved 14th century town of Sarlat is a pleasure to walk around, especially early in the morning. The centre of the old town consists of impeccably restored stone buildings and is largely car-free. Sarlat has many restaurants, bars and cafes and one of the many joys of staying nearby is discovering them! As well as Sarlat, the Dordogne region of France offers many attractions for visitors including the Cathédrale St-Sacerdos and the Château de Marqueyssac (0033 553 313 636.)
Food & Drink
An onsite chef service is available on Wednesday nights to prepare, cook and serve tasty three (or four) course meals direct to your accommodation. On Mondays there’s a family meal that takes place in the front courtyard with the wonderful views to the west and along the valley. Meals are made from fresh local produce and served around a communal table. Wine, beer and soft drinks are included in the price and tasty vegetarian alternatives can easily be provided with notice. The weekly family BBQ is a great opportunity to meet new friends and the site can also arrange a welcome basket (see website.) Pagel also supplies a range of chef prepared food from Cookfood (01732 759020) who rustle-up family meals, special dinners for two and specially created children’s meals. Within fifteen minutes of Pagel there are several excellent restaurants including the extra special Le Gindreau (0033 256 536 2227.) Exquisite Michelin star cuisine is served on a beautiful terrace overlooking a hillside, however it’s not cheap. For pudding, the pistachio soufflé is a real treasure but you could equally spoil yourself with a creamy truffle tart.
The Owner Says
Like many of us Mark and his wife Lara felt that holidays would never be the same with a toddler and a baby in tow... With that in mind, they went ahead and formed their own holiday destination to provide an alternative to the traditional package holiday. Be assured that all you might need for your little ones is thought of - that motto you might be familiar with “When the children are happy we all have fun” rings true, but also there are special experiences for the grownups too. So if you’re looking for somewhere that combines taste with toddlers and children and most importantly is run by the kind of people who know what it takes to help you have a fun filled, hassle free holiday then take a look – it’s dreamy...
Pagel is special place in South West France – “Self Catering with a difference, centred on families with children”.
For toddlers and older siblings ‘Pagel’ has a magical quality, like an enchanted forest, the five acres of beautiful grounds hide a new adventure around every corner from a huge wooden replica pirate ship and fort, to trains and tractors. For parents this means entertaining the brood is a breeze and, as a result, relaxation comes easily, the private terraces or pool-side area are perfect places to happily watch your children expore and make new friends.
Those with babies tend to gravitate to the specially created shaded play area and kiddie pool. In fact, the huge range of toys and equipment provided is so comprehensive it would be a challenge to find anything missing. Clearly, having three youngsters himself means Pagel’s founder Mark, has a keen eye for what makes kids tick.
There are also 2 superb Glamping lodges. The high-end luxury camping facilities include everything from a complete furnished kitchen to delicious comfortable beds, and from high chairs to your own bathroom just outside the lodge (under cover and in a beach hut wooden structure). The Moomba Lodge is themed for the children – Name Moomba is Sanskrit for for young lioness. The “Moomba Lodge” is constructed on a wooden platform of 72 m2 and a living area from 40 m2. No need to bring your own things because everything you need is already there – glasses, cups, cutlery, pans, water, cooker etc! The new Indoor play barn provides a break from the sun, the tons of outdoor toys keep the kids busy and the heated saltwater pool means hours of fun when it's time to cool down or simply get wet.
Contact Pagel Glamping, Catus, Cahor, Lot, Midi-Pyrénées, France
Brive, Toulouse and Bergerac airports are all within a 90 minute drive. Many flight operators (including British Airways (0844 493 0787), Easyjet 0843 506 9856, and Jet2.com (0800 408 1350) fly direct from the UK & Ireland. If your coming by ferry or the Eurotunnel: Calais to Pagel by car is a 10 hour drive (including breaks), and from Dieppe driving takes 7 hours. Or, break-up the journey with a stopover in the elegant medieval city of Rouen.
Gourdon and Cahors both serve as the sites nearest train station (30 minutes away.)
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