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The Midsummer Retreat
There’s something wonderfully organic about the way the yurt at The Midsummer Retreat is set into its landscape. In the grounds of an old French farmhouse, the surroundings are wild and slightly disordered yet without feeling overgrown. Flowers fight among lush, long grass to be seen and potted daisy’s spill over the tops of their containers. The wooded slopes around the garden give the sense that it is almost sunken into the landscape, yet the lawns themselves are neatly mown. Combine all this with the timber frame of a kitchen area and the authentic Mongolian yurt, and you have a stunning hidden gem of a setting for a beautifully relaxing retreat.
The site has, in fact, been a labour of love and many years in the making. The hard work here has been worth it. With just one yurt for guests – sleeping up to four people – The Midsummer Retreat has a truly personal feel and it’s only right that something so small should be extra special. The attention to detail is impeccable. The private bathroom, for example, features recycled 16th century terracotta tiles found in an ancient, local forge in the River Aveyron gorge, while the kitchen and living space is furnished with vintage finds from local markets. The rustic, old-country vibe it creates mirrors the setting but it still retains some modern functionality: There’s a fridge, oven and electricity for charging your camera or mobile phone.
Nearby St-Antonin-Noble-Val is the reason for the camera. The tiny medieval town has everything you need – cafés, boulangeries and postcard shops – all crammed into a picturesque labyrinth of tiny alleyways and tall stone houses. It boasts one of the oldest town halls in the country. Visit on Sunday to catching the bustling market, where you can stock up on local cheese before heading further along the river for a picnic and a swim. The River Aveyron is as beautiful as it is calm and perfectly safe for a good paddle.
Once you’re well worn out, you can retreat back to camp for a nice lie down and a chance to soak in the view. The best of it is sometimes comes when darkness falls. The middle section of the canvas roof can be completely rolled back and, sunken in the hollow of the landscape, there’s no light pollution to spoil the stars. Kick back and enjoy the show, you’ve got the whole place to yourself.
FacilitiesBeautiful authentic Mongolian Yurt with wooden floor, antique tribal rugs and decor, large double bed, sofa/daybed which also doubles up as 2 single beds for children, books, games, mosquito nets if needed. Linen, towels and soaps all included. Self-contained bathroom space with shower, hand basin, toilet. Kitchen area with cooker, fridge/freezer, crockery, cutlery and utensils, electric sockets, table, chairs and high chairs if needed. The front of the kitchen has drop down canvas sides so can be completely opened up if you like, allowing you to be at one with the surroundings as much as possible.
Suitable ForGlampers only. Please do not bring your own tents, campervans, caravans or pets.
NearbyMaps and guidebooks on local walking routes are found on the bookshelves at the campsite. This is real walkers' country and there are suitable footpaths for all levels. Swim in the river a short 10-minute drive away at Saint-Antonin-Noble-Val. Those too chicken to go in the wilds of the river water can use the outdoor pool there instead, complete with with dramatic views of the Gorge de Ayeyron. Canoes are also available to hire along the waterside in town, or follow the river's course from St Antonin past the ancient chateaux of Penne and Briuniquel by car, stopping along the way to swim on the natural river beaches.
Food & DrinkIf you fancy whipping up a storm in the campsite kitchen (cupboard basics are supplied), head to Saint-Antonin-Noble-Val where there's a thriving local market on Sunday's – ideal for the freshest goods. The town also has two wonderful bakeries well stocked with French fancies, croissants and traditional breads, plus two good small supermarkets (open every day) for anything else. In terms of restaurants and cafés, Café De La Halle is the best for ice-cream, cold drinks and people watching in town. It's also great for those with children, as they can run about in the covered market nearby whilst you sit and laze with a drink. Go in the evening (after 7pm) for pizza. Le Festin De Babette (05 63 31 69 03), meanwhile, is the top spot for gourmet cooking. Ask for a table on their terrace and enjoy the view of town across the river.
Late May–end of September.
The Midsummer Retreat is a small, private glamping site at Sourrettou, so you'll only get the exact location and directions when you have made your booking.
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