In the heart of Calvados country, near the idyllic village of Blangy, is the friendliest chateau- camping experience you can hope to find in France. Camping at Le Brévedent was first set up to pay for repairs to the Louis XVI hunting lodge after the Second World War. Fortunately for us it was the only way that the Marquis de Chabannes La Palice could afford to stay on the land, which had been in his family for 350 years. He also planted an orchard across the site. Now his great- grandson, Raphael Bony, heads up the operation and considers sociability to be a major aspect of his job – apples play a large part in this. Every night Raphael opens the bar in the main house so that guests can drink local cider and calvados, wander through the ground floor looking at oil paintings of his ancestors and shoot pool. Twice a week he hosts music sessions with his brother, Arthur, who plays the cajón, a Peruvian instrument. The Bonys are into French folk music, but they invite guests to play what they like. This year a Belgian family treated Le Brévedent to Mozart and Rachmaninov on the violin and piano. They were followed by a guy on the bagpipes.
Assumption Day on August 15th, is celebrated here, like many places in France, with fireworks. At Le Brévedent they host a spectacular display over the lake, BBQ, and an impromptu jam session. Any excuse for a party, Raphael now winds up the season with an official music festival. It might be far smaller than the Big Chill, but the line-up is just as eclectic.
Plastic bags have been outlawed on site and each guest is given a reusable green Le Brévedent sac to carry their morning croissants home from the shop. Living in sync with nature extends to the free kids’ club in July and August, when they take advantage of the apple season. In the morning the children gather windfalls and hold apple-and- spoon races before pressing them into juice after lunch. The delicious results are distributed among passing campers at the end of the day. Teenagers are the only group who aren’t specifically catered for at Le Brévedent, although they’d probably dispute this if they could get their hands on the cider.
In Cool Camping terms Le Brévedent is a big site, but its canny design results in a beautifully chilled atmosphere. The play areas are handily situated by adult distractions such as the restaurant, café terrace (with free wi-fi), and lake, where huge carp can be caught. The heated swimming pool and paddling pool have been tastefully cut into the slope in front of the main house. From here there’s a spectacular view of the lake, which is where most people choose to camp. Behind the lake is a stream, the banks of which are populated by a community of guinea pigs. Elsewhere ducks and chickens meander about the site among the apple trees and herbaceous borders.
On Sunday evenings, in the salon, Madame Gurrey (Raphael’s granny) recounts tales of aristocratic eccentricities. She maintains that Raphael has inherited the relaxed charm of his great grandfather, who often failed to charge campers. Today you can hire a canoe for a scenic glide across the lake; the small fee should be per hour, but Raphael is laid-back about counting minutes. After all, there’s no reason to rush here.
The Owner Says
****May Half Term Break****
If you are thinking of going away next weekend but not sure where or what to do... look no further! At Le Brévedent we have a fun-packed week ahead of us, starting Sunday May 28th. For more info, take a peek at the schedule in our Cool Camping photo album or call/e-mail us. We look forward to seeing you all soon!
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ReviewsAdd Your Review
Normandy tranquility (with lots of ambient chatter)
Best campsite we visited
We stayed at this site in July 2015. From the moment we were shown to our picturesque lakeside pitch by owner Raphael to the point we left to take one of the many beautiful local woodland walks, our stay was perfect. The campsite was full but didn't seem crowded, there were lots of children but it wasn't overcome with noise or mayhem. The chateau bar and cafe were lovely to relax and have a drink in with incredibly friendly staff. I fell in love with this campsite, I will be back and recommend to all.
It was busy but they found a pitch, with electricity, for out camper van on the edge of the lake. Loved that.
Good bar in the house, restaurant served tasty food with a modules frites special night (gets busy, book)
Nice pool, if a bit cold, with various levels for kids of all sizes.
Lots of English people
Lots of stuff for kids to do.
Would go again.
If full, try Le Colombier, about 10 minutes away, for the most amazing & beautifully set pool you will ever see on a campsite. Outdoor & heated to 24+ degrees. Oh my flippin' gawd.
Dream camping holiday
What can I say, best campsite ever. On arrival we discovered our pitch would be too small for our tent, not a problem, the owner soon for us an amazing unofficial pitch by the lake. Great pool, though a bit chilly but the kids didn't care. 3 shower blocks, one could do with updating. Great little kids club morning and afternoon. We had trouble getting the kids away from site to to other activities. Large hyper/supermarket 15 mins away. We will return next year, its a great family site.
Definitely not cool camping worthy
We are a small family who have camped for a while. We had high hopes for this site as we have used many cool camping recommendations and each one has been good. I think they seriously need to reconsider their endorsement of this site, certainly pay a visit and see how well the site has ‘aged’
The site is great if you want Eurocamp on the cheap. It’s great if you like being crammed into a small space in regimented rows. It’s great if you can’t be arsed to travel more than 45 minutes from the port. Its great if you think being ankle deep in pee is rustic. Its great is you think that being over charged for everything it part of the holiday experience - (5 euros for a beer)
The site can only be described as a go-outdoors favela. You are really crammed in. there are 3 male toilets and 3 female with a further 4 shared, the same number of showers and 4 washing up sinks. This includes the family bathroom which everyone seems to use. For a site with 130+ pitches this is inadequate, even if they were cleaned frequently they would get dirty with such heavy usage, only, they were cleaned daily and so by 0930 everything was disgusting and you had to queue for a while.
The Eurocamp brigade seemed to rule here with kids clubs, activities and the general chaos that they bring, far from the idyllic picture portrayed in the review. If you like that sort of thing then you will love it, and people do - speaking to a number of campers they have returned year after year.
We spend the best part of a week here and will never go back, overall the campsite is a series of nice ideas badly executed and it needs some money spending on it go get the basics right - clean toilets, hot water, cut grass and someone to take charge to keep the noise down after midnight.
It’s all well and good the owner serenading a bewildered group of toddlers on the bouncy castle with his guitar but I’d much rather he picked up a mop or pushed around a lawn mower.
So in short if you wear a straw trilby, like Eurocamp, don’t really want to travel too far into France and can tolerate noise, lots of children and chavy parents then this if for you.
For everyone else find somewhere else.
We stayed for almost a week early June 2014 & had a wonderful time! The cafe wasn't open yet, but we enjoyed the restaurant & we were able to use the wifi in front of the cafe while our daughter played on the bouncy house. It was also start of the world cup & the restaurant showed games every night. We were so pleased with the family bathrooms... spacious, clean, nice water pressure. All the staff were so friendly & helpful & let us pick our spot when we arrived. We had a beautiful spot right on the lake. Our 3 year old had a great time at the pool & the playground & loved walking around the lake & watching the fish & ducks. There are some very nice day trips close by (but lots of toll roads, so plan for that). Overall we had a very enjoyable & memorable time & hope to one day make it back!
We will be back one day
We stayed here august 2013 for two night. Great campsite, really easy to find. Staff very welcoming and helpful. There is a great restaurant on site, they do a moules and frites evening and we got a takeaway steak to take back to our tent which was delicious. There is also a nice bar in the chateau and there was a music night when we were there but get a seat early. There is a lovely lake and lots to do on site. We took one of their maps and went for a long walk around the countryside which was fun. There is also a great shop with local produce and bread and pastries delivered in the morning. The only thing that could be improved are the showers however we were there in peak time so .... Didn't affect our enjoyment at all. Definitely recommend if exploring Normandy
Our family of six stayed here a couple of weeks ago (August 2013) and we all loved Castel camping le Brévedent. I do agree that the pitches are rather closely packed, but that’s a small bother. How many campsites have a chateau in their grounds? The bar here in the chateau itself is far grander than many I have visited and Raphael and his family really do make the effort to ensure you feel welcome. And speaking of the family, Raphael’s grandmother holds a weekly talk with guests about the colourful history of the chateau and Raphael and his troupe entertain the crowds in the grandeur of the house with toe-tapping, unbridled enthusiasm!
Our teenage kids enjoyed their first forays into the local cider but the beer au pression was a bit steep at €2.50 for a demi (33cl) or £5 a pint, more than you’d pay in London, but ‘essentials’ tend to be steep in France ;-) We were blessed with hot weather and the kids were much cleaner than usual with twice-daily dips in the swimming pool just across the grass. I also dipped my rod in the carp lake, very almost catching one off the top with my fly rod. (Another angler caught five common carp on floated dog biscuits, so it can be done). On our penultimate day Raphael and I made a ‘creative swap’ - I gave him a small painting of the chateau and he gave me a CD of his band in return. All in all, a very memorable trip and only 5 hours drive (plus ferry) from our front door in mid-Kent.
Nice owners bit cramped
We thought this a very well run camp site with friendly staff and owner. However they really pack em in! Not comfortable for more than 2 nights. Also be specific about what pitch you want or you may end up in a muddy corner like us! Does not deserve it's place in the France Top 5 Campsites in the book.
Castel Camping Le Brévedent
We stayed here for an overnight on our way south. I was worried as we were arriving quite late at about 9.30pm but when we got there we found a very relaxed Raphael who greeted us with warmth and told us to set up anywhere. We chose a spot by the lake which was perfect. My island, who had been itching to do some fishing, got his wish in the morning and caught a carp. My (then) six month old daughter was fascinated by the extensive guinea pig community that lived on the other side of the brook and enjoyed the play area. The shop was well stocked with necessities and specialties. Really lovely site, really lovely staff. Would definitely stay again.
Castel Camping Le Brévedent
my husband and I were really looking forward to arriving at this site as we headed for home last August. When we arrived we realised at once this was not the campsite for us. Too many people, too small pitches so people were literally on top of each other. There didnt seem to be any respect for personal space as we had continuous traffic through our pitch. We are londoners and it seemed as if the whole of london middle classes in their 4x4 had descended. then all by the cafe with their i pads and i phones and that was only the children!!!
I am sure for some people being with their own kind is appealing. We go on holiday to mix with all kinds as we normally experience in your campsites. Needless to say we left the next day having planned to stay 4 days and went further on down to the municipal campsite, which was delightful.
Castel Camping Le Brévedent
My girlfriend and I travelled around France last year, clocking up 2.5k miles in her fiat 500. We used this campsite as a 'one-nighter' stop before we headed to Calais to catch the ferry home. It actually turned out to be one of our favourite campsites and we wish we had longer there! Really beautiful site, we camped right on the pond and it was a beautiful view from inside the tent. The house itself had a really authentic French manor house feel to it (slightly falling to rack and ruin!) and a certain charm. Staff were very friendly and the fresh bread in the morning was superb. I'd love to go again, but for longer next time.
Castel Camping Le Brévedent
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