If the French Alps boast some of Europe's most awe-inspiring scenery, then the Maritime Alps in the country's remote south-east corner are truly a sight to behold. The southernmost tip of this mighty mountain range, the Maritime Alps straddle the border between L'hexagone and the Italian regions of Piedmont and Liguria. This epic landscape is a stunning picture of lush, craggy mountains and vast gorges scything the valley in two, bejewelled with sparkling lakes. And surveying this breathtaking vista, beside one such lovely waterside scene, you will first lay eyes upon one of the region's most enviably-located campsites.
Managed by wonderful, English-speaking hosts Clare and Eric Rondeau, Camping du Brec is 7.5 acres of idyllic family-camping paradise. With a mixture of shady pitches catering to tents, campervans and caravans (as well as the obligatory French camping bungalows), it's big on facilities, though with a refreshingly uncommercial presentation.
Navigating the serpentine roads that snake their way round the meandering River Var, arrival at Camping du Brec is akin to finding an oasis (just... ahem... substitute undulating sand plains for verdant, pine-strewn mountainsides). For the jewel in du Brec's already resplendent crown is the gorgeous lake and beach. A hive of swimming, fishing, canoeing, and general aquatic escapades, the private lake is the focal point for campsite life – helped in no small measure by the lakeside bar.
As if this lakeside locale wasn't enough, Camping du Brec is also mere minutes from some of the best southern France has to offer. There's the sprawling Mercantour National Park (home to wild boar, golden eagles, and wolves); the heady vineyards and perfumed lavender fields of Provence; the picture-postcard town of Entrevaux – its citadel a marvel of medieval construction. It's also not too far from the glamorous Côte d’Azur (though a million miles away in terms of pretentiousness).
Natural wonders really show off here; Le Gorges de Daluis, Lac d’Allos – there's an epic scale to everything. And for those brave (or foolhardy) enough, there’s always cycling the Col de la Bonette, Europe’s highest road and the bane of the world’s greatest cyclists during the Tour de France.
However you choose to spend your break, just let the invigorating mountain air, a panacea for all the ills of modern living, do its thing. And as the sun descends over the surrounding mountains, and you kick back with a beer on the lakeside terrace as the glinting rays dance on the gently-lapping waves, you'll be glad you navigated those winding Alpine roads.
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ReviewsAdd Your Review
Very rude owner!
Disappointing experience, did not feel particularly welcome and catered for.
Glorious family camping in a stunning setting...
A long drive from the UK this summer brought us to a hidden treasure of Camping du Brec.
Near the banks of the Var and with its own lake, is this beautifully uncommercialised and relaxing campsite. August means that our pitch ground was stony, pine coney and tent pegs hard to drive home but possible. The site was pretty full at this time of year with a mix of pitches, most having some kind of shade. The toilet and washing up facilities were basic, sometimes to more than capacity, but overall clean and more than adequate.
Many families were Dutch with a smattering from the UK and overall a friendly atmosphere with kids of most ages rumbling around and pleasantly, but not too, quiet. A couple of free campsite freezers, for ice packs only, meant we could keep our own food cool. We could enjoy simple food and drink from the campsite cafe, watch the sunset over the lake and mountains.
The site hosts were friendly and generous and also run kayaking and canyoning trips that set out from here. I did one - and really enjoyed it despite myself!
We only had one quiet teenage daughter with us but she enjoyed spending hours in the lake with the free kayaks and boards and from the site there's plenty of amazing mountain scenery and small villages to enjoy walks and rivers. The city of Nice is possible to visit in a day and is a contrast to the rural life but favourite times were exploring the local area.
A supermarket is just down the road - we realised a privilege in this rural area with shoppers coming from miles around come to use this modestly sized shop. A Carrefour can be found at Puget Théniers also - and a steam train! Local markets and small shops, for locally produced food, were best. A successful and relaxing holiday - Wish I was there now.
For Lakeside Lovers!
We stayed in Du Brec in a mobile home for 5 days and had really a good time there. The camping site is impressively located amidst mountains and as other reviewer mentioned, the lake is an absolute highlight! As it is not very deep, it get's relative quick warm, so we enjoyed some nice hours just laying at the (stony) beach. Bring along your own chairs!
The tent pitches are not really big, but sufficient for most tents. Still don't expect to much privacy there. Our mobile home was a little bit old-fashioned, but it came for a really reasonable price! Good value for money. If your are looking for something more fancy, the wooden chalet for 6 people might be the better option for you.
We enjoyed the familiar atmosphere on the site, with owners and staff being perfect hosts. They were very willing to help and gave us excellent recommendations what to do. The small village of Entrevaux is lovely and just a 15 Minutes walk away. You can even go to Monaco within 1,5h.
Facilities were totally fine and well kept. So if you like mountains and lakes and are not deterred by the slightly limited privacy of the pitches, that's a perfect site for you!
Had a lovely 5 night stay at this campsite. The location is great, easy to find, close to a big supermarket and a walkable distance to the beautiful nearby medieval town entrevaux. The campsite is based on a beautiful lake backed by mountains. You can sit by the lake (although I would recommend bringing chairs or lilos to sit on as it is gravelly) and they have canoes, sups, and kayaks you can use for free if camping here!!
The staff here were all extremely friendly and gave us great recommendations on where to go/ how to get places and even detailed info about nearby hikes. Whilst here we also made trips Into Monaco and Cannes quite easily. There's a cafe at the campsite with reasonable priced food and drinks .
The pitches were reasonably sized - toilets never ran out of loo roll and the showers were hot! I would love to return to this beautiful campsite very soon and can't recommend it enough!
We had such a lovely, laidback holiday at Camping du Brec this summer: the setting was perfect for my 2 boys who swam and kayaked (for free!) In the lake on the site all day everyday. It has a friendly atmosphere with a mix of English, French and Dutch mostly: the owners were helpful without being bossy. It was clean and organised and eco-friendly in a beautiful region we hadn't been to before. There were pretty towns nearby and loads of walks and bike rides to stop us getting bored. And it was very good value. I wouldn't stay there with a beach holiday in mind though: bit of a drag to Nice and was no need really; there was so much to do nearby. Loved it, would definitely recommend it as a perfect, relaxing quite active family holiday :-)
off the beaten path
Brought home a kayak fanatic!
We have just spent two weeks in the beautiful maritime alpes staying at Camping du Brec. Clare and Eric were great at communicating, not just during the booking process but also before our trip when I emailed through several questions.
The campsite is quiet and well kept, the shower/toilet blocks are cleaned very regularly and have both soap and toilet paper provided. The snack bar serves a small selection of salads/sandwiches/chips and wine/beer and also has a bread ordering service for the mornings, freezers for iceblocks and toys for toddlers.
The highlight of the site is the beautiful lake, reflecting the surrounding scenery, and particularly enjoyed by my 8 year old - the free use of kayaks and canoes - he has definitely returned with a love of kayaking!
If there were any down sides to the campsite, they were only minor - the 'beach' at the lake was very stony and uncomfortable if you want to sunbathe (!), and the lake is not clear water which got deep fairly quickly, so I didn't feel I could relax with my 4 year old there.
The pitch we were given was of good size, but unfortunately contained a large tree root and a lot of rocks/pebbles in one half and mud on the other which made for several stubbed toes during our stay!
Also of note is that the campsite is mainly utilised by and very popular with the Dutch teenagers and their families who return year after year, and who were pretty noisy returning to their tents at 1am on several occasions.
I would love to return, but will probably wait until my youngest is a little older.
Just spent almost a week at Camping du Brec with our ten year old twins. Beautiful campsite with well kept facilities and it is completely away from it all. The lake is lovely and the fact the kids can help themselves to kayaks was a bonus. There was a 10pm curfew which everyone followed so it is not for those looking for busy entertainment filled evenings. It is quite a way into The Alps but well worth the extra hours of travel....well deserves to be on the Cool Camping website.
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