Les Sables, 38520 Bourg d’Oisans, France
Mention Bourg d’Oisans and most travellers will think of Alpe d’Huez, the world-famous ski resort that sits 21 hairpins above the bustling town. Advanced cyclists are likely to froth with excitement; they view these mountain bends the same way that Catholics view Lourdes, harbouring lifelong desires to visit. It’s not for the actively-challenged, however: the climb is steep and it can take three hours to pedal to the top (under an hour for the pros), but once there you can buy a certificate testifying that you’ve conquered what was the first Alpine climb introduced to the Tour de France, in 1911.
Alpe d’Huez may also boast the longest black ski run in the world, the 16km ‘La Sarenne’, but as thrilling as the snow-covered mountain range is, summers here are truly special. Regardless of whether cycling is your bag or not, time spent sprawled on the lawns of Bourg d’Oisans’ outdoor swimming pool will do wonders for your limbs. It will bronze them at the very least; and after a tartiflette lunch in town, you can march off the frighteningly calorific local dishes on the 680km of walking trails at Ecrins National Park. It’s the largest of France’s six national parks, with a landscape that’s a helter-skelter of peaks and valleys, visible in all their glory from the Ferme Noemie campsite at Les Sables, just up the road from Le Bourg d’Oisans.
Ferme Noemie has 20 numbered pitches, in homage to the Alpe d’Huez hairpins. The owners Melanie and Jeremy are great skiers. They met working for a UK ski-holiday company in the late 1980s and basically never returned home. He’s good with his hands; the chalet shower block and loft apartments are all his own work. And Melanie is a consummate hostess. Should the nights turn chilly at this high altitude, warm blankets are handed out. An office reception is crammed with information leaflets, a coffee-making machine, microwave and fridge. If you’ve run out of beer, the couple will lend you theirs; they won’t want anyone to go dry. In fact, they give away the cider made from their own apples for free.
The adjoining cliff-face is striking and majestic. Caravans have to park on the right of the driveway so that they don’t spoil the alpine serenity. ‘Camping for softies’ is the couple’s latest project: bell tents with beds, duvets, wine glasses and a sheltered cooking stove. So successful are these tents that there are now four on site, cosy and contemporary in green and cream.
The nearest places of interest are all pretty niche – various museums celebrating minerals, hydro-electricity and crystals. But you could spend a day perusing the Domaine de Vizille’s exhibitions on the French Revolution, set in a stunning deer park. Then, perhaps, you could try a spot rock-climbing, rafting, horseriding or, er, ‘parapenting’,’ which involves running off the side of one of the mountains with a large gliding canopy attached. This certainly isn’t a campsite to be idle – you’ll be fighting fit and ready to tackle those hairpins yourself by the end of your stay!
The Owner Says
A big Cool Camping thanks to all who stayed with us over the summer of 2013. The Tour de France was totally bonkers, the village was packed, the weather was kind to us, so all in all a success all round. The Dutch Cancer charity event Alpe d'HuZes was amazing with many people riding the Alpe d'Huez hill up to six times in one day. The pain of riding the hill is nothing compared to the pain of the people suffering with the illness or the pain of having lost someone dear to you. The atmosphere of this special event is second to none and was the most touching event of the year.
For early bird 2014 campers we are offering the possibility of an emplacement in May a 10.50 euros per night. This price also applies if you wish to stay in October. Prices for June are 15.50 euros per night, and 25.00 euros for July and August.
This summer (2013) we discovered the most wonderful place for a lazy, uncomplicated late lunch /early supper at the Moliere near Les Deux Alpes. Very informal, beautiful views and really good home cooked food. A real MUST during your stay in 2014.
For a really reasonable winter ski offer, please get in touch. Apartments for four people from 350.00 euros per week (not during school holidays.) Please contact Mel for details.
Thanks again to all who visited us, and a big thanks to all at Cool Camping for their wonderful book.
Highly recommended - great spot, crowd, and very helpful hosts!
I stayed at Ferme Noemie a couple of times while cycling on several large sportives and can't recommend it enough - the spot is fantastic - lovely surroundings - great modern amenities, and there was no issue with my arrival in the middle of the night. The hosts were amazingly helpful - I managed to get a flat tyre on my hire car from Switzerland - the hosts must have spent about half an hour on the phone for me between Avis in Switzerland and Avis France to organise a replacement car - thanks guys! The campsite seems to draw nice friendly guests to boot - wasn't kept up in the evenings with noise at all, handy when the next morning is a 200km event!
Camping Ferme Noemie: Aug 2014
We found this site to be lovely. Nestled in a valley in the shadow of the Alps, the site is less than a mile from the main road, however, you feel a lot further away than this! The welcome and assistance is warm and genuine, the facilities are of a really high standard. Fresh bread can be ordered and picked up from reception every morning, or the town is only a couple of miles down the road for everything else. There is loads to do in this region in the Summer, even if you don't cycle. We will definitely be back!