Camping le Gouffre de la Croix

Europe France South East France Alps

1050 Route du pont de vezor, 38680 Chatelus, France
Riverside relaxation and a location hidden among the greenery of the Presles Mountains.
A gleaming stream of tranquillity, the River Bourne slithers through the heart of Vercors Natural Park at its own calm and languid pace. Set within deep mountain valleys, where the western edge of the Alps merges into the green and abundant Presles Mountains, the river is an inevitable focal point of most things around here. And nothing less is true of Camping du Gouffre de la Croix, a waterside paradise for every type of camper. Below the pitches, banks have softened into sandy beaches and the shallows have become a haven for kids, frolicking safely in the clear waters. If you like a site that lets the setting do the work, you’re in for a treat.

But it’s unfair, of course, to say that the backdrop is everything. There’s a fair degree of management that benefits this site too. The facilities are excellent, there’s a playground and table tennis for the kids, a reception shop where you can order fresh bread and loan a book from the library, and an excellent little bar that offers the perfect spot to while away the evening hours. Yet what they’ve done well is work with the setting to create a site that doesn’t flaunt these man-made additions, instead snuggling itself subtly away beneath the dappled shade of the trees.

The pitches themselves number fifty in total, spread over terraces that stagger their way down to the riverside – ideal for tents and small campervans, with spaces for a few caravans at the top of the site. For glampers there’s also a new safari tent-style ‘lodge’ mounted on a wooden floor and stocking everything you need for your holiday, minus the bedding and towels. Ideal for five people, the wood and canvas tent has two bedrooms and a living space with kitchen.

For days out there are eclectic options too. Walkers can grab their fresh croissants from reception as they head out the door and into the surrounding mountains – the area is renowned for its spectacular gorges; the more high octane side of the river where it’s squeezed through the hard-rock valleys to the east. Families, meanwhile, can enjoy another benefit of the Bourne, the magnificent caves of Choranche, carved underground by tributaries of the river and pooled throughout with green-blue pockets of water. Stalactites droop from the ceiling on their way to meet their centuries old partners poking up from the floor and walkways lead you through the vast grotto. Only two kilometres from the campsite it’s a natural wonder not to be missed.

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★★★★★

Perfect paradise in the alps

Aug 21, 2016 by cloandsteve

We camped here for 8 nights in August this year, it was wonderful. On arrival we were blown away by the scenery, it was a hot August evening and families were enjoying the sun on one of the riverside 'beaches', children splashing happily in the river... it looked like paradise! The campsite is surrounded by mountains with a river running through the lush green valley. Within half an hour of arriving our kids had made friends with children from around Europe, hanging out at the embedded trampoline (handily overlooked by a lovely bar terrace). The owners Valerie and Augusto were lovely and very helpful, you can order fresh bread and pastries for the next morning and the bar serves simple meals in the evening. The kids had a whale of a time playing in the river, catching little snakes and fish and swinging on a rope swing to land in the freezing water. There were tons of great activites within 45mins drive (we did rock climbing and tree trekking and there were lots more) and I recommend the little cafe up the road with a stunning view for lunch. The drive to the nearest ski resort where most activities were based was BREATHTAKING as you drive right through the gorges. Great place for family adventures :)

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