Ascou la Forge

Europe France Western France Midi-pyrénées

Camping Ascou la Forge, 09110 Ascou Frankrijk, Ariege, France

A tranquil base for exploring the Pyrenees mountain range

In the heart of the Pyrenees, close to the Spain–Andora border, Ascou La Forge is like a family-friendly basecamp for a world of European adventure. Surrounded by forest and mountains and a well-spring for all things outdoors, it’s a real hub for adventure and extreme sports – exactly the reason that Adrie Dekker and Helma Gorter first moved here.

Originally from the Netherlands, but moving to France in 1994, the couple set up Ascou la Forge driven by their passion for nature and love of outdoor persuits. They certainly didn’t choose a bad spot. Footpaths riddle the mountain sides, lakes laze in shimmering pools at the bottom of every valley and peaks spike the skyline, inviting you to take them on.

The site itself, while surrounded by by rich, forested vegetation, still retains a surprisingly open feel and is made up of 55 large, well-organised pitches, most of which can be provided with electricity. For those looking for a more glamorous option, 2 yurts are also available and a few ‘accommodation’ options like gîtes and apartments will allow you to convince even your tentophile friends to come along.

Down one side of the site a river runs, spilling into a lake where fishing is permitted. Campfires can be lit along its banks, sending thin whisps of smoke across the site and marshmallows are sold in the site reception (along with basic food, local wine and books about the area), so you can indulge to your hearts content. Not that you need to waste your time crouched around the campfire. A restaurant (open daily from May to September, and again from December to April for the ski season) serves excellent, locally sourced food and has a wonderful terrace for admiring the views. A bar can also be found with the finest Belgium beer on draft.

The list of things to do in the area is extensive, catering to every interest. From the site there are a number of fantastic walking trails – Adrie and Helma are more than happy to recommend the best – and if, as the sun begins to set, you decide you’re not ready to turn back, you can use your overnight stay and stop at one of the several Gites d'Etappes in the mountains. Once you set out you’ll understand the draw. Each turn reveals a new natural wonder, a field of mountain flowers or a crystal clear lake at the bottom of a deep valley, and the diverse range of route options leaves a nagging sense that you haven’t seen it all. Not that you ever can. Be careful though, it’s exactly this sense of unfinished business that led Adrie and Helma to move out here. You may just end up wanting to do the same!

The Owner Says


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Beautiful campsite in the mountains

Aug 25, 2017 by Mirjam

We had a brilliant time at Ascou la Forge in July 2017, camping with 2 children, aged 8 and 9 in two small tents. The pitches on the main field are very spacious and cars are parked at the pitch. The tent only pitches (no electricity) are terraced, close to the stream and very secluded, but more shaded. There is a very laid back atmosphere on the camping and loved by all nature lovers and activity seekers. The mountain activity centre is situated on site and offers all kind of exciting activities, like rock climbing, rafting and canyoning (most activities minimum age of 8 years). There is plenty to explore in the area, which is absolutely gorgeous. Lots of walks or more strenuous hikes, mountain biking, etc. The closest village (Ax-les-Thermes) is lovely and easy accessible for food, drinks and restaurants. There is also a nice outdoor pool in Ax, which we used a couple of times. The kids loved the evening activities including campfire making, hide and seek on a large scale, man hunt, etc. Although we only booked for a week, we ended up staying two weeks!


perfect with teenagers

Aug 20, 2016 by Rian

With two boys aged 15 and 16 this was the perfect camping for all of us; we like mainly tents, freely organised spots, shade and sun mixture, fresh bread every morning, enough to explore around the campsite. They like; sportive activities, same aged friends, unlimited campfire, easy going rules and just a lot of fun with others.

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