La Forêt du Morvan
58370 Larochemillay, Nièvre, France
There’s always something a little magical about camping in forests. They’re dark, mysterious places full of unseen dangers, lurking beasts, and the constant fear of getting lost. Even on the sunniest of days a dimly lit forest interior can feel like a very quiet, twilit world, where even the birds seem to keep away. Luckily, perhaps, the site at La Forêt du Morvan isn’t quite in the heart of the forest and has cleared plenty of space for its 25 pitches to let the sunshine and birds in. But there’s no question that it’s the forest that makes Morvan special: almost half a million acres of prime French countryside that was officially made a Parc Régional in 1970, and is now something of a playground for the not-so-rich and not-so-famous. Hills, lakes, and forests are the main attractions, best explored using a combination of shoes, pedals, and oars (or an outboard, if you’re lazy). Just make sure you take a map.
As for the site, there are two main camping areas on the south-facing slopes; one above and one below the main buildings. Most of the pitches have expansive views down across the valley. The others lay along the egde of the forest and have a little more shade. Tents are available to rent, if you haven’t brought your own, while one particularly handy feature is the availability, for hire, of private bathrooms, which is a great idea for families.You can keep your clobber in there and you don’t have to cart it around every time the kids need a scrub-down. It’s not cheap, but well worth it if you’re here for a week.
The Owner Says
Relaxed & beautiful
I have recently returned from a one week stay here and my family loved it. It is beautifully situated with most of the pitches set in a spacious flat, mown, individual areas enclosed by natural shrubs, trees and grasses and set into the side of a hill looking down a partially wooded valley. There is an abundance of local wildlife as well as an ever escaping donkey, a goat, a puppy, wandering rabbits and a gang of chickens with a real taste for baguettes.
The bathroom facilities were partitioned rooms in a barn with tiled floors and containing a shower, toilet and sink area and were available to hire privately although it is worth considering if there is any point out of season as in the week I was there I never encountered anyone else in the bathrooms at the same time.
The same barn housed the washing up sinks and fridges which all seemed fine and in good order.
It is a fantastic site for children with another adjacent barn full of kids bikes and tricycles, a table tennis table or two, a gymnastic crash mat, a basket ball ring and a big slide as well as loads of trees, car free green space and a pond full of salamanders ( or newts I couldn't decide) and with a trampoline set in to the floor next to it. There is loads for them to do but it doesn't seem too managed or ordered which I think adds to the charm.
The family that own it are very helpful and friendly and seem to work their socks off, even the children help out, with the young lady who is the owner's daughter offering to give up her free time to do arts and crafts with my 4 year old. A big sacrifice indeed for a teenager !
I don't have any criticisms of the site and can only say that if manicured lawns, a disco, Jazzercise classes and a well stocked on site Aldi are your thing then you will hate it, but if you like a chilled atmosphere, nature, views, the dawn chorus, talking to donkeys and value peace and quiet then you won't want to leave !
small boy heaven
We stayed here for 3 nights at the end of July (2014) as a kind of extended stopover on our way further south and my 9 year old son cites it as his favourite campsite ever. Could it be because that there's no cars on site and the free-range roaming is good, that there's a glorious haybarn full of adventures or the large pond where you can use the paddle boards and swim with the newts? Whichever, he was in heaven.
From a grown-up's perspective the site was wonderfully relaxed: large pitches that meant you had a good deal of privacy, fabulous views and a very chilled attitude from the owners, who felt more like laid back hosts. There's no "entertainment" as such but every now and then there's a very good value 3 course meal, eaten at communal tables and with an honesty bar; we also took part in the "make your own pizza night" (an extraordinary buffet of toppings to set atop your base which is then cooked in a wood fired oven). One night there was a big campfire with marshmallows and dampers for the kids.
When we were there all the other campers (and the owners) were Dutch and the site is isolated too, so we didn't really feel like we were in France; in fact the language used at all times was Dutch and we picked up a few words. This wasn't really any kind of a problem and the owners made us feel very welcome but I know that the owner would like a more international feel. He said that people from the Netherlands tend to book their pitches a lot earlier than the British.
The local area isn't especially exciting (although there's a superb museum at the archaeological site at Mont Beauvray) and we mizzled through the Burgundy drizzle but it was a splendid way to start the holiday - like a decompression chamber into relaxation and I'd definitely recommend it for families.
I bent a few pegs up at one of the top pitches. There, minor gripe out of the way. The only gripe and an insignificant one. Smashing view down the valley, well spaced out pitches that ensure everyone gets a good view. Fresh bread in the morning and friendy folks running the place. There isn't really a shop to speak of, but there is enough there to cook up a dinner with what they do have. Smashing place, wish we could have stayed longer. Did I mention the view?