Chez Devalon, 24320 Nanteuil Auriac de Bourzac, Dordogne
Chilled out yurt glamping in blissfully rural isolation.
Hard as it may be to believe, just over 10 years ago this charming Dordogne farmstead was little more than a dilapidated small holding, complete with rustic farmhouse. The romanticism of transforming the space into a rural idyll, complete with scratching chickens and a flourishing garden, captured Matt and Wendy Meers. So, in 2002, they moved to the site to begin a new life in the French countryside. Matt’s successful willow weaving business had previously seen him working at some of the most prestigious garden shows in the UK. Little did he know, however, that the 25,000 willow cuttings they had just planted in France would be the origin of what is now Quirky Camping. Showing their business at a local eco-festival, the couple was struck by a new use for their willow plantation and Matt returned to the farm to try his hand at yurt building.
Matt and Wendy’s stylish, eco-friendly creations are furnished for those who like camping in comfort. The natural canvas makes it light and airy, while the lovingly-restored furnishings allow plenty of storage space. There are sofas, a coffee table and a bookshelf well stocked with interesting reads and information on the local area. Each yurt has its own kitchen, private eco bathroom with basin and solar-powered shower, as well as a separate compost toilet.
When dinner time beckons, glampers need look no further than the barbecue provided. Wendy has plenty of recommendations for local food producers, from ice-cream and duck, to foie gras and trout. She can also offer fruit and veg from the kitchen garden, and usually farm-reared lamb and pork. And with your very own fragrant herb garden to pick from, you'll be able to rustle up a delicious, mouth-watering, regional feast to enjoy on the terrace – the stunning views the perfect accompaniment .
When you’ve finished the cake and wine that awaits your arrival and put down the guide that’s enticing you out to explore, why not borrow a bike from Wendy and Matt? The busy village of Verteillac lies a couple of clicks away and has all the amenities you’ll need, along with a host of decent bars and restaurants. There's a handful of idyllic little towns just waiting to be discovered a short bike ride away. Brantôme is a particular highlight – sitting on the verdant banks of the river Dronne, its peaceful charm is epitomised by the Benedictine Abbey founded in 769. You can rent a canoe and drift downstream in the afternoon sun, or venture into prehistoric caves and underground grottos.
Ultimately though, you may well find the allure of the campsite too much. Tucked away in your own private clearing, Quirky Camping captures you in the same way it did Wendy and Matt all those years ago. If the willow-work of your yurt leaves you inspired then you can also join Matt for a lesson in pole lathe wood turning. He’s a patient teacher, which is handy if you’re not blessed with beginner's luck!
The Owner Says
We offer three luxury yurt retreats, hidden away amongst the rolling and tranquil countryside of the north Dordogne just an hours drive from Bergerac. Peace, quiet and real relaxation is guaranteed in this secluded space. There are magnificent views, stunning sunsets and wildlife on your doorstep, what more could you ask for? A shooting star perhaps? Well if you stretch out on the terrace loungers to enjoy a spell of star gazing whilst sharing a bottle of your favourite wine it’s very likely that you will be rewarded!
Each yurt has been lovingly hand-made here at Quirky Camping using willow from our own plantation. The yurts are much more than just a bedroom, having a spacious living area as well, with polished wooden floors, rugs, chairs and other furniture which we have either been given by friends or bought from local brocantes and restored, we love the idea of recycling! But you don’t just get a yurt, each retreat has it’s own quirkily built and well equipped summer kitchen, dining terrace and BBQ, as well as a solar powered private bathroom and separate compost toilet, so you are getting much more than just a yurt to sleep in.
The yurts are situated on our smallholding in a beautiful rural location not far from the vibrant little town of Verteillac, where we are striving to live a sustainable and more self sufficient life-style. We have carefully placed each yurt hideaway to maximise our guests privacy and sense of seclusion and really want to ensure that our guests have the opportunity to get away from the hum drum of their hectic everyday lives. However we are always around and about should you need any advise on the local area, places to visit or things to do and we are happy to recommend which local restaurant or bar best fits the bill.
We offer guests the option of a breakfast hamper delivered down to your deck in the mornings and three course dinners are also available if booked in advance. Our large potager can supply you with a vast selection of organic fresh fruit, veg and herbs and Harry our son can supply you with lovely fresh organic eggs and sometimes butchered organic chicken. We are now entering our second year of bee keeping so hopefully the honey will be flowing and there may be a chance of home reared lamb and pork depending on how full the freezer is, look out for the sausages, they are to die for!
Our yurts have been designed and equipped with couples in mind and as such are furnished with one comfy double bed, but we have the possibility of swopping this for two or three singles if you are visiting with a friend or two. Although we don’t dislike children (honestly, we have three of our own!) we are wanting to ensure that our guests can really appreciate the peace and quiet of the place and therefore don’t usually take bookings for families with children between the ages of 4 and 14 years or so and even then we hope that families staying will be especially considerate of our other guests. Should you wish to find out more about holidays here with children please feel free to give us a call so we can discuss your families requirements. All that said, if you wanted to get a group of friends and family together to rent all of our yurts, you would be very welcome to bring along all of your kids! It is also possible to rent out the whole site with additional on-site accommodation for weddings and parties.
Being situated on the Dordogne Charente border we are ideally placed for visiting all the interesting and beautiful sites in both departments. There are chateaux to visit, prehistoric caves to explore or pretty market towns to meander around. Not to be missed is market day in Riberac on Fridays, canoeing along the river near Bourdeilles, Brantome the delightful riverside town with prehistoric caves, and it’s magnificent Benedictine Abbey or Aubeterre, a beautiful hillside village with its’ Monolithic church, arty shops and river beach. The cities of Angouleme & Perigueux are both within an hours’ drive, offering an abundance of both sightseeing and shopping opportunities. Further afield take a day out to explore Cognac, Bergerac, the vineyards of St Emilion, or visit the capital of wine, the city of Bordeaux.
There is a lot to do and see in the area but many of our guests just enjoy being around, getting the most out of what they have here, especially now that we have got our new “Jardin Splish Splosh" where you can relax, read a book, enjoy the sun and then cool off by dipping into the plunge pool. For the more energetic, the walking opportunities are endless and there is good climbing nearby, but Matt loves to set you off on one of his cycle tours which incorporate some of the local highlights and a lunch-stop recommendation – bikes can be hired and if you are up for the challenge, there is a tandem, a sure way to get honks and cheers from the cycle-loving french !
So which yurt is the one for you? Everyone seems to have a favourite but below are a few pointers to help you choose.
La Cabushe was inspired by the architecture of the Soloman Islands where Matt grew up. Sitting on the deck with a glass of local wine and watching the wind flurries through the cereal crops it is easy to imagine you are looking out to sea (although that might depend on how many glasses you’ve had!). With wide open views of rolling countryside, amazing sunsets and clear starry nights it is really a magnificent place to chillax and let the hours drift by.
Les Abris is our double yurt retreat consisting of two yurts for two couples so it is ideal if you want to share your stay with friends, although not obligatory! The summer kitchen and deck is situated between the two yurts providing a place to get together but still allowing everyone their own space. Although positioned a good way from La Cabushe, the views are equally as good and the new raised deck has proved to be a great spot for sun-downers and star gazing!
The Bodgers’ retreat has been designed for people who love trees! Situated on the edge of our small copse it consists of a semi underground roundhouse kitchen and terrace along with a nearby yurt. This unit is the essence of tranquillity, on those intensely hot and sunny days it’s nice to laze in one of the hammocks under the dappled shade of oaks, walnut, acacia, laburnum, hazel and ash trees, but there are also glades for any sun lovers and a pole lathe for the more active! The roundhouse has been constructed with maximum regard for the environment, using wood coppiced from a neighbour’s chestnut forest, straw bales collected from a field a hundred metres away, recycled car tyres as the foundations and willow from the plantation.
Whichever yurt you choose, we really look forward to welcoming you - we love the buzz that we get here in the summer and enjoy meeting and getting to know our guests, we seem to attract like minded people, many of whom become friends.
I love yurts!
Quirky Camping is the perfect location for a tranquil stay in the Dordogne. My Jack Russell, Tuppence thoroughly enjoyed his time playing with the two family dogs and I left Chez Devalon completely renewed.
Delicious cake, beautifully hand crafted eco-yurts, stunning views and late nights by the fire with amazing company! Many thanks to Wendy and Mat x
We stayed a little bit over a week at this lovely location in May 2015 and had a wonderful stay. Truly a place to unwind and relax. We've camped in several areas of europe during our 6 weeks trip and it's surely a place to stay if you want space, peace and tranquillity and warm hearted people around.
We had choosen a yurt for the last stay during our trip to relax and to enjoy some luxury after living in a tent. We hoped for a week of purely enjoying nature and relaxation and we were more than pleasantly surprised. We can definitely recommend Chez Devalon.
The owners, and the complete family with guests and friends who stayed their, had been very friendly, accommodating and always willing to help out. On Chez Devalon are so many options available from relaxing at the clean and nice pool to helping setting up a tipi or a yurt out of curiosity.
The yurt itself was fantastic, they are spacious and the respective facilities were clean, tidy, very well maintained and well thought out. Wendy and Matt had furnished the yurt especially for us as we had our 19 month old with us. So we had a small bed for him which we could position right next to our comfy double bed.
It was a great stay for our little one as he could stroll around as desired. There was always something to discover, the sheeps, the neigbours or just looking after the dogs.
We had the "La Cabushe" yurt which had a separate super sweet "open air kitchen" which was extremely well kitted with everything you could possibly need for cooking on the BBQ or on the gas oven. It was a treat sitting on the terrace in front of the kitchen drinking wine enjoying the absolutely stunning panoramic view to the southwest while resting and letting the day pass on the horizon!
All in All it was superb. We are looking forward towards our next stay!
Thanks to "the Family"!
regards & hugs
Victor, Monique & Justus