Belair le Camping
Maucité, Champagnac de Belair 24530, Dordogne
The tiny hamlet of Maucité may be rural – a band of trees wraps around the houses in a green embrace while the River Dronne skirts along one side – but the settlement is not entirely lost to the world. In fact, remote as the place may feel, it boasts two particular assets that the rest of France can be truly jealous of. The first is Moulin Du Roc, a Michelin starred restaurant, less than a kilometer down the road. And the second is Belair le Camping, a newly renovated and regenerated riverside campsite.
Bought by the Pantry family in 2016, Belair le Camping is a fresh, enthusiastic enterprise that has started small and keeps things on a personal scale. The site currently has just six bell tents, pre-pitched and kitted out with double beds and dainty wooden furnishings, and regular camping is not permitted. The lucky glampers that do bag these spots have acres of space to explore. Bikes are available to hire, so you can whizz along the riverside or pedal your way to Moulin Du Roc for that slap up meal, and there’s a raised, over-ground swimming pool where you can while away the sunniest hours.
There are many other ideas in the pipeline, too. Talks of a treehouse are afoot, or perhaps a cosy log cabin, tucked among the trees in the far corner of the site. Some plans remain further in the future than others. There’s also an old caravan parked up from the campsite’s previous owners. The Pantry’s are removing the van for 2017 but keeping its adjacent wooden shack and converting it into a warm communal space with a kitchen area, chiminea, tables and chairs.
The cobbled avenues of Brantôme are the nearest real attraction of note, its Benedictine abbey a particular highlight, but the real joy of Belair le Camping is the peace of the more immediate surroundings. Birds chirp a sing-song sound track each morning and the hedgerows bulge with fruit as the end of summer approaches.