Camping in the Dordogne : 9 tips for a successful stay
Future camper, new or more accustomed, this article was made for you. You will find 9 fundamental tips, questions to be asked, the best reflexes to have, the equipment to be brought along to insure a successful holiday. Whether in a tent, mobile-home, caravan motorhome, as a couple, a family or with friends, the following advice, will surely make your camping holiday in the Dordogne a lot easier,
BEFORE LEAVING HOME
1 / What sort of camper are you ?
Before anything else, double check your camping accommodation. If you are the happy owner of acaravan or motorhome, go directly to tip n°2. If this is not the case, you will need to choose your accommodation type taking into consideration the make up of your tribe, your budget, your ability of transporting equipment and your needs. Tents, mobile-homes, unusual accommodations, chalets, bungalows, lodges, the rental options are numerous.
The all essential tent is sometimes feared. They can however, turn out rather comfortable if you have the right equipment (a good quality blow up mattress, a cosy sleeping bag, a well chosen tent). This economical option demands a little more organisation but be a fun, unforgettable experience, particularly for children.
Renting a static caravan will relieve you of all the concerns about equipment, or almost all. You will arrive without having to worry about what to bring etc, you will find the comfort of your home, and your only concern will be … relaxing.
Out of the ordinary accommodation are becoming more and more popular. Staying in one can be an attractive experience, especially for a couple for a weekend, but ask yourself if it’s appropriate for your next holiday in the south west ? A tree house with a baby can be complicated, a Mongolian yurt low and dark can quickly tire you out.
2 / Think about equipment
The key to a successful camping holiday lies largely in the equipment adapted to each type of campsite.
In a tent, to avoid any pitfalls during assembly, it is essential to check that your equipment is in good working order and in good condition before departure. Also plan to bring the essentials for an optimal stay. The ideal list here.
Caravans and motorhomes, have your vehicles serviced before D-Day. It is essential to carry out a maintenance visit, or at the very least, to check all the points essential to safety: oil and water levels, tyre pressure, headlights, brakes.
Also think before the trip to check equipment such as petrol/diesel, water and electricity circuits and emergency equipment (lights, battery, spare wheel, fire extinguisher).
Finally, do not neglect the administrative aspects of the vehicle (papers, insurance).
Even in mobile home, take a look at what you might be missing. Read the inventory of your holiday rental and complete it with the supplies that will be useful or that you cannot do without: mattress covers, magic vegetable grater, ice packs for picnics … Also think about the sheets if you haven’t taken the option and the bath mat.
3 / What is your ideal campsite in the Dordogne?
Choosing a campsite is not just a matter of range, budget and online reviews. A few preliminary questions need to be asked.
Atmosphere. Are you more classical or more glamping?
Are you looking for a family and relaxed atmosphere or a more thought out and more sophisticated one ? A large establishment or a smaller, more convivial campsite? A quiet place where you can take refuge peacefully after your activities or a rhythmic atmosphere into the evenings?
Services. Are you in the mood for a campsite with an abundance of activities? A simpler and more serene place? A hyper-equipped aquatic area or a peaceful swimming pool for soaking ? Have you thought about the covered and heated swimming pool if you are cold and concerned about the weather?
Pay attention to the location. Would you like a secluded setting in the middle of nature, away from tourist sites and homes, or close to shops for your convenience? In the middle of small villages to take advantage of the sweetness of life in the countryside or on the contrary to get closer to a more animated big city? If so, check the roads leading to your campsite. The beautiful and unmissable Sarlat attracts 2 million tourists a year, most of them in summer. Watch out for traffic jams.
4 / Reserve the perfect spot
The star region of foie gras and prehistory is appreciated by many French and foreign tourists. And camping in the Dordogne is very popular. Holiday establishments are usually fully booked during the high season, especially at the peak of tourist numbers between 10 July and 15 August. It is thereforeadvisable to book in advance in order to benefit from your favourite pitch and have the maximum choice of rental accommodation. In low season, as is often the case, you will have more room for a last-minute getaway.
Reservations can be made all year round. We are always available for any questions you may have. Do not hesitate to call us to find out more about the different pitches and choose the one that suits you best for a memorable holiday.
When making your reservation, whether it is early or last minute, please read the cancellation policy. Even if it’s hard to envisage, it can happen. If necessary, you can take out cancellation insurance. In the event of a question or dispute, the regulations are the responsibility of the Directorate General for Competition, Consumer Affairs and Fraud Control.
5 / The last settings before departure
It’s time for final preparations. Another tip for starting a camping holiday in the Dordogne or elsewhere: arrival times. Arriving at 9am and waiting until 4pm to be able to take possession of a rental is very unpleasant and can make you start off on the wrong foot.
On the other hand, if you arrive late, plan to leave your vehicle in the car park at the entrance to the campsite. At 10pm, the gate closes to plunge the campsite into peace and quiet. Be warned in advance, the reception which will be closed also.
At the same time, take a look at the rules, especially if you come with a pet which is welcome at the Camping du Bournat.
Finally, don’t botch your suitcase. Think about the activities, the climate, and take appropriate clothing. Mornings and evenings can be cooler in the Périgord offering a peaceful sleep. A little jumper will be welcome. It is also very hot during the day and beware of sunburn during outdoor visits. Think about light but long clothes and a hat. Don’t panic, in case you forget, you will find what you need in one of the many shops in Le Bugue, not far from our campsite.
6 / A calm and tranquil arrival
Once at the campsite, report to the reception. Don’t hesitate to come back once you have settled in, to talk to the team about how things work, your needs and also, for example, about the opening hours of the shops in the area and the tourist sites. This is also an opportunity to find out more aboutentertainment and outings, and to make reservations if necessary.
Information meetings take place every Saturday at 5pm in our campsite to give advice and propose a time to meet newcomers.
Also take note of the rules of the establishment. Camping holidays often rhyme with freedom. It’s also about a neighbourhood life where a few rules facilitate the serenity and the success of each holidaymaker’s stay.
Animals, children, parking, traffic, cigarettes, respect for the natural environment, swimming pools, noise are subject to rules for the well-being of the whole community. Having an idea of these rules beforehand can also help you avoid unpleasant surprises once you arrive.
7 / Prepare your day trips in the Dordogne
The Dordogne has many assets. Prehistoric treasures, medieval cities, irresistible gastronomy, green landscapes, exceptional geological formations, the most beautiful villages in France, omnipresent rivers, the list is long and the places of interest and activities are innumerable in the Black, Green, Purple or White Périgords.
Take stock of the sites in the Périgord that will please your whole family. And to do this, ask yourself, for example, if it is well adapted to each age and temperament of your child. A visit to a cave is extraordinary but can scare the little ones, some castles, caves or bastides can be difficult to access, busy tourist places such as the Lascaux Cave or Sarlat-la-Canéda are taken by storm. Remember to book sometimes even before your arrival or prefer off-peak hours.
Have the reflex of the Tourist Office just a few minutes from our campsite. The team is on the spot when it comes to the great sites of the Vézère Valley, the valley of man, Valley of the Dordogne. You will be able to book many outings directly there.
8 / Keep an eye on your budget
Most families are familiar with it. An ice cream here, outings there, the holiday budget can quickly explode, all the more so at a time of the year when you feel like letting go, enjoying and pleasing the whole family. A few tips can be kept in mind for a smart budget. The Périgord abounds in tourist sites. Compare prices, offers and visit lengths.
The smaller sites have several advantages: full of charm, less crowded and often cheaper. Like the small cave of Bara-Bahau in Le Bugue, where you will discover real prehistoric engravings. Think about it.
The night markets are good options to discover beautiful sites in the cool with special entertainment at no extra charge as at the Parc du Bournat, an amusement park partner of our campsite, which offers fireworks, bands, fireworks throughout the evening. And the price reserved for our customers is very advantageous. Details of the special offer here.
The picnic. Children love it and there is no shortage of places to picnic in the Périgord. On the riverside, in the shade of an old stone wash-house, in the forest, the picnic does not necessarily require much preparation. A sausage, some good bread, a few tomatoes and everyone is delighted!
Some sites encourage picnicking, at the Bournat park for example, where a shady and green area awaits you.
Finally, shopping. Even if it would be a shame not to browse the markets and small local producers, two supermarkets are located not far from our establishment to fill up your fridge at a lower cost: Lidl and Intermarché.
The Dordogne remains, nevertheless and even in high season, an affordable region.
9 / Share your needs
One last point, to choose a camping holiday is to choose conviviality but also quality. The team at the reception desk must be attentive to your needs, take the time to exchange ideas, to deal with any complaints and compliments as well!
Don’t forget, in case of need or inconvenience, to start by talking about it with the employees or the management if you feel like it, in order to find a solution before communicating your disappointment. Because if opinions count and have pushed hoteliers to surpass themselves, the human relationship takes precedence.
We at Camping du Bournat make sure we do it right. We try to improve and need your feedback to do better every year. Our exchanges are thus essential for that.
In a few words
For your camping holiday in the Dordogne, anticipation will avoid future hassles. But it’s not always easy to ask yourself the right questions between the youngest child and an exhausting job. We hope that the 9 tips above will help you with this. And don’t forget, holidays are for many people the time to slow down and disconnect. So, even if you don’t want to miss a crumb of all the wonders the Périgord has to offer, take the time to live!