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Auvergne Naturelle

· Haute Loire, Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes
1 acre hosted by Kathryn H.
5 glamping pitches
Natural heaven. This is one of the most relaxing and beautifully isolated glamping sites in central France.

Deep in the heart of the protected Parc Naturel Régional Livradois Forez, hidden from view up the pine-clad slopes of Laval-sur-Doulon, Camping Auvergne Naturelle is earthy and magical. The sound of the babbling brook at the bottom of the wild-flower meadow here conspires with birdsong and wind chimes to create a symphony of peace.

Imagine leaving the majesty of your Genghis Khan yurt in the brilliant-blue dawn to gaze down the valley, birds of prey circling overhead. This campsite is truly off the beaten track, in the same region as the famed 18th-century Beast of Gévaudan; a wolf-like creature of the forests that claimed over 100 lives.

With its alpine feel, the area reminds one more of Switzerland than France. A campfire burns throughout the night, inviting story-telling and bread-making for nocturnal kids, plus the chance for you to get to know your fellow guests. That’s easily done, for though the site has its own natural forest and is anything but small, the facilities themselves are within close proximity of one another. They include a funky wood shower block, which has been designed to maximise the mountain view; between soaping yourself down you can look out of the open-slat shower on to the woods beyond, as if you’re in a Herbal Essences ad.

The kids love it here, perhaps because the owners have their own child and set about enriching the site with as many child-friendly enchantments as they could think of. For a start there are child-only trails; one such route leads into a little glade strung with bells, hammocks, and fairies. (Your kids can even email the fairies on return to the UK.) Children particularly love whittling their own walking sticks in the morning bushcraft sessions and they can also learn how to build a fire. For the adults, there are a few colourful pastimes to throw yourself into on site, from yoga to axe-throwing. The days stretch out lazily here. After your morning croissant and café au lait, you’ll feel those wildman genes firing up so that apart from exploring the forest and surrounding meadows for the Beast of Gévaudan you might want to have a crack at exploring your inner bushman, along with the kids. There are courses for both age groups.

The yurts themselves, of which there are four, have been subtly positioned to create maximum privacy and give you the finest views. Inside they look like a summer shoot from an edition of Homes & Gardens, with cream throws, wood floors, fresh wild flowers, and rustic furniture.

And did we mention the owners? Rob and Kathryn, a young couple from Manchester, make for perfect hosts: he’s a joiner by trade who also studied bushcraft under Ray Mears, while Kathryn turns her eye for detail to the interiors of the yurts, and is also a great cook.

The communal barn, charmingly tumbledown, is magical, with fairy lights, candles, and a huge beamed ceiling and long dining table, giving it the impression of aViking longhouse. The space also doubles as a playroom for kids on stormy days – there are creative materials and stacks of board games to have a go at. The self-catering kitchen and fridge are also here. A favourite aspect of this place, apart from the wonderful continental breakfasts, comfy yurts, killer views, and soporific pace of life, is the owners themselves and all the thought they put into ensuring that their guests never forget their stay here. Camping Auvergne Naturelle is intimate, amazing value for money, and destined to become one of the best sites in France for making your great escape to.

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Haute Loire, Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes, FranceTraditional, ancestral territory of various First Nations according to To respect the Host's privacy, the precise address of this land will be provided after booking
Hosted by Kathryn H.Joined in March 2016
1 Ratings · 6 reviews
Antje M.
September 4, 2020
Wir verbrachten zwei kühle regnerische Tage in Laval-sur-Doulon. Robert and Kathryn waren sehr aufmerksame und warmherzige Gastgeber. Robert feuerte morgens und abends den Ofen in der Scheune an, sodass wir es uns vor dem Feuer gemütlich machen konnten. Tagsüber kam meist die Sonne heraus. Unser Sohn war sehr begeistert vom Luftgewehr schießen unter Roberts aufmerksamer Anleitung. Unsere Kinder genossen es, mit Olive und Daisy zu spielen und die kleinen Kätzchen und Hund Willow zu streicheln. Wir spazierten durch den sehr malerische Ort Auzon (ca. 15min entfernt). Im kleinen Touristenbüro dort bekamen wir sogar einen kostenlosen Ortsplan. Sehr lecker fanden wir auch die Saucisson Sec und den Käse sowie frisches Obst direkt vom Erzeuger vom Bauernmarkt in Brioude. Am Sonntag verwöhnte uns Kathryn mit einer feinen Lasagne. Die Yurte und die Scheune sind sehr geschmackvoll und mit Liebe zum Detail eingerichtet. Vielen Dank für zwei schöne Tage in der Natur.
Abigail W.
August 6, 2020
This summer my daughters and I returned to Auvergne Naturelle for our second family holiday on the site. The warm welcome and the beautifully organised and decorated yurts and barn made our arrival feel very special, while the ongoing and carefully judged hospitality of Rob and Kathryn, especially their excellent cooking and the daily organisation of any bread and pastries we needed, meant the whole holiday was an absolute pleasure and just so, so easy! This is a very special place – the perfect ‘Goldilocks’ campsite where there is plenty of space for everyone in the beautifully landscaped wooded gardens: all yurts allow privacy and space for family relaxation but, at the same time, the kids can always find someone to play with and something to do. Daisy and Olive organised games for our gang of kids every night after they’d finished roasting their marshmallows around the communal campfire and they all tore shriekingly around the campsite, the valley echoing with their shouts and laughter until they were all ready to collapse into sleep. The river at the bottom of the site is perfectly wadable and, as the days warmed up, became the perfect place to cool down, especially when Rob led one of his bushcraft sessions on tracking and trapping animals around the site and up the river. Another bushcraft session had the kids making bows and arrows or whittling spoons – a project that took up all the spare moments of our week. A final mention should be made for the most beautiful camp site showers ever. The showers are situated half way down the slope of the campsite and are beautifully constructed, down to an artfully removed plank of wood which means that you shower with a full view across the rooftop of the barn and the slopes of the valley. For memories that will last forever and a really luxurious but authentically natural family holiday – this really is the perfect place. After a week, it was too early to leave but we know that we’ll be back!
Na F.
July 31, 2018
As we are not the most experienced campers, we were wandering what is was going to be like. But it far exceeded our expectations. Although you're sleeping in the middle of nature, you have all the comfort you need. The yurts are very spacious, have mosquito nets and one of the coziest beds we've ever slept in. Each yurt has its own shower cabine, with a nice view on the sun coming up over the mountains in the morning. The site is very child friendly, there were a lot of things to do and to explore for our 3-year old. (Don't miss the hidden fairy village a little bit higher up the hill). There is a little charming river just a 100 meters away, or you can go to the lake for a swim, which is just a few minutes driving. Every night there is a cosy fire, where you can meet the other people or just to read a book. The camp site is very quite in the evening, you feel almost alone in the whole valley. And we highly recommend to try out Kathryn's cooking skills! Thank you Kathryn, Rob, Daisy and Olive for your hospitality!
Polarcaigh M.
June 6, 2018
Beautiful setting, child friendly, superbly appointed yurts and the most wonderful hosts. Kathryn and Rob run a really secluded, intimate campsite with just four luxurious yurts. They provide wonderful food three nights per week and really could not have done more for our three boys who had the absolute time of their lives playing in the forest, investigating the fairy garden, bushcraft with Rob and their personal favorite: making bows and arrows, wooden spoons, wood carvings and fires...with more wood. Going off to sleep each evening was wonderful listening to the river flowing and the wildlife singing and I haven’t slept as well for years, those beds are so comfortable. My own personal favorite time was the early morning slipping into the inside -outside showers and watching the sun rise over the forest and hills as I washed myself into another day in Paradise. Those are the showers and the views I hope they have in heaven! I must just mention the fabulous breakfasts of coffee, pastries, croissants, delicious bread (la corun, I think) all served with beautiful local jams and honey and don’t get me started on all the great day trips we took! I couldn’t recommend Auvergne Naturelle enough. We all can’t wait to go back In the July.
Cat ?.
September 16, 2015
Absolutely fantastic week, highly recommended.  We stayed with our 2 children (3 years and 6 months) and the whole family had a great time.  The set up is excellent and everything has been thought through and presented to high standard.  Despite plans to explore the local area we had everything we needed on sight and ended up staying put apart from an afternoon at the local swimming lake.  Very relaxing and enjoyably.
Jess W.
June 15, 2014
Spent a week with our 2 boys aged 11 and 9.  We all loved it and want to return.  Proper slow pace but only after you have destroyed the wonderful breakfast provided. Bushcraft days were excellent fun and strangely therapeutic!  Kathryn provided highly useful details of markets and local attractions even sorted out local kayaking and we ended up doing that twice too.  Yurts are very spacious and very individual.  No over looking neighbours.  Some days we just stayed put too.  The view from our washroom will never be beaten.
From the host
Luxury Yurt heaven. This is one of the most relaxing and beautifully isolated glamping sites in central France.
Nearby attractions
Donkey walks and horse-riding can be organised. There are markets in Brioude every Saturday morning (8am–1pm). The magnificent countryside is begging for you to hire a mountain bike and ride around like the Von Trapps. Half an hour up the mountain, La Chaise Dieu is famed for its beautiful abbey (1043 bc) and bijou antique shops, cafés, and restaurants. A world-famous classical music festival takes place here in August. It's also a 30-minute drive to the River Allier – a fabulous place for canoeing and arguably even better than the renowned Ardeche given how quiet it is even in peak season. An hour-and-a-half away are 80-odd dormant volcanoes, the most dramatic of which is Puy de Dôme, a mecca for hiking and paragliding.
Food and drink
Kathryn makes homely grub 3 times per week including dishes like boeuf bourgignon, chicken chasseur, and sausage and mash local-style. Dinner costs €16 and includes delicious homemade desserts like tarte aux pommes (apple tart). For supplies there’s a supermarket in nearby Brioude (half-an-hour away). If you fancy exploring the local area for foodie delights why not try Auberge de Chassignolles, 20 mins drive, a favourite for its authentic Auvergne cuisine.
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