Laid-back rural camping in the sun, with ancient castles, river swimming spots and petit French cafés within family-friendly cycling distance
‘Rural’ is the buzzword at Camping La Forêt de Tessé. Despite being around 10 minute’s drive from the N10 motorway, this is a campsite in splendid isolation. The final roads around the hamlet of Grosbout are more frequented by rabbits than by cars. In fact, the main traffic comes from bicycle-bearing campers making the most of the peaceful, flat surroundings. For those in need of a little quiet time, it’s the perfect spot.
Opened in 2017, Camping La Fôret de Tessé offers informal grass pitches spread across a one-acre space, broken up by shade-providing trees. Picnic benches are dotted about the place and there are a handful of electrical hook-ups for campervans or caravans, while a traditional stone building houses the toilet facilities and washing up block. Outside, there’s a swimming pool, along with a table tennis table and pétanque court, and, for those that haven’t brought their own bikes, friendly owners Mark and Ildi will happily let you borrow some for the day.
For those with the legs, a leisurely one-hour ride takes you to the River Charente in Rejallant, where a series of weirs and islands creates a perfect (and popular) wild swimming spot. An appealing, family-friendly restaurant overlooks the waters there, while picnic benches along the banks make it the ideal place to laze away a few hours of your time. You can also rent kayaks on the shore.
A longer cycle south puts ancient Verteuil-sur-Charente within range (or it’s a 20-minute drive), where the turreted old château only adds to the town’s already charming small-time feel. Narrow roadways lead down to the crystal clear river that runs through the former castle mill, now an idyllic riverside café, while hanging baskets adorn the arched stone bridge.
Not that you need to cycle off anywhere. The campsite itself is the sort of place that sucks you in and defuses any sense of time or it’s importance. After fresh croissants for breakfast, a few hours beside the pool and an afternoon prepping something special to cook in the on-site pizza oven, you might just feel like chilling out and staying put. A good book, some sun cream, and you’re sorted.
La Foret De Tessé, Nouvelle-Aquitaine, FranceTo respect the Host's privacy, the precise address of this land will be provided after booking
Hosted by Ildiko ?.Joined in April 2018
From the host
Camping & Gîtes La Forêt de Tessé has a small campsite with 2 fully furnished canvas tents each with their own cooking cabins and a 1 bedroom gîte to rent.
We are located in Grosbout, a peaceful hamlet in the commune of La Forêt de Tessé with a close knit community. Long hot summers, warm spring and autumn means outside dining is possible from April till the end of October. We are surrounded by farm land and a small woodland. Swimming lakes, river swimming and canoeing are about 10 mins drive away. The roads nearby are really quiet and ideal for walking & cycling, there is hardly any traffic. With no light pollution we have the most amazing clear night skies. All the tranquillity of the countryside but shopping, markets, restaurants and supermarkets are only 10 min drive away. The area is dotted with picturesque villages with beautiful stone houses and chateaus.
The N10 motorway that leads down to Spain is 10 minutes away making this an ideal stop to break up a long journey. There are lots to see and do in the area without the crowds of tourists. Ideally located for days out to Cognac, La Rochelle, Angoulême e. Our ‘Welcome Folder’ supplied on arrival will contain detailed local information about places to visit, activities, restaurants, supermarkets etc.
Rent bikes from the campsite and enjoy the emptiness of the local lanes – ideal for cycling and walking – or use one of the local outlets to rent a kayak of canoe to paddle down the river to Château de Verteuil sur Charente (0033 5 4531 1574). The closest such places to grab a paddle and get on the water are just beyond Ruffec (16-minute drive) with information in the campsite's welcome pack. If you'd prefer to drive to the château – a beautiful triangular building with 5 fairytale, conical towers and a dark slate roof – it takes around 20 minutes. Other activities in the locale include lake and river swimming, vineyard tours, a futuristic theme park in Poitiers (1hr drive) and a primate zoo, called Valley of the Apes (0033 5 4987 2020), a half hour drive away.
Food and drink
As any self-respecting French campsite should, La Foret de Tesse has fresh bread and croissants delivered every morning. Place your order the evening before hand. Nearby, Le Moulin de Condac (0033 5 4530 1224; 15 minutes by car) is a gourmet French restaurant in an old converted mill by the river Charente and comes highly recommended by the Mark and Ildi. Eating on the waterside terrace outside is a must. For those with a sweet tooth, there's an excellent café and cake shop in Ruffec, too, Le Moulin des Delices (0033 5 4531 6205). They're by no means the only options, though. In fact, Mark and Ildi are a well spring of good foodie ideas, and provide extensive information and recommendations in their ‘welcome information folder’ on your arrival.