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64270 Salies De Béarn, Nouvelle-Aquitaine
1 acre
Gorgeous views and characterful, individual camping areas
It’s not hard to see exactly what Marianne Hessels fell for back in 1980. Equidistant from both the epic Atlantic coastline and the foothills of the Pyrénées, this one-time stud farm just outside the charming town of Salies-de-Béarn had her hooked at first sight. Today, thanks to the enterprising endeavours of this affable Dutch ex-pat, a sprawling slice of rural Aquitaine has been transformed into a campers’ paradise – the wonderful Domaine d'Esperbasque. Campers really are spoiled for choice here. The five different fields (The Park, The Hill, The Vineyard, The Oak, The Sheep Meadow) all have a unique charm and character. Take the Hill, with its beautifully terraced grass pitches set aside exclusively for tents, which boasts panoramic views over the valley into Salies-de-Béarn. Or the more family-friendly Park field, shaded by mature trees and just a gentle canter from the nearby riding school – a vestige of the former farm’s equestrian heritage. They also offer bright and airy safari tents, complete with complimentary deck chairs that are perfect for reclining with a glass of wine from the neighbouring vineyard and soaking up the view. Indeed, wherever you pitch up in this spacious site, the views are unbeatable. There's a relaxed, hippified air to Domaine d'Esperbasque. With plenty for the kids to do (from trampolining and boules to swimming and darts), mums and dads are free to soak up the pleasingly lazy pace of life from the scenic terrace. As the sun descends over the surrounding Pyrénées, painting the tranquil night sky in warming hues of purple and sunburst, you'll know exactly what so enraptured Marianne on that momentous day over thirty years ago.
Natural features
Not currently accepting bookings on Hipcamp
64270 Salies De Béarn, Nouvelle-Aquitaine, FranceTo respect the Host's privacy, the precise address of this land will be provided after booking
Hosted by Domaine D.Joined in September 2013
From the host
Our campsite, situated in the hills of Béarn, is surrounded by spectacular views of the valley of Salies and of the Pyrenees. We welcome all campers to contribute to the family-like ambience, and to take coffee on the terrace or to picnic together when horse-riding. Having been in this Medieval French area for over thirty years, we are well known for a laid-back atmosphere which was successfully summarised by one guest who said ‘no rules, only love’. Children love to help catch and groom the horses and ponies, then can enjoy numerous activities including splashing in the swimming pool, go-karting, singing round the campfire, football and volleyball matches and stroking our tusked pig Basco and the little bunnies. Those who want a break from the bustling barn often wander the nearby markets which are hububs of food and chatter, go walking or cycling through beautiful scenery, visit San Sebastian and Pamplona. The best family-day is rafting, canoeing and swimming in the wild water in the Sauveterre river. René, one of Marianne’s sons, also has his brewery onsite for those who take an interest in proper home-brewed beer. If you prefer wine, our neighbour does wine-tasting, or you can enjoy his wines from our veranda. Each evening, you can watch the sunset from the terrace or on horseback, riding through hilly countryside and meadows. The evenings also host ping pong and boule competitions offering opportunities to make friends with enthusiastic people from all over Europe.
Nearby attractions
Domaine d'Esperbasque is equidistant from both the Pyrenees and the Atlantic Ocean (both around 45mins drive away). The Bearn and Basque countryside boasts some stunning scenery and makes for a great hiking / biking trip. The lovely spa town of Salies-de-Béarn boasts several great restaurants, a golf course, and Salt Museum. The gorgeous colonial Spanish border city of Pamplona is just under 2 hour's drive away. For the slightly unhinged, the San Fermin Festival's world-famous 'running of the bulls' takes place every July 6th–14th. For those who don't manage to escape unscathed, the healing holy shrine of Lourdes is also just over an hour away.
Food and drink
In high season, the local baker comes with freshly-baked baguettes and croissants every day. During low season, Marianne makes her own bread. There's also pizza night once a week and nightly dinners varying from Indian to local French cuisine. You can buy lots of lovely local produce onsite too. The pick of the local options is La Belle Auberge (0033 559 38 15 28), a charming rural hotel and restaurant in the surrounding village of Castagnède. You can get 2 courses plus plenty of delicious sides for only €26. For refined regional cuisine, head for chic restaurant Les Voisins (0033 559 38 01 79) in Salies-de-Béarn. It's a little pricier than some of the other local eateries, but worth every penny. Marianne's neighbour, Lapeyre Guilhemas, also makes wonderful wine – pop next door for a visit and a glass or two. The region is also famous for its foie gras and pâté with around 90% of artisan duck farms residing here in southwest France.
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