Lakeside glamping lodges on a four-acre smallholding in the Vendée countryside
After pootling around country lanes on a bicycle, you flop into a hammock and rest your sun hat on your chest. Dappled sun from the trees above warms you, a breeze gently rocks you into a light slumber. This is The Good Life in France, a boutique lakeside glamping site where the adults-only policy means the peace and quiet of the place is perfectly preserved.
There are just two canvas-covered glamping lodges on this site, each set up for a couple. And while the life you’ll experience here will be a charmed one with lazy days, relaxed evenings and well-cushioned nights, you’ll see another kind, too. Glamping site owners Steve and Jane are known among their friends as 'Tom and Barbara', after characters from the 1970s British sitcom The Good Life. Like Tom and Barbara, they aim for a more sustainable, eco-friendly lifestyle by growing their own veg, curing their own meat and looking after their environment as best they can. Come here and you’ll not only see their garden, but you’ll eat from it, too. A welcome pack includes a taste of whatever is in season, and you are invited to book in for a wholesome meal “en famille” during your stay too.
It’s all rather inspiring and the pair, who’ve spent 20 years in France, are happy to share their knowledge in a range of courses, from bacon curing to breadmaking. But they are equally as happy to send you out into the local area armed with tips on places to eat, drink and visit. The site is in the Vendée, in the far west of middle France; an area of undulating countryside, wooded valleys and canals that’s not too far from the west coast for you to visit the beach. The region’s biggest attraction is the historical theme park, Puy du Fou, where visitors are wowed on a daily basis with spectacular theatre-style shows and tableaux.
The drama and excitement are quite the contrast with the peaceful scene that awaits you back at The Good Life in France, where your glamping lodge has a kind of brocante-style elegance thanks to vintage fabrics, wicker armchairs and white-washed furniture. There’s basic cooking equipment, a barbecue and fire pit at each lodge and there are shared kitchen facilities for anything more involved. Washrooms are also shared and a short walk away. And all of this looks over that lovely lake where two hammocks sway temptingly in the breeze.
Pays de la Loire, FranceTo respect the Host's privacy, the precise address of this land will be provided after booking
Hosted by Steve J.Joined in October 2021
From the host
Our friends call us Tom and Barbara, but we are actually Steve and Jane! Since moving to France in 2003 we have become 90% self-sufficient in fruit and vegetables; we make our own sausages, bacon, salami and air dried ham; brew beer and generally do all things 'Good Life'.
We keep chickens for eggs but the next logical step for us was to start keeping animals for meat. This meant we needed to move and in 2012 we found Les Soudieres. The previous owners had installed Eco Lodges and so we thought why not share our little corner of paradise and The Good Life in France was born.
One of our greatest pleasures is eating a plate of food that has all been produced by ourselves, knowing everything that has gone into your food and that it has made very little impact on the planet is quite amazing. We try to live in a sustainable manner, that is, producing what we need without impacting on the environment. We cannot say we are 100% there but we are 90% self-sufficient in fruit and veg and we are just embarking on producing our own meat so that’s a start. We are always trying to find ways of reducing our carbon footprint, minimising waste and recycling what we can. Having said that, we don’t believe in making life too hard and feel that it is possible to be responsible whilst still enjoying life’s little luxuries.
The glamping lodges are set in four acres of parkland, with two lakes, which guests are welcome to explore. Fishing is allowed and there is plenty of good walking and cycling nearby. You can hire bikes from Bike Hire Direct (0033 (0)5 40 00 08 98) if you don't want to take your own. The nearby village of Thiré (less than three kilometres from site) is home to The Gardens of William Christie, who is a pioneer of Baroque music. The gardens are open to the public several times throughout the summer and, in August, there are a series of concerts. Historical theme park Puy du Fou is the premier attraction in the Vendée and is about a 40-minute drive away. It's about the same distance (in another direction) to Marais Poitevin, where you can explore tree-lined canals by boat and if a refreshing dip is what you're after, head for the coast. La Rochelle and the sandy Île de Ré are both about an hour's drive away.
Food and drink
Steve and Jane supply a welcome pack of goodies including homegrown veg from the garden, eggs, homemade sourdough bread, butter, homemade jam and their own 100% pure apple juice. They also offer the chance to eat 'en famille', with them. A weekly menu is available. If you do fancy eating out ask Steve and Jane for their local recommendations.