Camping Le Mondou
You can’t get more quintessentially French than a Tuesday night at Camping Le Mondou in the height of summer. The low sun casts long, dappled fingers of shade across the boules court as children practice their throwing, back-spinning the metal balls into the sand. Then the adults take over; maestros of the sport. They’re all vying for the traditional Tuesday night prize – a bottle of excellent local vino for the parents and a good old ice-cream for the kids.
Tuesday night’s ‘concours de boules’ is precisely the sort of fun and friendly scene that sums up the style of camping at this relatively small, Dordogne campsite. Despite a decent heap of facilities, it’s still a far cry from the regimented holiday parks that France is so famous for and the thoroughly sociable feel of it all makes it ideal for families hoping for a space where kids can run around and make friends, whatever their nationality.
The site itself is split into a figure of eight type shape, with a top and bottom section. The upper part is centered around the outdoor swimming pool and a small restaurant with a terrace, while the lower field is where the slightly quieter spots are spread, broken up by mature trees and shrubs. As you’d expect, it’s all pretty casual, with the pitches varying in size slightly depending on how the bushes and trees have grown. All have electricity though and there’s plenty of space for every camper.
The location is one of the real highlights. It takes less than five minutes to walk to the riverside. The local stretch is called the Dore and only later becomes the Dordogne after joining a second river, the Dogne. You can hire bikes from the campsite to pedal your way along the scenic riverside routes or join one of the sights regularly organised canoe trips to drift downstream – the best and most relaxing way to take in the sights. Caves, castles and medieval villages are all on show, providing that quintessentially French finish to this campsite.
FacilitiesThe campsite has a new toiletblock with 6 showers, 7 toilets, 2 urinals, a washing machine and tumblerdryer, 2 clothes washbasins, 4 washbasins, 4 sinks and disabled access. There's a boules pitch, table tennis, a large swimming pool, a children's play area and special ghost-hunting evenings in summer. WiFi is available.
Suitable ForTents, campervans, caravans, families, couples, pets (except in the chalets) – yes. Tandem axel vehicles – no.
NearbyOnce a week the campsite organises canoeing on the Dordogne – highly recommended – and can also help you with guided cycle routes if you like. Bikes are available to rent onsite if necessary. Sarlat, Domme, Beignac and Rocamadour are all within easy driving distance and well worth a ramble of the cobbled streets or visit the chateaux at Fenelon (05 53 29 81 45) and Castelnaud (05 53 31 30 00). Perhaps the most spectacular, however, is a visit to the caves of Gouffre de Padirac (05 65 33 64 56) just under an hour away. One of the most visited natural attractions in France, this ginormous chasm is up to 103m deep and descended by visitors in a lift and lower staircase. Once underground you can explore the cave by foot and in a tiny boat, following the subterranean river system. It's truly extraordinary and well worth the drive.
Food & Drink
There is an on-site restaurant serving food every evening. Twice a week they have special meals like smoked trout, mussels and regional dishes and, on Friday, homemade pizzas from the a wood oven. They sometimes go as far as serving the seven-course local meal! There is also a licensed bar. In the village there are also several small restaurants and a bar – Le Roi Carotte (05 53 29 82 33), translating directly as 'the King Carrot', is a fantastic restaurant for fresh food straight from the surrounding garden. It’s within easy walking distance (around 15 minutes) of the campsite.
Opening TimesApril–mid October.
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