Camping de Troyes
There’s something apposite about the medieval town of Troyes – the capital of the Champagne region – having a town centre that’s shaped like a champagne cork. It’s a lovely centre, too: a huddle of medieval buildings that stand out proudly against the town’s work-a-day charm. Though formed in the Roman era, most of Troyes’ architecture dates from the Middle Ages when it was an important trading town.
Just along the road, in Pont-Sainte-Marie, is Camping de Troyes, the town’s official campsite. Though a former municipal spot, the owners here have done everything in their power to transform it into something much more alluring than the word ‘municipal’ suggests and today it is a surprisingly green site that’s just a short drive away from Troyes’ contrasting centre, where wooden-framed buildings seem to almost topple into one another.
When you first arrive at the campsite you could be forgiven for thinking that you were walking into a motorhome nightmare. But keep the faith and head to the back of the site, where you’ll find a tent haven surrounded by shrubs and trees. Suddenly you’ll realise why it’s worth a few nights’ breather. Although you can easily feel you have your own private space, the plot itself isn’t exactly sprawling, so being at the end of the site doesn’t mean a long walk if you get caught short in the middle of the night.
The site is modern, but not overly manicured, and the pitches aren’t regimented. Squirrels rustle amongst the old trees, flowers splash colour around the perimeter and a swimming pool injects some playful fun into it all, accompanied by evening campfires arranged when the weather permits. The overall feel is ‘organised’ and those using it as a handy stop off point on the way to Southern France will leave thoroughly refreshed and ready to get on their way.
Campers hanging around for longer, who feel they’ve exhausted the local charms, can busy themselves with the nearby Parc Naturel Régional de la Forêt d’Orient, just 20 minutes away by car. The forest’s natural lakes proffer plenty of outdoor activities and can be accessed by La vélovoie verte (Green Bicycle Path) – detailed maps are available at reception.
FacilitiesHeated outdoor swimming pool, games room, restaurant. Twelve free showers, 11 toilets and wash-block. Disabled facilities and baby-changing room. Bike hire, small shop, and daily bread-delivery service. Small play area, kids’ bikes for hire. Ice-pack freezing. No campfires.
Suitable ForTents, campervans, caravans, dogs – yes. Large groups allowed, but owner checks details before confirming.
NearbyTroyes is one of the Champagne region’s historic capitals with wonderful medieval streets. Visit Cathédrale St-Pierre et St-Paul, hard to miss in the centre of the town, which frequently houses small educational exhibitions, often providing a little insight into the spectacular series of 180 stained-glass windows (13th–17th centuries) which glisten along its walls. Elsewhere Troyes has a number of decent museums (00 33 25 42 33 33), a particularly good modern art gallery (00 33 3 25 76 26 80) and even its own beach at Lac de la Forêt d’Orient.
Food & DrinkThe onsite restaurant is fairly basic but Bistro du Pont (00 33 3 25 80 90 99) is 300m along the road and sells some decent local dishes. For something more interesting Libanais (00 33 3 25 70 60 68) serves home-made Lebanese food at a reasonable price.
104 pitches, 26 for tents, 22 hook-ups, 3 in the tent area.
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