Ascou la Forge

Europe France Midi-pyrénées Ariège

  • Electrical hook-ups
  • Laundry
  • Campfires allowed
  • Dogs welcome
  • Good walks nearby
A tranquil base for exploring the Pyrenees mountain range
In the heart of the Pyrenees, close to the Spain–Andora border, Ascou La Forge is like a family-friendly basecamp for a world of European adventure. Surrounded by forest and mountains and a well-spring for all things outdoors, it’s a real hub for adventure and extreme sports – exactly the reason that Adrie Dekker and Helma Gorter first moved here.

Originally from the Netherlands, but moving to France in 1994, the couple set up Ascou la Forge driven by their passion for nature and love of outdoor persuits. They certainly didn’t choose a bad spot. Footpaths riddle the mountain sides, lakes laze in shimmering pools at the bottom of every valley and peaks spike the skyline, inviting you to take them on.

The site itself, while surrounded by by rich, forested vegetation, still retains a surprisingly open feel and is made up of 55 large, well-organised pitches, most of which can be provided with electricity. For those looking for a more glamorous option, 2 yurts are also available and a few ‘accommodation’ options like gîtes and apartments will allow you to convince even your tentophile friends to come along.

Down one side of the site a river runs, spilling into a lake where fishing is permitted. Campfires can be lit along its banks, sending thin whisps of smoke across the site and marshmallows are sold in the site reception (along with basic food, local wine and books about the area), so you can indulge to your hearts content. Not that you need to waste your time crouched around the campfire. A restaurant (open daily from May to September, and again from December to April for the ski season) serves excellent, locally sourced food and has a wonderful terrace for admiring the views. A bar can also be found with the finest Belgium beer on draft.

The list of things to do in the area is extensive, catering to every interest. From the site there are a number of fantastic walking trails – Adrie and Helma are more than happy to recommend the best – and if, as the sun begins to set, you decide you’re not ready to turn back, you can use your overnight stay and stop at one of the several Gites d'Etappes in the mountains. Once you set out you’ll understand the draw. Each turn reveals a new natural wonder, a field of mountain flowers or a crystal clear lake at the bottom of a deep valley, and the diverse range of route options leaves a nagging sense that you haven’t seen it all. Not that you ever can. Be careful though, it’s exactly this sense of unfinished business that led Adrie and Helma to move out here. You may just end up wanting to do the same!

Details

Facilities

There are 2 toilet buildings, with a total of 9 hot showers, 9 toilets and washrooms, with laundry facilities also present. A new Sodiac swimming pool is available for all to use. A small river flows alongside the campsite where children can also swim and build dams and there is a lake where you can fish. Campfires are permitted on the lakeside and river banks. The campsite borders the forest and the park “Reserve National de Orlu” where you can spot all kinds of wildlife. In the high season an activity is organised every day, from slack–lining to ginormous games of hide and seek.

Suitable For

Tents, caravans, campervans and dogs – yes. During the high season (July & August) large groups are not accepted.

Nearby

The campsite is perfectly situated for hiking and the owners are happy to recommend certain trails. As well as the campsite, the owners also run an outdoor centre. Campsite visitors can participate in various outdoor activities such as kayaking and rock-climbing, all guided by English speaking guides. A little further afield you’ll find the underground river of Labouiche (+33 5 6165 0411) where you can take a cruise through the caves, or visit Montsegur Castle (+33 5 6101 0694) and Chateau de Foix (+33 5 3409 8383) to learn about the area’s history. At La Maisons des Loups (+33 5 6164 0266; The House of Wolves) you can see a number of different species of wolves and even help when it comes to feeding time. In the past the area was inhabited by wild wolves and La Maison des Loups serves as a reminder of that time, preserving some of the wildness in an area that is almost entirely untouched by humans. During Winter, a number of ski stations open up nearby, including Ascou-Pailheres and Ax Bonascre. Come winter, the site is situated 10 minutes from a ski resort and 15 minutes from a cross-country ski area.

Food & Drink

There are two dining options at the campsite: the restaurant - open May to September, and December to April - where you can eat à la carte or from the menu of the day. And a small bar, where you can find snacks as well as local wines and Belgium beer on draft. In Ax-les-Thermes (a 10 minute drive) there's a wider variety of restaurants and pubs.

Opening Times

All year.

Location

Contact Ascou la Forge, Camping Ascou la Forge, 09110 Ascou Frankrijk, Ariege, France

Show Map

Getting There

From Ax-les-Thermes: at the roundabout follow the sign Ascou-Pailhères, after 3.5 km turn right towards Ascou. 3 km passed Ascou you will see the lake of Goulours, 500 meters after this lake you will find the campsite on your right. There are train stations and bus stops in Ax-les-Thermes, where a lift to the campsite can be organised with the owners. The nearest airports are in Toulouse and Carcasonne.

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