Camping Bel Sito
Like a long line of solidified lava, a thin, red tarmac track runs from Baubigny through the dunes. At the height of summer, the midday sun brings it up to lava-like temperatures too, and barefooted children walking back inland hop along its surface as if dancing across hot coals. The curious effect is of a pathway worn down only along its edges, where beach-goers traipse along in the cooler sands on either side.
At the path's end, of course, is the beach. But at its other end, through the sandscape of rolling marram grass and craters studded with wind-shattered shells, lies Camping Bel Sito, the antidote to the Euro-parks of Normandy. The very notion of a holiday park seems alien here. Though elsewhere swimming pools, evening ‘animations’ and daytime kids clubs are the very staple of camping existence, here affable owner Edith has shunned these gaudy go-to recipes for apparent campsite success.
“We respect your peace", she says, welcoming us into the spacious camping area that’s home to up to 85 pitches, "we do not propose any noisy entertainments”. There is still a small playground, a ping pong table and WiFi up by the main reception building, but otherwise it has a wonderfully undeveloped feel. Undeveloped but not unloved. The facilities, though basic, are immaculate and the decent showers with free hot water seem almost a novelty compared to the 50-cents a minute fumbling of the other sites around.
The main joy, however, is the general atmosphere of the place. The convenience of a beach just 900m away would be a treat no matter what the campsite was like but to find such a relaxed, old-school set up should not be taken for granted. Having a beach on the doorstep is one thing but not having to escape to it every five seconds because of the thumbing overture of another aqua-aerobics session is quite another.
Edith describes her philosophy perfectly, “return to traditional values of simplicity and conviviality” and it’s to these specifications the campsite has been formed. Guests socialise in the late lingering light of summer evenings and children play hide and sink among the dunes that spread out from the campsites edge in the direction of the sea, visible to every pitch owing to the tiered layout of the site. When sunset falls it looks stunning, no matter where you are.
Given the proximity of the dunes, the pitches are, in some places, more sandy than grassy, but head to the bottom of the site – where there is a small lake – and the ground is generally a little firmer. It is here too, come the evening, that the true stillness of the place can be appreciated. In the distance Sark Island and Jersey can be seen, while in the foreground that warm, lava-like ribbon of tarmac disappears towards the beach. It's a simple yet perfect scene, reflective, in a way, of the campsite itself: Nothing too fancy yet nothing unnecessary... and isn't that all you really need?
Facilities13 showers, 10 toilets, a washing up area, 2 washing machines and 1 drying machines. There is a playground and 2 table-tennis tables. Wifi is available in a specific area of the campsite at an extra charge.
Suitable ForTents, campervans, caravans, dogs (on a lead) – yes. Groups – no.
NearbyThe Cotentin Peninsula is lined with excellent beaches, the nearest being just a 5–10 minute stroll from the campsite, through the dynamic Baubigny dunes. The beach itself is huge, running north to south for several miles, so you're never short of space. Back inland, the vast Regional Park of Cotentin and Bessin (+33 2 3371 6190) is great for cyclists – with a particularly good route following the vague path of the River Douve. It's a 10-minute drive south to Barneville-Carteret from where you can get a ferry out to Guernsey Island (01481 723552) – an excellent day-trip and well worth doing if you're in the area for long enough (remember you need your passport to visit).
Food & DrinkThere are bread and croissants sold on site during July and August, while year-round there is a small selection of essential groceries available in the reception building. There's a big billboard suggesting local restaurants and cafés in the local area or ask Edith in person for specific suggestions. In terms of specialities, the region is renowned for its shellfish culture – notably oysters from Saint-Vaast-la-Hougue and Pirou – as well as cider and calvados, made from locally grown apples and pears.
A pitch and 2 people from €16–€26.
The Owner Says
UNIQUE HOLIDAYS IN A UNIQUE SETTINGA panoramic view over the Baubigny dunes, the sea, the Channel Islands (Jersey, Sark and Alderney) and the magnificent sunsets.You are looking for freedom, you like to be independent, you love a peaceful atmosphere, nature (birds, wild flowers, etc.), We will welcome you and make sure your holiday is a complete success.
To guarantee a calm holiday and peaceful nights:
we do not propose any entertainments
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