The Little Carpe Diem - Les Olivettes
It's easy to see why, in early 2018, Sylvain and Mélanie fell head over heels in love with this little campsite – then called Les Olivettes – and, hearing it was to be sold, snapped it up in a heartbeat. After all, the place is an instant charmer; this staggering mountainside vista, in the heart of Provence, bursts with colour all year, while the individual tent pitches, parcelled up between olive trees and clusters of lavender, call out to any would-be camper.
Though under the helm of these inspirational new owners, Little Carpe Diem Campsite is, in fact, over 50 years old, but Sylvain and Mélanie took up the reins only recently, bringing a new lease of life and a new focus on close-to-nature camping. Even before they arrived, new additions included a solar-heated pool with a meditation area, a stylish barbecue spot and tastefully painted cornflower-blue amenities. While, despite a modern touch, it will still always be a place for traditional camping. Each pitch has been carefully considered and levelled, offering a variety of east- and west-facing pitches, with some olive trees totally shading you from the Provençal sun.
Ecology is important to Sylvain and Mélanie; both the showers and pool are solar-powered and all rubbish can be separated. The only additional lighting comes in the shape of small solar lights, which are only light enough to guide your way through the site at night. They certainly don’t pollute the incredible view of the staggering star-flecked sky – which is said to be the clearest in Europe. If you need more proof, then from July to mid-September scrutinise the night sky further at the astronomical observatory in nearby Puimichel.
Although there is a supermarket in nearby Les Mées in summertime fresh bread and croissants are delivered and potatoes can be collected directly from the farmer. Twice a week baked delights such as Quiche Lorraine and home-made confiture are brought back from the bountiful local markets: at some point you’ll want to experience these treats first hand.
Mélanie’s little office at the entrance is stocked full of suggestions of what to do further afield and Little Carpe Diem is quite perfectly placed. Just a 20-minute drive to the A51 means a great distance can be covered and so a wide range of activities are on offer – from gliding and ballooning in the east to swimming and water sports in the west.
2 excellent amenities blocks with wash-rooms, coin-operated washing machine, 4 solar-powered showers (free), baby-changing, disabled toilet/shower, playground and relaxing swimming pool. Baguettes and croissants must be pre-ordered (available July–August). Information point. You’re in the mountains, so it can be cold at night. Great BBQ area with tables, chairs, and sculptures. No campfires. No Wi-Fi. Provençal bistro opened in July and August from 17.00–19.30.
Suitable ForTents, campervans, caravans, dogs – yes.
NearbyFrom 1 July to 15 September you can visit the Observatoire de l’Alifant in Puimichel. Ecomusée l’Oliver is the place to go to find out everything about the history of the precious fruit (00 33 4 92 72 66 91). Les Olivettes is great if you love heights. Paragliding school Haut les Mains often does flights around Oraison (00 33 4 92 34 34 00). Some days you might also see a hot air balloon drift your way. Hot Air Balloons Provence (00 33 4 90 05 76 77) are based 35 miles (55 km) away as the balloon flies; €245 long flight, €175 short trip. For kids there’s accrobranche at Jungle Parc in St Pons (00 33 6 86 73 37 57), though parents will have to venture further to Maillemoisson’s Forêt Domaniale (00 33 4 92 35 29 79) for adult-orientated versions. Further north there’s rock-climbing, or for those who like to climb a mountain and jump off it there’s Fusion Paragliding near Gap (00 33 6 80 02 54 39).
Food & DrinkPlenty of restaurants in Les Mées. The best is Le Marmite du Pecheur (00 33 4 92 34 35 56), specialising in seafood and, in case you’re wondering, marmite is the name for the cooking pot. The local baker delivers in July/August, but La Boulangerie de Lurs (00 33 4 92 79 17 68) is worth visiting for the wide variety of specialist regional breads. Le Restaurant Nouer (00 33 4 92 74 98 10) offers a changing menu based on seasonal availability. Further into the mountains, 9 miles (13 km) from the site, in Entrevennes, is Cafe Restaurant Paradiso (00 33 4 92 77 25 92) a very reasonable bistro with an extensive vegetarian menu/seasonal delights. Regional specialities at the markets in Oraison (Tuesday morning) and Gréoux-les-Bains (Thursdays). Provence celebrates different produce every week from end of August until mid October (00 33 4 92 73 02 57).
OpenLate April – Late September.
The Owner Says
In order to ensure you 100% holiday camping and optimal integration into the landscape, we made the choice to have no mobile homes. Camping is on a human scale so nothing is far away, the pitches are spacious for privacy and common places for conviviality.
At the heart of Haute Provence, at the foot of the Luberon and near the Verdon, spend your holidays in the peace among olive trees and in the shade of oaks.
Located in the town of Mées (11km) and near the village of Oraison (4km), ideally placed for the discovery of our beautiful region.
Our small campsite of 35 pitches; 29 " Nature Locations " including one adapted for people with reduced mobility and 6 " Prestige Locations " welcomes you from May 04 to September 30, 2018.
In order to guarantee you a 100% camping holiday and optimal landscape integration, we have chosen to have no rental.
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