It’s not the sharp menthol smell of eucalyptus leaves that hits you when you turn off D93 on to chemin des Moulins, but the earthy acidity of rows of bountiful grapevines. Husband and wife Philippe and Florence Lamon have wine running through their veins after inheriting the farm from Florence’s father in 1994.The Lamons also belong to a co-operative, Les Vignerons de Grimaud, which produces Les Grimaldines wines. The hard-working Lamon’s enterprise doesn’t stop with grapes. The industrious couple renovated part of the farmhouse at the turn of the millennium and converted it into holiday apartments. But the pièce de résistance of Les Eucalyptus is their site, Camping à la Ferme, which is as close to St- Tropez’s most famous beach as you want to be.
Just a short moped ride away from the farmhouse, the site is beyond the vines and near the working part of the farm, although the grapes are mushed offsite at the co-operative. The occasional sound of a putting tractor is drowned out by the comforting and inviting roar of waves beyond the bamboo plantation backing onto Moorea Plage, part of St-Tropez’s legendary Pampelonne sands. The more discerning camper can sunbathe on the plage privé, with sunloungers reasonably priced for the area, however the public beach is equally delightful. Boutiques selling cool clothes are fringed around the restaurants, which offer bar snacks with a French-Reggae vibe at the end of the beach. Or if you’re into a little more comfort and delicacy, there’s a finer-dining area that wouldn’t look out of place in nearby St-Tropez. Even further, towards Pampelonne’s world-famous Plage de Tahiti, is a larger campsite with its own supermarket. Perfect for stocking up before retreating to the privacy of Camping à la Ferme. But if you crave the glitzy limelight then you could walk to the ultra-exclusive Kon Tiki beach huts and Club 55, famous since Brigitte Bardot’s first sashay and where megastars such as George Clooney have been spotted more recently.
Although you may occasionally spot a yacht on the horizon, the seclusion of Les Eucalyptus is miles from the mass camping holiday sites at Port Grimaud. The grounds host around 30 pitches and you’re more likely to see a vintage Citroën van than a four-by-four parked up alongside the tent. The campsite is well spaced with a well-appointed, though basic, shower block. The Lamons promise to update the facilities soon and have added it to their never-ending to-do list.
Foodwise, a brick-built BBQ is available mid- season, when there is less wind and not so much risk of fire, but if you’re looking for something smarter, inland there is Les Moulins de Ramatuelle, a hotel-restaurant with style, just a seven-minute bicycle ride away. A visit to nearby Ramatuelle, a quaint medieval town in the mountains with a traditional museum and a nocturnal market every Wednesday, is heartily recommended.You can also stop by Les Vignerons de Grimaud to pick up wine made from your local vineyard. And, of course, you’re only a short drive from St-Tropez and Port Grimaud, where if you want to live the life of the rich and famous you can always splash out on a yacht for as little as 2,000 euros a week.
FacilitiesAround 30 pitches with hook-ups, wash-rooms clean but basic, 4 sinks, 2 cold showers, 2 hot showers for €1, 2 women’s toilets, 2 men’s toilets, 2 outdoor urinals, washing machine (€5). Kids have the beach and bike rides. BBQ facilities in peak season. No campfires.
Suitable ForTents, campervans, caravans, dogs, small groups, young families – yes.
Pampelonne beach stretches over several miles, so it’s well worth wandering along. The most famous area is Tahiti, where Brigitte Bardot used to hang around in the 1950s. There are also quite a lot of naturist beaches due to deregulation from St-Tropez. Exceptional views along the St-Tropez Peninsula. The town is only 3 miles (5 km) away, so if you want to rub shoulders with the rich and famous by night then a visit to Le Caves du Roy (00 33 4 94 56 68 00) in Hôtel Byblos is essential, but be sure to get out of those campsite clothes first. If the budget can stretch even further, then Madraco Yachting (00 33 4 94 56 48 00) offers the perfect St-Trop posing- machine. Prices vary according to sail, speed, or motor power, season and, of course, length. Port Grimaud offers cheaper thrills, particularly Azur Park Gassin, with its mini-golf and fairground attractions. For the more adventurous, Pep’s Spirit (00 33 4 94 96 88 04) in nearby Grimaud offers guided tours by mountain bike and facilities for outdoor sports, including anything from kayaking to mountain-climbing. Grimaud’s Musée des Arts et Traditions (00 33 4 94 43 26 98) tells the remarkable story of the town’s restoration, actually making it the richest town in the area in terms of desirable property prices. Musée du Phonograph et de la Musique des Maures (00 33 4 94 96 50 53) is a real treat for sound geeks or really old-school DJs, home to a personal collection of old record players and early Edison recording equipment. A local diving school is just down Kon Tiki Beach on the right (00 33 4 94 79 90 37).
Food & Drink
Les Moulins de Ramatuelle at the nearby hotel of the same name is a good place for Tahiti- style glamour, so go for French cooking such as roast lobster with basil for €38 (00 33 4 94 97 17 22). St-Tropez has plenty to choose from, including Petit Joseph, offering contemporary Asian-style food cooked up by the same kitchen as the swisher Grand Joseph next door (00 33 4 94 97 01 66). The market at Grimaud is on Thursday with a bigger one at Port Grimaud the same day and Sunday. St-Tropez’s famous place des Lices market happens Tuesday and Saturday morning; daily fish market near the old port.
OpenEnd May–mid September.
D93 runs down the coast from St-Tropez to Ramateulle. Les Eucalyptus is on chemin des Moulins – follow signs for Moorea Plage.
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