On the northern edge of the Pyrénées Ariégeoises Natural Park, this wildflower meadow, embraced by green forest on every side, occupies a curious geographical space. Too large to be called hills, but not yet the fully-fledged mountains of the Pyrénées, the crinkled landscape of verdant valleys and picturesque hillside towns is a sort of halfway house. You can turn up to a pre-pitched safari tent here without having to drive along a million switchback roads. But the views, of an unfolding Pyrénéan panorama with peaks rising in the distance, are still just as stunning as ever. It’s the perfect foothill retreat.
In total there are just two safari tents on offer, situated 40 metres apart and separated by a copse of tall, silver birch trees. Before them, the meadow slopes away into the forest with views to the wooded valleys and hills beyond. Behind that, meanwhile, are the Pyrenean mountains themselves, which form an ever-changing scene, from misty surreal mornings where snowy peaks float on pink clouds, to black silhouetted mountains against a fiery sunset.
Inside, each tent is well equipped with everything you need. There are double beds and singles, a kitchenette with cooking facilities and an en suite shower and toilet, while a firepit outside the doorway is perfect for an evening barbecue. The luxuries extend further still, to hammocks shaded among the trees (an after-lunch snoozing destination) and a swimming pool a little further down the meadow. There’s even a bamboo gazebo for added shade and, at the top of the field, a special, heated spa pool straddled by a cushioned seating area and crowned with a wicker shade.
What’s perhaps most magnificent about Toubies Wild Flower Meadow is how untouched the surrounding area is. The manmade luxuriousness of your outdoor abode is offset by the un-manicured, informality of the natural scenery. Aside from a few mown paths and seating areas, the place is strewn with wildflowers and shrubbery. Deer, badgers, squirrels and bird-life reign supreme and, through the woods and running down the eastern edge of the campsite, a tiny stream runs, drying out in the height of summer. It forms the boundary of France’s Haute-Garonne and Ariege departments, feeding Le Volp – the river that winds through the bottom of the valley.
Unsurprisingly, the scenery here draws you out. The location is a haven for exploring on foot or by bike and there’s plenty to do nearby. But when all else fails, simply traipsing off for a wander in the trees or lying quietly and watching for the wildlife will always do the trick. Hills, mountains, whatever you want to call them, they’re a blissful place to be.
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Country CampingTarn, Midi-pyrénées, France
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