La Ferme de la Moricière
When a dog finds a particularly delicious bone but doesn’t quite have the appetite to finish it, then it’s off to the back of the garden where a deep, secretive hole can be dug to stash it away for later. Well this, my friends, is the camping equivalent of a seriously succulent little number and while, right now, you may be stuck behind the computer screen it’s certainly one to take to the nearest flowerbed and leave in mind for later (just saving it to ‘bookmarks’ may also be advised). Come holiday time you’ll finally have the chance to taste the good life and, as any dog knows, it’s all the better for the waiting.
La Ferme de la Moricière, in Lower Normandy, is the juicy bone in question; a glamping site tucked amid the idyllic rural scenery of an ancient French farm. True, it’s a paradise for Toupie, the local sheepdog, who’s as good at herding animals as he is at reading Dickens, but those of us walking on just our hind legs get to taste the real proof of the proverbial pudding. Exquisitely finished canvas lodges are pitched in the grounds of the farm, a home that has been under the eye of the Moricière family for over 200 years, and combined with the thoroughly welcoming atmosphere, they make for an outstanding place to camp.
Set on relatively high ground with far reaching views down the Sèe valley towards the coast, La Ferme de la Moricière is a site that packs a punch. The lodges are kitted throughout with rustic feeling but modern functioning wares, making evenings inside a delightfully heart-warming affair. The central wood-burning stove brings your brew to a boil, while a cool box helps keep your veggies safe and fresh. Beds are deliciously sumptuous – never an easy thing getting up in the morning – and the ‘cupboard bed’ (yes, it really is a double bed inside a cupboard) is fantastic for the kids, who collapse into their private cubbyhole at the end of a long day on the hoof.
The farm itself, if you haven’t quite guessed yet, is still very much a working business and home to an eclectic range of animals. The main organic produce comes from their dairy herd, roaming the neighbouring fields and gathered twice a day for milking in the parlour. Campers are encouraged to lend a hand, throwing themselves into farming life, so it’s a good move to bring a pair of wellies along – that way you can get really stuck in, walking the cows down the track and into their stalls. For younger ones there are also goats to pet, pigs to grunt at and a chicken coup where you can collect the mornings’ eggs. Sylvie is also a dab hand at teaching you how to make traditional homemade cheese. A slightly smelly but interesting process!
The surroundings are as rural as you’d expect from such a true farming location, woods for walking, trails for cycling and fields for bone burying. But a hop in the car takes you to some of the best local hot spots. The huge bay of the Sèe and Sélune estuaries features, when the tide recedes, a vast stretch of sand that can be walked across to reach Tombelaine Island – Yves and Sylvie lead walking tours across to the island (yet another string to their bow) – and world famous Mont St Michel also clings to the coast (it can actually be seen in the distance from the farm). By the end of a day exploring you’ll likely be exhausted and ready for an hour or two relaxing on the veranda. Sadly, it’s not for ever, the farming life will just have to be an annual holiday thing, but every dog has it’s day and next year you’ll still have this juicy camping bone to return to. With the Moricière family you’re always welcome.
FacilitiesCanvas lodges (sleeping up to 6) each feature a double bed, bunk bed and cupboard bed suitable for 1 adult or 2 children (bedding included). Cots and highchairs are available at request. A cooking stove, cool box, table and chairs, sofa, flushing toilet, cold running water and wood for heating and cooking are all included. There are 2 deck chairs, and packs of candles and oil for the lamps. Showers are a little walk up a hill housed in charmingly restored, ancient farm buildings. The farm also has an honesty shop where you will find a basic range of products to purchase and plenty of the farm's own goods. A communal chicken coup provides fresh eggs, alongside goats, pigs and, of course, the cows. Come in early summer to help with young calves.
Suitable ForGlampers, families, groups, single-sex groups (by arrangement only) – yes. Campers and caravaners, pets – no.
NearbyYves and Sylvie run walking tours out to Tombelaine Island and have an incredible knowledge of the ecology of the bay. Also in the bay is Mont St. Michel (0033 2 33 60 14 30), which is the face of tourism around here. The majestic little village that climbs up to the hill-top fortress can be seen from miles around on its outcrop off the coast, as well as on every postcard, poster and pamphlet. Despite the tourist buzz it remains a must-see attraction and one for the camera certainly. For something a little more excluded try cycling the banks of the river Sèe or stay closer to home and enjoy footpaths around the farm. For the particularly intrepid, take the 15 minute drive to Granville and grab a Ferry across to Jersey (01534 448800) – it makes for an unusual day trip but don't forget you need your passport!
Food & DrinkThe farm shop sells local produce alongside its own organic goods. On certain nights, there is a traditional wood fired oven that's lit for cooking – grab some of their home-made cheese and try your hand at making pizza. This area is famous for the fromage and Sylvie and Yves know their stuff – ask for some cheesy recommendations and they'll find something to fit the pallet. As you'd expect on a farm, the immediate vicinity is pretty remote. There are a couple of tiny eateries in Sartilly, though, and a Super-U on its edge where you can do a supermarket shop.
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