How to start a campsite in France
How We Began
During the summer of 2010 it was exactly 10 years ago when our adventure began: Starting a campsite in France. Just six months before we were camping in our little tent in the Jura and were already daydreaming about starting our own camping. Taking the plunge to actually do this was quite daunting.
The months that followed were used to seriously consider starting our own camping and since we loved France, we initially started our search in the Jura. We soon realised that the area was wet for long periods and not really suitable for a camping. We still had one appointment left in the south of Burgundy in a small little town called Le Champ Donjon – which as luck would have it, we found our little paradise. Situated just below the nature area of the Morvan and with a breathtaking view of the small lake, we also found the name for our camping.
Camping Vue du Lac
In actual fact it is an ‘étang’ (which translates to ’fishpond’), but Vue du Lac (which translates to ’view upon the lake’) seemed to be much better suited to our campsite in France and six months later we became the proud owners of this beautiful piece of land.
Finally after managing to sell our house in Zutphen (The Netherlands) after two years, we arrived in July 2002 in our fully loaded up Citroen Visa (which was almost unable to cope with the weight of our load) and our last savings. In hindsight, it was an enormous gamble to set up a brand-new camping and a newly born baby, but 10 years later we wished that we had done this even sooner. What a life we lead, all the fresh air we can possibly breathe, happiness, life experiences and so many moments where each day we are coming closer to fulfilling our dream. Absolutely amazing.
Our family, which has grown to 5 children, consists of Valentin (born in the Netherlands on 20-10-2001), Félina (26-06-2004), Quentin (30-01-2007), Justin (21-07-2009) and our youngest Florentin (13-04-2012) who were all born in France.
Looking back, everything did not always go according to plan nor was it easy. After one year and thousands of euros, we finally managed to obtain the necessary permits. Thankfully Martin had two helpers, but were unfortunately somewhat inexperienced. Throughout the day, Martin had to go to work and during the evenings, nights and weekends he would clean, demolish and work on the construction. Unfortunately progress was extremely slow. Thankfully we came in contact with the editor of a very popular Dutch magazine called ‘Libelle’ was looking for stories about and in France. She was very interested in our story and thus ended up having our story published in the Libelle magazine with an offer that people could come and stay at the camping for free in exchange for their services. This turned out to be a brilliant move since we started getting professional help and assistance from builders, electricians, plumbers and contractors. After only one summer we managed to complete the building for the toilets.
As winters arrived, we spend our time pruning and maintaining all the trees and hedges on the camping. All the wood is then used to fuel our heating to keep us warm throughout the winter. For us, wood it is worth its weight in gold since we use every scrap that we can find to ensure that we remain warm. We also collect wood in the surrounding woodlands which can be used by our guests for their campfires at any of the designated campfire areas.
After reading all of this, you might feel like helping us out as well and would consider staying with us. Possibly you might know of family members or friends who might also enjoy coming to France – you are all more than welcome! If you still have questions after reading our adventure, please send us an email. We always look forward to sharing our experiences with anyone who might be interested.