My wife and I chose this site for its location and reviews. We reserved a premium pitch overlooking the river, so our morning view was amazing. Saturday the 14th was a bit noisy with the number of canoeists paddling down the river. This was not an issue as all were having fantastic fun as indeed we did. All the facilities are 5 * including the restaurant, swimming pools, small shop and staff. We were blessed with fantastic neighbours from Germany and UK who were incidentally were retiring from camping after 50 years of caravanning and they said this was the best site they have stayed at. Local area is beautiful and so many different attractions for all ages. Wish we lived here!.
Stayed in our folding camper for 5 nights second week on September.
The site is very easy to find and we were delt with efficiently and friendly at reception, we had not booked in advance and were told to just take a map and walk round to find a pitch we liked, it was clearly not even half full but very well kept with lots if trees and the site runs right down to the river, the coveted river pitches were unavailable even when it was nearly end of the season although we managed to get a pitch only 20 seconds walk to the river where there are lots of places to sit and watch the kayakers go by.
When we arrived we noticed there seemed to be a lot of teenagers around and when we queried this were told that a school group of 100 teenagers where camping I site for the week! It very nearly made us go elsewhere but due to the good reviews decided to stay and we were glad we did. We did feel however that when checking I the site should of informed people as there were couples staying with young children and 100 school kids were unlikely to be very quiet, although it turned out that Dutch school kids are very well behaved and were out all day until 5pm and we're contained to their camping area most of the time. The only problem with this huge amount of people it was clear that the site were running on minimum staff due to the time of year and the restaurant struggled in the evening.
The site is very picturesque and well shaded. The toilets and showers etc are undoubtedly the best we have eve used in a campsite, you can even rent your own private bathroom if you wish. There is a kayak company operating fro the site and we highly recommend using them, great fun and not too expensive. The site is silent by 11pm, but if you are pitched near the hedge bordering the neighbouring site you may hear a bit of neighbour noise but again, by 11 it was silent. Pool was lovely and kept clean. Small shop on site stocked all the usual basics but there is an intermarche supermarket about 10 minutes up the road. Overall we loved the site and would go back.
We are experienced campers in France, having stayed at 10 other comparable campsites in the summer holidays. This is a 5* campsite and although it is very good, quite honestly I would rate this 4* based on others that I have been to across France.
We travelled from Dieppe with a stop overnight but next time we would do it in one journey. The campsite is very easy to find and is well signposted. The local town and area is lovely and we cycled (although walking is no problem) on many occasions for lunch, dinner and to the Market. The prices in the pizzeria's are very reasonable.
The location is fabulous for the Ardeche. We did several river trips to the Pont D'arc and also used nearby climbing venues. We also booked a canyoning trip with a local firm nearby (there are lots) which was well organised and value for money.
The campsite is well laid out and pitches are large. You definitely need a grand confort, but most pitches were this rate with only a few standard pitches.
The canoeing hire is very convenient and seemed to be consistent with other prices in the region.
The showers/toilets are very clean and we were near a block which was convenient. They were cleaned regularly and the water was hot. We found some larger showers nearer the pool which we used.
The takeaway is nice and the shop is well stocked. We used the SuperU which was about 15 minutes drive for most of our food or the nearby Lidl was excellent.
The Restaurant was very expensive as was the bar. The drinks prices were so much we didn't want to stay there for very long and chose to relax on our pitch instead.
The evening entertainment is very poor and fell well short of other campsites we have visited.
The toilets don't have seats and I found sitting on the porcelain a bit disconcerting and uncomfortable. Other sites in France seem to manage fine with toilet seat so for a 5* this was disappointing.
The swimming pool is a let down. We used the river more than the pool. Firstly the attendant was too strict, calling people up for using any type of inflatable! The 'speedo' rule for the boys was rigidly enforced. I know this is a rule in France but at other campsites we have visited this is not applicable for outside holiday venues only indoor pools.
The pool is also very boring. For a 5* compared to other sites I would have expected slides and other activities in the pool. Also pool entertainment was lacking, in other holidays there have been water polo and children's games regularly organised.
So in summary, the site is in a great location for the ardeche, and is very well presented but I wouldn't give it 5* and we probably wouldn't return but would try other sites. I think we have been spoilt by other sites such as Soleil Plage and Ty Nadan which are better at only 4*. It is also at least a third more expensive than other sites we have visited.
Just returned from the Castels Camping Nature Park L'Ardechois in Vallon Pont D'Arc after spending 9 nights in our Kyham.
We arrived late afternoon having spent a few nights in Paris first and were quickly and efficiently dealt with by reception and given a welcome Castels pack (included a bottle of wine!) and shown to our pitch by a young man. We had pitch 34 which was a Grand Confort and was a good size and plenty of room for our large tent, 4x4, tables & chairs. There are a lot of trees which get in the way on the pitches when you're trying to decide which way to pitch, but also provide welcome shade (it reached 37 dgrees when we were there). Water and electricity were provided on the pitch. We rented a fridge direct and it was a good investment as only the Premium pitches had them and Wifi for a week is an extra 20 euros. We were about half way down the site between reception and the river. The 11pm no noise policy was enforced on occasions (our friends will confirm this lol!) but to be honest once the entertainment finished and everybody got back to their pitches, the camp went quiet.
Can't comment on the entertainment as we didn't go, but the chips from the takeaway are nice! You are given a pager which flashes when your takeaway is ready so you can go back to your pitch whilst waiting. My teenage pizza expert didn't rate the pizzas very highly and this and the chips was the only food from the restaurant we tried. It all looked very clean though.
The site as a whole is spotless. The pools and wash facilities were immaculate as you would expect from a 5 star campsite. The worldwide problem of sunbed reservations persists here, exacerbated by lack of sunbeds - if you want one you have to queue when the pool opens at 10 am. The usual facilities are available, washing, drying, a dog wash (!) ironing boards, loads of washing up sinks. I only waited once for a shower the ladies side, but the only thing that separates the gents and ladies is different coloured doors so I just went in a blue one if there were no pink free. The only thing that struck me as odd was the lack of toilet seats, but after a couple of days you don't notice. Also, loads of kids on bikes and scooters which is fine, but there is a constant changeover with people coming and going and if you're trying to manoeuvre a large caravan around trees, bikes and scooters make sure you've got your wits about you.
You can rent kayaks direct from the site. We did the 7 km which was plenty for us beginners. Take PLENTY of water and wear a rash vest or tshirt as I still have a rash from the life vest after just wearing a bikini. But great fun and a must do - paddling under the Pont D'Arc is breathtaking.
Vallon is a quaint French village but the walk there from the campsite is not picturesque in any way. Up a busy road with no footpaths. Took about 20 mins. Numerous restaurants, bars and nougat shops.
So to summarise - it's a long way, our round trip was 1500 km but a fabulous part of the country and a lovely campsite.
Would we return - most definitely. Castels have never let us down.
We loved it here - after touring round Europe campsites this one stood out as high quality as soon as we arrived.
Really great location near but not too near the bustling town, right by the river where you can canoe, fish and swim - we loved river swimming in the evenings. The facilities are amazing, kids toilets a big hit. Kids club very well run and lots to do. Can't believe someone said the pool is boring - my daughter grew webbed feet she was in there so much! They had fun and games at the pool and fitness for grown ups, a lazy river and some toys were allowed. Lifeguard too which was good. The food and shop were good, but the restaurant service was pretty poor when we were there, there were complaints so hope it is sorted now. Highly recommended enjoyable visit. One negative - they wanted to keep back one passport (really not cool) until departure and forgot to return it. Had to cancel passport - hope this system has now changed.
We had a fantastic holiday here this month – I have to say this is the first French site we have stayed where we felt we could return to year after year. Normally by the end of a holiday we are all ready to go home but none of us wanted to leave this time.
The best things about L’ardechois for us were, it was mid August but compared to other sites we have holidayed at you wouldn’t have known it as it never once felt over crowded.
The location is perfect, access to the river which was really close to our pitch and walking distance to Vallon which was a lovely town which had a market on a Thursday and a night market on a Tuesday and plenty of restaurants, bars and shops. Also plenty to see in the local area by car.
The kids club for under 12s was brilliant – my daughter was in a clown workshop, a prehistoric show, she made mosaics, flowers, jewellery – in the past she has always refused to get involved in the kids clubs but the staff who run it are so enthusiastic and all inclusive that she obviously couldn’t resist! There is so much going on for the kids that we had to fight to go out some days!
Grand Comfort pitches – lovely and large we had a generous space for our car, caravan, awning and then a large space to sit out at. We were on row G – I would personally be requesting rows from G back to the river pitches as they are generous, away from the main entertainment area (but still only a couple of mins walk away) and close to the river. If you book a standard pitch I’d suggest you request a generous pitch away from the shower blocks as there were some pitches where 3 shower block doors pretty much opened straight on to the pitch!
Friendliness – this was the friendliest site I have ever stayed on, Dutch German, French & English all really friendly and chatty – when we arrived there was a van parked at the end of our row meaning we couldn’t tow the van on to the pitch, within seconds 4 men appeared from their units and helped push the van onto its pitch and helped us decide which way to situate it. More English here than normal too, my daughter had no shortage of friends for the entire holiday which is a first so far.
The entertainment stage was opposite the restaurant and bar area as is the play area, so you could be finishing your meal or having a drink whilst the children have a play or take part in the shows.
Showerblocks were spotless the whole time we were there – the auto flushing loos in the showerblock closest to our pitch took some getting used to though.
Our negatives – were mainly the restaurant, the food was OK the service was awful. It was friendly enough but understaffed and really poor service. We were given a table, we then had to flag someone down to get a menu, then flag them down again to get a drink, then flag them down again to order our food – this all spoils your meal when you constantly have to break off conversation to try and get attention and takes far too long with young children at the table. The family on the next table had their kids meals delivered to the table but the adults weren’t served their food for over an hour later! The thing is it wasn’t even three quarters full at the time. We ate a few times here but it really didn’t get much better.
The drinks were a bit confusing either 100mls or a bottle of wine – and OH couldn’t find a beer he liked either which is highly unusual!
Entertainment was quite poor in parts – best shows were the ones the kids took part in most of the rest were pretty poor really, but the children like to watch it.
I’d recommend the Super you in Ruoms for a large supermarket for all your shopping needs, plus it has a camping aisle if you forget odds and ends. Also the petrol station attached to it is pretty cheap too.
Confusing bit about the river pitches is that I’ve just contacted them about booking one when they open for bookings in November, but they say I can’t book one as they don't allocate them and I should just book a grand comfort pitch and request one. However, when I booked my grand comfort pitch in January of this year I was told that there were no river pitches left and that they cost more than regular grand comfort pitches so they must allocate at some point – so I may have to be persistent here to get what I want!
Pitches are really shady, a negative I thought at first but after a couple of days at the river or by the pool in 34 degree heat we realised that this was a good thing and evenings were pleasant rather than boiling hot. Also on row G you could actually sunbathe at your pitch but also find shade too which was great for lazy days around your unit.
The pool was fine, the pool itself was never overcrowded and there was enough for my children not be bored - I thought they may miss a slide but they didn't. They could definitely add some more sunbeds as there are loads of empty spaces where they could fit a few more in. Yes its the same as everywhere else you have to be there by 10am to get a sunbed and lots of people do just leave their towels on and leave but I don't know anywhere where it isn't a problem to be honest.
All in all because of the weather, the size of the pitches and the fact that it wasn’t over crowded in August and our children had the best holiday – we will be returning here probably next year, hopefully to a river pitch! Hopefully, the restaurant will get its act together by then too!
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