Stayed here for a week as part of a three week touring holiday with our two boys aged 9 and 11.
Location- the site is easy to find and easy to get to. It's on the shores of Lac de Pareloup with some fantastic views. You do need to drive to get anywhere. Millau is the nearest tourist town and is about 30 minutes away.
Reception- they speak English and a range of other languages. Very helpful and courteous. We were escorted to our pitch and they helped us locate the water point and electric hook up. Reception will book off-site activities for you, details of which are in several folders/ brochures in reception. They also hold a welcome evening on a Sunday where you can sign up direct with several of the companies. I'd advise you book any activities as soon as you can because we missed out on the velo-rail by waiting until half way through our stay to book.
Pitches- in the area where we were (right of reception as you approach the site)these were standard pitches which were all a good size on low terracing. We had been able to choose our pitch when we booked, so had a good view of the lake. I think most pitches in this area have good views.
Shop- quite small, normal camp-site stuff. Usual camp-site prices, but not extortionate.
Bar and restaurant- didn't use.
Pool- nice slides and paddling area. The main pool was a bit on the small side and didn't look particularly clean, but our kids were happy with the slide pool and you can swim in the lake,
Play area, sports stuff etc- there's a good kid's play area, a multi-sports court, small farm area, as well as large grass areas near the lake for ball games etc.
Wash facilities- the toilet block near us was clean and modern, only had to queue for a short while on one occasion. The toilet block near the pool wasn't as clean. Probably because of people using whilst wet.
We spent most of our week here on the site. There was plenty to do. The boys enjoyed the high ropes course, and quad biking. Spent a lot of time in (and out!) of our little dinghy in the lake, which was lovely to swim in. We spent a day visiting Millau and the viaduct, driving along the back roads, with wonderful views. We did one of the walks that are in the guide you are given on arrival and found a lovely sandy beach very close to the campsite. To find it just turn left out of the site, follow the road to its end and then follow the path and you'll come to the beach.
The weather was good whilst we were there. The only cloudy day was when we arrived. It was warm enough for the pool in the day, but cool enough to be able to sleep at night. This has definitely gone into our top 3 sites in France!
Part of the Castels group, Le Caussanel is a 5-star site situated in the Aveyron region of France on the picturesque north bank of Lac Pareloup. Getting to the site is easy with no narrow roads to worry about. The best route from the A75 autoroute is: leave the A75 at exit 44. 1, take the D29 / D911 towards Pont-de-Salars, take the D993 towards Salles Curan, turn right onto the D538 and then almost immediately left onto the road leading to the campsite.
The first building you see on arrival is the campsite reception. Once you have booked in someone will then escort you to your pitch and explain everything you need to know. There are two main types of pitch here. Most are approx 100 sq mtrs with 6 amp electricity. Some also have a water connection. Most of these pitches have no separation other than a line on the ground and some parts of the campsite do look very crowded.
The second type of pitch is the ďCastels PremiumĒ pitch. These pitches are larger at about 130 sq mtrs, have better separation with hedges, have 10 amp electricity and also include a dedicated water tap, fridge, gas barbecue, picnic table and chairs, two loungers, a parasol and 1 hourís wi-fi use for every day you are on site. We had an excellent pitch overlooking the lake but we were a bit disappointed that the parasol didnít come with a base. When we asked for one we were told that they didnít supply bases to the touring pitches. When we asked why they supplied a parasol that couldnít be used we were told that they only supplied it because the Castels group insisted that they did, and in any case the pitch was shady enough so we didnít need it. Not really a 5-star response! You pay a premium price for these pitches and personally I donít think it is right to have to pay for something that canít be used Ė which brings me nicely onto the wi-fi. Itís slow, much too slow to use. Most of the time we couldnít even log onto it, and when we could it was impossible to read our emails because of the lack of speed. The site advertises 80% coverage, which Iím sure it has, but if you canít get further than the siteís logon screen its not worth having. For those not on the premium pitches the price of the wi-fi is 3 euro per hour, which would be expensive even if it worked. Luckily our Vodafone 3g dongle worked perfectly.
Most of the site facilities are together in two converted buildings at the centre of the site. The first building holds the reception at the front. Here you will find tourist information etc. You can also buy postcards and washing tokens here. They will also book you onto certain local activities, very handy if you donít speak French. The other side of the building houses a toilet/shower block, the large bar (where most of the evening activities happen), and a small shop.
The second building houses a large communal room on one side where many of the childrenís daytime activities are held. The other side of the building houses the restaurant / take-away and another much larger toilet / shower block. The takeaway is not very well organised. You have to queue up through the restaurant which is not ideal. We tried the takeaway on our first night and it was a disaster. We were given the wrong pizzas and by the time it was sorted out the food was warm rather than hot. The pizzas were not well made anyway and because of this we didnít bother with the takeaway or the restaurant for the rest of our holiday.
The swimming pool complex is also in this area. It has obviously been extended and now consists of three separate areas. The first area contains a small rectangular swimming pool. The second contains a very small square paddling pool. This isnít used much now because the third area contains a new much larger paddling pool with mini slides. This third area also has the flumes for the older children and adults. The pool complex is a reasonable size but really needs a larger pool for swimming. Personally I think it would be much better if they removed the original paddling pool and then extended the original swimming pool into that area.
Other facilities on site include a large childrenís play area, a tennis court, table tennis tables, a sports pitch, and a small ďfarmĒ. The site has canoes for hire and you can also launch your own boats onto the lake here. There are four toilet /shower blocks on site: the two Iíve already mentioned plus one at each end of the site. All the blocks are uni-sex. The toilets do not have seats. The showers are push button with no temperature control. The toilet block next to the swimming pool generally had wet floors and was a bit slippery, but the other three were kept very clean and were much nicer.
The site is quite remote but there is plenty to do in the area. Lake Pareloup is on your doorstep and there are plenty of activities and beaches close by. There are also some lovely villages and castles to visit within a short distance. Further afield there is the Velorail de Larzac, canoeing on the Tarn (the campsite can book both of these for you), Micropolis (the city of insects), the Millau viaduct, Najac chateau and Chateau Colombier which houses a small wildlife park within its grounds. There are plenty of other attractions and places to visit in the area and you certainly shouldnít be bored here.
We have been to lots of the Castels campsites and have always enjoyed them. With Le Caussanel being both a Castels site and a 5-star site I was expecting to be writing a glowing report. Sadly this hasnít been the case. Donít get me wrong, Le Caussanel isnít a bad site by any means. It is situated in a fantastically picturesque area, it puts on lots of daytime and evening entertainment, and the facilities are well kept. With just a little bit more thought about customer care and a bit more effort in a couple of places it could be a truly excellent site.
If you fancy visiting the Aveyron and want a site where there is plenty going on then Le Caussanel could be the place for you.
The reviews below give pretty accurate descriptions of the site which is great. I don't therefore propose to repeat the same information. The only point I wish to emphasise is the altitude of the site and how this impacts on day and night time temperatures. We camped here for 10 nights at the end of August and had quite cold weather with day time temps not rising above 15C for a couple of days and single figures at night. We also had some hot days and the cold snaps keep away mosquitoes but I must admit that I drove for 12 hours to get some mediteranean heat and this was in very short supply. The site is at circa 800 metres which somebody pointed out is higher than many Austrian ski resorts. I don't want to give the site a bad review because I cant fault it. We just didn't get the heat we had hoped for.
Stayed for 13 nights from 5th August for first time after reading reviews. First campsite I've been to which actually surpassed expectations. Stunning lakeside location, decent pitch sizes, facilities clean although toilet/shower block near main reception has slightly roomier showers.
Pitches are laid out in a tiered fashion, mostly all with lake views. Maximum 6amp hookup so just need to be careful what's being switched on. My outfit is 14m long and some areas can be just a bit tight but if you recce beforehand you'll have no problems.
Email communications with site very efficient and you can select a particular pitch if it's available. Big site but doesn't feel crowded & good mix of nationalities. Site pretty quiet after about 11pm.
Pool area great for kids with some slides etc, kept them entertained for hours. Small bar and terrace area where you can sit and have a drink whilst keeping an eye on the kids in the pool. Drinks quite reasonable @ 2 euro for a beer. Budgie smugglers mandatory in pool area.
Very small shop which does bread & croissants but is quite limited in range on offer. Onsite restaurant which does excellent takeaway pizzas @ 7 to 10 euros. Reception very efficient and good information on things to do.
Nearest decent supermarket, with fuel, about 10 mins drive.
Stunning lake with chrystal clear water, great for swimming although lakeside rocky so swimming shoes a good idea. Weather superb although can be cooler in the evenings due to altitude, (welcome relief if it's a really hot day!), also may get the odd shower.
Would I go back? Well I arrived Sunday 5th August @ midday, pitched & awning up by 3pm, massive hailstorm @ 3. 30pm, £7. 5k damage to caravan by 3. 45pm! Bummer eh? Time for a beer!
Already booked for 2 weeks @ end of July 2013 so probably says it all. Enjoy!
We are a family of four (2 boys aged 7&10) and have just returned from a fantastic 2 weeks in Aveyron at Le Caussanel. We highly recommend the site as well as the area. In summary it is an immaculate, family friendly fun site.
In 14 days we had a couple of rain bursts at night and on one evening but every other day was 25-30 degrees with hardly a cloud in the sky. The lake and high altitude means it can be refreshingly cool in the evenings which I find a welcome relief. Occasionally needed an extra blanket on the bed. Best of all - no bugs other than a few wasps and flies but no mossies! On a few evenings the breeze became quite strong so windbreak needed for the bbq but it was still warm.
Communication via e-mail very good. They e-mailed me a map of the site and allowed me to select my pitch when I booked last October.
I asked for a front pitch facing the lake and highly recommend this as the view was stunning plus we had a huge grassy area in which we played cricket and badminton flew kites and the kids rode bikes. We were on the right hand side of reception which is definitely more established and we thought nicer.
The pitch was large (approx. 130m2). We had our own gazebo and separate kitchen tent which were free to pitch. We also hired a fridge from the site which cost approx. Ä75 for 2 weeks. We had to leave a Ä100 credit card deposit but got this back at the end. We have a standard UK electric hook up which worked fine through their 6A electrics. The fridge came with a French plug so we had to change it then switch it back at the end as we don't have a French to English adaptor.
The site is really nicely laid out with lots of open space with the lake providing a stunning backdrop.
There are 3 pools close together: a standard rectangular one, a kids one with shallows and small slide and one with 2 other slides. Our children really liked them. All very clean and looks new including large number of new sun loungers. A lifeguard patrols but is not over the top. They enforce the no-shorts policy though so you must bring 'budgie smuggler' Speedos or similar (I bought a few cheap pairs in Decathlon beforehand). They like you to wear a little red ribbon to show you are from the site but are quite relaxed about it.
Next to the pools is a smallish bar with some kids arcade games (air hockey, a pin ball machine and 2 old video games). There is also a small restaurant. We bought take away chips a couple of times but didn't eat there. Food varied every night and included mussels, chicken and pizza for around Ä7 each.
The kids club was mainly under 6s. They also have activities (fishing, climbing wall, music video creation) aimed at 10-14 year olds that take place late afternoon. All are free, you just sign up for whatever you fancy doing at reception although most children in them are French and not much English is spoken by instructors. Our kids did the climbing wall which they really liked and fishing which they were not so keen on. There was quad biking around a small inflatable track on evening (Ä5 for 7 minutes) which the children really enjoyed.
I went on the quad bike safari with 5 other adults (Ä65 for 2 hours) which was excellent. Would not recommend going on the back through as it's very bumpy.
There is activity in the bar in the evenings but not particularly lively and mostly for the French. There was a very good live band one evening followed by fireworks. All is quiet by around 10. 30pm but you shouldn't stay too close to the bar area if you want to go to sleep earlier. The site is patrolled by friendly staff after 11 to ensure no excessive noise. They are also around picking up litter and cleaning from first thing in the morning.
Shops: Campsite shop sells lovely fresh pastries and bread but not very good for anything other than basics. We did a big shop every few days in the Intermarche outside Pont-de-Salars 15 mins drive from the campsite. It is a medium sized shop but well stocked for most things and has good wines (including Sancerre at Ä5 a bottle!). We also went to Salles-Curren on the other side of the lake to use their butchers whose meat was much better than the Intermarche. There is also a bank, small supermarket and a very good gift shop (we bought a kite and a bike puncture repair kits from there). They have a few nice looking restaurants but we didn't try them.
Fishing: There are a lot of fishing enthusiasts at the site and several fish in the large lake. Our kids used baskets to catch lots of crayfish in the evening at a small jetty on the lakes edge although we didn't try to eat them and threw them back. They recommend dog biscuits or sardines as bait.
Lake & Beaches: The lake is beautiful but the 30 metre walk from our pitch to the water was quite rocky. For swimming you should walk through the woods further to the right to get to several really nice deserted beaches. Lovely sand, clear water. Great for swimming in.
We hired (from a rental place on the other side of the lake) a small motor boat for 8 (4 adults and 4 kids): Ä60 for 4 hours and on another day got a catamaran Ä80 for 4 hours which was a great way to explore the lake.
In the surrounding area a trip to the Tarn Gorge (including canoeing) and Millau Viaduct are a must as well as Micropolis which the kids loved.
The combination of a fantastic site with excellent clean facilities, a perfect climate (hot and sunny in the day and refreshing at night) and a huge amount for everyone to do around the lake and in the picturesque surrounding area makes this one of the best sites we have ever visited.
We loved this site. An area not really found by the British but well worth a visit. This was our second three week stay after such a good time in 2008 and we would go back again. Our pitch was a good 10m square with water and power close by. The views over the lake in the mornings and evenings were spectacular; we were lucky to have a pitch on the front overlooking the lake.
There was some noise once a week from another site across the lake and, as someone else has said, babies crying at night. Not sure why this is an issue here and not on other sites.
It can be cool at night but the site is in the hills and we did not find it a problem. Our children, 11 and 13, found loads to do and loved going out in an inflatable boat on the water. They found the pools cramped and cold but the lake was ideal. I would be careful if my children were not very good swimmers though. It is very deep and the winds can blow off-shore.
The shop and take away were good value and well stocked. One thing we loved but might put others off was mice. We sat quietly outside the tent in the evening with a glass of wine watching the mice run around our feet! They never came into the tent and were no trouble.
Canoeing on the tarn, the Millau Viaduc, Rodez, high ropes course, chateau, a great local British run restaurant and local markets were off-site highlights.
We have camped in France for over 20 years and this is one of our top sites.
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