This site used to be called Domaine de la Bastide. It’s set at the side of the road which leads to Grospierres (at the roundabout to the southern side of Ruoms, take the road to the right, and continue for about a kilometre). The site is on your left almost immediately you pass over the bridge over the Ardeche. The entrance gateway can be deceiving – so take great care to take the correct lane – there is quite a sharp turn just before reception, and you won’t make it unless you do.
This is a lovely site, large grassy pitches, in a ‘regular’ format – with trees between, but no formal hedged barriers. Pitches are well defined, though. Access roads are good, apart from immediately behind the bar/restaurant/pool area where the road is a little narrow – take care at this point in case you meet another unit coming the other way, or look out for pedestrians. There are two sanitary blocks, each containing showers, toilets, urinals, washbasins, children’s showers, and laundy facilities. The newest one is really state of the art – really high quality and spacious – though open plan, and could perhaps be cold in very low season. It’s set amongst the touring pitches, towards the river side of the site. The older one is not really old at all, and has high quality facilities which compare very well many other sites. However, access is from the main lane through the site, and you need to take care when going into or coming out of the building. No touring pitch is far from one or other of the two blocks.
There are some mobile homes and chalets, and these tend to be in the first part of the site. Touring pitches are in the middle, with another area of statics at the far end near the football/sports field/children's play area. There is plenty of shade on the pitches, but some sunnier areas too. There are some pitches with direct river access, but these are quite near the road, and perhaps will tend to be noisy. It’s not a particularly busy road, but is ‘above’ the site, so the road noise does travel.
The pool is excellent. It’s a proper pool, for swimming, with no waterslides, and is in a lovely sunny situation behind the bar and restaurant. There is a toilet especially for swimmers, which is kept very clean.
The bar and restaurant were well used. We didn’t eat there – but menus looked typical of a campsite in that area, and there were some children’s choices available. Prices in the bar were reasonable, and so were prices for icecreams. Bar staff spoke English, and were very friendly. There is a small shop – but we didn’t use it as there is a very nice Super you at the roundabout in Ruoms – and this has everything you could need. There are weekly markets in both Ruoms and Vallon Pont d’Arc.
There is a library with tourist information and ‘book-swops’ in the old Bastide building just up from the Campsite reception. Staff in reception are very friendly and helpful, and you’ll receive a very warm welcome. There are a couple of nearby restaurants within walking distance, and many more just a short drive away
Canoeing and all the other attractions of the Ardeche can be booked by the site. The area is wonderful for tourists, with everything you could possibly want. Horse riding is available nearby. You can drive up to the Rocher de Sampzon for views over the whole Ardeche. Ruoms and Vallon are ‘holiday towns’ with a range of shops and restaurants, La Beaume is fantastic for swimming or just sitting under the plane trees watching a game of boules. Balazuc is a lovely village, set on the cliffs of the Ardeche. You can find lots of places to swim all along the Ardeche, the Chassezac, and the Beaume – the latter has some lovely rock pools higher up the river in absolutely idyllic situations. There are many caves nearby, both along the Ardeche itself, just beyond Vallon, and near Barjac. There are some excellent drives, immediately you leave the site. You’re about an hour from the famous roman Pont du Gard, and only about an hour and a half from the coast should you wish to see the Mediterranean.
The site is managed by the Dutch group RCN - but takes Touring Cheques in the low season, from 15th March to 4th July, and 24th August to 25th October. It can be very quiet indeed in low season, in fact when we arrived in late May 2008 we were one of only ten units on the site(and only one other British van) until a rally of about twenty dutch caravans arrived after being 'washed out' in the Dordogne.