Went back for two weeks this year. Great! no charging around from site to site. We just set up(the pitches are all level and perfectly drained, and any rain you do get soaks away instantly), sat back and chilled! We both lead hectic lives and have returned from La Forge this year relaxed and refreshed. We did get to see more of the very interesting towns, chateaus and markets around, La Rochelle, Saintes(Roman remains) Cognac etc. Etc. But at a nice steady pace. We had some gorgeous lazy two hour lunches under the trees in the square in Saint Jean D'Angely and some lovely evening meals at the Bistrot St Pierre in Nere which is very close, its run by Russell and Michelle who are fabulous English hosts. If you want a noisy, fun day go to La Rochelle, in the evening it has a Covent Garden feel about it with some really interesting/funny street performers. Read all the previous reviews for the detail, suffice to say Colin and Anne run a beautiful clean site and are so attentive and helpful. This is a fabulous place in a fabulous part of France, go here to escape from the noisy clubhouses and hustle and bustle. Enjoy!
We had booked a pitch at Le Forge, Le Gicq for a week at the end of August just as the Schools were going back. Booking was simple, as “La Forge” holidays is based in the UK. The wonderful hosts open La Forge from April to September each year. The only unusual point to note is they do not take payments by card but do take payment by bank transfer. Once booked we were sent all the usual confirmations as well as directions,
IMPORTANT- Follow the directions that the owners provide, the village has small narrow streets, as do surrounding villages, and if pulling a caravan like ours you will get stuck if you follow sat nav.
On arrival we were pointed to the owner who was an excellent host. He gave us a tour of the site and advised us of the local supermarkets and tourist spots, even offered to book restaurant tables for us if we liked.
The site is a small 10 Pitch & 3 Gite operation located in a small village in the picturesque outback, north of Cognac. There is a very nice pool and the facilities block was scrupulously clean. It consists of 2 Unisex showers, 2 Toilets and 2 Wash Rooms, A washing up sink, Chemical Toilet Disposal, A washing Machine (€2 in the honesty box) and a freezer for the Tent Users. The pitches all have access to Electric (IP44 round 3 pin connection) and each electric point has mains water, Grey water waters the plants.
Firstly the thing that may not suit everyone- Its small and social, everyone has to get on with everyone else. However, as most of the visitors were similarly minded to us – there for relaxation, a swim and a good book, it was a pleasure to chat about our collective holiday experiences.
Children, this is a small quiet site, it doesn’t have the play areas and clubs that most children want these days, so you may not find this suitable as you will be entertaining the children 24/7.
Shops, this is a location for peace and quiet so don’t expect to find a Hyper-U down the street. The nearest shops are south on the edge of Matha about 10mins away where you will find an Intermarche and a U-Express (Don’t be fooled into thinking it’s like Tesco Express it has pretty much everything you need and without a price premium)
What we liked – The showers can accommodate me, a 6’3” male, without having to crouch under the showerhead that dribbles tepid water that stops every 10 seconds while banging your elbows on the walls. They are spacious free flowing and you set the temperature.
The Peace - no road noise, no noise at all really and everyone on site respects everyone else.
The hospitality, the owners made everyone welcome and could not do enough for their guests during their stay and would make a point of personally thanking everyone for their visit and saying goodbye, with true sincerity, when they left.
The Pool, It’s a nice pool, say around 10mx5m. It has a shallow stepped entrance at one end slopping down to a comfortable 1.8m deep end. The water was always crystal clear and is far more clement than a dip in the North Sea. It is surrounded by a slabbed terrace with a few sun loungers and tables with parasols.
The site has a lot of places you can visit that are within 1 Hour Drive (e.g. Cognac) with La Rochelle being 75mins away.
This really is a gem of a site – rural France at its best – with exceptional hosts.
All in all, a very peaceful retreat and a site that we would highly recommend. We will be revisiting in the future.
Another great fortnight spent at this marvellous site (we came here in 2012 as well). You don’t have to drive for miles and miles to see something good; there is plenty of delightful sights to see within a 40 mile radius, much more than you would think.
We had a blast and met new friends and caught up with old ones as well.
I really enjoyed having to speak French when out and about. It is very rural and peaceful and you are, to my delight, in the middle of the countryside well away from the cities so English is not spoken very much at all. Great!
There is not any Wi-Fi on the site and I am pleased this is so. Too many sites have people clicking away on their laptops when they should be relaxing. If you want wifi and are in Matha anytime, simply sit outside the Italian restaurant called Le Pinocchio during opening hours and log on there. Or, go in for a meal, very good.
There is a Cognac distillery not far away, it’s on the road to Thors, Colin or Anne will tell you where. Give it a go! Also, in the same village is a fantastic old Chateau that is well worth a visit.
We loved this site. Hard to think of anything to add to all the good comments from previous reviewers. The pool is fab and beautifully maintained, I don't use pools that leave you stinking of chlorine and this one doesn't. We just spent two weeks charging around France visiting some lovely sites, but next year we are spending two weeks at La Forge. You know how most washing/toilet facilities in French sites are clearly designed by people who are never going to use them, if they were using them they would be better! OK often beautifully clean, but so poorly thought out(for instance the waste point right in the centre of the whole complex instead of outside and showers where you are standing in a basin that floods the cubicles on either side! etc etc). At La Forge its so clear Colin has thought out exactly what was needed before he built it and it shows.
It just wasn't for us. And to be fair non of our reasons are the site owners fault but I feel to provide a balanced review to help others I must put these points down:
It was too rural for us (we live in a very rural area in the UK), if the village had just had it's own shop or bar, just one, then that would have made a difference-I guess it was having to drive for everything that put us off.
Everyone stopping was English-at the site we had visited previously there had been such a mixture, which again suited us.
Having said all that, if you want absolute piece and quiet, don't mind driving for even your morning bread and are happy to be surrounded by entirely English people during your stay, then this site is very clean, with helpful owners and has a lovely pool. It was also very accessible to the motorways back up the the ferries.
What a gorgeous site, small, beautiful, friendly very well maintained. We were welcomed personally by Colin and Anne and given a list of local events and things to do (not done anywhere else!). Out of all the sites in France we stayed at, this was by far the best. If its nightly disco's and entertainment you want, this is not the site for you, but for tranquility its perfect. Kids made their own fun either in pool or wandering around the quiet site. Because it's small everyone was very friendly. Very clean shower facilities (although showers could have been warmer but I think Colin is addressing this!). Close to Cognac and beautiful countryside full of sunflower fields, a trip to Park in Cognac with kids a must (Colin told us about that). Close to hypermarket and Boulangerie about 2 miles away. If we come back, we could definitely come here again.
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