This is a big holiday site with lots of chalets and mobile homes in a beautiful part of France. On the shores of the crystal clear waters of the very blue Lac de Chalain this is a site that will probably become very busy indeed in peak season. However off peak is was still well patronised but didn’t feel crowded at all.
We stayed here for five nights and the touring section of the site was very full. However, the pitches were wide and reasonably deep although some were quite steeply sloping. Upon arrival, we were given a completely free choice of any pitch in the touring section and although we had neighbours some of the time, the high, dense hedges gave us complete privacy and the site generally was very quiet. Mature trees offered partial shade.
Facilities were very good and comprehensive, clean and pleasant. On one occasion hot water ran out in the morning in the larger block, but otherwise we had no problems at all. The shop was very good with fresh bread and croissants available to order. We didn’t use the take-away but it looked very good.
Apart from nearby villages, Champagnole (20 minutes) is very pleasant and useful for the big supermarkets, Intermarche and a brand new Leclerc. Lons Le Saunier is about half an hour away and is a lively city with shops and restaurants, a big market and sometimes live music in the centre.
We very much enjoyed ourselves and hope to return.
Well, we had a blast! On arrival the reception staff were great, even though we dropped on them major changes ie extra people and tents on our two prebooked pitches but it was no problems and certainly no huffing and puffing which we had expected!We had a lovely lakeside pitch with a gate to the lake path between our pitch and next door. More of that later.
We couldn't help thinking that the lake was more full than usual as on google earth the lakeside beach seems to go further along the campsite than it actually did- we may be wrong but it wasn't an issue. The kids spent hours in the lake and no moans about salty walter etc. Great fun to be had with the pedaloes.
We didn't have anything to do with the camp entertainment by choice- just not our thing. The bar I was told by my brother, was fine- he watched the Olympics with a pint a couple of nights. The shop was amazingly well stocked and reasonable priced- on site baked croissants etc were lovely. Take away bit was again good- Frites were a bit pricey but yummy- but this may be me not moving with the times price wise!
The weather was generally very good indeed- a couple of thunder storms which I had been told to expect. There were evidence of pre dug trenches around the pitch and we had to add to them with extremely heavy rain one evening- always at BBQ time naturally. What we didn't expect were cherry size (no exaggeration) hailstones. Our van is now officially hail damaged.
Days outs included visiting Arbois- fab quaint french town loads of good restaurants and wine caves/shops.
Cascades Du Herrison - loads of waterfalls, not as much water tumbling down the falls as expected but still lovely.
A must is a day trip to Switzerland. You can get a ticket from La Cure which includes train to Nyon and then boat over to Yvoire on the other side of Lake Geneva. 29 euros for adults. (kids half price). If you are lucky the boat may be a paddle steamer but not all of the boats are. Trains from La Cure run every hour to Nyon. I had read about this trip on here but there were no details and I spent hours trawling for info on this with no avail. Well worth it. La Cure is just under 1 hour from the site.
Now I mentioned earlier about the gate. As far as we were concerned it was brilliant for us- we didn't have to lug our boats far etc but there was a downside. There was an incident one night where some (presumed local) youths came with beer etc, later they decided to have fun lobbing rocks over the fence at cars and caravans. We managed to miss this bit -fast asleep!- although I had seen the lads arriving for their 'party'. Anyway they only managed to damage one car before they were sent on their way by security guards and some neighbouring caravanners. It was hoped that they were bloody enough not to return but the gate was tie wrapped by us and our neighbours from then on at night.
Toilets were lovely, clean and new(?) but just the two niggles. The toilet block in the centre of the main camping section was the smaller block of the two. Having said that, I never had to wait for loos/showers. The other other was the loo roll was outside the cubicles. Why is this? Be warned though all toilets/ showers were unisex which took a little of getting used to. Or as my husband puts it they were a 'free for all'
This site is a big site with lots of mobile homes and tour operators but you never felt it.
The kids have said that they preferred this holiday to being by the coast. We are returning next year.
We've just returned from 11 lovely days staying in a 'cottage' style mobile home booked through the campsite website. This is an excellent site which I would strongly recommend which is terraced along the banks of Lake Chalain so if you are in a mobile home on one of the higher terraces (which we were) it was quite a steep walk to get back up. There is plenty to do both on site and off and our two boys aged 9 and 14 said they had a great time and didn't visit the pool once! We are also thinking about going back there next year.
The journey down was very direct from Calais taking about six hours including a couple of stops. We travelled on a Sunday which meant that the autoroutes were completely empty and also had no lorries on them! If you use the autoroutes the tolls from Calais to Dole worked out at about 50 euros in total for one way but it made the journey so much quicker.
Most days we went to the lakeside beach to canoe, ride the pedalos or sail. All the equipment is available for hire at very reasonable prices eg 7 euros for an hour for a canoe or 13 euros for 4 hours. We took a borrowed canoe so were able to use this for short periods too.
It was extremely hot and humid when we arrived on Sunday 20th August eg 29C/80+F degrees but as the week went on it cooled down with an all day rain storm on the Friday afternoon/Saturday morning and then bright sunshine again.
There are various viewing platforms giving good scenic views around the area and from which you can take walks and a dedicated cycle path surrounding the lake.
The site shops is more than adequate for day to day food but there's a super you in Champagnole about 5 miles away and a Carrefour in Lons Le Saunier about 10 miles away which are very good.
The camping area is located directly next to the lake and, although I only used the washing areas once, the facilities and cleanliness looked very good.
Overall, it was one of the best sites we've been to and we've been to a lot of the sites in the vendee and brittany over the last 10 years. There were lots of dutch, german and french guests as well as a number of english but it was a very european site rather than one dominated by brits!
I would definitely recommend it and recommend that you book direct with the campsite rather than through one of the big operators. The cottage was fairly new, modern, comfortable, if a little small, and clean. It was much cheaper as we found our booking to be nearly £500 cheaper than using a British operator for that time of the year. The reception staff speak good English despite trying to speak to them in French and there's lots of information on things to do in the area in the reception office.
Kawan Village La Pergola is a 4-star campsite situated close to Marigny on the north bank of Lake Chalain in the Jura. When you arrive your first impression will be how turquoise the lake is followed closely with how clean and modern the campsite is. All the buildings and equipment look like they were built in the last couple of years.
The first building you will see is the reception where they will give you wristbands for the pool, an electronic key for the barriers, and directions to your pitch. This is also the place to collect tourist information and you can also hire bikes here. Just beyond the reception is the site shop. This contains a good variety of products including fresh milk and meat. They also do all their own baking on site and the croissants and bread are superb. The shop is very well stocked which is just as well as the closest large supermarket is the Super-U at Champagnole around 20 minutes away.
The next building houses the restaurants – there are 3! There is a takeaway which serves pizzas, burgers, chicken, chips etc. Next is the sit down restaurant which does a variety of dishes to a good standard. Finally there is a self service restaurant where you choose what you want and you cook it yourself at your table – each table has a gas griddle in the centre of it.
The bar on this site is a little disappointing. It shares the room with the self service restaurant and the service area is very small indeed (basically a small counter within the self service restaurant). The evening entertainment also happens here on a small stage at the end of the room. Depending on where you sit you may have trouble actually seeing it as there is a large tree in the middle of the room amongst the tables.
Beyond the bar is the swimming pool area which comprises three pools. The largest of these is icy cold and therefore virtually empty most of the time. The second pool is a rectangular shape for swimming in. This one is much warmer and more pleasant to swim in, although it is, of course, much busier. The third pool is a paddling pool for the children. Behind the pool area is a huge space set aside for outdoor entertainments and includes several table tennis tables, a trampoline, tennis court, football pitch and archery. The children’s clubs are also situated in this area and they have an outside stage for dancing etc. A children’s playground is situated just in front of the pool area.
The rest of the campsite comprises the pitching area which runs along the north bank of the lake. There are 230 pitches, 100 of which are for touring with the rest being used by Eurocamp, Canvas and other tour operators. The campsite is situated on the side of a hill so the pitches are terraced. Generally this has been done well and most pitches are reasonably level. Most pitches are of a reasonable size and are separated by hedges. Most contain an electricity point, a water point and drainage, although the drain has been poorly designed. Basically the drains have been raised high off the ground and are set too close to the electricity posts making it really difficult to get a wastemaster near to them. We found we had to empty our wastemaster into a bucket and then empty the bucket down the drain. This took several attempts.
There are three toilet blocks serving the camping area. Two of these are on the main road through the site with a third block being up the hill towards the top of the site. All the blocks are unisex. The first block is huge with many toilets, showers and basins. The second block, which is further into the site, is also huge. However there is a lot of wasted space in this block and there are only 5 or 6 toilets which isn’t really sufficient for the number of pitches that this block serves. Also, we found the showers in this block were really cold (showers in the other blocks were ok). Both these blocks contain washing machines and driers. The third block is smaller but contains plenty of toilets, showers and basins. This block is situated in an area of the site where there are mainly large static caravans and consequently doesn’t get used as much as the others. The toilets in all the blocks are UK style with seats but toilet paper is supplied on a large roll outside the cubicles (why do some campsites do this?).
The main “feature” of the site, though, is probably the lake. There is a large beach area, a small swimming area (with life guards) and a place to launch boats. The site also hire out canoes, pedaloes and electric boats. The lake is fantastically picturesque but can get busy at the weekends when the locals flock to the beach.
For a day out I would recommend going to the Salt Mines at Salins-Les-Bains (35 minutes away). They do English tours at 12.15 and 14.15 each day in season. We were the only two people on our tour and it was very interesting. We also went to the chateau at Arlay (again 35 minutes away). They have large grounds to walk around and also do falconry displays in the afternoons. They also have a garden designed to look like a number of games such as chess and croquet but this was very small and not too impressive.
If you fancy visiting a local village then Baume-Les Messieurs (25 mins) is a good option. It is very picturesque and you can also visit the caves while you are there. These were ok but I suspect there are better caves in the area.
One attraction to avoid, though, is Le Jardin Fantastique near Lons-Le-Saunier. It fails spectacularly in that (a) it is NOT a garden and (b) it is NOT fantastic. Basically it is a maze with three routes around it. These contain a story, a quiz for children to do (impossible), and a set of optical puzzles and funny mirrors. The boards around the maze are in English but have been translated from French using the internet. One to miss.
The main attraction in the area really has to be the area itself: the scenery, the villages, the lakes and, of course, the waterfalls. The most famous waterfalls close to the site are the Herisson Falls. These are well worth a visit. Try to go after a period of rain as they are then far more spectacular. This is a good area for walking and there are many marked routes that can easily be followed including a 12.5km one which starts at the campsite entrance and takes you around a circuit of the lake.
Finally, I have mentioned a couple of niggles with the campsite, but don’t be put off staying here, they really are quite minor. La Pergola is an excellent base and I honestly believe that this is the best site in the area.
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