Play spaces for everyone

Every yurt camp needs a trampoline.

Every yurt camp needs a trampoline.

The idea for écovallée arrived shortly after the birth of Alex and Clare’s second child. They wanted to create a luxurious, eco-friendly campsite they would want to stay in as a family.

Which meant big, furnished yurts, a well-equipped kitchen, solar shower and compost toilet. Plus play spaces for everyone – mums, dads and the kids.

What the children really do

When new guests arrive, the first thing most children do is run screaming down the field. Which is exactly what they need after hours of time in a plane, train or automobile.

Then they have a problem deciding what to do next. Explore the Play Yurt? Bounce on the trampoline? Jump into the sandpit? Have a go on the tyre swing? Sit on the tractor? Feed the chickens? Have a game of football? Or tennis? French cricket, maybe? Or make new friends with other children.

What this means for parents

While all this is going on, the grown-ups can start to relax immediately. There’s tea and organic coffee in the kitchen already. Milk in the fridge by Reception. A Welcome Picnic with wine on the way (included if you stay for one week or more, €20 for four if not). A hammock next to each yurt and a spectacular view to enjoy.

One thing that surprises almost everyone is the space. If you come from a flat or a house with a small garden, having the freedom of a good-sized city park to yourself is amazing. Especially a park you never have to leave, where deer and rabbits wander up and down the far side of the valley, and bats swoop and dive for their dinner in front of the kitchen after dusk.

Listening to the owls at night on the other canvas, in a yurt in the woods, you soon realise that the world is your playground and it’s great to be part of it instead of apart from it.

The écovallée effect

Some families almost never leave écovallée. Eventually, they tear themselves away to visit some of the countless attractions nearby. If they run out of time, they know they can always come back next year.

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