2_3_DiscoverBenelux_Issue14_January2015_Scan Magazine 1 26/01/2015 19:16 Page 31
Discover Benelux | Special Theme | Summer Holiday Escapes
Silence is golden TEXT: MARTIN PILKINGTON | PHOTOS: CHATEAU DE LACOMTE COUNTRY CLUB
Everyone loves children – but just imagine holidays without them! Stuart and Sheila Coe ran Chateau de Lacomte as a family campsite from 1993 to 2009, by which time their children had flown the nest. Finding the peace of the winter period enjoyable they transformed the 32-acre property into a country club just for adults, catering for everyone with 86 touring pitches, a gîte, mobile homes and chalets. It wasn’t easy: “We’ve pioneered the concept in France – it was illegal here when we first considered it,” explains Stuart. Significant legal work paved the way – though day one an official arrived to close them down. “Our paperwork satisfied him, and he left after a tour saying how wonderfully peaceful it was!” Presenting the idea at a Dutch travel show they had to overcome the suspicion that ‘adults
only’ meant something sexual. “When we changed our sign from adults only to ‘kindervrij’ – child free – people understood, and really took to the idea,” says Stuart. So what are the benefits? “There’s quiet around the pool, no bombing, just gentle chatter and people reading. The site generally is very peaceful, and the restaurant and bar wonderfully civilised,” he says. It’s worked so well they’re now constructing lodges to sell to their regular guests. Situated only eight minutes from exit 56 of the A20, access is easy. The breathtaking Rocamadour, the caves at Padirac and many more grown-up pleasures beckon too: “The area is a gastronomic capital famed for foie gras and duck confit – to say nothing of hundreds of vineyards producing the celebrated Cahors wines,” he concludes. www.chateaulacomte.com
By the Tarn – and over or in it TEXT: MARTIN PILKINGTON | PHOTOS: LES POMMIERS D'AIGUELèZE
Campers at Les Pommiers d'Aiguelèze find plenty to see within easy reach – and not just with their feet on terra firma.
ing pitches, have good reasons to relax within the welcoming family atmosphere of the quiet site.
“We get quite a few visitors who arrive intending to stay a couple of days to visit Albi, a UNESCO World Heritage site that’s a short drive away, it’s a fabulous city. Then they find out how lovely the countryside and villages are here and end up staying for a week or more,” says Anne Demules, owner of Camping Les Pommiers d'Aiguelèze. Her family took on the site in 2011 and completely remodelled it with a new heated pool, bar, and sports facilities, so guests staying in the mobile homes and lodges they rent out, or on the 50 tour-
duce them. “We’re in the heart of the Gaillac wine region here,” says Anne: “And you can see that by touring in your car – or take a balloon ride from just outside the site and get another view.” With the Tarn just 100 metres away there is a third means of transport on offer to give yet another angle on the country. “Visitors – especially the kids – enjoy activities on the river, and families can even make the trip from the campsite to Albi in a Gabarre, a boat that’s traditional here,” she says. www.camping-lespommiers.com
But even though they can taste the pick of Gaillac’s wines in the bar, they may be tempted to visit the vineyards that pro-
Issue 14 | February 2015 | 31
Promoting Belgium, The Netherlands, Luxembourg and France.