2_3_DiscoverBenelux_Issue14_January2015_Scan Magazine 1 26/01/2015 19:16 Page 33
Discover Benelux | Special Theme | Summer Holiday Escapes
Thanks to the pleasant microclimate at the Ile de Ré, a stay at Camping Essi will give you about as many sunny days as a campsite in southern France would.
Marvellous microclimate for maximum fun The Ile de Ré off La Rochelle enjoys as much sun as the South of France, but for visitors from Benelux it’s an awful lot closer. No wonder some Belgian families make their corner of Camping Essi a little bit of Belgium every August. TEXT: MARTIN PILKINGTON | PHOTOS: CAMPING ESSI
Carol Courpron, Camping Essi’s manager, encapsulates the family-friendly and relaxing atmosphere of the site with three simple words: “No Karaoke here!” The loyal clientele of the site, that was founded in 1961, are drawn back by rather different attractions: “Young families like having direct access to the beach as well as being just 800 metres from the lovely village of Ars en Ré, while having facilities on site like the heated nursery area for babies and toddlers – young mums love that – the paddling pool by the heated swimming pool, and a kids’ club,” says Carol. For those after a more strenuous holiday there are lots of things to do close to the site: a sailing school, horse-riding, tennis courts and an 18-hole golf course and mini-golf
are just five of the activities within easy reach. The island as a whole has a lot to offer too: “The microclimate here is well-known for having just about the same number of hours of sunshine as the South of France gets,” adds Carol: “And even though the Ile de Ré is just 30 kilometres long, we have over 100 kilometres of safe cycle tracks so visitors can bring or rent a bike to tour the island, see the wild salt flats and their birdlife, visit the lovely beaches that are all around us, and explore the villages, two of them listed among the most beautiful in France and one a UNESCO World Heritage Site. And most visitors like to try the wines made here and our famous Pineau aperitif.”
every August. They eat meals together and enjoy the sun and cycling, and have been doing so for about ten years. We love them, they’re very ‘sympa’ – sometimes they bring Belgian flags and their little area becomes a Belgian colony!” she says. www.campingessi.com
Among the most loyal fans of the site are 14 Belgian families: “They meet up at the site
Issue 14 | February 2015 | 33
Promoting Belgium, The Netherlands, Luxembourg and France.