Three words – get booked up! We’ve visited the 5 star campsite Le Paradis on a number of occasions including in both low and high season and it’s become one of our favourite campsites in the Dordogne. This is a small family-run campsite and it’s what makes it so special. It’s been run by the same family for over 50 years and you can really sense that the owners put their heart and soul into this place. They have thought of everything to ensure you have the best stay possible.
Camping Le Paradis is so much more than just a campsite – in fact, it’s fairer to describe it as luxury eco resort (it was awarded the ‘ecolabel’ in 2012). It’s located in stunning countryside, 10 minutes’ drive from Montignac and the world-famous Lascaux cave visitor centre. It’s more compact than some other campsites, but it has everything, including some amazing facilities.
Expect to be greeted with a friendly smile when you check in at the reception. Here, you’ll receive an explanation of the onsite facilities together with some handy info on the local area, plus details of your accommodation. We were then personally shown to our lovely mobile home by a friendly Eurocamp rep and given a voucher for a free welcome drink at the classy campsite bar.
There is a massive range of accommodation from just a tent pitch to a luxury eco lodge with every convenience. If you are staying here with Eurocamp, there is a choice of 2 or 3 bed mobile homes or a tent, which is set up and ready to go. If you have booked directly through the campsite, then options include a tent pitch, a mobile home, a safari tent or a high-end eco-lodge. What we particularly loved was the effort that has gone into providing guests with a private terrace and garden. Contrary to many other campsites, you really don’t feel as though you’re on top of each other or that your neighbour is peering through your bedroom window. The terraces are of a high quality and are a great spot to relax with a glass of wine and a book.
Swimming pools & Spa
You are spoilt for choice when it comes to facilities on this amazing site. To start with, there is an indoor pool and two large outdoor pools (one of which is heated). We were thrilled to have access to the indoor pool when we visited in May as the weather was rather unpredictable. Children can enjoy the great little water park, which is fab for cooling down in on a hot day. There is also a very thoughtfully designed splash pool for babies and toddlers – there’s a sail draped across parts of the pool providing welcome shade and shelter to little ones. As a parent, I would have loved this had we been visiting when our children were younger. The spa area includes a hot tub, sauna, massage clinic and steam room, which is open every afternoon. Next to the spa is an open-air gym and basketball court/ football pitch.
Mountain bike & go-kart hire
Mountain bikes of all sizes (some electric) and go carts can be hired from reception. It’s fun for kids to ride around the very safe network of paths on site or even venture along the track next to the river. For the more experienced rider, it’s possible to explore the many mountain bike tracks in the nearby forest. If you prefer to have company, then sign up for the daily mountain bike guided tour that leaves from the campsite every morning.
Canoe & kayak hire
If you are looking for water-based adventure, then you can either hire a canoe or kayak directly from the campsite. You can go for a splash about on the river that passes through the campsite or take a bus up river and canoe back down. Life jackets and other equipment is provided and included in the hire price.
Grounds & Help Yourself Cottage Garden
The grounds are really beautifully kept with gorgeous flower beds packed with colour and lush green foliage. Around the swimming pool are at least 30 banana trees which gives the whole area an exotic feel much like a tropical paradise. Another really lovely touch is the cottage garden where guests can help themselves to organic herbs, vegetables and seasonal fruit. We absolutely loved picking our daily herbs, not to mention the mint for our mojitos, haha!
Kids Playpark and Kids Club
There is a great wee playpark for younger children and a free kids’ club (young children + teen club) during the summer holidays. Your kids will love taking part in treasure hunts, face painting as well as the weekly show.
The main carpark has ample parking and is situated right next to the main reception building and restaurant. There is space for one vehicle next to your accommodation, however, any additional cars will need to be left in the reception carpark.
Food & Drink
There is a great restaurant and bar at the campsite which also provides a small takeaway menu if you feel like a break from the kitchen one evening. Free entertainment is scheduled for most nights (during the summer months) and ranges from magic shows to live bands. The restaurant has a set menu as well as an à la carte option – the duck burger is highly recommended. The bar serves a selection of tasty draft beers, luscious local wines as well a great range of cocktails.
If you are dedicated to self-catering, then the little onsite supermarket will supply you with everything you need, from a fresh croissant for breakfast to a pasta feast for dinner.
This campsite really feels like value for money, partly because of the impressive list of free facilities and partly because it’s just such a lovely place to stay. When it comes down to the total cost of your stay, then it’s down to personal choice. If you choose to eat in and have the occasional drink at the bar then it’s very reasonable. Likewise, if you eat out every night, it’s not going to be the cheapest holiday.
The campsite is in a quiet rural location 10 minutes’ drive from the pretty market town of Montignac, where the famous Lascaux cave paintings were discovered. There is a lovely walk down by the river that takes you to the tourist attraction of La Roque Saint Christophe. Or it’s an easy bike ride to the beautiful village of St Leon-sur-Vézère, with its fabulous night market and riverside restaurants. This is also an ideal place for a swim in the river or an afternoon picnic under the shade of the willow trees.
If you can stay here outside of peak season, then there are some great deals with Eurocamp and the campsite direct. For the budget conscious, get your drinking done during happy hour at the bar and order the cocktail of the day promo. Desperate for a night away from the stove, then order a takeaway from the restaurant and enjoy it on your private terrace.
What is there to see nearby
Lascaux IV and Montignac
Just a short drive from the campsite is the picturesque market town of Montignac which is home to the new and striking Lascaux IV visitor centre. It tells the story of how the cave paintings were discovered and the techniques used by the artists 17,000 years ago. Kids will love the interactive displays and the educational tablets.
La Roque Saint Christophe
Within walking distance is La Roque Saint Christophe, an amazing rock formation where stone age man once lived, while in more recent times it was used as a medieval fortress.
La Maison Forte de Reignac & La Madeleine
Another 10 minutes down the road towards Les Eyzies is the Maison Forte de Reignac and the village de la Madeleine, which offer another glimpse in the history of this unique area.
Chateau de Losse
Even closer is the more glamourous Chateau de Losse, a romantic castle with pleasant grounds and a beautiful interior.
St Léon-sur- Vézère & Les Eyzies
If you are looking for a restaurant then there is a great selection in both St Leon-sur-Vézère and Les Eyzies. These villages are simply stunning, set next the Vézère river with beautiful French architecture, they look like a movie set. In fact, St Léon-sur-Vézère is listed as one the ‘Most Beautiful Villages of France’. In addition, Les Eyzies is home to the National Museum of Prehistory.
Etang de Tamnies
For a complete contrast, why not spend the day at Etang de Tamnies. It’s a fresh water lake with a lovely sandy beach and some floating inflatables for kids to jump around on. There is a small charge for parking in July and August.
The nearest big airports are Bordeaux and Toulouse which are around an easy 2-hour drive away. If you are lucky, then you might be able to connect to the compact Bergerac airport, which will cut your travel time down by an hour. I recommend hiring a car when you land as public transport in the Dordogne is extremely limited. There is a choice of hire car companies at each of the 3 airports. Family and friends tend to use Buggs car hire when arriving at Bergerac as it’s both good and cost effective.
If you are a keen cyclist and plan to use a bike to get around, then it’s possible to take it on the train from Bordeaux, changing at Perigueux and arriving at Les Eyzies. It will then be about an hour pedal time before you arrive at the Paradis campsite.
Over the years, our family has stayed at many campsites throughout Europe, but this site is at the top of our favourites’ list. So why? Well this is a compact, friendly and family run site in a special place next to the river. The excellent facilities are top quality, our kids loved the outdoor and indoor heated pools. And it’s the little touches that make the big difference, like the organic cottage garden and the stunning grounds. The name “Le Paradis” truly fits this site perfectly, welcome to paradise!