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Romantic Trips : French Castles & More

Looking for a romantic destination? Well, you’ve come to the right place!

Where better to bring your princess, or prince charming, than the magical lands of fairy-tale French castles? Just for you, we’ve put together a few ideas, making for an unforgettable romantic stay. You’re welcome to pass them off as your own. Whether it’s for Valentine’s Day, an anniversary or just as a surprise treat for that special someone, you can be sure they will fall in love with these places!

Jump into a fairy-tale 🏰

When we think of castles in France, there are two places that spring to mind, the Dordogne Valley and the Loire Valley. So, let us walk you through what makes these destinations so special and why they are perfect for a romantic break. Love in the air is guaranteed!

Dordogne Valley

One thing is certain, this destination will blow your mind. With its beautiful landscapes, its natural wonders such as caves and gardens and – of course – its numerous fairy-tale castles. Bring childhood dreams to life by visiting the castles of the Dordogne valley during a romantic stay.

1 – Castles

There are many castles with different styles in this part of France. From those built during the Hundred Year War to Renaissance style. Here is a shortlist of our favourites.

Discover Beynac Castle

This castle is located at the top of a cliff that might well give you vertigo, but it will be so worth it. Dominating the village of Beynac-et-Cazenac, this superb stone castle has watched over the Dordogne for more than 9 centuries and offers an unforgettable view of the magnificent river valley. The panorama is classified with 3 stars by the Michelin Green Guide. It is open to visitors from the beginning of February until the end of the year.

Find all the details and buy tickets on the Castle of Beynac official website.

Hautefort Castle

Classified as a historical monument, this castle is unsurprisingly located in the commune of Hautefort, in the Périgord Noir. It is a real jewel, for two reasons: its 30 hectare park, which includes a French garden and an English garden and offers a stunning panorama of the village and the surrounding countryside. But also, the old medieval fortress was transformed in the 17th century into a beautiful residence and you can visit this furnished castle, its underground passages and its chapel.

Find out more on the official website of the Castle of Hautefort.

Discover Des Milandes Castle

This castle was built in the 15th century and was designated a “Maisons des Illustres” in 2012. As such, it dedicates its rooms to its famous 20th century resident, Josephine Baker. You will also be able to visit the sublime Périgourdins Gardens, registered as a Historic Monument, and discover the art of falconry at the castle.

Find all the details and buy tickets on the official website of the Castle of Milandes.

There are, of course, many other castles that you can visit during your romantic stay, such as:

BironCastelnaud-La-ChapelleFenelonMarqueyssacCommarqueMontalLa TreyneTours de Merle

2 – Caves and chasms:

The Gouffre de Padirac is the most famous chasm in Europe, considered as one of the greatest geological curiosities of France. Embark on the underground river, more than 100m underground, to admire the Grande Pendeloque, a giant stalactite of 60m high. Then, continue on foot to the Salle du Grand Dôme with its vault that rises to a height of 94m.

The Gouffre de la Fage or the Palais des Chauves-Souris (Bat Kingdom) is also worth a visit! It has two galleries. One is colorful and eccentric. The second is studded with hundreds of stalactites.

The cave of Lascaux IV, which was discovered in 1940 and renovated in 2016, will amaze you with its prehistoric treasures. It is located in the heart of the International Centre of Cave Art, at the foot of the hill of Lascaux.

You can also visit the following caves:

LacavePresqueCarbonniere

Romantic getaway in the Loire Valley!

On the subject of castles, we often think of the Loire Valley. Since 30 November 2020, it has been listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site (cultural landscape). Like the Dordogne Valley, the castles of the Loire Valley were built in the Middle Ages for defensive purposes. Then, during the Renaissance, aesthetics came to the fore.

In addition to the romance, you’ll learn a lot about the architectural, cultural and historical heritage of the kings of France here.

1 – Loire Castles

Chenonceau, the Ladies’ Castle

This is one of the most majestic castles of the Loire Valley. Frequented by Diane de Poitiers and Queen Catherine de Medici, it embodies the elegance of the 16th century Renaissance castles built in the Loire Valley. The arches of the castle gracefully span the Cher river. With its exceptional architecture, the castle of Chenonceau is one of the most visited sites in France.

Find out more and buy tickets on the official website of the Castle of Chenonceau.

Chambord Castle

Built in the 16th century in the heart of the largest enclosed forest park in Europe, Chambord is one of the largest castles you will ever find! Indeed, its domain extends over nearly 5500 hectares, 1000 of which are open to the public. It is also one of the most emblematic monuments of the Loire Valley, and one of the most famous castles in the world.

Located in the middle of the Chambord estate and bordered by the Cosson river, 14 km east of Blois, in the heart of the Loire Valley, its setting will amaze you. It is a must for your romantic break.

Visit Chambord Castle website for more details and to buy your tickets.

The Castle and Gardens of Villandry

This was the last of the great Loire castles built during the Renaissance in the Loire Valley. You will be charmed by the elegance of its architecture and its remarkable gardens. Take the time to stroll in the medieval French and English gardens, maintained by a team of 10 gardeners throughout the year.

Find more details and tickets on the official website of the Villandry Castle.

There are, of course, many other castles you can visit during your romantic getaway in the Loire Valley, such as:

Royal d’Amboise and le Clos-LucéAzay-le-RideauRoyal de BloisClos Lucé, the last residence of Leonardo da VinciUssé, which inspired Charles Perrault to write Sleeping Beauty. Perfect for fans of fairy tales!

2 – Tours : a great town for a foodie stay

What could be more romantic than a stroll through the quiet alleys of a pretty, historic town? If you love the charm of half-timbered houses, you’ll love Tours old town! Enjoy the green spaces of the city too: visit its botanical garden and Prébendes d’Oé Garden.

Admire the Saint-Gatien Cathedral located not far from the Loire and take the opportunity to stroll to the banks of the river. The Loire is the star of Tours. Maybe you’d like to take a trip on a boat? Contact the Boutavant company.

Then have a romantic dinner in one of the many bistrots-gourmands in the city of Tours. Taste fresh, locally produced delicacies. And don’t forget to treat yourself to specialties such as the Tours prune prepared by La Chocolatière and Tours nougat!

Love to visit villages full of charm and authenticity? Here are a few that will please you:

Montrésor with its troglodytic houses, dug into the rocks. It is located on the banks of the Indrois river and is classified as the most beautiful village in France. Make sure to visit the Castle of Montrésor, dating from the 15th century, on a rocky spur. Saint Benoît du Sault is also classified as one of the most beautiful villages of France. It is a medieval village with a fort, fortified ramparts, and many other elements which whisper of its medieval past. Apremont sur Allier, with its castle and its floral park, is one to visit if you will be passing near Berry.

We hope we’ve inspired you with these romantic ideas! Don’t forget to follow us on social media for more!

The post Romantic Trips : French Castles & More appeared first on Campsited.

Enjoying the outdoors and nature in 2022

Experience the joys of camping near nature

Extensive studies from around the world have shown that getting back to nature provides holistic benefits that can help improve the quality of our lives. Spending time in natural surroundings can increase our levels of hormones like oxytocin and serotonin, which increase happiness, helping us to feel more energy and to lead a more fulfilling life.

For quality time with the family away from the pressures of daily life, there is no better antidote than a few days surrounded by the beauty of nature. And one of the most fun-filled ways to communicate with nature is on a camping trip.

Camping in nature allows us to get out of our traditional mind-set, and to embrace and enjoy what is magical about our earth. We start noticing once again the splendour and beauty that surrounds us each day, which we largely take for granted. We live in a modern society driven by technologies that can distance us each other, even while we live in the same household.

So, set a date to rally the troops and leave the devices behind, to embrace your collective sense of adventure with an exploration of the great outdoors throughout the year ahead.

Best Ways to Get Active Outdoors in 2022

Enjoy the outdoors and nature in beautiful campsites around France.

Camping near a natural park

There are over 70 national, regional and marine parks spread across France, so there’s a long list of places for enjoying the outdoors and engaging in quality activities as a family. Pyrenees National Park is a great place to pitch a tent or park a campervan, with charming landscapes and enigmatic wildlife to be discovered during the summer.

Discover local nature reserves and parks

If you don’t want to travel as far as one of the country’s national parks, camping near a nature reserve or country park is a great alternative. This would be perfect for a weekend camping excursion, with no need for extensive planning.

Winter camping trips

Enjoying the outdoors shouldn’t be restricted to warm weather seasons. There are locations around France that offer year-round campsites, so consider an autumn or winter break for a complete change of pace. Skating, snowboarding and skiing are excellent winter activities and rates should be attractive during the colder months, excluding the holidays.

Discovering riverside communities and landscapes

Camping alongside a French river or lake is another pleasant way for the family to enjoy quality time together outdoors. There are a few campsites along the River Bresle near the Somme Estuary where you can walk together through the Eu Forest or enjoy fishing, canoeing or kayaking as a group at the nearby lake.

Enduring the challenge of “le camping sauvage”

Le camping sauvage, or wild camping, in pared-back campsites in the countryside, is a genuine way for the family to experience life without the usual trappings. This style of camping outdoors is a true bonding exercise to develop esprit de corps where kids and parents can practice teamwork skills from the set-up of base camp to the strike down.

Discovering historic monuments and landmarks

Many campsites in France allow you to enjoy the outdoors close to historic landmarks and monuments. Carentan les Marais in Normandy is a perfect base from which to explore the historic beaches of Normandy, site of the D-Day landings, for a moving, educational experience in the open air.

Biking coastal paths near the seaside

France has miles of coastline along its Western shores, with a plethora of coastal paths ideal for bike activities while summer camping in nature. In Pays de la Loire, there are campsites near family-friendly biking paths, for example near the Pointe Saint Gildas headland with its coastguard tower.

Participate in a conservation drive

Another way to enjoy some awesome family time outdoors is to participate in a local or national conservation drive, which involves activities like cleaning up beaches or planting trees in deforested areas. There are few better ways to teach children respect for nature and the environment. It is our responsibility to protect, conserve and enjoy the bounties of the natural world and teaching them this through action is the most effective way.

Benefits of spending time at campsites near nature

Improvements in the overall mental, physical and emotional wellbeing of your family.

Establishing a connection with natural surroundings

Life in urban environments can be hectic and stressful and present few opportunities for pausing the noise and haste. Spending time at a campsite in natural surroundings is a refreshing respite from the hustle and bustle. Love, respect and admiration for our planet and noticing the beauty around us helps us to slow down and feel more positive and less anxious.

Uplift your mind, body and spirit

Frankly, it’s the reason why natural parks and parks in general were created in the first place: to give us all a space where we can come together and enjoy the benefits of fresh air, clean water, less noise pollution and natural splendour. It is well-documented that the energies of nature have therapeutic benefits to the human body, which can ground us and induce harmonies in mind, body and spirit.

Learning about yourself and others

It’s amazing what we can learn about ourselves and our loved ones while camping, as well as others. Away from the trappings and conveniences of home, it’s a chance for individuals to relax, exhale and discover the bonds that unite us instead of the things which divide us. From helping others, to making new friends and discovering new ideas and cultures, lives can be enriched from the experience.

Discovering the magnificence of the outdoors

No matter how old we think we are, compared to Mother Nature we are all children. Within the trappings of civilisation, we have become increasingly removed from what links us to this earth. While enjoying nature we can be carefree, and see the world with the eyes of children again, as we discover, explore and marvel at the magnificence of nature, which is all around us, just waiting for us to seize the moment to appreciate it.

Capturing moments 

It is often said that a picture is worth a thousand words. Family camping trips can be documented by video or by stills, but either way, taking snapshots in time or serialising the funnier sides of your holiday is a great way for a family to bond around the shared experiences of living outdoors together. Memories fade, but you can use the family photos or film to remember and relive precious moments over and over again.

Things you should be aware of before camping in nature in France

Before planning your camping trip, here are a few tips and reminders that may be helpful:

Is it safe for young children to camp outdoors near water?

If you have children under the age of 10, you should set up your base camp far enough away from water sources to ensure they can’t access them easily by themselves. Camping near water for teens is perfectly safe, especially if they know how to swim. 

Are there medical benefits to camping near nature?

Yes. There are many studies that have shown that spending time in natural surroundings can lower stress and hypertension (blood pressure), as well as improve memory. Spending time in nature has been recommended by leading experts as a way to combat depression and other psychological disorders in children and adults. Natural sounds have also been shown to improve sleep patterns, which can provide increased overall health.

Do I need special permission to camp in or near national parks in France?

While natural parks, marine reserves and other wildlife habitats are protected by state or local authorities, there are often sections that are open to the general public and no special permission is required to camp there. You should check with the authority responsible for the park before planning your trip. There are also loads of great campsites in France very near national parks, which allow you easy access to the parks, along with convenient facilities.

Is camping in nature during winter recommended?

Enjoying the outdoors isn’t limited to any season. In winter, you might be tempted to rent a campervan, mobile home or chat with heating though, especially if you are camping with children. If you want to go tent camping during winter, you will need special equipment such as a four-season tent and specially insulated sleeping bags to protect you against low night-time temperatures. 

What is a geopark?

A geopark is a territory or area of geological significance, where developmental strategies are used to create a sustainable environment within the community. There are six such geoparks in France, including the Haute-Provence Geopark.

Participate in enchanting family adventures enjoying the great outdoors this year!

The post Enjoying the outdoors and nature in 2022 appeared first on Campsited.

Why You Need A Digital Detox

Why a digital detox is exactly what you need in 2022

Switch off your phone and enjoy a digital detox this year, at one of many French campsites that are perfect for a family retreat. Whether you are looking for a notification free period, or you need an internet detox to clear your mind of everything that has happened over the past 12 months or so, camping in France is just the answer. Not only will an open-air holiday shift your focus away from your devices, but it will also help those of us who haven’t seen family and friends in a long time to rebuild connections and bonds. In addition, focusing more on nature and being in the present moment, rather than being glued to our digital devices, helps us rebuild the connection with ourselves too – something which may have been lost over the past few months. The impact nature can have on our mental and physical health is also another reason why ditching the devices is a great idea this year, so it won’t take you long to embrace Mother Nature and forget about your phone. Take some time away from your laptop and phones, speak and laugh more with your family and create memories which will last a lifetime. Let technology take a back seat this year and focus on what’s in front of you, so you can appreciate the people and things that matter the most. 

The best things to do during your digital detox

With the phones away and the tablets turned off, we’ve put together a list of activities that don’t require digital technology.

Take a hike

Enjoy a hike along one of France’s stunning coastlines on your digital detox and enjoy the novelty of using a paper map, rather than your phone, to navigate through some stunning scenery. The Pink Granite Coast in Brittany, for example, which goes from Lannion to Perros-Guirec, is a great hike for you and your family to reconnect on. Remember to pack a lunchbox and lots of water, as some of this route can get quite rural.

Visit a local château

Rather than reading up on history via your phone, during your internet detox you can go and learn about history at source. Visit one of many impressive chateaux, such as Chateau d’Angers in the Loire Valley, and find out all about life in previous centuries. Bring a disposable camera just in case you want a picture to remind you of your journey.

Go for a swim in a lake

Whilst you’re enjoying your digital detox, you can really reconnect with nature. One of the best ways to appreciate nature is to go for a swim in one of the delightful bodies of water that France boasts. Visit Cascades du Herisson, which is close to the town of Lons-le-Saunier, where you can enjoy beautiful waterfalls and a river where you can swim. This is a great place for all the family to relax and enjoy a paddle, no matter the level of swimming capabilities. Don’t forget your sun cream as the mountain sun can be very strong. 

Go back to a time before phones 

With France boasting so much history, you can embrace your technology detox and go and visit a town brimming with culture and historical buildings. Check out Nimes, for example, which has Roman monuments that have been well-preserved over the years, such as Arena of Nimes. Head over to the tourist information office on arrival, where you can find out all about the history of the city, without the need for the internet. 

Go for a spin on your bike

Cycle away from your screen and enjoy time spent with your family on one of France’s amazing cycle routes. A route such as the Velodyssey, which stretches the entire length of the Atlantic coastline, offers you complete escapism from your normal life and the trials and tribulations of the internet. Most cycle routes in France have a bespoke book too, which you can use to navigate your route with.

Eat like a local

Rather than letting the internet suggest a restaurant for you based on thousands of people’s ratings, why not ask a local where is good to eat. “Où est bon à manger, s’il vous plaît?” should do the trick to find a local recommendation. Choosing the plat du jour, or dish of the day, is always the best way to enjoy the freshest and best ingredients that were available at the market that day, or failing that look to see what the locals are eating and give that a try.

Enjoy a beach day 

With screen-time taking up so much of the average person’s day, you’ll have a lot more spare time during your digital detox. So, for the ultimate relaxing activity, visit one of the beautiful beaches along the French coastline. For example, Plage du Midi in Cannes, which is great for families, as children can enjoy themselves under the watchful eye of the lifeguards. There are parasols and loungers for rent on certain sections of many beaches, so you can choose whether you want to be in or out of the sun.

Take in a UNESCO site 

You’ll never tire of places to visit when camping in France, so you’ll soon forget you’re on a digital detox. Why not bond with your family at one of the country’s stunning UNESCO heritage sites. Take a trip to see Mont Saint-Michel in Normandy, or Palais des Papes in Avignon, where you will be wowed by breath-taking architecture. Make sure to pick up a few postcards and bring a pen to write them while waiting for your lunch, so that people at home can see where you’ve been.

What are the benefits of having a digital detox?

Not only will time away from your screen help you feel mentally refreshed, but you’ll be more physically active too.

Reduce stress

Whilst a lot of people think they would find it hard to live without their devices, research has shown that excessive screen time can lead to increased stress and anxiety. So, taking time away from being constantly connected can have a great impact on your health. Also, it can help you reconnect with those closest to you. 

Improve sleep habits

Not only does a technology detox help with stress levels, but you are also likely to have improved sleep as a result. Research has shown that having your phone or device too close to your bed can negatively affect sleep quality. So, not only will you sleep better when you’re camping without devices beside you, but you will be able to focus on speaking to your loved ones who are there beside you, rather than following the lives of others via your phone just prior to sleep. 

Help maintain a good work-life balance

An internet detox can really help you if you are addicted to checking your emails. When you’re not working you shouldn’t feel the need to check your emails, and when you’re on holidays you especially shouldn’t be thinking about work. A better work-life balance not only helps you feel more energised, but it will actually make you more productive at work in the long run too, so it’s a win-win. 

Brings you closer to your family

The world we live in has evolved to keep people connected no matter where they are. Whilst this is great, it also means that you might focus on chatting to people who are further away than those who are right in front of you. A digital detox is great as you’ll get to reconnect with your family rather than chatting to people who aren’t present. 

Reduce emotions related to other people’s lives

Whilst social media certainly has pros, it can also have cons. One of these is that it can cause jealousy or annoyance about how you perceive other people live their lives, from the brief snapshots delivered by social channels. Not getting emotionally involved in other people’s day-to-day activities frees your mind and allows you to focus on those that are with you in that moment.  

Useful Info Regarding a Digital Detox

A digital detox is a great way to bring your family closer together. Here are a few helpful pointers to get you started.

What are the signs I might need a digital detox?

Everyone knows their own mind and body best, but if you are starting to feel anxious or stressed when you aren’t on your phone, then it’s likely you need some time away from it. If you check your phone every few minutes without a specific reason, that also might be a sign you are in need of a technology break. Or if social media causes a negative emotion, it’s time to put down the phone. 

How do I do a digital detox?

There isn’t a one-size-fits-all answer to this, as different people will benefit from varying amounts of time away from their devices. Set yourself some realistic boundaries to begin with and see how you get on. If these are too hard, maybe try something easier. However, if you find it easy, perhaps try making your digital detox stricter. 

What is the best way to start a digital detox?

If you set your sights too high at the beginning, then you will be less likely to succeed. Choose realistic objectives, depending on how addicted to your devices you think you are. Then, step-by-step, see what works for you. For instance, going cold-turkey might not be the best choice if you use your phone more than the average person.

What can I expect from a digital detox? 

Time away from your phone, tablet and laptop, among other technological devices, is not only great for your mind, body and soul, but it might also give you new perspectives on what is important in life. You might find yourself questioning whether you need to use your phone as often as you do, or if you have spent enough time recently with your loved ones, both of which are healthy thoughts to have.

Why are campsites a great place to partake in a digital detox?

Campsites are some of the best places to have a digital detox because, stripped down to its most basic, camping doesn’t require technology, nor will it at any point in the future. It’s all about you and your loved ones focusing on each other, enjoying nature and forgetting about everything that isn’t right in front of you at that moment in time.

Switch off from your devices and enjoy a camping trip with your family.

The post Why You Need A Digital Detox appeared first on Campsited.

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