The moment oftruth has arrived, is our campsite flourishing during the high season or are we squeaking and creaking until we break? You can of course read all aboutitin this newsletter from La douce France..!
Due to some administrative problems it seemed for a while that there would be no fireworks in the village on July 14, the national holiday. As part of our integration here, we thought that was a huge shame. That is why we decided at the very last minute to take matters into our own hands by treating our guests and the village to a small fireworks show. The result was a beautiful evening, in which people from far and wide enjoyed a beautiful decorative fireworks in the sky on our back terrace.
Tired of DIY
Despite the fact that we are extremely proud of everything we have achieved, there is always room to improve. In addition, things sometimes break and both the site and the rental units require regular maintenance. Of course we are only human and there are only 24 hours in a day. In addition, we can no longer see a brush, drill, PVC pipe, secateurs or electrical wire; we are officially tired of DIY! Now that the high season requires all our attention, we have decided that we will postpone all unnecessary chores until September.
FirePit and an open fire ban
due to drought Just before the worst heat set in, we quickly finished our FirePit. A hexagonal bench of solid wood now surrounds the circle of stones on the concrete where the teepee tent once stood.
With that, part of our dream has finally become reality; a place where campers with all kinds of different backgrounds can come together, get acquainted and exchange stories. Together around a crackling campfire, under the starry sky, with a glass of wine or beer and for the children of course with a marshmallow on the stick! The campfire itself has to wait temporarily, because that is currently prohibited here due to the extreme drought and the danger of forest fires.
Last shooting days “Ik Vertrek”
The TV crew of Ik Vertrek came to visit us in France for the third and last time in the last weekend of July. The contrast with winter in terms of weather conditions and nature was captured. Now that everything is open, we were followed in our daily activities while the campsite is occupied and we recorded a final conversation.
In it we look back at how we have fared and we answer the question of how we see the future. We gave a few hours of home video material and now it’s time for the final editing. We hope to be able to announce to everyone in November when our adventure will be shown on television.
Extended opening hours
In August it is traditionally busy in the village. The cars barely fit on the church square, where you can see that many people have returned. It buzzes with people who greet each other and have not seen one another for some time.
Moreover, except for one tent spot, we were allowed to put up our sign “Camping full” for the first time, so tourism is also fully present. Of course, this requires extended opening hours and so we decided to temporarily open 7 days a week with both the bar and the store.
Extended stays, reviews and returning guests
We can of course tell you how fantastic it is here, but who better than our guests to judge that? The things that we as perfectionists would like to improve or would rather see differently seem to disturb our guests to a lesser extent. We score 4.9 / 5 in google, 10 / 10 on PitchUp and 5 / 5 on Tripadvisor.
Of course we are PROUD of that!! We even had a couple who let us know that they enjoyed it so much that they immediately set up the tent in the garden when they got home. Moreover, we regularly have visitors who extend their intended stay by one or more nights, because they find the campsite and the surroundings so nice and beautiful.
Finally, we have already welcomed guests for a second time. They had so relaxed during their vacation earlier this year that they decided to come back for another weekend with friends. That is of course the biggest compliment we can get and it gives us great satisfaction and good cheer for the future!t.
Of course, as previously admitted, our adventure is not all about prosperity – we also have setbacks. The big announced fiber optic, for example, is still not over the bridge and there has been no response to our inquiry from the telecom company for the time being.
That means we still can’t offer our guests on the campsite decent WiFi, except for a slow connection in the bar. Fortunately, the majority of our visitors have excellent 4G coverage and a data bundle available, but we still think it’s a shame.
In the meantime, the longhorn beetle happily eats on our roof trusses, despite our repeated treatments of the wood, but: he who laughs last, laughs best! The requested electric rental bicycles were also ultimately not delivered this season, despite the commitments from the communauté de commune pays gentiane. Better luck next year…
Dutch acquaintances visiting!
After we hadn’t seen any familiar faces for a while, we were able to add a few to the list last month.
We had a nice lunch with Paula and Björn, enjoyed an evening campfire with Noor, Ruud & kids and we were treated to musical care from Geert-Jan while he and Margot came over for a night. Also Lars, who had been helping us for a few days shortly after we arrived here, was back with Raffie and his camper.
For optimal integration, we registered to participate in the local party committee shortly after arrival. This weekend it was finally time, after several summers of corona pandemic, in which the party could not take place, there was a real annual party for Saint Bonnet de Condat. For two days everyone came together for fun, a snack, a drink and the necessary entertainment.
A petanque tournament, party evening with DJ, flea market, election of the best scarecrow, raffle of a ham for the person closest to the weight, face paint and games for the children and much more. Of course there was also a performance by our own ‘troubadour néerlandais’ – Lars Zebregs.
It was truly a memorable weekend. The campsite was full and there was no seat left on the terrace. So we didn’t get to experience much of the festivities ourselves, but what we heard and saw was great!
With the village festival we have also immediately passed the highlight of the summer. We don’t expect it to be as busy as last weekend, but the shop and the terrace are nevertheless still well visited every day. People have now also found their way to our menu, because the Fish & Chips are flying out of the kitchen! The bitterballen and frikandellen are now available again, we decided to import them by means of dry ice transport due to popular demand. We also regularly receive reservations for the campsite and we receive passers-by almost every day.
Also almost every day we have to make phone calls to rent last-minute chalets and/or mobile homes for this month. Of course we work tirelessly to offer everyone the best possible afternoon, evening or stay, but we are also secretly looking forward to the late season. After 8 months of non-stop work, we would like to work on our further plans, explore our new living environment and simply do nothing at all once in a while ;-)..
Our first reservations for 2023 are slowly getting underway. Before that, we hope to receive many nice guests in the winter season. Both the chalets and the campsite (for winter-suitable motorhomes) will remain open – as will the bar and épicerie. It is not without reason that we are perfectly situated between two large ski areas, Le Lioran & Super-Besse. Are you coming to discover our little paradise in the Cantal, Auvergne, this winter or next year?
À bientôt, lots of love.
Dennis & Jelle