Well, there’s not much here in this two-bar town of Vatan with a Twin Peaks-esque “classic” circus museum, except maybe for tranquility. In many ways that in itself is worth the stop. In its bucolic peace and pace lie the charm. Vatan is also a chance to rest and recuperate; to get back to our slow-flow style of family camping road trip where the open road is the destination.
After a busy, unscheduled, overnight stop in Bergerac on day 9 of our family camping road trip from Spain to Poland this summer, we were exhausted.
When it’s time to hit the road again the next day we packed too many things to do: break camp, buy much-needed fruits and vegetables, check out the old town of the man with the long nose, drive for another 4 hours and set-up camp… again.
Ambitious. Yes, but it’s not our normal pace.
Of course we ran out of time and needed to find a camping site much sooner before the campgrounds close… or else we become self-styled gypsies without homes.
So we improvised and ended up at another excellent municipal camping in France that also reinforces our discovery this trip of the excellent value of Camping Municipal” in France.
What is it? For family campers, caravaners and even solo cyclist-campers, camping municipal is a practical and budget-friendly accomodation in France whether you are staying overnight or longer.
It seems like every town in France has one and, unless it is in a big city, it usually costs about 10 euros less than other camping sites. That’s for a family of 4 (2 kids) in high summer season in a pitch that is at least 2 times the size of a car and a tent and then some more… (big!)… with electricity!
If you are travelling for several weeks like us; that’s quite some savings! That’s a lot of beer!
What else is good about camping municipal?
It has all the basic things that campgrounds offer, except maybe swimming pool (although our camping municipal in Condom had FREE 3-hour access to a swimming pool with huge slides!).
The ones we have been to are quite clean too.
Space. If you go to smaller towns you may actually find some form of solitude in French municipal camping.
What’s good about this camping municipal in Vatan, France?
One. The peace and quiet that it offers. We’re gladly back to not having any problems with social distancing here because we were 1 of only 3 tents in the big camping municipal in Vatan.
Two. It’s next to a small pond with picnic tables and benches around it surrounded by lots of trees for shade.
Three. It’s next to a small but new playground that lets you play soccer/football, basketball and, I think, 5 other ball games–all in one court with a running track around it.
Note: We have not received any form of compensation or freebies or anything at all for reviewing or mentioning this or other campsites.
The campground is 2 minutes walk to the center of the small village with two bars, a restaurant and a “classic” circus museum (classic reads it looked like it hasn’t seen an upgrade since the 1980s).
If you’re lucky and speak French you could hang out with a group of over 20 senior citizens playing bocce ball or whatever they call it in France, in the park with a world war 1 memorial to Vatan’s dead soldiers.
For quick food? There’s a good pizza place and a fruteria where you can buy fruits and vegetables (6 euros for the price of porky love cherry tomatos).
This camping site seemed to be a refuge for long-haul, camping caravaners–those who drive long distances between home and vacation destinations.
There were only three tents initially. But by the time reception closed at 8:30 pm we were joined by 10 other caravans dispersed throughout the big site. By the time we woke up and got done with breakfast, they were all gone.
They must have been like a bunch of caravaners just stopping by on the way to somewhere else, to a holiday or home.
So, the next time you’re camping or driving through France, like us, check out and enjoy a pocket-and-family-friendly stay at camping municipal. You don’t have to pay extra for showers, like they have you do in Belgium.
Next stop: Champagne country, then Belgium.
A friend of mine asked, “How big is that tent?” (shown on the picture). It’s supposedly a 3-person tent (2 adults and a child). And yes, we squeeze us all four in and sleep on top of each other! It works!