Camping with a difference in France

campsite with illuminated...Pic: Shutterstock / Dan Thornberg

Camping is a great way to enjoy the great outdoors and fresh air, but these days there's no need to struggle with poles and pegs if you don't want to. Just a short hop across the English Channel there are a host of French campsites that'll give you totally different camping experience.

Glisten Camping - Col d'Ibardin
Set amidst enormous old oak trees, with the Pyrenees within view, Glisten's campsite at Col d'Ibardin is a haven away from your hectic daily life, and a definite must-try for families. Accommodation comes by way of geodesic domes, each featuring hanging sleep pods for the kids, beanbags, king-sized beds and an al fresco kitchen. Even better, there is a kid's club, sports activities for teens, and both children's and adult's swimming pools. It's not cheap at around £750 for a week in peak season, but that does include accommodation for four adults and two kids.

Château de la Grande Noë - Normandy
One for those with a sense of adventure, camping at Château de la Grande Noë takes place in the treetops of this 300-acre estate. Treehouses erected in the Douglas redwoods come with drawbridges, rope ladders and a handy winch for pulling up the organic, farm-made picnic baskets. And besides the beautiful setting of protected woodland, you can take a stroll with a Shetland pony or pet the other animals that live on the farm. The Sunset treehouse accommodates two adults and one child for 169 euros per night.

Airstream Europe - Belrepayre
A retro retreat in the foothills of the Pyrenees, at Belrepayre you'll have the choice of a 1950s, 1960s or 1970s-style aluminium Airstream trailer. The shiny accommodates from four to six adults, and each is furnished in period style. A spa, hot tub and bar/cafe are on site at this quiet spot, where it's very much glamping, not camping. Prices start at 630 euros for a week for two in the height of summer.

Echologia - Laval
Situated in a 70-hectare ecological sanctuary, Echologia, though just 450 metres from a train station, offers unique accommodation in a peaceful natural setting. Teepees and yurts are on offer, but to spend your down time in splendid isolation, opt for a floating wooden cabin. If you can drag yourself away from the beautiful lakeside setting, the on-site restaurant serves traditional French food made with fresh, local produce, and an entirely organic continental breakfast is on the menu every morning. Swimming, hiking and archery are there for the active holidaymaker. Prices start from £97 per might for a teepee to £154 for a floating cabin.

La Fléche Zoo - Loir
Ideal for 'wild' kids and animal-loving adults, the La Fleche Zoo in the Loir (a tributary of its more famous cousin Loire) valley, has recently introduced three new safari-style tents so that both grown-ups and children can see just what lemurs get up to during the night. Each Lemur Lodge comes with an outdoor shower and pergola, and the price (£125 for adults for a week in June, and £60 for children) includes two days to enjoy the whole zoo and dinner delivered to your door.

Have you tried an unusual camping holiday? Tell us about your experience below...

How to Set Up a Campsite