Interview with Penny and Steve
Coucou! Here at Camping La Forge de Sainte Marie in France’s beautiful Champagne region, we’re feeling over-excited to be on the cusp of summer. And how do we know it’s on its way? Well, because the sun is making the whole site sparkle, champagne corks are popping from every corner of every field, and most importantly the wonderful Penny and Steve are back on our site-team this season… for the third year running!
To celebrate summer, we’d love to welcome you back to Camping La Forge de Sainte Marie. Eurotunnel is offering bookings with free cancellation so – allez! – there’s never been a better time to come!
So here they are – Penny and Steve – sharing their story and reminding us that Camping in France is one of those paradise pleasures we could all do with at the moment. Give us a like if you remember Penny and Steve from your last stay with us!
Guys, this is becoming a bit of a commute for you! Tell us what keeps bringing you back to Camping la Forge de Sainte Marie…?
Well, a few years back we came just for the night en route to the south and totally fell in love with the tranquillity of the place. We just knew we had to come back, so we started to stay for a week here and there – and then we ended up working here! That speaks for itself really, doesn’t it!
So, tell us about a day in the life of Steve and Penny at Camping La Forge de Sainte Marie
[Penny] Well, it’s really varied. I’m mostly on reception which is great because I love the interaction with guests, staff and locals. Every day is totally different and it’s really rewarding because the whole team get on really well together and there’s a genuinely lovely atmosphere on site.[Steve] I am the hardest working person on site [laughs!] and my main role is taking care of the pool. I take great pride in ensuring that the cleanliness and upkeep of the pool is perfect so that everyone’s first impression, both inside and out, is ‘wow’. I’m here, there and everywhere, so guests can – and do – ask me anything, anytime.
Back home, are you finding that people are concerned about what Brexit means for their holiday plans?
Definitely! We’re forever reassuring folks that Brexit isn’t an issue at all. People think that there might be problems at the port and rising costs of travel but actually, exactly the opposite seems to be true. If anything, we have found it’s even easier this year – no queues through passport controls, lots of advantageous ferry/Eurotunnel offers, and most importantly, the Brits are as welcome here as ever!
Any hot tips for driving in France?
Driving in France is genuinely a piece of cake and people are amazed that something they thought could be stressful is nothing of the sort. For starters, the roads and motorways are very quiet, plus the motorways have these wonderful service areas – called ‘Aires’ – with designated picnic spots and very clean facilities. We use a GPS that guides us clearly all the way here and even shows us where to buy fuel – which is about the same price as the UK. It’s an easy four-hour drive from Calais to Camping la Forge de Sainte Marie – even if you’ve got children or a dog on board (or both!)
On that note, who’s your furry friend, and what’s it like taking your dog to France?
So this is Eiger. He has a doggy passport, and we swear that when he sees it coming out, he gets as excited as we do! No checks at the UK border and all we have to do is take him to a vet over here (Reception will make the appointment for you) and get the pet passport stamped back at home. Dogs are made as welcome on site as everyone else.
On a camping holiday in France, what things to do in the Champagne region will people particularly enjoy?
Gosh – how long have you got? Because it’s so beautiful, a lot of people just like to chill out on site: a drink at the bar in the sunshine, a pizza from the summer snackerie, good French food at the easy-going restaurant, fishing in the lake, and so on. There’s an events programme that guests can dip in and out of as they choose (cheese and wine tasting is popular!) and families love the animals, kids’ club disco and bingo for the adults!
There are some lovely walks around the campsite (some guided) and cycling is increasingly popular with guests too – for gentle paced rides or more challenging routes.
Shopping is a big hit. Guests particularly love the low cost of good wine at the supermarket, where most things are around 20% cheaper than in the UK. And of course, when in France you can’t not go to a market – good, fresh food and wonderful local delicacies like champagne and cheese. Guests bring back all their goodies for wonderfully laid-back barbecues.
The local brocantes [flea markets] are worth a trip too, a chance to pick up some quirky vintage bits and pieces. We love them – not just for the stalls but also for the atmosphere – all the locals turn out!
Actually, we’re starting to feel like locals ourselves!
Penny, Steve and Eiger look forward to welcoming you to Camping la Forge de Sainte Marie this summer. Don’t forget that in addition to our camping pitches, we also have beautiful mobile homes and gîtes too. Take a look at the options available on our website → https://www.laforgedesaintemarie.com/en/ A bientôt!