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Looking for a French campsite, mobile-home or gîte? Here’s the ‘what-where and how-much’ guide to family holidays in France

Finding the right campsite for your family holiday can be a tricky business with so many options vying for your attention, so here at La Forge de Sainte Marie in the Champagne region of France, we decided to help you avoid the online hair-pulling frenzy of timings, costings, comparisons and routes by answering your four key questions: why does France make a great family holiday?… what kind of campsite is La Forge?… how do we get there?… and top of the family agenda – what will it all cost?

  1. What can we expect from a family holiday in France?

Ask just about anyone who’s been to France what stays with them long afterwards and they’ll drift off into a reverie about the open roads, the sun, the rich heritage and culture, the food (oh, the food!), the geographical diversity and – well, just beware… they may go on! What they’ve noticed, above all, is something we in France call the ‘art de vivre’, a way of life that seems to value the very best aspects… and has people coming back to us time and again.

At Camping La Forge de Sainte Marie in the Champagne region, we’ve tried to encapsulate all of this on our family campsite to give you every ingredient needed for the most refreshing and fulfilling time possible, be that quality-time en famille in the spacious, natural surroundings or quenching your wanderlust off the beaten track in the stunning Champagne region.

  1. How do we know if La Forge is the right kind of campsite for our family holiday?

Before we tell you what you can expect from your time with us, it might be helpful to tell you what we’re not. If you want a larger than life kids-club and deafening day-and-night discos, we’re almost certainly not the site for you! As you’ll see from our weekly programmes, there’s bags to do on-site (boules, indoor swimming, kids’ club, fishing, cycling, farm animals, games room plus occasional quiz, music and dancing) but we pride ourselves on the tranquil and low-key here, in harmony with our location – wraparound forest beauty – and our heritage… our facilities are all in the original old-stone buildings of the 18th century forge. There’s convenience if you need it – Wi-Fi of course – but once you’re in the flow of all our simple pleasures, chances are you’ll forget all about that!

  1. Where is La Forge de Sainte Marie? And what’s the easiest and cheapest way to get there?

One of the issues with French geography is that the map is divided up in such a complex way (believe it or not, our village – Thonnance les Moulins – is in the Haute-Marne, Champagne-Ardenne and the Grand-Est areas) that internet users can wind up feeling more confused than when they started.  Let us simplify it for you: we’re in blissfully un-touristy Eastern France, 4 hours from Calais. Driving from Calais is easily the most practical and cost-effective way to reach us from the UK.

As the UK has left the EU there will be a transition period until at least 31st December 2020. This means there’s absolutely no change to travel in Europe throughout 2020. Your passport and EHIC card are still valid, and pet travel regulations remain unchanged. You also won’t need to apply for a visa. So, don’t let Brexit change your holiday plans!

Eurotunnel (Folkestone to Calais) offers short-stay return rates from of £136.00 per car (the super savvy may want to use Clubcard points to get that figure even smaller) or, if the idea of the ferry floats the kids’ boat, P&O (Dover to Calais) is currently offering a return rate of £135.00 for the May Half Term holiday. If you’re one for spreadsheets, just remember to factor in your péages (road tolls) from Calais to our campsite and back, approximately 26 euros each way.

  1. How much will our family holiday to France cost?

If you’re adept at squeezing the max out of the annual family holiday budget, you’ll want to get straight to the nitty-gritty… how much?  Obviously, your most cost-effective option is to book a pitch for your tent, caravan or camper-van. But (dilemma alert!) if a degree more comfort and convenience could tempt you, our current rates for a 4 night Mobile-Home break (May half-term) start at only 200 euros for up to 6 people! Alternatively, the idea of staying in an old-stone cottage at the hub of the campsite might appeal, in which case you should also take a look at our gîtes. All of our 2020 pricing is up and running on our website.

And spends? With a bit of forward planning, you could wind up with a few more spare euros than you thought, even with the pound looking a little worse-for-wear. For your food budget, rest assured that you can make the most of French culinary traditions without breaking the bank. Dine in one night at our cosy and convivial bistro, join the food-frenzy at a local market for another, enjoy a soirée on your terrace barbecuing the fish you caught on-site (glass of local champagne in hand, obviously) or check out our programme of events for a cheese-tasting evening or ‘feast at the farm’.

France – here we come? Any questions, please fire them at our English-speaking team, here all year round. And keep an eye on our website for the launch of our blog. We hope to see your soon at La Forge. A bientôt!


Information COVID-19


In order for you to enjoy your holiday safely, we are committed to the following:

We will follow the government protocol with regard to COVID-19, to ensure your safety;
We will train our staff with regard to the hygiene precautions and we provide them with protective equipment;
We will put up signs to alert everyone to social distancing and one-way systems in the enclosed areas;
We will provide disinfecting gel to our clients and staff in the communal areas;
We will clean and disinfect our facilities and accommodations thoroughly.

By respecting the hygiene rules and social distancing with your fellow campers, you can enjoy a great holiday.

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